Directories are alphabetical lists of names and addresses. They list information for the year they are published. In Wales, directories first appeared in the late eighteenth century and continue to the present day. They show the name of a person, usually the head of the household, with his or her address and occupation. They seldom show the entire population. Directories can also include information such as:
- City maps.
- Indexes to streets.
- Addresses of churches or cemeteries.
A person’s inclusion or omission in directories for successive years may show when he came into the city, left the city, or died. Also, knowing an individual’s address can help you search a census of a large city.
There are various types of directories:
- Postal or commercial directories provide alphabetical lists of people living in an area, usually including those engaged in some kind of trade or profession.
- Trade directories contain alphabetical lists of trades and professions and the people engaged in the trade or profession.
- Street directories have alphabetical lists of the principal streets and the people living there.
- Court directories list the city officers, government officials, and "private" residents.
- Law directories list judges, staff of various courts, lawyers, police, notaries, and registration officers.
- Church directories give information and addresses for dioceses and parishes (see the "Church Directories" section of this outline).
- Telephone directories give names, addresses, and telephone numbers of individuals, societies, libraries, newspapers, and other businesses. This information can help you identify modern descendants of a family. Current telephone directories are published on microfiche by British Telecom and are also available on compact disc and the Internet (see the "Archives and Libraries" section of this outline).
Directories usually cover a large section of Wales (such as North Wales) and are divided into counties and towns.
Several bibliographies of directories have been compiled. A few of these are:
Current British Directories. Rev. ed. Beckenham, Kent, England: CBD Research Ltd., 1985. (FHL British book 942 E43c.)
Newington-Irving, N. J. N., ed. Directories and Poll Books in the Possession of the Society of Genealogists. 6th ed. London, England: The Society of Genealogists, 1995. (FHL British 942.1/L1 D23so 1995.)
Norton, Jane E. Guide to the National and Provincial Directories of England and Wales, excluding London, Published before 1856. London, England: Offices of the Royal Historical Society, 1950. (FHL British 942 C4rg no. 5.)
Shaw, Gareth and Allison Tipper. British Directories and Guide to Directories Published in England and Wales (1850–1950) and Scotland (1773–1950). Leicester, England: Leicester University Press, 1989. (FHL book 942 E43s.)
Through the GENUKI website, it is possible to locate a volunteer who will search some directories for you free of charge. You can visit this site at:
From the above site
- Click [County of your choice]
- ClickLook-up Exchange
The Family History Library has a small collection of Welsh directories. Directories and bibliographies of directories are listed in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:
ENGLAND - DIRECTORIES
WALES - DIRECTORIES
WALES, [COUNTY] - DIRECTORIES
WALES, [COUNTY], [CITY] - DIRECTORIES
ENGLAND - DIRECTORIES - BIBLIOGRAPHIES
WALES - DIRECTORIES - BIBLIOGRAPHIES
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Research Outline: Wales (Salt Lake City: Corporation of the President, 2000), 30-31.