5 million individuals added to historical directories collection


29 January 2024
TheGenealogist has announced a major new addition to its directory of historical directories, dating back to 1744 and covering countries including England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, the US and many more.

Historical directories are published listings of people, businesses and places, first published widely in the 18th century and often updated annually. People would use these to explore what businesses were in a town, to locate a particular individual and also find out information about churches, postal services, transport connections, etc.

Dating from 1744 to 1899, the directories in this release from TheGenealogist website are a useful finding aid for ancestors' names, addresses, and occupations and can offer contemporary details of where your past family had lived. If your forebear had a business, then the commercial listings in the directory could help find where an ancestor may have worked.

Early directories can also be useful for finding the addresses of residents before the census, reveal the railways that may have served the area and to find other communications links to nearby towns. With this information, those who may have ‘lost’ an ancestor may make an educated guess of where a person may have moved to live in the past. 

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Using historical directories in combination with the census

These directory publications can also be a great complement to a census record, as the topographical information can flesh out an ancestor’s area for the researcher. 

In the case of a head of the household, we may be able to find an address different from that recorded in other records such as the decennial census. This may help fill in the gaps of where a stray ancestor moved to between the census counts.

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