City and telephone directories provide specific information on a locality’s residents and addresses, and may also include occupation or telephone number. Family historians often use these directories to fill in the gaps between censuses. Since they are updated regularly—often at least once a year—directories help to pinpoint where and with whom ancestors lived each year, which in turn helps researchers to know where to look for more records. Directories are also a terrific resource for house history, business history, and local history in general.
The Library of Congress makes available to the public an extensive collection of past and present city, telephone, and reverse telephone (criss-cross) directories for the United States and many foreign countries. These directories are available in a variety of formats and locations. For information on a particular type of directory, consult the appropriate section of this guide.
U.S City and Telephone directories are accessible in both the Main Reading Room (LJ 100) or the Microform and Electronic Research Center (LJ 139) which is directly across from the Main Reading Room. Local History & Genealogy Reference Services are also located inside the entrance to the Main Reading Room. View a map of the First Floor of the Jefferson Building.