Over 5,500 pages of Gainesville city directories belonging to the Hall County Library System have been digitized.
The Digital Library of Georgia holds several other popular state city directories, and that now includes Gainesville from the year 1882 to 1960. The 17 full-text volumes are available to access and search for free in the Digital library of Georgia.
Digitizing city directories is part of a project by the DLoG, with the goal of providing details of local history, including mapping residents and their former homes, for varying types of research, as well as for those who may just want to access the information for personal reasons, but are not in Hall County.
Directories not only list residents, but also include local government and civic information, street maps, and individual information, including spousal records, race, occupation and occasionally business ownership.
"When used in tandem with digitized Sanborn maps, city directories can mimic the experience of a stroll down Main Street to see the names of businesses and neighbors. Family portraits with studio stamps can be cross-referenced to city directories to narrow down the dates the company was in business, thus approximating the date of the photo," said Genealogy and Local History Librarian Ronda Sanders. "And, if one is lucky enough to find an old death record, it can be difficult to read the name of the physician. By using a city directory from the same general time, genealogists can compare the names of practicing doctors to decipher their notoriously illegible handwriting."
The digitization is a necessary element to library operations, if not just for genealogical research but also as a way to secure local history and make it accessible. "We are so appreciative of the work done by Georgia Public Library Service and the Digital Library of Georgia to make this project possible, as well as the funding provided by the Institute for Museum and Library Services.”
You can check out the Digital Library of Georgia's Hall County directories here.