City Directory Research at the Texas State Library and Archives

Contact Information
Need help? Contact us at:

ref@tsl.texas.gov
or
512-463-5455

 
Introduction

The information available in city directories varies a great deal. The most common pieces of information include name, address, telephone number, and name of spouse. Some directories may also include information about a person's occupation and whether the home is owned or rented. See our latest workshop on Texas city directories for more information: Introduction to Texas City Directories.

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC)'s city directory collection includes print and microform city directories. See the listing of City Directories Available at Our Library.

2 selected pages from the Waco 1890-1891 city directory showing business listings and advertisements

Clippings from Waco City Directory, 1890-1891. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

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City Directories at TSLAC

TSLAC's city directory collection includes print and microform city directories. See the listing of City Directories Available at Our Library to request a search by email or phone.

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Request a Search

You may request that staff search our city directories for you by email or phone.

Email requests. Send your request to ref@tsl.texas.gov. If we are successful in finding the name or address, we will attach a scanned image of the relevant page to our response. 

Phone requests. Call our Reference Desk at 512-463-5455 between the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and request that staff search for you. If we find a match, we will read the entry to you over the phone.

Search limits. Due to the high volume of requests, we ask that patrons limit requests to five searches. Your request must include:

  • name (first and last name or business name) or address for our staff to search
  • a specified directory (city and year)

Once we have responded to your request, you are welcome to send another request, specifying up to five additional searches. Due to high use of the city directories, we must limit our telephone patrons to one search request per day.

We do not provide surname searches. We are unable to determine matches by street boundary descriptions, and are unable to search by business categories or provide entire business listings or advertisements.

If the above options do not meet your needs, consider contacting a private researcher.

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Other City Directory Sources

The Portal to Texas History's City Directories Collection . Hosted by the University of North Texas, the Portal includes a collection of digitized city directories that can be searched and narrowed down by county and time period.

The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History's Texas Directories Collection . Located at the University of Texas at Austin, this collection includes telephone and city directories for most Texas cities and towns from roughly the late 19th century through the present day.

Ancestry.com : U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. A collection of directories for U.S. cities and counties in various years. Access to this collection is available on-site at TSLAC through Ancestry Library Edition and HeritageQuest Online. Check with your local public or academic library about remote access to HeritageQuest Online through the TexShare Databases.

WorldCat.org . A catalog of library holdings worldwide, including libraries' holdings for city and telephone directories.

The Library of Congress' guide to Telephone and City Directories in the Library of Congress (Non-Current) . Review a listing of directory formats, states, cities, and years available from the Library of Congress.

Find a Texas Library in the area of your research. Some libraries may maintain collections of city directories for their area.

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Related Materials
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Page last modified: October 30, 2020