We built the Contact Directory as the main place to filter through your contacts by tag, location, membership status etc. but sometimes that's not what you need. That's why we also have a Membership Directory.
When you're in the Contact Directory, you will only ever see one result for each person found in Sheep. This means that some information gets intelligently combined behind the scenes to present what is usually the most pertinent information.
The Membership status field in the Contact Directory is based on all memberships found for a person. If they have a current active membership anywhere, they'll show up as active. If they have one membership cancelled last month, and another lapsed yesterday, they'll show up as lapsed. The reasoning for this is memberships across Sheep are usually time-limited (e.g. 12 months), then renewed. Sheep keeps track of these individually, so usually what you want is the information from the latest membership record. However, if a person has two (or more) memberships and you only want to know the status of "Membership A" (or wanted to see anyone with a cancelled membership, regardless of their current status) the Contact Directory might not work for you.
That's where the Membership Directory comes in. It works in the same way, except it will return one result for each membership. So if Joe Bloggs has an active Membership A and a lapsed Membership B, you'll get two entries, one for Membership A, one for Membership B. They'll both link you to the same person, but now you can search and filter on just the membership data you need.