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City Directories

General: 

What are city directories?

  • they list residents and businesses in the City of Kingston and some surrounding areas
  • they were put together by canvassers who went door-to-door, working quickly and not always accurately.
  • not every resident is included. For example, the early directories did not include women (except widows and those who were employed or owned businesses), children under 18, or people who chose not to be listed.
  • you can usually find (a) the name, though the spelling often varies; (b) the home address and sometimes the place of business; (c) the occupation, and sometimes (d) whether the person is a tenant or homeowner.  Later directories also include telephone numbers.
  • most of the directories contain three sections: (a) an alphabetical list of residents, (b) a street directory which allows you to look up the house number and find out who lived there, and (c) a classified business directory. 
  • with the advent of online searching, demand for printed directories declined. In Kingston, the last printed directory was published in 2001.

On-line: 

Canadian Directories: Who Was Where

Date Range: 

various dates

Additional Information: 

  • Numerous gazetteers and directories are searchable on this website.
  • They represent various years between approx. 1855 and 1899.
  • Try typing the ancestor's last name into one field and the place (e.g. Kingston) into another.
  • Then click the Search button.

Print: 

City Directories (Print)

Date Range: 

various dates

Additional Information: 

  • The directories are kept in the Special Collections Room at the Central Library. Please sign in at the Information Desk.
  • These items are for in-library use only. Learn more about in-library use.
  • Tip: For more information about city directories, including full bibliographic information for the various editions (publishers, etc.) and for directories from other cities consult the Checklist of Canadian Directories, 1790 - 1950, by Dorothy E. Ryder (CENTRAL REF 016.9171 Ryd)

Microfilm: 

City Directories (Microfilm)

Date Range: 

various dates

Additional Information: 

  • The print copies of some city directories (see City Directories) are also available on microfilm at the Central Library.
  • They are on four reels of microfilm, sorted by date, are in the top right-hand drawer of the microfilm cabinet.
  • A printed inventory is available on the table in the Special Collections Room at the Central Library.
  • These microfilm reels are for in-library use only. Learn more about in-library use.

Directory List

Select a date range from the drop down below to see what format the directories for that range are.