Tuesday, 13 February 2007

Historical Directories of England and Wales

It's a bit embarrassing to find that in nearly a year of blogging here I've missed mentioning a great web resource from my alma matar, Leicester University.

Historical Directories is a digital library of local and trade directories for England and Wales, from 1750 to 1919. You can choose to see those published for a specific county, or a certain decade, select a particular directory and search. The hits are highlighted on an image of the original page.

Directories of this period are usually regarded as a supplemental genealogical source. They rarely contain information about anyone but the head of household, and then often only if the person paid for a listing. But they can yield surprises. A great-grandfather of mine is listed as locksmith, gunsmith or bellhanger on various certificates and censuses I've seen, so I was surprised to find him listed in one of these directories as an umbrella maker. Obviously a man of diverse talents.

This is a free resource -- at least until next October.

No comments: