Street Directories are incredible sources for finding your lost family and relatives. These forgotten publications provide an insight as to the exact address people lived at but also their occupations, names of houses and also businesses owned. In many cases a business address of an individual as well as the residential address is given. Click here to search the Pietermaritzburg Street Directory of 1897
Many people name their houses after the towns or places they originated from or places that are strongly associated with the family. These place names could be vital clues when looking for that missing link. House names also contain names of people, eg Alison & Donald become “Aldon” – they could be named after children, spouses or something special in their lives.
These names should not be overlooked. Professions and associations can also end up being used as house names, like “Gordon Lodge” meaning “was anyone a Mason in the family?” or “Luxor” could denote that a family member had been to Egypt during the 2nd World War. My own family home was called “Desborough”, which as the story goes, is the town where our great great grandfather came from. It is also the name of Earl Charles Spencer’s godfather and the town of Desborough is not that far from Althorp, Charles’s home!
As more directories are digitised and transcribed we will make them available. If you have any old street directories that are not wanted or you are willing to help capture them into an excel spreadsheet for us. Please let us know