City and trade directories are very similar. They both provide your ancestors’ addresses and occupations in the years before and in-between the censuses. Telephone directories, meanwhile, stretch into the late 20th century.
City & County Directories can reveal your ancestors’ addresses and occupations all over the UK, across four different centuries. With so much to cover, it would take us years to type in the information by hand, which is why we use OCR (optical character recognition) to create the searchable indexes.
We’ve recently improved our OCR technology, and re-scanned all the hundreds of directories in this collection. That means your search results should be more accurate, and you should find it much easier to spot your relatives on the results page.
Discovering your ancestors’ jobs reveals the unique lives that each one of them led. This collection includes more than 350 trade directories, packed with names, addresses and occupations from three different centuries.
Midlands and Various UK Trade Directories, 1770–1941, mainly covers Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, and Worcestershire, but there are records from elsewhere, including a few national directories. Many of them were produced every year, which means you can follow your relatives through the different editions and track any changes in their careers.
These records aren’t strictly directories, but they do pretty much the same job. You can find out your ancestors’ addresses and occupations, and maybe even discover what religious and social groups they signed up to.
The registers cover the Scottish counties of Fife, Kinross, and Clackmannan for the years 1814, 1903, 1905, 1908, 1912, 1914, and 1917. The information includes everything from local nobility and justices of the peace to coach schedules and dates of market fairs.
This is another vast collection spanning three different centuries. It’s particularly useful if you have Scottish roots, but the records cover everywhere from Aberdeen to Dover — and a few towns across the Atlantic.
Unusually, we don’t have scans of the original directories. But the index will usually give you a date and an address, so you can pinpoint your ancestors.
Telephone directories are among the most useful resources for tracing more recent relatives. This collection goes right up to 1984, so you may well be able to find your parents, cousins — or even try searching for yourself.
When you find a relative, you’ll discover their surname, address and telephone number. Bear in mind that the numbers have changed several times since these records were made, so even if your relatives haven’t moved there’s no point trying to call them!