There are several types of Directory which can be immensely useful to the genealogist. There are such records as Court Directories, Commercial Directories, Trades Directories, and Street Directories (and probably others). The most well-known are those produced by Kelly and Pigot; the area covered ranges from one city (Plymouth) to several counties which are next to each other, such as Cornwall and Devon.
However, directories do not cover every single household. "Labourers were never included and only a small proportion of craftsmen - those usually in rural villages. Self-employed tradesmen appear in large numbers
but are not necessarily all covered...In villages, the squire, parson, farmers, graziers, innkeepers and blacksmiths are regularly included." (The Dictionary of Genealogy, Terrick Fitzhugh).
One of the earliest directories (in 1677) was "A Collection of the Names of the Merchants living in and about the City of London: Very Useful and Necessary."
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