City directories are virtually annual censuses (listings) of a city’s population. Older city/county directories are valuable for locating ancestors within a particular city or county. This type of directory can serve as an index to the census of a larger area. The city/county directory, in giving an ancestor's address, will also enable a researcher to locate the nearest church as well as note an occupation or family business.
Old city directories exist for virtually every community in America,
often going back to the establishment of a community. Many of the
privately published city directories date back over a hundred years,
and some of these collections are complete for every year in which a
directory was published. Surprisingly, those that exist are quite
easy to find. They are usually located in the public library serving
a particular city.
- City Directories
of the United States of America. This
web site attempts to identify all printed, microfilmed, and
online directories, and their repositories, for the United
States. This site will answer these questions: does a directory
exist for a locality? If it does, where can it be found? The
site is a work in progress.
Directories at DistantCousin. A free online archive of city
directory records and scanned images.
Heritage Creations Genealogy Store. Listing of City
Directories that they are offering.
- My Genealogy
Store. Lists over 1,300 one-of-a-kind City Directories dated
- Remington, Gordon Lewis. “Research in Directories” chapter
11 in The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy, rev.
ed., Loretto Dennis Szucs and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking, eds.,
Salt Lake City: Ancestry.
- Spear, Dorothea N. Bibliography of American Directories
through 1860. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1978,
1961. Union list of directories by city.
- Witcher, Curt. “Using Directories for Genealogical Research” in Ancestry, 14:5 Sept/Oct. 1996, p. 30-33.
Telephone directories are a source of present day addresses of descendants, newspaper offices, funeral homes, churches, cemeteries, libraries and other places of genealogical interest.
Directories. Portal to worldwide telephone directory Web
sites; includes all types of directories such as reverse,
telephone numbers, e-mail, etc.
- Telephone Directories on the
- The Ultimates.
Here you can search resources from all over the net like phone
books, email directories, and trip planners. But this isn't just
another list of links. The form for each resource is integrated
blank to another so you can use everything out there with a
minimum of time and effort.
- WhitePages.com. White pages phone directories.
Directories of Organizations
A directory for identifying various organizations is useful to the genealogist as a source for contacting a particular society for assistance. In identifying an organization, the directory will give its official name, as well as an address for the group. Societies and organizations have records, such as membership files that might help the genealogist.
- Directory of Historical Organizations in the United
States and Canada. Nashville, Tennessee: American
Association for State and Local History, 1990. Identifies many
of the historical societies in states in a geographical
- Encyclopedia of Associations. Detroit, Michigan: Gale
Research Co., continual updates. Subject, geographical, and
- Leaders in American Science. Nashville, Tennessee:
Who's Who in American Education, 1953-1968.
- Meyer, Mary K., editor. Meyer's Directory of Genealogical Societies in the United States and Canada with an Appended List of Independent Genealogical Periodicals. 11th edition. Pasadena, Maryland: The Author, 1996. Lists many of the genealogical societies by locality.
Directories. Historical Directories is a digital library of
local and trade directories for England and Wales, from 1750 to
1919. It contains high quality reproductions of comparatively
rare books, essential tools for research into local and
genealogical history. Search by year or keyword.
Originated and maintained by the University of Leicester.
- World Factbook CIA maps and publications.