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.
- LAC has a growing collection of digitized pre-1901 directories. You can search and view these directories by accessing the “Canadian Directories: Who Was here” database
- If you are interested in using Canadian directories for genealogical purposes, we invite you to take a look at the research tips for city directories.
- You can also find out more about the history of publishing Canadian directories
Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!
I have 2 frame tinted photos 1893-1900s..thinking HenryG Peabody…
bow valley+Mt Rundel
They are signed in pencil and in an old frame. I want to make sure about them and anything of value
I would like to forward some pictures and need an e.mail?
Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, Library and Archives Canada does not undertake appraisals of material; you may wish to have it examined by an appraiser.
We recommend starting with the following webpage from the Canadian Conservation Institute: http://www.cci-icc.gc.ca/caringfor-prendresoindes/resources-ressources-eng.aspx?ident=19. It has information regarding photographic preservation in addition to a link to the Canadian Association of Personal Property Appraisers (http://www.cpa-cappa.com/).
Best of luck with your appraisal.
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I am researching Canadian ancestors in the 1800s. For the 1861 and 1871 Ontario Census, is there a way I can determine an actual address of where they lived based upon where they are in the census?
That’s a great question. Our Genealogy team would be happy to find the answer for you. You can reach them by using the Ask us a Genealogy Question online form.