Directories provide information on local communities, and can help to fill in gaps between censuses.
They contain descriptions of parishes, towns and villages, including institutions such as the church and local government, lists of well-to-do private residents, trades and professions, and also advertisements.
The increasing number of travelling tradesmen in the 18th and 19th centuries used directories for commercial purposes.
Online, you can search Trade Directories at www.historicaldirectories.org and at subscription websites including Ancestry and Find my Past.
Ancestry can be accessed for free at Hampshire Record Office and several Hampshire libraries. Find my Past is available in all Hampshire libraries.