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[Nationwide] City Directories

City Directories – A city directory is in some ways the predecessor to today’s telephone book. City directories, however, predate the telephone, contain much more information that a telephone book and often go back over two hundred years in most cities. Originally, most city directories were essentially business directories. They would list the name and address of the business, the name of the proprietor and other useful information. Over time, however, city directories expanded to include individual households. A typical listing would provide the name of the head of the household, their occupation, their address and (sometimes) their employer. City directories can be a very reliable means of tracking down individuals and provide a good proxy especially in regions and times where census data is not available.

City directories are a valuable source of information for genealogists. They typically list the name, occupation and address of all residents in a town, city or region. To conserve space for each listing, city directories often used abbreviations. Below is a reference list of the most common abbreviations found in city directories. - See more at:

Genealogy In Time Magazine

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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