Searching for a clue in a phone directory.

 For the most part genealogists are immersed in 19th century newspapers, parish registers, estate papers, etc., in the hunt for an elusive ancestor. Sometimes however a search can be in the not too distant past, and often that search can be just as difficult!  So where do we turn to if we are looking for someone in the more recent past?  A source that we often fail to think of is the phone directory, in the days when words such as ‘ex-directory’ and ‘landline’ were unknown, a phone directory can be a very quick and simple way of locating an address for a person. The first telephone exchange in Ireland was opened in 1880 and located in Commerical Buildings in Dame Street, Dublin. Of course not everyone in Ireland, by any means, had a telephone in the 1950s and 1960s, but anyone who did, was automatically listed. The National Library holds various sets of phone directories and so if you are looking for someone say in 1955, the library has the directory for that year.  And if you happen to see an old ‘phone book from twenty years ago, hold onto it, who knows when it will come in useful!

By Helen Moss

Expert researcher