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 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.
Resources for Minnesota Directories
Libraries and Archives
- Fold3.com ($) has Minneapolis City Directories 1865-1923 (4 yrs. missing) available online.
- Fold3.com ($) has St. Paul City Directories 1863-1924 (4 yrs. missing) available online.
The Family History Library
The following are at the Family History Library:
|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 |
Directories are listed in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:
- MINNESOTA, [COUNTY] – DIRECTORIES
- MINNESOTA, [COUNTY], [CITY] – DIRECTORIES
- For a statewide City Directory database search see the Dalby Database.
- US City Directories This web site identifies printed, microfilmed, and online directories and their repositories.