Monday, February 2, 2009

Fun with Footnote

Previously, we explored online city directories from and HeritageQuest. Ancestry requires a paid subscription. Although it may be available for free at your local library. HeritageQuest can be accessed from home using a library card.

The site is a subscription service that may be available at one of your local Family History Centers that we discussed in "Oh Pioneers". FootNote has many records worth exploring. They have a large number of city directories that are searchable. If we wanted to, we could go to the Baltimore directories and track the movements of Babe Ruth's father all the way up to 1909.

We will show how this can be done for free with just a little bit of work.

On the main page of, click on the small link to the right that says "See all titles". Then click on Browse". We then select "News and Town Records" from the left column. Then select "City Directories" followed by "Maryland" and "Baltimore City". At this point we can type a search name or address and all Baltimore City Directories will be searched at once. For this exercise we go to the rightmost column and tab over until we select 1905.

We first type "Ruth Geo" in the search field with the quotes included. If we did not have the quotes, then every page with either Ruth or Geo would be shown. We press the GO button and we are shown two pages. The first page is titled "1905 >> Ruth, Edwrd F H (p 1460)". If we try to view the image, it gives us a message requesting a membership. Close the membership window.

Instead we click on the Quick Look link. It brings up the image that appears to the right of this paragraph. Click on it to enlarge. The image is too small to read. However there are several yellow shaded boxes. If we highlight one of the yellow boxes we see an enlargement of that area. Click on the image that appears to the right.

We notice that it only shows "Ruth Geo H". It does not show his occupation or address. Let us play around with the search terms.

We went back to the search page and enter "Ruth Geo" H (The H is outside of the quotes). When we do a "Quick Look" many yellow boxes have appeared in addition to the original ones. Click on the image to the right.

Looking back to the original yellow boxes we see some H's are highlight on the line for George Ruth and one above his name. Click on the image to the right. We can make out the line below the "H" for George Ruth that says "barkpr, 527 e".

Using the lines above and below George's entry we can select enough text to search that gives the image to the right. Using all the images we come up with the entry "Ruth Geo, barkpr 527 e Clement". That was a bit of work but it was free.


Copyright 2008,2009 BabeRuthGenealogy

Update: 04 March 2010 no longer allows multiple search terms for the free "Quick Look". If you want to view old city directories, go to a library that has installed and do a full search. Another good alternative is It has many city directories and may be searched from a home computer.