Ancestry.co.uk improves directory collection

By Jon Bauckham, 16 May 2013 - 4:48pm

Dozens of historic directories available via Ancestry.co.uk have been rescanned with improved text recognition software, meaning that family historians now have a better chance of finding their forebears
 

Thursday 16 May 2013
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Jesse Boot, who transformed his father's medicine shop into a national retailer – Boots the Chemist – is recorded as a herbalist on the 1877 Morris & Co Directory of Nottingham © Ancestry.co.uk

A leading genealogy website has rescanned dozens of historic directories from its database, enabling family historians to undertake detailed searches and trace their forebears with a higher level of accuracy.

Ancestry.co.uk has relaunched its UK, City and County Directories 1766-1946 collection, having now indexed each document using improved Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software.

Thanks to the enhancements, the full text can now be searched by details such as name, location, keyword and publication title. Once a relevant entry has been found, a scan of the original page on which it appears can be viewed and saved to the user's computer.

The collection comprises directories relating to towns and cities across the UK, revealing details about private residents, businesses and tradesmen, as well as descriptions of the area at the time.

The original purpose of the directories was to provide information about towns and localities for travellers and other visitors. As such, many of the directories also featured maps, many of which are also included.

However, modern-day researchers can now use the records to hunt down their ancestors and gather details that can help construct a picture of life at the time.

The directories are particularly useful for web users hoping to fill in gaps between census years – and in the case of early publications such as Bancks' Manchester and Salford Directory (1800), find people in years before the census was even introduced.

 
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► Search the collection at www.ancestry.co.uk

 

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