City and business directories are available online from all over the U.S. and are what I consider another important set of information that can assist you in advancing your family history and genealogy research.
This activity of presenting links is a collaborative effort between The Ancestor Hunt and Miriam Robbins, who for years has made available the Online Historical Directories website, which presents links to directories of all types that are available online, including free collections as well as those available only via subscription. I wish to thank Miriam for her help in launching this category of records at The Ancestor Hunt.
So, what kinds of directories are available to the researcher? Naturally city and business directories, but also telephone directories, and alumni, farm, lodge, rural, and social directories.
What can you find in these records? How about:
- Full names, including middle names
- Spouse name
- Widows, working women, and adult children at home.
- Businesses (and index to advertisers).
- Addresses and maps of churches, schools, funeral homes, cemeteries, post offices, courts, hospitals, benevolent associations, newspapers.
- Whether a woman is a widow (including name of husband).
- List of marriages and deaths of previous year.
- Death date.
Here are a few good primers on the benefits of searching historical city and other directories:
- FamilySearch – United States Directories
- How to Use City Directories In Your Genealogy Research
- What’s In A City Directory? (a 10 article series about City Directories)
And here are various places where you can find other city directories online:
Note: Some of the links listed take you to a FamilySearch Collection of digital images. Near the bottom of the page under Film/Digital Notes is the name of each sub-collection. If there is a camera icon at the right of the name (in the Format column) then the collections’ images are browsable. If there is a camera with a key icon, it is only available at a Family History Center or affiliated library. If there is a film reel icon, then it is only available in microfilm format, not digital. To take full advantage, please make sure that you are logged in to FamilySearch. The results may be different if you are signed in, rather than not.
(Updated March 2022)
Links to these free collections are presented initially with statewide collections, followed in alphabetical order by city or county. Generally, the publishing company is included in the reference to the collection, along with the collection title, and the date(s) of the directory:
- 1900 Telephone Directory
- 1902 Polk’s District of Alaska Gazetteer and Business Directory
- 1915-1916 Alaska-Yukon Classified Business Directory and Buyer’s Guide
- 1915-1916 Alaska-Yukon Gazetteer and Business Directory
- 1923-1924 Alaska-Yukon Gazetteer and Business Directory
- Directory for Behring’s Sea and coast of Alaska, 1869
- Disturnell’s Business Directory and Gazetteer of the west coast of North America, 1882
- McKenney’s Pacific Coast Directory for 1883-4, giving includes California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Alaska, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Arizona, and New Mexico
- Pacific Coast Business Directory, 1867
- R.L. Polk & Co’s Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Alaska and British Columbia gazetteers and business Directories, 1886-1902
- Tewkesbury’s Who’s Who in Alaska and Alaska Business Index, 1947
- The Pacific Coast Directory – 1871-1873
- The Pacific Coast Directory – 1878
- The Pacific Coast Directory, 1871-1884, California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Alaska, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Arizona, and New Mexico
Aleutian Islands East Borough & Aleutian Islands West Census Area
- Aleutian Islands East Borough & Aleutian Islands West Census Area, Directory, 1902
- Aleutian Islands, 1984 Telephone Directory
- 1968 Telephone Directory – Anchorage & Vicinity
- Anchorage – February 1982, White Pages
- Anchorage – February 1983, White Pages
- Anchorage – February 1984, White Pages
- Anchorage – February 1985, White Pages
- Anchorage – February 1986, White Pages
- Anchorage – February 1987, White Pages
- Anchorage – November 1948 thru March 1957, White Pages and Yellow Pages
- Anchorage – November 1957 thru September 1959, White Pages and Yellow Pages
- Anchorage – October 1964 thru October 1967, White Pages and Yellow Pages
Bethel-Wade Hampton Census Area
Bristol Bay – Dillingham Borough
- Fairbanks – October 1958 thru October 1963, White Pages and Yellow Pages
- Fairbanks – September 1942 thru April 1958, White Pages and Yellow Pages
- Fairbanks North Star Borough & Southeast Fairbanks Census Area, Directory, 1902
- Juneau Borough, Directory, 1902
- Juneau – January 1933 thru August 1949, White Pages and Yellow Pages
- Juneau – July 1950 thru June 1958, White Pages and Yellow Pages
Kenai Peninsula Borough
Ketchikan-Prince of Wales-Hyder Borough
- Ketchikan-Prince of Wales-Hyder Borough, Directory, 1902
- Ketchikan thru Ketchikan and Vicinity – November 1943 thru November 1962, White Pages and Yellow Pages
Kodiak Island Borough
Lake and Peninsula Borough
Nome Census Area
North Slope Borough
Northwest Arctic Borough
Prince of Wales
Valdez-Cordova Census Area
Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area
For all Free Alaska Links, click on the category of interest:
Probate and Wills