Recently, we lost electricity and had a snow day, just like when we were little and school was cancelled. I went to the library to get warm, read and work. I needed to check something on Heritage Quest. At home, I use the Denver Public Library’s portal, which is set in my computer’s memory with my library card number and password. I debated going to the car to check my wallet for the card when I realized I was IN the library as opposed to linked from home, so I could use the portal ProQuest portal in Boulder. After opening it, I realized Boulder Public Library now offers the same at home service for patrons Denver has offered for years. I have no idea when it was added to the Boulder Public Library repertoire. How nice. When I go online with Denver Public Library, I stay focused, go directly to NEWSBANK or whatever service I need, I look something up, I get out. Yesterday, I delved into Heritage Quest, investigated what was new or old. Translated I surfed around, random searches, no plan, no time contraints because it was a snow day….
Heritage Quest Book Searches – City Directories
Heritage Quest’s census indexes came from the Precision Indexes instead of the AIG indexes, and they were better. The old indexes were for the head of the household not an everyname index, but the work was so carefully done that it was a better source. Not as good as an everyname index done carefully, but still a huge difference from the old books.
I had forgotten how much I like the out of print books Heritage Quest Online has scanned and indexed. In addition to lots of out of print, hard to find genealogies, various and sundry county histories published in the late 1800s, there seem to be a curious section of city diretories. City directories are valuable because of the pure volume of people in any city.
A small random sample cities for which directories were scanned and indexed by HeritageQuest:
- Phoenix, Arizona
- Louisville, Kentucky
- Baltimore, Maryland
- Bay City, Michigan
- Chester, Pennsylvania
An example from page 142, Boyd’s Directory of Delaware Co., Pa, 1897-1898.
After entering the website, go to the Books link instead of the Census link. In the Books link, add a name or surname to the People box and the city and state to the place box. In addition to the city directories there may be some other good hits, a genealogy or a mug book also known as the Historical and Biographical Directory of Any Cool County, Any Known State with memoirs of really important citizens…. etc. etc.
I strongly recommend checking your local library’s website to see if you can access this series of databases from home. Another way to check would be on the Encyclopedia of Genealogy website, HeritageQuestOnline entry. There are five links, dividing the states alphabetically, referring to remote in-home access at the end of the page. I do not know how up to date these lists are. Your local library’s website should be the most current option.
There is also a selection of city directories available on Ancestry, a topic for another day.