Directories are both a research tool and a valuable insight into the lives of our ancestors and what governed their lives.
They can be an important resource in tracing ancestors, particularly if they had a distinctive trade. They can be used a census substitute for years prior to 1841 or after 1911, and to provide information on their whereabouts between census years.
Pigot directories start around 1820 and cover the major professions, nobility, gentry, clergy, coach and carrier services, taverns and public houses of the areas. Entries include the name, trade and address. Slater directories tend to be larger than the Pigots and cover the 1850's in a similar manner.
Watkins directories of London are more comprehensive and show residents street by street giving more detail, such as occupations. Bulmer directories have a larger history section than others, normally before the directory information. Kelly's directories often show residents. There are sections on each major town and surrounding villages, with a history of the area in a great deal of detail as you would find in a gazetteer. Information on the main trades, the chief landowners, the type of soil and even the coverage dates of parish registers can also appear.
Later Directories 1890 onwards
In the later Kelly directories, more detail is given on residents. These are sometimes put in a section called Court Directory. Finally, the Post Office Directories in the 1900's gave fairly complete listings for the residents and tradespeople of an area.
How To: Using the Directories Online
The Genealogist offers two different types of directory searching. The standard Directory search allows you to choose a county, e.g. 'London' and then select a directory from the list. You can then browse through the entire directory, either page by page or jump to a specific section using the bookmarks. Alternatively you can enter a specific name into the search box at the bottom of County list to search all counties or if you select a county first you will then have the option to enter a search of the directories for that particular county:
We have also added the 'Directory Transcripts', which can be accessed via the Master Search from the main Search page. The images have been transcribed, offering a much faster and more efficient search tool.
You can narrow your results by entering a Year of Publication, a trade into the Keyword box or by selecting a county from the left hand side.
Worcestershire Directory Transcripts
These directory records of the Royal Directory 1790 and Slaters 1850 have been transcribed to make them even easier to search. This dataset contains over 2,000 entries and is a great starting point for research in Worcestershire directories.