Historical Dalton and Griffin city directories now freely available online

Digitized directories give researchers and library patrons online access from anywhere.

March 2, 2021
CONTACT: Deborah Hakes, Georgia Public Library Service, dhakes@georgialibraries.org

ATLANTA — Georgia Public Library Service has digitized volumes of Dalton and Griffin city directories respectively belonging to the Dalton-Whitfield County Library, part of the Northwest Georgia Regional Library System (NGRL), and the Griffin-Spalding County Library, part of the Flint River Regional Library System (FRRLS). The 11 full-text searchable volumes date from 1940-1963 and are freely available in the Digital Library of Georgia. 

The digital collection is part of a statewide initiative by the Georgia Public Library Service to digitize Georgia’s public domain city directories. Previously digitized directories include those from  Albany (1922-1949), Athens (1889-1958), Atlanta (1867-1922), Columbus (1859-1912), Gainesville (1882-1960), and Macon (1860-1899).

Large volumes of print city directories have long been a vital part of many libraries’ local collections. According to FRRLS public services librarian Evans Millican, “as time has passed, the directories have become a useful source for genealogists searching for family roots and related information. Converting these old directories to a digitized format allows them to be perpetually used by patrons without concern for handling deteriorating paper copies.” Library patron Bitsy McFarland of Dalton, Georgia agrees. She uses public library resources for much of her own genealogical research, frequently referencing city directories when trying to locate family: “Sometimes I can’t remember who married who or what business they started, so having the city directories online is such a help.” 

City directories provide details of local history, antedating the phonebook as a listing of residents, businesses, organizations, and streets. In addition to basic location information, they frequently provide local governmental and civic information, street maps, church and cemetery information, and historical details about the city and surrounding areas. Information about individuals typically includes the resident’s name, title or salutation, home address, marital status and spouse’s name, race, occupation, and, if applicable, information about business ownership. 

“City directories are a wealth of information,” said Betsy Powell, technology services librarian for NGRL. “Directories offer details that can help researchers find out which business operated at a particular address or what occupation their relatives held in a given year. Having access to an online, searchable document makes these resources more accessible to people throughout the country who might have an interest in Dalton and the surrounding areas.” 

Details in the collections about residence and resident make city directories ideally suited for student, educator, and professional research, and those working remotely will enjoy increased access to volumes that were previously only available onsite at their local library. “The ability to study library resources remotely has become more important than ever given our current health crisis,” said Ms. Powell. “Instead of traveling to the library and handling fragile materials, library patrons can now search the directories online from the comfort of their home – or anywhere.” 

► Link to Dalton city directories

► Link to Griffin city directories

dalton city directory graphic


Georgia Public Library Service (GPLS) empowers libraries to improve the lives of all Georgians by encouraging reading, literacy, and education through the continuing support and improvement of public libraries. GPLS is a unit of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. This project is supported with federal Library Services and Technology Act funds administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through GPLS. www.georgialibraries.org #georgialibraries 

The Northwest Georgia Regional Library System (NGRL) serves the citizens of Gordon, Murray, and Whitfield counties located in the north Georgia mountains. This area of Georgia has a rich history that includes the Cherokees, Trail of Tears, Civil War battles, and the origin of a cottage textile industry which developed into carpet manufacturing. Today the carpet industry remains the region’s major industry. We are proud participants in the Georgia PINES library system, granting our community access to the book collections of nearly 300 libraries. Our Mission is to be your library, your partner, and  your place for reading and discovery. We improve our community’s quality of life. www.ngrl.org @DaltonGALibrary  

The Flint River Regional Library System (FRRLS) proudly serves Butts, Fayette, Lamar, Monroe, Pike and Spalding counties in central Georgia. The Griffin-Spalding County Library has served the citizens of Spalding County for over 100 years, providing research materials, books, computer services and electronic materials. Our Mission is to be the touchstone institution in the community by providing progressive programming and facilities. www.frrls.net @griffinspaldingcountylibrary

Selected items from the collection: