City directories – A Valuable Resource

City directories are one of the most useful resources for genealogists. By City Directories, I do not mean telephone books. They are like having 2 books within 1 publication. These directories have an alphabetical listing by surname of people living in the community. The second half is an alphabetical listing of streets in the community. Some of the newer directories also have telephone number listings filed in numerical order.

The Windsor Public Library has many city directories for Windsor. Our older Windsor directories also include the towns of Walkerville and Sandwich. Our collection of city directories goes back to 1891. The earlier directories are so fragile that the earlier directories can only be viewed on microfilm. By using these directories, a researcher can track a family as they moved from house to house within the city. Once an address has been established for a relative, it pays to look in the street directory section. Other relatives may have lived in the house next door, or across the street. 

These city directories also had a section devoted to businesses.  It is interesting to look at the businesses to see what types of businesses were active in the last century. There have been many changes in the types of industries and businesses which are present now as compared to the past.

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9 Responses to "City directories – A Valuable Resource"

  1. Gregory Gleason says:

    When was Drouillard road name changed to Chrysler Center?

    • Windsor Public Library says:

      Sorry but we do not have anything specific as to the name change, but I checked the Fire Insurance Plan for 1952 and it still showed the street as Drouillard Road and in brackets Chrysler Centre. If you want an exact date of name change you will have to contact the Windsor Utilities Commission, as they are responsible for naming of streets and name changes.
      Mike Fish, Archivist.

  2. Raquelle says:

    Is there a way to look up a phone number that was published in the Windsor phone book from sometime between 1990s and 2002?

  3. Tom H says:

    I am wondering if there is any way that I can look through obituaries of past issues of the Windsor Star going back to day 1. I am trying to put together my genealogy and am having a heck of a time with Ancestry over my father’s mother’s side of the family as they used two different last names and a lot of info I have doesn’t add up. Any help would be appreciated as I live in Belleville, Ontario and unfortunately have no means of transportation to Windsor.

    • Windsor Public Library says:

      Your message has been sent to our Genealogist who will answer your question asap. Thanks.

    • Tom says:

      There is no way to view death notices from the Windsor local newspaper all the way back to the beginning on the internet. Our local paper has had 3 names changes. In 1893, it was called the [Windsor] Evening Record, and in 1918, the name was changed to the Border Cities Star, and in 1935 the name was again changed to the Windsor Daily Star. The date of a death notice can be ascertained from a database on our website, In the blue bar at the top, click on Research, and then click on Obituaries. Dates indexed are 1938 to 2014. (1944 is still being entered). Some issues of the Windsor Star have been digitized, and are available to view online. The [Windsor] Evening Record, and the Border Cities Star can be viewed at . It is more difficult to find issues of the Windsor Daily Star on the internet. Google News has digitized some issues of the Windsor Daily Star, and the Windsor Star. .You can also contact the Reference Desk at the Windsor library. The reference librarian can research the death notices for you and send them to you. Send an e-mail to Ask-A-Librarian for details and pricing information.

  4. Tom says:

    This entry was written to bring attention to the Windsor Public Library’s collection of Windsor City Directories. At this time, we have hard copies of later directories, and for directories before 1950, they are available on microfilm at our main branch (Central Library). You would have to come to our library in Windsor and view the directories themselves. Toronto Public Library also has a small collection of Windsor City Directories. The National Library of Canada also has a small collection of Windsor City Directories, but I don’t think they have the year that you are looking for.
    Some of the Windsor directories have been digitized, and put on the internet. The website for this is the Internet Archive ( )
    Also, if you have a short question about the city directories, you can contact the AskaLibrarian service on our website, and the Reference Librarian will try to answer your question.

  5. bob gates says:

    how can one access the city directory to see who lived at 110 Giles Blvd
    on line in 1928 or 1929?

    • Windsor Public Library says:

      Your message has been sent to the proper department. A librarian or archivist will reply to you directly.

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