GREAT NUMBER OF OLD DIRECTORIES – COMEAU (November 10/00)

Kentville historian and collector Louis Comeau e-mailed me to comment on last week’s column on McAlpine’s Directory and to send along a list of directories that have been published over the years. His list includes six old directories, five of which were first published in the 1800s, and four that were published in the 1900s. “There may be others which I haven’t yet located,” Comeau said.

Before attaching the list of directories that his research uncovered, Comeau added interesting comments on their preparation and publishing. As with any publication, Comeau said, the date can be misleading. “The date on the publication is when it was printed by the publishing house and not when the information was collected,” Comeau said, which is something researchers, especially amateur genealogists, should keep in mind. Information for the 18th-century directories might take a year to collect, for example, and then another year and more before the information is organized, typeset and printed.

Here are the directories with publication dates that Mr. Comeau has discovered:

Two Hutchinson Directories – 1864 and 1866; two Mercantile Directories, – 1866 and 1897. These are not as detailed as the Hutchinson Directory, Mr. Comeau notes; ten McAlpine Directories – 1868/769, 1870, 1877, 1880, 1890, 1896, 1902, 1907, 1908 and 1914; one Lovell Directory – 1871, which does not have the details in the Hutchinson and McAlpine Directories; one Bard Directory, which again is not as detailed as Hutchinson and McAlpine.

(Researchers should note that some of the above directories, and especially the detailed McAlpines, can be found in the Kirkconnell Room at Acadia University).

More recent directories:

One Town of Kentville Directory – 1936. This was the first Directory with the numbered street addresses listed; six Mosher Directories – 1948, 1950, 1952, 1954, 1956 and 1958/59; four Kentville Directories, published by the Kentville Lions Club – 1968, 1971, 1974 and 1978.

In addition to the directories, a series of maps (actually they were a combination of map and directory) were published earlier. Mr. Comeau said that these maps are much more useful for researchers and genealogists since they indicated where people lived and gave occupations. Mr. Comeau gave two such combination map/directories the first of which is well known to genealogists.

The Church map of Kings County, which Mr. Comeau says has an 1864 date. Comeau said that 1864 was the commissioning date and this map (or map/directory) was actually published in 1872; Price’s map of Kentville – 1894.

Price’s Kentville map is not as well known as the Church map – or Church maps, I should say, since Ambrose Church did a series of them county by county. At one time the Kings County Church map was on display in the lobby at the County municipal office and I assume it is still there. There are still a good number of the Kings County maps in existence but they are definitely collectables.

Ambrose Church created his county maps between 1865 and 1888 and the old gentleman must have done some of the field work and mapping himself. There is a record of the cartographer being a guest in 1871 at Kentville’s Lyons’ Inn. Readers interested in the maps of Ambrose Church and the story behind his work in compiling them are referred to volume 37 of the Collections of the Nova Scotia Historical Society, published in 1970. This issue contains an article on Church by Charles Bruce Ferguson.

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