or those areas and classes which they cover, Irish directories are an excellent resource, often supplying information not readily available elsewhere. Their most obvious and practical use is to find out where precisely, in the larger towns, a family lived, but for members of the gentry, and the professional, merchant and trading classes, they can show much more, providing indirect evidence of reversals of fortune or growing prosperity, of death and emigration. In many cases, directory entries are the only precise indication of occupation. The only classes totally excluded from all directories are, once again, the most disadvantaged, small tenant farmers, landless laborers and servants. Virtually all classes other than these are at least partly included. This file categorizes the Irish directories into:
In each category are included the dates, locations, and information concerning the directories, followed, in the first two categories, by a chronological checklist.
Initially, the information supplied in Wilson's Directory consisted purely of alphabetical lists of merchants and traders, supplying name, address and occupation. In the early years these were quite scanty, but grew steadily over the decades, from less than a thousand names in the 1752 edition to almost five thousand in 1816. As well as merchants and traders, the last decades of the eighteenth century also saw the inclusion of separate lists of those who might now be termed The Establishment, officers of the city guilds and of Trinity College, state officials, those involved in the administration of medicine and the law, Church of Ireland clergy etc.
The range of people covered expanded markedly, if a little eccentrically, in the early nineteenth century. The most permanent addition was a new section, added in 1815, which covered the nobility and gentry. As well as this, a number of other listings of potential use to readers were added, though some appear only intermittently. Persons covered by these lists include pawnbrokers, bankers, apothecaries, police, dentists, physicians, militia officers, and ships' captains.
The most significant difference between The Treble Almanack and Pettigrew and Oultons Dublin Almanac and General Register of Ireland, which began annual publication in 1834, is the inclusion in the latter of a street by street listing, initially only of the inhabitants of Dublin proper, but enlarged year by year to encompass the suburbs. From 1835, this listing was supplemented by an alphabetical list of the individuals recorded. In theory at least, the combination of the two listings should now make it possible to track the movements of individuals around the city, an important feature, since changes of address were much more frequent in the nineteenth century, when the common practice was to rent rather than purchase. Unfortunately, in practice the alphabetical list is much less comprehensive than the street list.
Pettigrew and Oulton also extended even further the range of persons covered. The officers of virtually every Dublin institution, club and society are recorded, as well as clergy of all denominations, are included. Another significant difference from the earlier Treble Almanack which should be kept in mind is the extension of the coverage outside the Dublin area. Under the rubric Official Authorities of Counties and Towns, Pettigrew and Oulton record the names of many of the rural gentry a more prosperous inhabitants of the large towns in their guise as local administrators. This is particularly useful for areas which were not served by a local directory, or for which none has survived. Similarly, the officials of many of the better known institutions and societies in the larger country towns are also recorded, as well as the more important provincial clergy.
The successor to Pettigrew and Oulton was Alexander Thoms Irish Almanac and Official Directory , which began in 1844 and has continued publication up to the present. As the name implies, it continued the extension of coverage outside Dublin. To take one year as an example, the 1870 edition includes, as well as the alphabetical and street listings for Dublin, alphabetical lists of the following for the entire country: Army officers; attorneys, solicitors and barristers; bankers; Catholic, Church of Ireland and Presbyterian clergy; coast guard officers; doctors; M.P.s; magistrates; members of the Irish Privy Council; navy and Marine officers; officers of counties and towns; peers. Although Thoms is generally regarded as a Dublin directory, its usefulness goes well beyond Dublin.
As well as these annual directories, Dublin was also included in the country wide publications of Pigot and Slater issued at intervals during the nineteenth century. The only significant difference is the arrangement of the individuals listed under their trades, making it possible to identify all of those engaged in the same occupation, important at a time when many occupations were handed down from one generation to the next. These directories are dealt with more fully below.
The most comprehensive collections are held by The National Library and The National Archives. Copies can be requested directly at the reading room counter in both repositories without a call number.
Until the productions of Pigot and Co. in the early nineteenth century, very little exists which covers the entire country. Although not true directories in the sense of the Dublin publications, four works may be used in a similar way, at least as far as the country gentry are concerned. The earliest of these is George Taylor and Andrew Skinners, Road Maps of Ireland , (1778) which prints maps of the principal routes from Dublin to the country towns, including the major country houses and the surnames of their occupants, with an alphabetical index to more towns and villages. Guide to Irish Directories , Chapter 4 of Irish Genealogy: A Record Finder (Dublin: Heraldic Artists, 1981) includes a detailed county by county listing of the towns and villages covered by each edition. Otherwise, the most important differences between the various editions are as follows: 1824: Includes a country wide alphabetical index to all the clergy, gentry and nobility listed in the entries for individual towns, omitted in subsequent issues. 1846: Includes the names of schoolteachers for the towns treated, a practice continued in following editions. 1778: George Taylor and Andrew Skinner, Road Maps of Ireland (reprint I.U.P., 1969) NL Ir 9141 t 1 1812: Ambrose Leet, A List of [...] noted places . NL Ir 9141 l 10 1814: Ambrose Leet, A Directory to the Market Towns, Villages, Gentlemen s Seats and other noted places in Ireland . NL Ir 9141 l 10 1820: H J. Pigot, Commercial Directory of Ireland . NL Ir 9141 c 25 1824: 0 J. Pigot. City of Dublin and Hibernian Provincial Directory. NL Ir 9141 p 75 1846: Slaters National Commercial Directory of Ireland . NL Ir 9141 s 30 1856: Slaters Royal National Commercial Directory of Ireland 1870, 1881, 1894 Dublin directories from 1834
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