Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Online Historical Directories

City Directories are one of the major resources to determine addresses, occupations and employers for research targets in cities. In many cases, the directories have been published over many years - for instance, the first Boston city directory was in 1789 (available on microfiche in the LDS Family History Library Catalog).

Some City Directories are online in digital format, in either freely accessible databases or in commercial subscription databases. Some are only browsable, but many are searchable by surname and keyword.

Miriam Robbins Midkiff, who writes the Ancestories: Stories of My Ancestors blog, has created a website titled the Online Historical Directories Website, and has spent untold hours finding online city (and other) directories and posting links to them in an organized manner.

Here is the Home page for the Online Historical Directories site:

There are categories for Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States. I clicked on the link for the United States:

There are directories listed for all states except for Hawaii at this time.

What about California?

There are directories listed for many of the urban counties in California. I clicked on San Francisco:

And on San Diego:

As you can see, the links for these Historical Directories include public libraries, websites like the San Francisco Genealogy, city directory sites like EveNDon, Google Books, and subscription sites like Ancestry.com and Footnote.com.

Of course, for subscription sites like Ancestry.com and Footnote.com, the searcher needs to be a subscriber to the service.

Other directories, like the California Voter Registrations on Ancestry.com, are also included on the list of Historical Directories.

A researcher can spend hours using this site to gather city directory data for their research targets in specific cities.

What a wonderful web site! Miriam has worked hard on this labor of love, and has a lot of work to do to keep it updated with the latest additions to online historical directories.


The Ancestry Insider said...

Hands down the most amazing thing about the site is--as designated in the copyright--Miriam has already posted content in 2010! Since I sometimes post date articles by a day to even out my posts-per-day, and since you made me smile the time you caught me, I thought you'd get a kick out of noticing Miriam's little misstep, no doubt aimed at removing the need to update the copyright line a few short weeks from now.

Good day!
The Ancestry Insider

Miriam Robbins said...

Yes, AI, I am magical like that...I can post content in the past, present AND the future! ;-)

And Randy, thanks for such a nice review of my website. Your readers can stay abreast of new and updated content on the site by reading the corresponding blog here.

Geoff said...

Also take a look at www.uscitydirectories.com.

Miriam Robbins said...

Randy, I now have a Hawaii page for my Online Historical Directories website. Now every state in the union plus the District of Columbia have directories listed on my site. AND I've only listed a tip of the iceburg that's available! More to come!

Miriam Robbins said...

Um, grammar alert: that should say "...HAS directories listed..." not "...HAVE directories listed..."