Transcribing Street Directories

The aim is to capture the text in the street directory entries as fully and faithfully as possible.

  • Allocate all the text to the appropriate fields. Typically entries will only fill some of the fields.
  • Avoid replicating text in different fields. Better to choose the most appropriate.
  • Avoid adding additional text. Only the business Type should be expanded
  • Names of churches and businesses are sometimes shown in small-caps - transcribe in mixed case

Transcription calls for judgement and these notes will be expanded to discuss difficult cases as they occur.


the premise street number. If the premise covers multiple numbers, the first, "-" and last. eg. 230-234. If its just a list of numbers, list as 210,210A. If there are any subdivisions, append these to the number 237A or invent your own suffix eg. 160CH. Note that these numbers may not be handled until these premises are added to the premise data.
The name of the premise or business name as distinct from the name of the proprietor. It can be difficult to decide since surnames become business names over time. For example "Crawford's", "Bryn Villas", "Bishopston Methodist Church". Sometimes a company name has been rearranged to put the surname first but the original order should be restored e.g. Bampfylde H. & Sons should be transcribed as H. Bampfylde & Sons

Proprietor or head of household

The order of forenames and surname differ between editions. In early editions, the forenames are first whilst in later editions, surname is first.
only if present
Forenames and initials. Leave abbreviations such as Geo. unexpanded.
Names as they appear on the page
Letters (post-nominals) indicating qualifications or honours, for example for a doctor
Business Type/Occupation
The type business carried out or the occupation of the head of household. Abbreviations should be expanded. Business Type is not capitalised. If the premise is residential and the occupant unknown or current, enter 'residential'

Frequently Asked Questions

Some premises don't have street numbers, for example churches and other public buildings
The curator should choose a number and suffix - such as CH for Church and use this 'number' consistently when creating entries. Such numbers will need to be added to the database and this task will be handled separately.
Sometimes several occupants are listed at the same address.
Create an occupant record for each of the occupants.