Library and Archives Canada (formerly the national archives) has begun a program to make its huge collection of city directories more accessible. They have national, provincial, county and city directories.
The program will make the directories available in digitized form on their website, so it will no longer be necessary to search out many of these directories in libraries which own them. In addition, a page on the history of directory publishing will demonstrate how directories can help genealogists. Finally, a Cityscape section will provide social histories of the cities whose directories are featured in the database. This background will be of great help to historians.
Directories can be used to determine when a family lived in a certain place, can help determine their address, where people worked and in the case of rural directories, whether or not they owned their farms. The information given in directories can be used to narrow down the time period used to search for obituaries, marriage records or even a move to another city. Some curious rural directories even state what breed of ducks and pigs people raised and what kind of car and tractor they drove!
This new attraction is a great step forward and shows once again how aware the LAC is of family historians’ needs. More information and a chance to search the database can be found HERE.