Explore dozens of directories from across the United States. Discover your ancestor’s address and occupation or explore the history of your home address. The directories stretch across the 1700s to the 1900s.
Each record is available in a PDF format. Use the previous and next buttons at the top of the page to browse through the publication. The PDF search experience can be different from searching transcribed records. Use our search tips below to get the most out of this collection.
The detail in each record will vary depending on the publication. The publications will include business listings and usually descriptions of the local area. In the records you may find a combination of the following information:
Additional detail found in these types of publications will provide a more in-depth study of your ancestor’s life and the local area.
To the left of the PDF, you will find the Transcription Box, which includes:
Publication – the title of the publication
State – where the publication is based
Image number and image count – this will tell you where you are in the publication and help you to explore the publication further.
For a full list of all the titles available, view the United States Directories & Almanacs publication list available in the Useful links and resources section.
Explore dozens of directories from the United States which covers three centuries of history. For a full list of all the titles available, view the United States Directories & Almanacs publication list available in the Useful links and resources section.
Almanacs and directories are an excellent resource for anyone researching their family history and want to understand more about their ancestor’s life. They provide insights into when the courts would sit and the presiding judge, as well as full listings of notable individuals such as President John Adams residing at 190 High Street in the 1798 Directory for Pennsylvania, business owners, trades people, civil servants, church leaders, school teachers and much more. Furthermore, you can explore the history of your home by searching the publications by address, where you may discover previous proprietors.
These directories are a good substitute for the 1890 Census for the United States that was lost to fire.
Searching through a PDF (Portable document format) is different from searching through fully transcribed record sets. Here are some tips to keep in mind while you search for your ancestors:
The search feature uses direct search. It will search for the exact word or phrase you type in the search field. There are no name variants available through this format.
All search results will bring you to the page on which your search word has been found and not to an individual transcript. You can then read through the page to find your result.
A name search will return results which have the search terms on the same page within the document. This means that searching for John Smith will return pages where the names 'John' and 'Smith' occur. For this reason your search may return the name William Smith or John Brown. By inserting quotations around the full name the search function will locate the terms together; for example, “John Smith.”
To search for your ancestor by their name, write it as it would appear on the document. For example, if your relative was known as ‘Will’ it is likely that the name used for official records was ‘William.’
If you are unable to find your relative on your first search you can try different name variations. A number of register books only use abbreviations for first names.
For example, if your search is unsuccessful for William Smith, try W Smith or Wm Smith.
Perusing the PDF
If you wish to read through the whole document you are searching, then order the results by page number. You can start from the beginning of the document and read through to the end using the next button above the image.
Page numbers often correlate with the individual images of the documents rather than the page numbers used within the publication. Therefore page 1 starts with the cover page.