Genealogy Clips

City Directories | Genealogy Clips #62

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Even before there was the telephone, there were city directories. Back before the telephone, city directories listed a person’s address, and sometimes their profession and other people who were living in their house with them. New directories were usually put out every year for most cities, and even some small towns published them. These are a good source of information on your ancestors in between census years, and can sometimes even allow you to discover new family members who are not mentioned in any other sources (such as small children who did not live beyond young childhood, or elderly in-laws whose surname you did not previously know.

You can find searchable old city directories online on for a membership fee. Some other sites, such as the US GenWeb project, may also have city directories to search for free. If you are in a town that has an archives building or a library with a genealogy department, you can often find old city directories there to look through by hand. City directories first started coming into use in the mid-19th century and go up to the present…

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About the author

Ancestral Findings

Will founded Ancestral Findings in 1995 and has been involved in genealogy research for over 24 years. The excitement begin when he started investigating the meaning of his surname. He enjoys collecting Postcards and Photography.