"Tales of pioneer hardship and deprivation have been told many times. Yet still we remember in wonder, that people accomplished so much with so little; that men and women with simple tools, their bare hands, and their own inventiveness cleared the land, drained the swamps, made their own clothing and provided their own food. Through all these difficulties God was with them and they wanted their children educated intellectually and spritually." from Norfolk Street United Church history

Sunday, March 11, 2012

What Can Canadian Directories Do for You?

from Library and Archives Canada Blog

Canadian directories have long been a valuable resource at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) and can be used for a variety of purposes. Before telephone books came into use, Canadian directories (sometimes simply referred to as city directories), were used as a tool for advertising and marketing within a community and were intended to facilitate communication between buyer and seller.

Our collection includes national, provincial/territorial, county and city directories from across Canada, primarily from the 19th and 20th centuries. Genealogists are frequent users of the directories as they provide opportunities to track a person within a given time period and place. An individual’s address, occupation and the names of other household members are only a few of the gems that lie ready to be discovered within their pages.

Canadian directories are a popular tool for genealogists but they aren’t the only ones who can benefit from this resource! These directories have many other excellent uses.

Canadian Directories can:

...help determine the urban development of an area
...be used to determine the history of a building
...showcase advertisements from a certain time period that can be a valuable source of information about the services, products and entertainments available to Canadian society
...provide information on the companies that were active during that time period
...furnish a list of city officials
...supply researchers with population statistics for that time period
...offer the names and locations of important community institutions such as schools, churches, etc.

Useful Resources

LAC has a growing collection of digitized pre-1901 directories. You can search and view these directories by accessing the database found here:

http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/databases/canadiandirectories/001075-100.01-e.php .

If you are interested in using Canadian directories for genealogical purposes, we invite you to take a look at our genealogy Web page on directories here:


You can also find out more about the history of publishing Canadian directories at the following link:


Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!

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