Directories are alphabetical lists of names and addresses. The most helpful directories for genealogical research in Canada are provincial directories (published at irregular intervals in the 19th century) and city directories (published annually in the 20th century).
A person’s address can be very helpful when searching an unindexed census of a large city. Inclusion or omission in successive directories can indicate when the person came to the city, left the city, or died. However, most blacks and Native Americans and many French Canadians were omitted from such directories.
An excellent list of city and provincial directories is:
Bond, Mary E. Canadian Directories 1790–1987: A Bibliography and Place-Name Index. 3 vols. Ottawa: National Library of Canada, 1989. (Family History Library book 971 E43n.) The directories are listed alphabetically and chronologically by province and town.
Public and university libraries have directories for their region.
The Family History Library has microfiche of original directories published before 1900 in:
The Pre-1900 Canadian Directories=La Collection de répertoires d’avant 1900. Ottawa: Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions, 1988. (Family History Library book 971 E43p; 4,214 microfiche beginning with 6360453.) No circulation to Family History Centers. This includes directories and gazetteers from cities and provinces across Canada.
Single titles from this series can be purchased on microfiche from:
- Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions
P.O. Box 2428, Station D
Ottawa, ON K1P 5W5
The Family History Library also has a few microfilm copies of city and province directories. These date from the mid-1800s to 1912. See the Locality Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:
CANADA - DIRECTORIES
[PROVINCE] - DIRECTORIES
[PROVINCE], [TOWNSHIP] - DIRECTORIES
[PROVINCE], [COUNTY], [CITY] - DIRECTORIES
If your ancestor lived in 1871 in Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, or Ontario, and you know the name of the community, he may be listed in:
Lovell, John, ed. Canadian Dominion Directory for 1871. 8 vols. Montreal: John Lovell, 1871. (Family History Library book 971.3 E4L 1871; films 856124 and 856125; fiche 6046766.) This gives the township and county of each community, which is important when searching census, land and property, local histories, and other records.
For the 1871 Dominion Directory, surnames beginning with A and B are indexed as follows:
Index to the 1871 Dominion Directory of Canada. 3 vols., Aa–Az, Ba–Bonsecours, Bonsecours–By. Salt Lake City: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1966 [?]. (Family History Library book 971 E4L 1871 index; films 908001 item 2, 982370 item 4 and 928566 item 3.)
The Family History Library and some large public and academic libraries have Phonefiche (microfiche copies of recent telephone directories of metropolitan areas) for Quebec and Ontario. The Family History Library also has:
Canada Phone Book: The National Telephone Directory on CD-ROM. Ed. 4.5 for year 1997. Danvers, Mass.: Pro CD, c. 1992–96. (Family History Library compact disc no. 20.)
Major Canadian libraries have copies of telephone directories (Bell Canada) from 1878 to 1979, but these are not at the Family History Library.
Names, addresses, and telephone numbers for federal, provincial, and municipal government offices and bureaus; provincial vital records offices; major church headquarters; libraries; and other organizations are listed in:
Canadian Almanac and Directory. Toronto: Canadian Almanac and Directory Publishing Co., annual. (Family History Library book 971 E4ca.)
Canadian Sourcebook. Don Mills, Ont.: Southam Inc., annual. (Family History Library book 971 B5c.) Editions before 1998 were called:
Corpus Almanac & Canadian Sourcebook. Don Mills, Ont.: Corpus Information Services, annual. (Family History Library book 971 B5c.)
Recent editions are in Canadian and large United States libraries.