African American Resource Center
New Orleans Public Library

African American Genealogical Research in New Orleans
City Directories

City Directories list individuals and their address and also list advertisements for various businesses. Sometimes city directories were published through subscription so not everyone was included. New Orleans has a city directory starting in 1805 which is more like a partial census of the city. Heads of households are listed with aggregate age and sex categories for non-head of household members. There are also age and sex categories for slaves living in the household. During the ante-bellum period (pre-1862), city directories included some free persons of color but they were not always listed as such. After the Civil War, African Americans were included in the City Directory along with their occupation and address. Again, business men and women could pay for an advertisement page or a partial ad or have their businesses highlighted in the alphabetical listing. City directories are very important for urban research because they give occupational and residential information on individuals for the years between the decennial state and Federal censuses.

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