Thousands of people and business were listed annually in Telephone Directories and sadly these books are diminishing with the invention of the mobile phone. However, Telephone directories are becoming a very valuable source of information to any genealogist or family historian in trying to locate the different areas where your ancestors lived. It is likely that initially owning a telephone illustrates what social level they were at. The names of houses are a fascinating way of tracing your ancestors as long as they are the people that actually named the house.
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!
I have a large collection of old telephone directories and street directories for South Africa and will gladly look up any of them for you for a small fee.