Toronto Public Library Homepage

City Directories

Find Your Way to Local History and Genealogy at Toronto Public Library

February 1, 2012 | Canadiana Staff | Comments (4) Facebook Twitter More...

Find-Your-Way logo

Toronto Public Library (TPL) has just launched “Find Your Way to Local History and Genealogy” on the home page of the Library’s website or at tpl.ca/history-genealogy.
Our goal is to provide users with a  quick and easy experience to research local history and genealogy, raise awareness of our online and in-library resources, and offer research assistance.

The new site connects web visitors to a wide range of digital content and library resources, including:

  • alerts about new and recently received local history and genealogy books
  • research help with online research guides and links to contact library staff for assistance
  • a Local History and Genealogy blog written by specialist librarians highlighting Library resources and programs
  • announcements of Library programs and classes on history and genealogy
  • links to pertinent online databases such as Toronto Star - Pages of the Past, Ancestry Library Edition and our own Digital Archive

Local History

This section highlights TPL’s rich collections about the history of Toronto and other Ontario communities.

The Toronto section features:

  • a customized map to discover resources about more than 100 Toronto neighbourhoods: links to catalogue records for books and other resources, to digitized pictures, maps and other items on the Digital Archive, as well as to recommended websites
  • additional pages on Toronto city directories, buildings and architecture and geography and maps
Broadview Ave. and Gerrard St., Riverdale

 Broadview Avenue and Gerrard Street, Toronto. Valentine & Sons Publishing Co.
Ltd., c.1910 (Toronto Reference Library Postcard Collection)

Genealogy

This section also features Toronto and Ontario cities and towns, and has additional pages for genealogical research on Canada and other provinces, other countries and on ethnicity and cultures.

Tcd_1899-r-1049small

  Detail from Toronto City Directory 1899. Might Directories, 1898.
  Click on image to see digitized directory.

City directories are a favourite tool for genealogists and local historians.  Find Your Way links to digitized Toronto city directories from 1833 to 1922, as well as to directories for other Ontario places.

A growing selection of research guides on specific genealogical topics leads family history researchers to relevant resources, both online and in Toronto Reference Library and North York Central Library. Research guide topics include:

  • Genealogy on the Web
  • French Canadian and Acadian Genealogy
  • British and Irish Genealogy
  • Birth, Marriage and Death Records
  • Ontario Genealogy
  • Jewish Genealogy

The Find Your Way Team includes subject experts from across the Library system. Future plans for the site include adding more research guides, blog posts, recommended websites and links to more digitized Canadian content via the Digital Archive.

Guide to City Directories of Toronto: Decoding Abbreviations

September 27, 2011 | Canadiana Staff | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

This guide provides explanations of many abbreviations for personal names, occupations and other words used in 19th-century Toronto city directories. 

 

A 
ab  above
acct  accountant
adv  advertisement
ag implts agricultural implements
agt  agent
al  alley
Albt  Albert
Alex  Alexander
app  apprentice
appr  appraiser
arch/archt architect
Archd  Archibald
assce  assurance
assn  association
asst  assistant
attdt  attendant
av/ave  avenue


b  boards
barr  barrister
bdg  boarding
bdg h  boarding house
bds  boards
Benj  Benjamin
bet  between
bg  building
bgemn  baggageman
bkbndr  bookbinder
bkkpr/bkpr bookkeeper
bkr  baker
bkslr  bookseller
bld/bldg building
bldr  builder
blksmith blacksmith
br  branch
brklyr  bricklayer
brkmn  brakeman
brmkr  boiler maker
btchr  butcher
btlr  bottler


c  corner
c h  custom house
cabt mkr cabinet maker
Can  Canadian
carp/carpr carpenter
carr  carriage
cash  cashier
Chas  Charles
chauf  chauffeur
chkr  checker
clk  clerk
clnr  cleaner
Co  company
coll  collector
com  commission
com mer  commission merchant
comp  compositor
comr/commr commissioner
cond/condr conductor
confr/conftr confectioner
contr  contractor
cor  corner
Corp  corporation
cres  crescent
ct  court
ctr  cutter


d gds  dry goods
Danl  Daniel
dept  department
depy  deputy
dlr  dealer
do  same place or same street
dom  domestic
Dom  Dominion
drftsmn  draftsman
drsmkr  dressmaker
dsgnr  designer


e  east
e s  east side
Edwd  Edward
elect  electrician
electro  electrotyper
elev oper elevator operator
Eliz  Elizabeth
emp  employee
eng/engr engineer
engr  engraver
est  estate
examr  examiner
exp  express


fcy  fancy
fnshr  finisher
Frdk  Frederick
ft  foot of
ft  foot
furn  furniture
furng  furnishing


GTR  Grand Trunk Railway
GWR  Great Western Railway
gard/gdnr gardener
gds  goods
genl  general
Geo  George
geol  geological
gro  grocer
gts furngs gents' furnishings


h  house
h  householder [general owner]
hdwre  hardware
Hert  Herbert
hlpr  helper
hsekpr  housekeeper


imp  importer
implts  implements
ins  insurance
insp  inspector
insts  instruments
Intl  international

J & K 
Jas  James
jwlr  jeweller
kpr  keeper


l/la  lane
lab  labourer
landrs  laundress
lino  linotype
litho  lithographer
lndry  laundry
ltd  limited


mach hd  machine hand
mach/macht machinist
mar  market
Margt  Margaret
mech  mechanic
mer  merchant
mfg, mfr, mfy manufacturing -urer -ory
mgr  manager
mkr  maker
mkt  market
Mkt gdnr market gardener
mldr  moulder
mlnr  milliner
mlstr  maltster
mng dir  managing director
mntr  mounter
moto  mortorman
mssr  messenger
mus  musical
mus tchr music teacher


n  north
n  near
n e  northeast
n s  northsouth
n s   north side
n w  north west
NR  Northern Railway
NRC   Northern Railway Company
nr  near


off  office
Ont  Ontario
op/opp  opposite
opr  operator


pc  police constable
Parlt  Parliament
pat med  patent medicines
pckr  packer
ped/pdlr peddler
photo/photr photographer
phy  physician
pl  place
plmbr  plumber
plshr  polisher
plstr  plasterer
pntr  painter
pntr  painter
pr  proprietor
pres  president
prin  principal
prntr  printer
prof  professor
prop  proprietor
provns/provs provisions
prsfdr  pressfeeder
prsr  presser
publr  publisher


r/res  resides [not owner]
r  rear
rd  road
Regd  Reginald
rep  representative
repr  repairer
rest  restaurant
ret  retail
Richd  Richard
Robt  Robert


s  south
s e   side entrance
s s  south side
Saml  Samuel
sch tchr school teacher
sdlr  saddler
se  southeast
sec  secretary
sec hd goods second hand goods
sew mach sewing machine
shpr  shipper
slsldy  saleslady
slsmn  salesman
smtrs  seamstress
soc  society
sol  solicitor
sq  square
Stand  Standard
statr  stationer
staty  stationery
stenog  stenographer
stero  stereotyper
stkpr  stock keeper
stmftr  steamfitter
stn  station
stu/studt student
suprvsr  supervisor
supt  superintendent
surg  surgeon
sw  southwest


tchr  teacher
tel  telepraph
tel opr  telephone operator
telph  telephone
ter  terrace
Thos  Thomas
tlr  tailor
tlrs  tailoress
tmstr  teamster
tnsmth  tinsmith
Tor  Toronto
trans  transportation
trav  traveller
treas  treasurer
trk drvr truck driver
twp  township

U & V 
uphol  upholsterer
v pres  vice president
vet  veterinary
vet sur  veterinary surgeon


w  widow of
w  west
w s  west side
wd wkr  wood worker
wh/whol  wholesale
w'hse  warehouseman
wid  widow
wks  works
Wm  William
wrehsemn warehouseman
wtr  waiter
wtrs  waitress

Discover the history of your family, your Toronto neighbourhood, or places in Ontario and across Canada.

Research online or at Toronto Reference Library and North York Central Library.

Learn about exciting programs and events.

Your comments, posts, messages and creative content are welcome, provided they encourage a respectful dialogue and comply with the Library's mission, values and policies.
Terms of Use