1,003 New City Directories at Ancestry.com

Astor House, NYC, from Ancestry.com ihas added 1,003 new city directory titles to its collection for U.S. Deluxe and World Deluxe members. Grouped by state, the new directories include:

These databases include indexes and browsable images of the complete directories.  (Juliana is doing the “happy dance” now because she has some New York City directories to check out!)

City directories are primarily useful for locating people in a particular place and time. They can tell you generally where an ancestor lived and give an exact location for census years. They are also useful for linkage with sources other than censuses.

There are usually several parts to a city directory. The section of most interest to the genealogist, of course, is the alphabetical listing of names, for it is there that you may find your ancestor, but for those seeking to get acquainted with the area in which their ancestor lived, other sections should not be overlooked.

Whenever you use a directory, it is important to refer to the page showing abbreviations used in the alphabetical section of the directory, usually following the name in each entry. Some abbreviations are quite common, such as h for home or r, indicating residence. There may even be a subtle distinction between r for residents who are related to the homeowner and b for boarders who are not related.

Some city directories list adult children who lived with their parents but were working or going to school. Look for persons of the same surname residing at the same address. If analyzed and interpreted properly, these annual directories can help sort out families. In cases where specific occupation is given, you can search records pertinent to that occupation.

Look for Juliana’s article in the upcoming Ancestry Weekly Journal for more information on getting the most from city directories.

44 thoughts on “1,003 New City Directories at Ancestry.com

  1. Those state links aren’t working for me. I just get the Ancestry home page. Are they supposed to link to a list of specific cities/years that have been added? I hope so, since otherwise it will be difficult for me to separate those directories that I have already searched from the newly added ones!

  2. WHEEEEEEEEEE, joining the Happy Dance since gale.ancestry is gone I have missed the directories so very much. Now a few from Chicago and Cleveland @ 1880 – 1920 would be good.

  3. I hope you will be adding some directories from Pennsylvania, especially the City of Pittsburgh. They DO exist and can be found at the Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh or the Senator John Heinz History Center library.


  5. The new city directories data base is very useful. However, I would like to point out that the first search page suggests that you are searching New York City directories only. Upon scrolling down to the lists of cities and towns who have provided directories, they are scattered all over New York STATE, and only a few are from New York City. When you choose a town, such as Fairport, you will find that that town is actually a suburb of Rochester, which is 600 miles from New York City. When the Fairport search page comes up, it still says New York City directories. I’ve seen this before…where there is a list of things for New York City and the heading just says New York, or other situations such as I’ve described above. It would be useful to researchers and save some time if the two could be separated…or that New York City would always be designated as such and all the rest as New York State or just New York. I think a lot of people don’t even know there is a New York STATE…just a New York City.

  6. Feelings expressed by Donna Stuart about feeling left about are repeated here with IL. and include MO. I very seldom get any information here that is useful for my search of ancestors that I don’t know much about to begin with. I have names but not much info because my father was “adopted” by an uncle in IL. who really didn’t want him anymore than his stepfather in MO. I have never had contact with any of these people so I have to stab my way in the dark and I don’t feel that I get much advice here. I note that there are no city directories issued for us which helps to prove my point.

  7. I just a quick looksee through the California titles. While there are some that are from the early 20th Century, MOST of the directories are from 1965 and later. That time period can be covered by U.S. telephone directories. I’m a wee bit disappointed.


  8. I say “Amen” to the comments about needing more Chicago and Cook County, IL information. I particularly need the years from 1895 to 1912. Any prospect of help in this direction?

  9. Yes,definitely Chicago and Cook County,1880 onward, as well as New Orleans,please,1880 onward. Cincinnati from 1850 to 1900 would be nice as well. I, too, depended greatly on Gale.

  10. Metro Chicago and Indiana (especially Tipton and Lake County) would be very much appreciated. Siiiiighhhhhh…..

  11. City Directories are indeed wonderful to use. I used them for my Portland, Maine ancestors. Found so much useful information.

    Under New York, I check Buffalo. It shows New York City Directories – 1927, 1934, 1938, 1940, 1941 and 1956.

    Under New York City it shows 1915, 1916 and 1917.

    Can this information be corrected so we will know the proper places to look? Thank You.

  12. I would like to see more info of all kinds from Bibb, Jones, Putnam, Wilkinson, Twiggs Counties of Georgia. Also more for Orange and Chatham Counties of North Carolina. Many, many people moved through Orange and Chatham Counties of NC on their ways South and West!

  13. I am interested in Detroit, Michigan…where are the Michigan directories??? Also interested in Toledo, Ohio and Jersey City, New Jersey.

  14. I am interested in Sandusky, Ohio and all directories in Cleveland, Ohio??? Really need Sandusky,Ohio.

  15. I would like more information on Wisconsin and Illinios, particularly the Milwaukee and Chicago areas. There never seems to be anything very pertinent to these areas that can’t be found without a subscription to Ancestry.

  16. I would like Michigan directories, preferably those from the middle 1800s to early 1900s. Does anyone read these comments?
    If so, I’m looking for surnames of Blacklock and Brown, especially if they have Canada connections.

  17. I guess I will just join everyone else and say “more, more, please”. They directories you have provided are wonderful and I feel rather guilty asking for more from New Jersey, but additional ones would be so useful. The same for Pennsylvania, particularly Philadelphia.

  18. Searching for directories from Hibbing, Virginia, and Eveleth, all in Minnesota, from 1890 thru 1893. Thank you

  19. Great additions, but guess there will always be an area that one wishes to be available. Would love to see Carbondale area of PA. I know the city library has many years available. I also agree that some coverage of MO would be nice.

  20. Are the city directories not included in the US Deluxe membership? It shows me registered as a guest.

  21. I join the bandwagon for Chicago city directories…would love them to go back to 1840. Is there any word on if they are working on them or when they’ll will be available?? Lots of us are asking…some answers would be great.

  22. I, too, would like to see more city directories from Pennsylvania…and I agree with the comment that it is the EARLIER years that prove to be most useful. From the 60s onward, we have many relatives who can assist us; it’s the pre-World War II back to the 1900s that genealogists need!

  23. Just wondered is this the same Robert Marshall I knew in 1953-54? In Idaho. He posted May 30 2006 @5:16

  24. Absolutely wonderful start for these important resources. Can we be notified when a particular area comes up? The west collection is very weak, and not old enough to be much use, as others have already pointed out. I need San Diego, National City, Chula Vista, and Los Angeles. Thanks!

  25. Would love to see directories for andrew county missouri and LeFlore County Oklahoma.

  26. Ancestry does not seem to be interested in the south–how about Tenn. and Tex?

  27. Need more directories for Phila.,Penna. and Carbondale, Penna., 1860 to 1920. Also directories for Steubenville, Tiltonsville Ohio would be great, 1910 to 1930. While the weekly blog is nice, I miss the daily dose of genealogy that we used to receive. Thanks, gerri

  28. I would love to see more information (especially newspapers)from Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Virginia, Texas, Missouri, especially the boothill of Missouri as well as Osage, Callaway, Cole and surrounding counties.

  29. The state of Vermont listing includes the city Hoosick Falls. Hoosick Falls is in Rensselaer county, New York. It is on the border of Vermont and perhaps was included in the Bennington directory??? I suggest it be listed under the state of New York.

  30. You had the 1917 Pittsburgh city directory at one time…and then it disappeared. Any city directories from Pittsburgh would be appreciated and I used the 1917 directory MANY times….until it was removed. Could you PLEASE reinstate it???? It is a mystery as to why it was removed in the first place.

  31. I too would like to see much more from Illinois, especially the Sangamon Co., IL. area. A lot of people passed through Sangamon Co., IL. and it’s an important area.

    Jackie Withrow

  32. I saw the “coming soon”, about Freedman marriages from 17 southern states. I can hardly wait. Sure hope it’s sooner that later.

  33. A long list of questions could be answered if there was some way finding a telephone directory of Chicago prior to the big fire of 1871

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