Minnesota Directories

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Directories are alphabetical lists of names and addresses. City directories can help you learn where an ancestor lived. The person's occupation is frequently given. Often the home address and the business address are both mentioned. When a husband has died, the widow is often listed as "widow of . . . ." Directories can sometimes help when you search census records to determine in which ward the family lived for a particular time in a big city. Directories sometimes have maps and addresses of churches, cemeteries, courthouses, and other important locations.

  • Polk, R.L. and Company. Northwestern Gazetteer, Minnesota, North and South Dakota and Montana Gazetteer and Business Directory. St. Paul, Minnesota: Polk, 1914. (Family History Library microfilm 1321220-21.) The first part of the directory covers Minnesota and lists residences of people, often with their occupation. It also serves as a gazetteer for the time. It lists population, churches and commercial buildings, newspapers, and where land was located and the price for which it was selling.

The following are examples of directories found at the Family History Library:

St. Paul

1856–1859 Family History Library microfiche 6044463–65
1863–1935 beginning with Family History Library microfilm 13770507


1865–1935 beginning with Family History Library microfilm 1377061

The Family History Library and the Minnesota Historical Society Library have incomplete collections of directories from throughout Minnesota. Many were published as county directories, listing inhabitants of major towns in the county. Rural directories collected information on farmers, dairymen, and other rural residents.

Directories are listed in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under: