, , ,

A number of old Catholic Directories are available online via Google Books.  Advanced Search (http://books.google.com/advanced_book_search) seems to be the best way to find them. I use the following search terms:

  • Find results with all of the words catholic directory
  • Search full view only
  • Publication date Return content published between 1800 and 1900

Full view means that the whole of the text is available for you to view and you can download the book as PDF to your computer. The search will return directories for all countries and any for any books that contain the words catholic and directory so you will need to check each result to see if it is of interest. So far I have found directories for 1838, 1839, 1840, 1851, 1858, 1859, 1860, and 1869. Note that the directories are sometimes bound together and Google just gives the date of the first one. So 1859 and 1860 are all bound together with the 1858 directory which Google gives wrongly as 1856!

Looking at the 1858 volume (and all other years follow a similar pattern) it shows the missions and churches by diocese and for each details of the various services and a list of serving priests. Here’s the start of the entry for St Anselm’s in London:

Later on there are lists of clergy (with addresses), colleges (including abroad), schools, religious houses and convents, and orphanages. So there is lots of information in these directories that can help the Catholic family historian and since it is available on the web for free it can save a trip to your nearest library.