Library and Archives Canada has a free, online collection of Southwestern Ontario City Directories for the southwestern counties of Ontario, Canada including: Kent, Lambton, Oxford, Wentworth, Waterloo, Haldimand, Wellington, Lincoln, Welland, Elgin, Essex, Brant, Norfolk, Huron, Middlesex, Perth, Halton, and Grey. The years range from 1856 to 1901.
“As directories are generally a product of urban, commercial development, the inhabitants of rural areas are the least well covered by them. A number of directories were published for Ontario counties, mainly for the years between 1870 and 1910, which provide listings of the farmers in each township, their status as tenant or freehold, the concession and lot number of their properties and the nearest post office. For provinces other than Ontario, county directories are few in number.
“Women were seldom included – only single, working women and widows – in the directories of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In the preface to his 1901 Hamilton directory, Henry Vernon stated:
In the Alphabetical, the names and addresses and occupations of the ladies are now inserted for the first time. It is true one will look in vain for the names of message boys, or that of the daughter of the house, who naturally shrinks from the unwarranted publicity (in her case) that a directory gives…
“More recently, married women have been listed in entries with their husbands and current directories often list them as separate entries in the alphabetical sequence.”