Street directories...

Street directories contain a great deal of information on the gentry, the professional classes, merchants, etc.

They include information on even the smallest of market towns and ports in Ireland. Beginning with a description of the town and surrounding countryside, the names and addresses of the local butchers, pawnbrokers, blacksmiths and coach-builders are given, as well as the various places of worship, with the names of the local ministers etc. and the location of local schools.

Street directories can therefore be useful if you wish to find out which church or school your ancestor attended. The names and addresses of the local members of parliament, magistrates, Poor Law Guardians and town commissioners are also included in many street directories.

In fact the only classes that are excluded from all directories are the small tenant farmers, landless labourers and servants. There is a good collection of street directories in Belfast Central Library, the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland and the Linen Hall Library.