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06 October 2008

New in the City Directory Library

Steve Harris sent this update.

CGS board member and consulting genealogist Steve Harris recently added 1,000 more city directories to the 6,000 city and telephone directories already in his research library. Included are 650 California directories from all over the state.

Ranging from the 1860s to the 1970s, the directories have numerous applications to genealogy, including tracking individuals and families through time and finding addresses for census look-ups.

The Library of Congress system is used to catalog the collection. A complete listing of Steve's holdings was compiled by CGS volunteer Nancy Servin. The list follows the shelf sequence: by region of country, then statewide directories, countywide directories, and finally directories for specific cities.

Most of the directories are shelved in Steve’s office just down the hall from CGS. All of his California directories are located in a second space dubbed "The Annex." Note that the California Genealogical Society also has city directories, with almost-complete runs for San Francisco and Oakland.

Steve's city directory collection is open to members on two days every month: the second Saturday and the third Friday. Members are to check in at the CGS desk first. From there they will be directed to Steve's library. Dr. Stephen Harris can be reached at

Photographs by Kathryn M. Doyle.