Kelly's Directories Go Online

Forebears are currently undertaking a project to transcribe one Kelly's Directory published around 1900 for each county in England and South Wales. In the absence of a Kelly's directory for North Wales, Slater's Directory of North Wales (1895) has been used as a substitute. These transcripts will be available on the page for their respective place. For example, see the transcript for West Felton. Townships, hamlets and other lower level units will be listed on separate pages, which are accessible by hyper links found above the historic descriptions.

At current, directories for Shropshire, Rutland, Westmorland & North Wales have been transcribed and are available. Directories for Cornwall, Dorset, Durham, Herefordshire, Northumberland and Warwickshire have been transcribed and should be available within the next two weeks. It is envisaged that all transcripts will be online by June.

Kelly's Directories were chosen for this project as they contain more depth than other directories and gazetteers; and likely form the largest single body of reference for settlements in England & South Wales.

Although not the most engrossing reading, Kelly's are a useful resource to both historians and genealogists. They paint a picture of the important facets of a settlement, which may have changed or no longer exist. Thus, they are an important source in reconstructing village, town or city life at the time. For genealogists the directories provide details of local businesses and public institutions, which may hold records relevant to their research. Details include the courts a settlement falls under and places of worship. For rural research they are a useful starting point in locating estate records, as landowners are typically listed for each township and principal landowners for rural parishes.

This project is part of a larger project to provide historical, topographical, ecclesiastical, official and other information for British settlements and regions from 26 sources from c. 50 AD to c. 1900. The aim of this project is to provide a view of the changing face of places over time. Currently completed is Cooke's Topography of Great Britain, which is comprised of of descriptions of around 3,300 British places and provides near complete coverage of parishes in Scotland.