What’s in a Directory?
Australia unfortunately has very few censuses remaining, just a few for New South Wales in the early years. Censuses were wonderful at putting people in a place at a set time.
We don’t have these but we do have directories and almanacs and while they don’t list families, they can be a great tool for putting some people in a place at a time and showing their occupation. Not all people in a town will be listed although most tradesmen who work for themselves and the middle to upper class will be listed. The advertisements are also a wonderful resource. For example did you realise that Hislop’s, the well known undertakers did such a range of activities?
|Hislop Advertisement Pugh 1871|
The directories will also give a lot of local history information. It will tell you about the town, the size, the industries, the times of the mails, the churches and schools that are present as well as a listing of the trades and at least some of the residents.
Some directories will list by town then alphabetically within a town, others list by town then by trade within a town and an alphabetical listing. Others will list residents by street and also often contain maps.
|McNaught Brisbane Directory 1878-1879|
There were a variety of publishers of directories and there are some caveats in their use as most of the directories required payment for an entry and the directory may be published twelve months or more after the information was collected. Some of the variety f publishers include Pugh, Wise, Shaw, McNaught, Meyers, Sapsford, Yates, Hollander, Bailleriere, Cowie and Cowland, and Groom.
Some of these are specific to an area such as Groom which is generally around the Darling Downs area to Pugh which covers Queensland.
Another type of directory is the Post Office Directory and I was going to include information about them here but Shauna Hicks has written an excellent blog post about them here.
|1931 Telephone Directory|
A more modern version of the directory is the telephone directory and you can find directories covering the 1930s and some of the 1940s in the Genealogical Society for Queensland library on CD. So for example if your ancestors came from Canungra in 1931 you would be able to see if they had a telephone and indeed who else was on the same “party line”.
The Society has a range of directories available on CD for when you go in to research.
You are also able to find directories in other places such as Text Queensland which has the Pugh’s Almanac available for free download as a PDF from 1859 to 1927.
Another place you can download free directories is Internet Archive which has a number of quite interesting directories available for free download as a PDF. I have written about Internet Archive before as they are digitising out of copyright books from around the world and placing them in their archives so they are freely available. Our own Queensland Library has uploaded a number of their out of copyright digitised books.
An interesting one was the Queensland Hotel and Boarding Directory 1912 which is quite specific to that topic but very nice to know what your ancestor may have aid for accommodation at that time. There are also Pocket Brisbane Guides meant to tell tourists what was available in Brisbane. There is also Cowie and Cowland’s Central Queensland Almanac 1900 as well as a number of the Groom’s Directories for the Darling Downs.
|Hume Advertisement 1871 Pugh|
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