Welcome, fellow genealogists! My blog will teach you about U.S. land records and United Kingdom research. My family has roots in Niagara County, New York; Norfolk, England; and northeast Germany.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wisdom Wednesday: historicaldirectories.com

A group at the University of Leicester is digitizing and posting historical directories for England and Wales on this easy to remember website, www.historicaldirectories.com.  Like their U.S. counterparts often called street directories, these reference books have lists of names that fall into two categories – heads of households living in the area covered, and lists of people by profession or job. Not every household head was listed. It appears that social class made a difference. The directories also tend to have a description of the village or city at the time of publication, including its population and names of churches and chapels.

I have not see U.S. equivalents for two other types of directories included on the site. One type is called Post Office Directories which have street lists used for mail delivery. Trade or business directories, on the other hand, only list commercial companies and professionals with work addresses.

While the site has directories from 1750 to 1919, it was the 1850s before the directories were published widely. The website is very easy to use and has its menu on the top left of the home page. There are three ways to search for a directory – by location, by decade, and by keywords.  After you select a directory, you can search by surname.

Selecting 'History Notes' from the menu at the upper left, you will find a list of genealogy websites, many that have been described on this blog.

In the 1869 Directory of Cambs, Norfolk and Suffolk, there were 62 hits for my family name ‘BRETT’, but it was really more like 31 because each person was in the household list and the professional list. My GGG grandfather was a shoemaker. He had a son, John BRETT, who was a shoemaker in Upwell, Norfolk in the 1851 and 1861 British Censuses. I have lost him after that and was quite happy to see a John BRETT, shoemaker in Caston, NFK in the 1869 Directory.  In the 1871 Census, the Caston John BRETT, claimed to have been born in Rockland St. Peters, home of another large BRETT clan, and he was a couple  of years younger than my John. Worse for me, he has an 18 year old daughter who was born in Caston, so he probably wasn’t living in Upwell in 1851. Alas no match this time.
Thanks to my friend, Edy Browne, for introducing me the www.historicaldirectores.com.

                                                                                                                ©2013, Susan Lewis Well


1 comment:

  1. I'll definitely have to check out the Norfolk directories. Thanks for the tip!