What are Directories?
Directories have been produced for well over 300 years and can
prove to be an invaluable source of information about local communities.
As well as information about individuals, they also provide a wealth
of general background information. For the periods before the census
was available, they provide a snapshot of communities and their
inhabitants, and the later ones are extremely useful tools for locating
ancestors in the census.
To view an example page from a Directory, click the image
Pigot directories start around 1820 and cover
the major professions, nobility, gentry, clergy, coach and carrier
services, Taverns and Public houses of the areas. Entries include
the name, trade and address. Slater directories
tend to be larger than the Pigots and cover the 1850s in a similar
Watkins Directories of London competed with Pigot
and Kelly and produced directories that show occupations and go
street by street showing residents. Bulmer Directories
have a larger history section than others, normally before the directory
In Kelly's directories residents will also be
listed. There are sections on each major town and surrounding villages,
with a history of the area in a great deal of detail as you would
find in a gazetteer. Information on the main trades, the chief land
owners, the type of soil and even the coverage dates of parish registers
can also appear. The later Kelly directories from 1890 onwards contain
more residents and these are sometimes put in a section called Court
Finally the Post Office Directories in the 1900's
gave fairly complete listings for the residents and tradespeople
of an area.
& Things to Remember
- Consider spelling variants, wrong names, and the possibility
that it was never recorded.
Where Can I Search a Directory?
- You should first try S&N
Genealogy Supplies, as they have one of the largest selections
of directories on CD-ROM, are the highest quality and are available
at the lowest prices.
- Also try TheGenealogist.co.uk
- there are a number of directories that are available to search