Ancestry has Biddeford-Saco City Directories, you know.

Did you know this? I didn’t, until I came across it while doing a search a week or so ago. So I figured I ought to check it out and see just what they have to offer…and folks, it’s pretty good.

At first I thought perhaps it was just transcriptions of the books, until I dug around a bit. Not that transcriptions aren’t great, but we all know that people (and optical character recognition software) can’t help but make mistakes, and that can mess with your search results. So it’s nice to be able to look at the page yourself, just in case. I managed to locate the place where you can pull up directories by year, and browse through the entire issue. There are a couple ways to get there.

THE LONG WAY:

  • Go to Ancestry.com HOME PAGE
  • Go to CARD CATALOG
  • Go to collection list on left, look for SCHOOLS, DIRECTORIES & CHURCH HISTORIES
  • Go to CITY & AREA DIRECTORIES
  • Look for “U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989” in the list of titles in the middle of the screen.  Click on it to open.

THE SHORT WAY:

  • Go to Ancestry.com HOME PAGE
  • Click on SEARCH and select CARD CATALOG
  • Type in “U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989” to pull it up, then click on it to open.

Once you get there, you can either search for someone specific, or browse whole editions. If browsing, select which year you want in the search box on the right hand side. [NOTE: You’ll first need to tell it you’re looking in MAINE, then either BIDDEFORD or SACO. *SACO will pull up the 1849 Directory (the first one); all the rest are listed under BIDDEFORD.*] When you’ve clicked on the year you want in the drop-down, you will then be able to browse page by page, including advertisements and other interesting information found in these wonderful little research gems.

Finally, don’t forget: if you don’t have your own subscription to Ancestry, you can come into the library and use it for FREE! You can access it on our public computers, or bring in your laptop and search via our Wifi. As long as you are using the library’s IP address (which, if you’re using our Wifi, you will be) you’ll be able to get onto Ancestry via MARVEL. **Library staff will by happy to help you navigate there.**

I’m putting a list of the Directories available on Ancestry up in the Catablog in the “Electronic Texts” section, just for reference. Happy Researching!

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