City, trade & telephone directories

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.

Latest city, trade & telephone directories

The London Gazette1825-1962

It’s said to be the oldest surviving newspaper title, and it’s long been a valuable resource for military historians and the financially curious alike. We have nearly 150 years’ worth of digital editions to help you put your discoveries in their historical context.

Choose the month and year you’re interested in to find specific clues like names, addresses and dates – particularly of deaths. You may also pick up a few useful titbits along the way: details of your ancestors’ estates, official notices of their promotions or military decorations, new British citizenships – or maybe even their bankruptcies!

City & County Directories1766-1946

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.

Trade Directories1770–1941

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.

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Recommended city, trade & telephone directories

UK and US Directories1680–1830

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.

British Phone Books1880–1984

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!

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National directories

Local directories (England)

Local directories (rest of UK & Ire)

National gazetteers

Local gazetteers

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