Trade Directories


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Trade directories were first published in the 18th century, probably because towns were getting larger and businesses felt the need to advertise. Soon, directories began to carry not only business information but also the names and addresses of ordinary people and sometimes their trade or profession. This makes them an excellent source for finding the whereabouts of your ancestors. They were often produced annually in the larger towns and cities during the 19th century and continued being published until recent years.

Leicester University
Leicester University. Almost 700 British trade and local directories, organised by county, searchable by town or village
Melbourne, AustraliaDirectories from 1857 to 1880 from Melbourne History Resources, connected to the university
New York City LibrarySeveral of New York’s directories date from the early days of the United States
South AustraliaFrom the State Library of South Australia
The Ancestor HuntWhere to find US and Canadian directories with links for each state/province. Free access as well as subscription sites

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