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.
- 1867. Langley, Henry G. comp. The Pacific Coast Business Directory for 1867: 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. Also, a gazetteer of the counties, cities, and towns, and an exhibit of the resources of the Pacific Coast. San Francisco: Henry G. Langley, 1867. Digital version at Internet Archive.
- 1868. Maguire, H.N. Historical Sketch and Essay on the Resources of Montana: Including a Business Directory of the Metropolis. Helena: Herald Book and Job Printing office, 1868. FHL film 1377090. Digital version at Google Books.
- 1871-73. Langley, Henry G. comp. The Pacific Coast Business Directory for 1871-73: Containing the Name and Post Office Address of Each Merchant, Manufacturer and Professional Residing in the States of California, Oregon, and Nevada; the Territories of Washington, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Arizona and Alaska; and the Colony of British Columbia. Also, a Gazetteer of the Counties, Cities and Towns, and an Exhibit of the Resources of the Pacific Coast. San Francisco: Henry G. Langley, 1871. FHL film 1004513 item 3.
- 1876-78. 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. Also, a gazetteer of the counties, cities, and towns, with the federal, state and municipal officers attached thereto, and an exhibit of the resources of the Pacific Coast. San Francisco: Henry G. Langley, 1875. Digital version at Internet Archive.
- 1878. 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).
- 1879. Warner, Frank W. Montana Territory: History and business directory, 1879 ... Distances, fares, and altitudes, counties, towns, mining camps, commercial, mineral and agricultural interests, with a sketch of the Vigilantes. Helena: Fisk Bros., printers, . FHL film 1377090.
- 1880-81. McKenney, L.M. Pacific Coast Directory, for 1880-81. Containing names, business and address of merchants, manufacturers and professional men; county, city, state, territorial and federal officers, and notaries public, of California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Montana, Idaho, Arizona, and British Columbia. Together with a sketch of the different cities and towns, giving description, means of support, population, Etc. San Francisco, California: L.M. McKenney & Co., 1880. FHL film 1004517. Digital version at Internet Archive.
- 1883. 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. FHL film 1697991 item 4. Digital version at Internet Archive.
- 1886-87. 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. San Francisco, California: L.M. McKenney & Co., 1886. Digital version at Internet Archive.
- 1914. R.L. Polk and Company. Northwestern Gazetteer: Minnesota, North and South Dakota and Montana--Gazetteer and Business Directory. St. Paul: R.L. Polk, 1914. FHL films 1321220-221.
City directories are published on a local level, hence the name "city" directory. Thus, there are no statewide “city” directories for Montana. To find local Montana city directories, check the appropriate Montana city Wiki page. Researchers may also find the following resources helpful:
- Ancestry.com ($) has Montana directories in their U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 collection. The following cities are currently included: Anaconda, Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Dillion, Fort Benton, Great Falls, Havre, Helena, Kalispell, Lewistown, Livingston, Miles City, Missoula, and Whitefish.
- Distant Cousin.com has a 1928 Butte, Montana city directory.
- US City Directories identifies printed, microfilmed, and online directories and their repositories.
The Family History Library (FHL)
The Family History Library has an excellent collection of Montana city directories on microfilm up through 1935. The cities of Anaconda, Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula are well represented. The Library also has printed directories for some select Montana cities that extend into the 1990s.
To find out what records are available at the Library, do a "Place-names" seach in the Family History Library Catalog. Search for:
- Montana - Directories
- Montana, [County] - Directories
- Montana, [County], [City] - Directories
- 1942. Directory of Community Service Organizations in Montana. Helena, Montana: Montana Preparedness and Advisory Commission, 1942. FHL book 978.6 C44d.
Libraries, Archives and Societies
"Most libraries, historical societies, and archives at the state level have fairly extensive collections of in-state directories and may also have directories from major out-of-state cities." The Montana Historical Society, Montana State University, and the University of Montana have some of the finest collections of Montana directories in the state.
- 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.”
- Remington, Gordon L., "Directories," in Loretto Dennis Szucs and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking, editors, The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy, 3rd ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2006), chap. 8, p. 327.