Directories have been published for various Illinois cities and counties since the 1830s, though they may not exist for every year. Some directories focus on the businesses or occupations of an area, while others include heads of households, landowners, and voters.
City and county directories are similar to present-day telephone books and are useful records for locating people. They were often published annually, listing heads of households, employed household members, and their occupations and addresses. They can be used with census records or as substitutes for them.
Directories are particularly helpful for research in large cities where a high percentage of the people were renters, new arrivals, or temporary residents. In fact, a directory may be the only source that lists a person if he was not registered to vote and did not own property. Most households were included because the directories were created for salesmen, merchants, and others interested in contacting residents of an area.
Directories have other clues that may require careful study to discover. For example, people in similar or related occupations were often relatives, in-laws, or friends. A year-by-year study of directories may reveal the movements of ancestors and relatives within the city and sometimes to or from other cities.
Examples of directories that may be found in an archive are: city directories, telephone directories, church directories, occupational directories, farmers directories, or rosters of society members.
Directories of heads of households have been published for major cities in Oklahoma.
Resources for Oklahoma Directories
For a list of heads of households in the entire territory in 1890, see the reprinted edition of "Smith's First Directory of Oklahoma Territory: For the Year Commencing August 1st, 1890" (FHL book 976.6 E4s) (FHL film 1307628 item 11) (Worldcat) The book has an every-name index, but the edition on film does not.
Libraries and Archives
Ancestry.com ($) has Oklahoma directories available online in its U.S. City Directories collection.
The Family History Library
The Family History Library has:
- 1905-06 Family History Library Film 928379 item 3
- 1905-06, 1906, 1916, 1941, 1960, 1969, 1975, 1986 Family History Library book 976.638 E4p
- 1913, 1924 Family History Library Film 1321478 item 3
- (1913), (1924) Family History Library Film 1440588 item 6
- 1966, 1968, 1985 Family History Library book 976.638 E4p
- 1909-35 Family History Library Film 1760274-283
- Distant Cousin
- US City Directories This web site identifies printed, microfilmed, and online directories and their repositories.