Part of R&R’s mission is to connect individuals and users to specific locations through many sources. City Directories are a key component of linking individuals to historic homes and businesses. These often-overlooked sources of genealogical information are invaluable sources of data when used in conjunction with other materials to tell a comprehensive story of a location and or residents. Dozens of companies published these directories, and they come in many forms dating from the mid-19th century. For example, Charleston, South Carolina’s mid-19th century directory gives details of owners, occupations, locations, businesses and more. Many mid-sized cities toward the 20th century also have city directories that were broken into two or more sections listing streets, individuals and businesses.
R&R initially extracted data on individuals who lived at specific locations on identified streets. When available, listings of these individuals show on each post covering three or four decades. It is important to note, however, that R&R does not attempt to cover all time periods or extract data from all directories; therefore, a complete indexing of occupants of a specific location may be missing.
When extracting this information, R&R does not routinely change the spelling or try to correct data unless there is overwhelming proof a mistake was made by the directory company. R&R suggests users visit their local library or museum to enjoy viewing and studying the collection of directories, but be aware many smaller cities did not have directories. And because some institutions have placed limits on user access to their directories due to wear and damage, researcher should consult with the institution prior to visiting to learn their policy is for accessing the information. In many cases institutions are more than happy to assist researchers and answer their questions electronically. For additional information on the history of city directories, please see the attached links.