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Please read the following press release from: Paul Lewis Senior Marketing Manager. Ancestry.co.uk (Note from FH4All editor: In my opinion Ancestry.co.uk is the best online resource available to family historians. Ancestry.co.uk just keeps getting better!) Subscribe or take a free trial here:

Ringing the Changes with our new British Phone Books Collection 1880-1984

As a family history research source, Telephone Directories and Phone Books have been largely overlooked-not surprising given that the fact that they have been mostly consigned to the dusty back shelves of the archives. As a result, few will be aware of their richness as a family history research resource. That is until now, as Ancestry.co.uk announce the arrival of the first release of our British Phone Book 1880-1984 collection

Due to their frequency of their updating, Telephone Directories and Phone Books provide an unrivalled research resource in tracing changing family circumstances, both social and geographic at regular intervals.
Typically, Telephone Directories were updated every 12-18 months from the mid 1900s onwards.

You'll find information on where your ancestors were living. Indeed telephone ownership in itself is highly revealing in establishing class and social prominence of your ancestors too. So, even if you don't find your ancestors listed in the early directories, this in itself is very telling in terms of establishing the social status of your ancestors too.

From the structure of the directories themselves, you'll also be able to get a very rich picture of the areas in which your ancestors were living and for the types of concerns which would of occupied their every day lives. For example, from the very first issue, the changing nature of local and national advertisements (from local milk supplies to major utility suppliers) provide for a fascinating picture of economic and industrial development of Britain.

This initial release (further releases to follow) primarily covers London, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent Middlesex and Surrey, but due to lower ownership levels you may well find information covering many other parts of the British Isles too within the early years of this release.

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