Directories

City directories can be very useful tools for genealogical research. They are alphabetically arranged making them easy to use, they are usually compiled each year, and they take care to capture all households of the city.

Because these directories were created more for business use, the creators took care to be exact with name spellings, middle initials, addresses, etc because they needed to be able to distinguish between their customers.

Check out some of these Durham based city and business directories below:

Branson’s North Carolina Business Directories (1867-1896)

This historical directory is organized alphabetically by county and gives information on the county, names of the towns and post offices, county and town officers and magistrates, churches, ministers, hotels, lawyers, manufacturers, tradesmen, mines, mills, newspapers, merchants, schools, physicians, farmers, teachers, and so on. It also contains a list of railroads and an index to advertisements found throughout the book.

This is a great source for locating your ancestors and learning about what they did for occupations and for getting a good picture of the kinds of things that were happening around town during that time period.

These books are fully searchable and several have already been digitized by UNC and uploaded to the internet archives website.

1867-1868
1869
1872
1890
1896


Chataigne’s Raleigh City Directory (1875-1876)

This source contains a general directory of the Citizens of Raleigh in addition to a complete Business Directory of the Cities of Raleigh, Charlotte, Durham, Fayetteville, Greensboro’, Newbern and Wilmington.


Branson’s Directory of the Business and Citizens of Durham City (1887)

City directory of citizens indexed by last name.

Also includes a classified directory by trade, including tailors, teachers, farmers, printers, painters, milliners, grocers, druggists, dressmakers, butchers, clerks, etc, and a list of farmers by town. This book is fully searchable.

1887


Turner and Company’s Durham Directory (1889-1890)

A general directory of the citizens of Durham city with the White and Colored population seperated in different parts of the book. Also includes a business directory and a farmers list.

1889-1890


Ramsey’s Durham Directory (1892)

Contains the name, occupation, street and number of Durham citizens, separated into Whites and Coloreds.

Includes business listing and advertisement index.

1892


Mangum’s Directory of Durham and Suburbs (1897)

Including citizens of East Durham, West Durham, North Durham, Trinty College, Brookstown, and Hayti, as well as business directory.

Includes photographs of buildings and prominant citizens of Durham as well as a historical sketch from 1881 when the county was first formed to the present day of 1897.

1897


Adams’ Directory of Greater Durham (1902)

Published by Samuel L. Adams. Contains the name, occupation, street and number of all the citizens of greater Durham over the age of sixteen. Also includes a business and miscellaneous directory alphabetically arranged.

Citizen directory is divided by Whites and Coloreds of Durham, East Durham, West Durham, and Durham Suburbs.

1902


Hill’s Durham City Directories (1903-1923)

Durham City Directory published by Hill Directory Company containing a general and business directory, guide to the streets of Durham, and other useful miscellaneous information. These books are fully searchable.

1903-1904
1905-1906
1907-1908
1915-1916
1919-1920
1923
1924; 1924
1925
1926
1927
1928
1929
1930
1931
1932
1933
1934
1935
1936-1937
1938
1939
1941
1942
1943
1947
1949


Seeman’s Durham Directory (1911-1912)

Published by the Seeman Printery, this book lists the citizens of the towns of Durham separated by Whites and Coloreds. Includes a guide to Durham streets. Mostly citizen only directory with small list of major business like schools, churches, banks, post offices and hospitals.

1911


History of the town of Durham, N. C., embracing biographical sketches and engravings of leading business men, and a carefully compiled business directory of Durham, to which is annexed a compilation of useful information in relation to the cultivation, curing and manufacture of tobacco in North Carolina and Virginia, by Hiram V. Paul (1884)

This book’s main focus is on the tobacco industry of Durham.

It does cover biographical sketches of several of Durham’s prominant citizens such as Julian S. Carr, William T. Blackwell, Washington Duke, John R. Green, Caleb B. Green, Bartholomew Fuller, Thomas D. Jones, J. S. Lockhart, William Mangum, Eugene Morehead, D. C. Parrish, E. J. Parrish, James Southgate, Webb & Kramer, and J. B. Whitaker. Sketches include photographs of the gentlemen as well as their autographs.

The last part of the book lists the names of major tradesmen by trade. There is a table of contents, but no index. This book is fully searchable.

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