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Almanacs and directories: Search directories online 1900-1973

Post Office directories and almanacs are a valuable source of information for family historians.

Searching

When searching for the name of a person or business, the most efficient method is to enter that name in the search box. Entering the search 'William' in the search box will return each instance of that name being listed in the directory, giving its page number. (Note that this search example will bring up all entries for 'William', including addresses, such as King William Street.) Simply click the result to go directly to that page. Also remember that first names are generally abbreviated to an initial, or to contractions such as 'Wm'.

You can enlarge the page for easy reading by double-clicking on it, or by using the zoom tool at the bottom of the screen.

Things to remember:
* Each directory must be searched individually
* The directories did not always give a person's christian name. Often only initials were given.
* Occupations were not always included.
* From the early 1870s the directories contained a single alphabetical name index for the state, and later also a separate section for country towns, and the Adelaide suburbs.
* From 1873 a street by street listing was compiled for the city, listing both businesses and private dwellings by location. Note that street numbers in the city have changed at least twice.

About the text and OCR
Electronically translated text is created through the process of Optical Character Recognition (OCR). This is an automated method of converting text contained in images, which cannot normally be searched, into text that is fully searchable. Please be aware that, as it is an automated process, there may be errors in the way that OCR converts the source material.

Page numbering
Due to the way the software works the page search will not always correspond to the directory's actual page number, particularly if the directory has more than one section beginning with page 1. For example you may enter 445 in the page search box but it will display page 879 of the actual directory.

 

Why can’t I find my ancestor in the various almanacs and directories?

The almanacs and directories were produced essentially for commercial purposes.  There is evidence to suggest they were compiled by publishing companies who employed people to door-knock the suburbs and country towns. As this method was not foolproof many people are likely to have been missed and therefore their names not listed. Occasionally homeowners may also have declined to be included.
Note only the ‘head of household’ is recorded in each instance.  Single women and widows were not named if they were living with other (male) relatives. Similarly boarders, guests, servants and other adult dependants were not included. More detailed records of home ownership and occupation are contained in local government assessment (rate) records available through State Records or individual councils. More information about directories can be found at: http://guides.slsa.sa.gov.au/directories

Copyright information

Directories first published more than 70 years ago are out of copyright. 

Directories first published less than 70 years ago are in copyright but the publisher, Sands & McDougall Pty Ltd, Melbourne, is no longer registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). 

The directories have been digitised in accordance with the State Library of South Australia’s Copyright Risk Management Framework. 

Researchers do not need a copyright holder’s permission to reproduce particular facts from a compilation like a directory, such as names and addresses. (Australian Copyright Council Information Sheet G060v11, February 2012)

Acknowledgements

For help locating or supplying second copies of directories for scanning, the State Library gratefully acknowledges:

  • Barbara Bray
  • Brian Samuels
  • Courts Administration Authority Library Service
  • Flinders University Library