A directory is defined as a “book containing names, addresses, and occupations of inhabitants.” It may also be “any list or compilation, usually in book or pamphlet form, of persons, professional organizations, firms or corporations.” Several types of directories have been published in the United States over the last two hundred years including: city directories, telephone directories, county and regional business directories, professional, organizational, and religious directories, post office directories, and street directories. Directories have tremendous value to genealogists as both an original record and as a reference aid.
The sections below provide information about Montana directories. For further information about directories in general, see United States Directories.
- Langley, Henry G. comp. The Pacific Coast Business Directory for 1876-78: Containing the name and post office address of each merchant, manufacturer and professional residing in the states of California, Oregon, and Nevada: The terriories of Washington, Idaho, Montana, Utah, and Alaska: and the colony of British Columbia. . . San Francisco: Henry G. Langley, 1875. Digital version at Internet Archive.
- McKenney, L.M. Business Directory of the Pacific States and Territories, for 1878, Containing names, business, and address, of merchants, manufacturers, and professional men; county, city, state, territorial, and federal officers; and notaries public, of the principle towns of California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Montana, Idaho, Arizona and British Columbia. . . Two Volumes. San Francisco, California: L.M. McKenney, 1878. FHL film 1004545 item 2. Digital version at Internet Archive (Vol. 1), (Vol. 2).
- Steel & Co. 1883-4 Montana Advertising Directory, containing a complete list of the tax-payers of Montana, showing their address and occupation, arranged alphabetically according to counties; with a directory of federal, territorial and county officers compiled from the returns of 1883. Helena: Geo. E. Boos & Co., 1883. Digital version at Internet Archive.
- McKenney's Pacific Coast Directory for 1886-7, giving name, business, and address of business and professional men of California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, and Montana. Together with sketches of the different towns, giving location, population, Etc. Oakland, California: Pacific Press Publishing House, 1886. Digital version at Internet Archive.
Libraries and Archives
- Ancestry.com ($) has Montana directories available online in its U.S. City Directories collection.
- Distant Cousins for Montana
- US City Directories identifies printed, microfilmed, and online directories and their repositories.
The Family History Library
The Family History Library has useful directories for the years 1868 and 1879 on Family History Library film 1377090. The library has some directories from the 1930s to 1980s for larger cities in Montana, such as Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula.
- Directory of Community Service Organizations in Montana. Helena, Montana: Montana Preparedness and Advisory Commission, 1942. FHL book 978.6 C44d.
- Henry Campbell Black, Black’s Law Dictionary: Definitions of the Terms and Phrases of American and English Jurisprudence, Ancient and Modern, 5th ed. (St. Paul, Minnesota: West Publishing Co., 1979), 415, “directory.”