City and business directories are available online from all over the U.S. and Canada 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
  • Occupation
  • Employer
  • Widows and adult children at home
  • Phone numbers
  • Whether a woman is a widow (including name of husband)
  • List of marriages and deaths from previous year
  • Abbreviations used in the directory
  • Maps
  • Street Locators and street name changes
  • City history
  • Bus routes
  • Statistics
  • Advertisements
  • Businesses
  • Index to advertisers
  • Government Offices
  • Government Officials
  • Churches
  • Cemeteries
  • Schools
  • Colleges and Universities
  • Funeral homes
  • Cemeteries
  • Post Offices
  • Courts
  • Hospitals
  • Firehouses
  • Police locations
  • Military installations
  • Associations, clubs, lodges, and societies
  • Newspapers

Here are a few good primers on the benefits of searching historical city and other directories:

And here are various places where you can find city directories online: 

United States

Below, listed by state are links to city and other directories available for free online.


Below, listed by province are links to city and other directories available for free online.

Good Luck and Happy Hunting!