Directories on Microform

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This article is part of a series.
Overview of Directories
Locating Directories
City Directories
Using Census Records with Directories
City Directories and World War I Draft Registration Cards
Using Death and Probate Records with Directories
Using Church Records with Directories
Using Naturalization and Land Records with Directories
Telephone Directories
Directories on Microform
Professional Directories
Organizational Directories
Religious Directories
Post Office and Street Directories
List of Useful Directory References

This article originally appeared in "Directories" by Gordon L. Remington, FASG, FUGA in The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy

The business directory, as a distinct entity, evolved partly from special sections in city directories and partly from the needs of people in sparsely populated rural areas to communicate their services to one another. Because the rural economy often centered on the county seat, these early business directories were usually organized by county or region. In addition to the names of farmers and businessmen, they contained advertisements of goods and services; although they were primarily business oriented, they also served as general directories in those rural areas. Much like a modern almanac, they often included other useful information.

A regional (multicounty, state, or market area) business directory combines a city directory's specialized business sections with a county directory's wide geographic market coverage. As communications developed, nineteenth-century manufacturers, farmers, and those with service-oriented businesses found that directories covering more than their own county were quite useful and even necessary. These regional business directories varied in comprehensiveness. The earlier ones, often called advertising directories, mentioned only those businesses that could afford to be included. By the late 1800s, however, statewide business directories listed nearly every place and a variety of businesses, from farms to pharmacies. County directories can also be found in nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century county histories and atlases.

Information obtained from county or regional business directories helps locate people in place and time. County business directories that include farmers, like city directories, narrow census searches to specific townships. This is especially useful when an ancestor married someone from another township in the same county and the marriage record doesn't state which township. Some county business directories also contain dates and places of birth, dates of marriage, length of residence in the town, names of children, and other biographical details on their subjects as well as names.

You can use regional business directories in the same way. A region can be defined as an entire state or a geographic area, such as a valley or a coast. If you know which state an ancestor lived in but not the exact place, regional directories can help, although they are less likely to give such extensive biographical information, and their coverage may be limited.

How to Use County and Regional Business Directories

From Hamilton Child, The Gazetteer and Business Directory of Monroe County, New York for 1869'1870 (Rochester, N.Y.: Erastus Darrow, 1870), 195.

The Gazetteer and Business Directory of Monroe County, New York for 1869'1870 is a typical county business directory. On the page displayed in the attached figure, the residents of the rural town of Henrietta are listed alphabetically. The information following each name, when properly interpreted, is very enlightening. For example, the entry for Alvy Remington indicates that his post office was in West Henrietta; thus, it was the closest settlement as well. His land was in lot 10, range 6, according to the survey of the land company that originally owned the land. By occupation he was a farmer and owned ninety-five acres. If he had leased his land, this also would have been indicated.

There are three other Remingtons in Henrietta in this directory: George T., Seth W., and William T. Without knowing anything about the family, one could conclude that there is some relationship between Alvy, Seth, and William on the basis of the lot and range information. In fact, William and Seth were Alvah (the correct spelling) Remington's sons. William had fifty-seven acres, the directory tells us, while Seth had only one. A bit of family history provides a gloss on the directory information. Thomas Remington, Alvah's father, originally purchased lot 10, range 6, in the 1820s from a consortium of Dutch land speculators. Alvah bought out his brothers and sisters then distributed the land among his own children. The fact that Seth had only one acre in 1870 helps explain the relationship between father and son: when Alvah died in 1888, he left nothing to Seth's children because Seth had been unable to pay back a debt to his father before he had died in 1885.

One of the earliest regional directories is The American Advertising Directory: Manufacturers and Dealers in American Goods for the Year 1831. Most of the listings are in the Northeast manufacturing area, but places as far (in 1831) from the East Coast as Nashville, Tennessee, had at least one listing. This contrasts starkly with the New Mexico Business Directory for 1907'8, which mentions every city, town, and village in New Mexico as well as El Paso, Texas, and Denver, Colorado. The town of Central had 450 inhabitants, but only fifteen entries were given:

Postoffice and important town in Grant county, 9 miles east of Silver City, the most convenient railroad point. :Mining, stockraising, farming and fruitgrowing the principal industries. Population 450.
Bayard Smelting & Mining Co, W D Murray mgr.
Crowley J, postmaster, justice peace, drugs.
Bold textGOULD BROS, general merchandise.
Hamilton A, mines and mining
Helde Mrs. G W, millinery and dressmaker.
Link B T, fruitgrower and dairy.
McMillen Geo, mines and mining.
MURRAY BROS, general merchandise.
Reed Mrs W, restaurant.
Rendall L G, notary public.
Rodgers Clark, fruitgrower.
Stephens Chas, fruitgrower.
SWEENEY W H, general merchandise.
Wiley J A, saloon.<ref>New Mexico Business Directory . . . 1907'1908 (Denver: Gazetteer Publishing Co., 1907), 217.</ref>

Note that the postmaster was also the justice of the peace and pharmacist for the town. The directory does not list the men who worked on the fruit farms and in the mines. This 1912 directory is, however, more detailed and for a smaller region than the 1831 directory cited previously.

List of Directories on Microform

This table serves two purposes. The first is to list those cities in each state for which Research Publications has microform directories and for which years. Please note that some years within date ranges may not be available and that other years not represented in this table may now be available. Check with your library or archive for the most up-to-date information.

The second purpose is to show compatibility with the 1910 census by showing whether Soundex or Miracode indexes exist for a city or if there is an enumeration district map or street index for a city. Those cities and states that are not included in the Research Publications microform series, but for which 1910 finding aids exist, are bracketed.

|District of Columbia:
State/City Date/1910 Census Compatibility
Alabama: Soundex (entire state)
Birmingham 1902'35/Soundex (Alabama Cities)
Greene County 1855/56, 1862'1935
Mobile 1837'1935/Soundex (Alabama Cities)
Montgomery 1880'1935/Soundex (Alabama Cities)
Phoenix 1903'35/Street Index
Tucson 1902'35
Arkansas: Miracode (entire state)
Little Rock 1871'1901
Texarkana 1904'34
California: Miracode (entire state)
Bakersfield 1915'35
Fresno 1926'35
Long Beach 1907'35/Street Index
Los Angeles 1873'1935/Street Index
Marysville 1853'58
Nevada City 1856
Oakland 1869'81, 1902'35
Sacramento 1851'81, 1902'35
San Diego 1903'35/Street Index
San Francisco 1850'1934/Street Index
Stockton 1852'56, 1902'35
Tuolumne Co. 1856
Colorado Springs 1902'35
Denver 1859'1935/Street Index
Grand Junction 1902'35
Leadville 1882'1903, 1905'11
Regional 1849'58
Ansonia 1902'35
Bristol 1902'35
Bridgeport 1855'81, 1902'35/Enumeration District Map
Danbury 1882'1935
Hartford 1799'1935/Enumeration District Map
Meriden 1872'81
Middletown 1868'1931
New Haven 1840'1935/Enumeration District Map
New London 1855'60, 1902'35
Norwich 1846'1935
Stamford 1882'1933
Southington 1882'1935
[Waterbury] Enumeration District Map
Regional 1859/60
Wilmington 1814'1935
Washington 1822'1935/Street Index
Florida: Miracode (entire state)
Jacksonville 1902'35
Miami 1916'35
Orlando 1902'35
Pensacola 1903'34
St. Petersburg 1914'35
Tampa 1903'35/Street Index
Georgia: Soundex (entire state)
Regional 1850
Atlanta 1859'1935/Soundex (Georgia Cities)/Street Index
Augusta 1841'59/Soundex (Georgia Cities)
Columbus 1859/60, 1906'34
Savannah 1848'1934/Soundex (Georgia Cities)
Hawaii: AISI Index
Honolulu 1902'36
Idaho: Idaho G.S. Index
Boise 1901'35
Pocatello 1902'35
Illinois: Miracode (entire state)
Regional 1847'60
Alton 1858
Belleville 1860, 1901'35
Bureau County 1858/59
Chicago 1839'1929/Street Index
Evanston 1902'35
Galena 1854'59
Joliet 1872'1935
Kane County 1857'60
Moline 1855'59, 1901'35
Peoria 1844'1935/Street Index
Quincy 1855'60
Randolph County
Rockford 1857'60, 1902'35
Rock Island 1855'59, 1902'35
Springfield 1855'60, 1901'35
Will County 1859/60
Regional 1858'61
Evansville 1858'1934/Enumeration District Map
Fort Wayne 1858'81, 1902'35/Street Index
Gary 1908'35/Street Index
Indianapolis 1855'1935/Street Index
Jefferson County 1859
Lafayette 1858'59, 1901'35
Lawrenceburg 1859/60
Logansport 1859/60
Madison 1859'60
New Albany 1856'60, 1903'36
Richmond 1857'61, 1901'35
Shelbyville 1860/61
[South Bend] Street Index
Terre Haute 1858'60/Enumeration District Map
Regional/State 1846, 1902'23
Burlington 1856'59, 1902'35
Davenport 1853'81
Des Moines 1866'1935/Enumeration District Map/Street Index (FHL)
Dubuque 1856'1929
Henry County 1859/60
Iowa City 1857, 1919'34
Keokuk 1854'60
Muscatine 1856'60
Sioux City 1884'1935
Kansas: Miracode (entire state)
Atchison 1859'61
Emporia 1902'35
[Kansas City] Street Index
Leavenwoth 1860'61, 1902'34
Ottawa 1903'33
Topeka 1868'80, 1902'35
[Wichita] Street Index
Kentucky: Miracode (entire state)
Regional 1859/60
Covington 1861'87, 1902'32
Lexington 1806'82, 1902'35
Louisville 1832'1935
Louisiana: Soundex (entire state)
New Orleans 1805'1935/Miracode (Louisiana Cities)
Regional 1849'56
Augusta 1861'82, 1886'89, 1892'98, 1902'35
Bangor 1834'59
Biddeford 1856'57, 1902'34
Portland 1823'1935/Enumeration District Map
Saco 1849, 1902'34 (with Biddeford)
Westbrook 1902'34
Baltimore 1752/1796'1930/Street Index
Frederick 1859/60
Regional 1849'59
Boston 1789'1935/Enumeration District Map/Street Index (FHL)
Brockton 1874'80, 1882'1935/Enumeration District Map
Brighton 1850
Brookline 1868'81
Cambridge 1847'1931/Enumeration District Map
Charlestown 1831'74
Chelsea 1847'80, 1902'35
Clinton 1856, 1902'35
Dorchester 1850
East Boston 1848'52
Fall River 1853'1935/Enumeration District Map
Fitchburg 1847'60
Gloucester 1860, 1882'1935
Haverhill 1853'61, 1902'35
Holyoke 1882'1935/Enumeration District Map
Lawrence 1847'61/Enumeration District Map
Leominster 1882'1935
Lowell 1832'1935/Enumeration District Map
Lunenburg 1834
Lynn 1832'80, 1902'35/Enumeration District Map
Malden 1868'81
Medford 1849, 1902'30
Milford 1856, 1901'34
New Bedford 1836'82, 1902'34/Enumeration District Map
Newburyport 1849'60, 1902'36
Pittsfield 1859/60
Plymouth 1846'60
Quincy 1868'81
Roxbury 1847'60
Salem 1837'81, 1902'35
Somerville 1851/Enumeration District Map
South Boston 1852
Southbridge 1854
Springfield 1845'81/Enumeration District Map
Taunton 1850'59, 1902'35
Woburn 1868'77
Worcester 1828'1935/Enumeration District Map
Michigan: Miracode (entire state)
Regional 1856'60
Ann Arbor 1902'35
Battle Creek 1901'35
Coldwater 1902'23
Detroit 1837'1934/Street Index
Grand Rapids 1856'1935/Street Index
Kalamazoo 1902'35
Petoskey 1903'35
Duluth 1881'1935/Enumeration District Map
Minneapolis 1865'1935/Enumeration District Map/Street Index (FHL)
St. Anthony 1859/60
St. Paul 1856'1935/Enumeration District Map
Mississippi: Soundex (entire state)
Jackson 1860
Vicksburg 1860
Missouri: Miracode (entire state)
Regional 1860
Kansas City 1859'1921
St. Joseph 1905'33
St. Louis 1821'1935
Springfield 1873, 1878, 1881, 1884, 1888, 1890+ **Available Online**: 1873[1]; 1878[2]; 1905[3]
Territory 1868'80
Billings 1902'35
Butte 1902'34
Great Falls 1903'35
Livingston 1904'35
Hastings 1903'34
Omaha 1866'1935/Street Index
Territory 1862'81
New Hampshire:
Regional 1849
Concord 1830'61, 1902'35
Dover 1830'81, 1902'35
Great Falls 1848
Keene 1827'31, 1871'80, 1902'35
Manchester 1844'1935/Enumeration District Map
Nashua 1841'82, 1902'35
New Ipswich 1858
Peterborough 1830
Portsmouth 1817'61, 1903'34
New Jersey:
Regional 1850/51
Atlantic City 1902'35
[Bayonne] Enumeration District Map
Camden 1860, 1863'1931/Enumeration District Map
Elizabeth 1865'1935/Street Index/Enumeration District Map
Essex County 1859
Hoboken (with Jersey City Enumeration District Map)
Jersey City 1849'1901/Enumeration District Map
Newark 1835'1935/Street Index/Enumeration District Map
New Brunswick 1855'61
Passaic Enumeration District Map
Paterson 1855'1935/Street Index/Enumeration District Map
Trenton 1844'81, 1902'35/Enumeration District Map
New Mexico:
Albuquerque 1905'35
New York:
Regional 1850'59
Albany 1813'1935/Enumeration District Map
Auburn 1857'60, 1861'81, 1902'35
Binghamton 1857'60, 1909'24
[Bronx] Street Index (w/Manhattan)
Brooklyn 1822'1934/Street Index
Buffalo 1828'1935/Enumeration District Map
Cortland 1902'35
Elmira 1857'1935
Geneva 1857, 1902'35
Greenpoint 1854
Hudson 1851'57, 1902'35
Ithaca 1882'1901, 1903'35
Kingston 1857'58, 1902'35
Long Island check phase one
Middletown 1857/58, 1905'35
Morrisania 1853
Newburgh 1856'76, 1902'35
New York City 1786'1934/Street Index (Manhattan)
Ogdensburg 1857
Oswego 1852'59, 1902'35
Poughkeepsie 1843'61, 1902'35
[Queens] Street Index(FHL)/Enumeration District Map
Rochester 1827'1935/Enumeration District Map
Rome 1857'60, 1903'34
Schenectady 1841'61, 1902'35/Enumeration District Map
[Staten Island] Street Index
Syracuse 1844'1935/Enumeration District Map
Troy 1829'1935
Utica 1817'1935/Enumeration District Map
Watertown 1840'55
Westchester Co. 1860/61
Williamsburg 1847'54
Yonkers 1859/60, 1902'31/Enumeration District Map
North Carolina: Miracode (entire state)
Asheville 1902'24
[Charlotte] Street Index
Greensboro 1903'35
Raleigh 1903'35
North Dakota:
Fargo 1902'34
Ohio: Miracode (entire state)
Regional 1853'61
Akron 1859'60/Street Index
[Canton] Street Index
Chillicothe 1855'61, 1902'34
Cincinnati 1819'1935/Street Index
Circleville 1859
Cleveland 1837'1935
Columbus 1843'1935
Dayton 1850'1935/Street Index
Delaware 1859'60, 1902'35
Hamilton 1858'59
Mansfield 1858/59, 1902'35
Marietta 1860/61, 1902'35
Mt. Vernon 1858/59
Portsmouth 1858'59, 1908'35
Sandusky 1855'78, 1902'35
Springfield 1852'60, 1902'35
Steubenville 1856/57, 1902'35
Toledo 1858'1935
[Youngstown] Street Index
Zanesville 1851'61, 1902'36
Oklahoma: Miracode (entire state)
Enid 1905'35
Oklahoma City 1902'35/Street Index
Tulsa 1909'35/Street Index
Astoria 1902'34
Portland 1863'1935/Enumeration District Map
Pennsylvania: Miracode (entire state)
Regional 1844'60
Carnegie 1902'35
Chester 1859/60, 1902'31
Erie 1853'1935/Street Index
Erie County 1859/60
Harrisburg 1839'1935
Lancaster 1843'60, 1903'35
Lancaster Co. 1843'60
Monongahela V. 1859
Norristown 1860/61, 1902'35
Philadelphia 1785'1935/Miracode (City)/Street Index
Pittsburgh 1813'1935
Reading 1806/56'1935/Street Index
Scranton 1861'1935
Wilkes'Barre 1882'1919
Williamsport 1866'1934
West Chester 1857
Rhode Island:
Regional 1849
East Providence 1902'35
Newport 1856'58
Pawtucket 1857/58, 1867'81, 1886, 1880'35/Enumeration District Map
Providence 1824'1935/Enumeration District Map
Westerly 1884'86, 1888'90, 1892, 1894, 1896, 1898, 1900'35
South Carolina: Soundex (entire state)
Camden 1816/24
Charleston 1782'1935
Columbia 1859'60, 1903'35
South Dakota:
Sioux Falls 1902'35
Tennessee: Soundex (entire state)
Regional 1860/61
Chattanooga 1871'81, 1902'35/Soundex (Tennessee Cities)
Clarksville 1859/60
Knoxville 1869'1935/Soundex (Tennessee Cities)
Memphis 1849'1935/Soundex (Tennessee Cities)
Nashville 1853'1935/Soundex (Tennessee Cities)
Texas: Soundex (entire state)
Amarillo 1903'35
Austin 1857, 1903'35
Beaumont 1903'35
Dallas 1875'1935
Fort Worth 1877'79, 1902'36
Galveston 1856'1935
Houston 1882'1935
San Antonio 1877'1935/Street Index
Waco 1882'1934
Logan 1904'35
Ogden 1882'1935
Salt Lake City 1867'1935/Enumeration District Map/Street Index (FHL)
Regional 1849'60
Barre 1902'35
Brattleboro 1902'35
Burlington 1865'1935
Virginia: Soundex (entire state)
Regional 1852
Norfolk 1801/51'1935
Petersburg 1859, 1902'35
Richmond 1819'1935/Street Index
Wythe County 1857
Bellingham 1902'35
Everett 1902'35
Seattle 1872'1935/Street Index
[Spokane] Enumeration District Map
[Tacoma] Enumeration District Map
West Virginia: Soundex (entire state)
Clarksburg 1905'35
Wheeling 1839'1934
Regional 1857'59
Appleton 1882'1901, 1904'34
Beloit 1858
Fond du Lac 1857'57, 1903'34
Green Bay 1903'29
Ganesville 1858'60
Kenosha 1858, 1903'35
Madison 1851'81, 1903'35
Milwaukee 1847'1935/Enumeration District Map
Mineral Point 1849
Oshkosh 1857, 1861'81, 1903'28
Racine 1850'59, 1902'35
Rock County 1857'58
Watertown 1902'35
Waukesha 1858
Whitewater 1858
Laramie 1908'35
The East 1846
Mississippi 1844
New England 1849'60
The South 1854
The West 1837
Western Reserve 1852

Special Problems

Business directories are limited in that the editor selected which businesses to include, sometimes based on subscription. If your ancestor was a businessman but was not mentioned, it doesn't mean that he wasn't there. Another problem with regional directories is availability. These directories seem to have been published much less regularly than the yearly city directories, making them harder to find.



External Links