Ancestry.co.uk have added to their Trade Directories collection with directories which cover the Midland counties of Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire. This release adds another 350 trade directories to the already large collection on offer.
These books can be a great help when compiling a family history.
What are Trade Directories?
Trade directories vary depending on the company which compiled them, but at their best they start with a description of city, town or village including vital information as to when the post box is emptied to when the last train leaves the local station for the day. The parts that gets genealogists excited are the listing of all the tradesmen in the town and also often a street by street listing of who is the main householder in each dwelling.
Some directories charged tradesmen to have an entry in the directory so you can’t be sure that everyone is included and it is best to bear in mind that often there was a gap of up to a year between the gathering of the information and the printing and distribution of the directory.
The directories date from the 1600’s to the 1900’s. The earlier ones have less information and are quite rare, but the Victorian period 1837 – 1901 offers many good examples.
What will I find in Trade Directories?
Below are three screen shots of details that can be discovered using the directories. The first is a transcript of a directory of Bristol dated around the 1790’s. The second is a scan of the original page of the entry for Mevagissey, Cornwall taken from The Universal British Directory 1791. The third is taken from the 1850 Bagshaw’s Directory of Cheshire.
Where will I find Trade Directories?
Ancestry.co.uk have an extensive collection of directories and it is well worth checking to see if your ancestors feature in the pages.