Like many city directories, reading it takes some effort, and I cannot imagine the work that was involved in putting it together. How did the interview go? Question: "So, where do you live?" Response: "On the south side of G street north between 17th and 18th streets west" Which was then translated into "s side Gn btw 17 and 18w."
Here's an amusing one, works at "corner Penn av and 21w" and resides "nearly opposite." Say what? I'm not sure exactly how that would have helped to find the person if you were living in 1822 -- this is what makes genealogy such a fun (and frustrating) hobby.
In the back of the directory, there were some job descriptions that I've also posted online, including Inspector of Flour, Chimney Sweeps, and my favorite, Scavengers. And there were some brief historical details for organizations like the Orphan Asylum (which at the time was only supporting females), the newly established Columbian College, and the Education Society of the District of Columbia (for pious young men). All of the added information is linked at the bottom of the 1822 directory page.
This item is part of the Genealogy Today Subscription Data service, and a subscription is required for full access. The name index, however, can be searched for free, so check out the Washington Directory of 1822 and see if any of your ancestors were living there and working as a SCAVENGER!