A new page for beginners

Are you a new user of There’s now a special page for beginners.

View it here, and see these sections:

— Discover who you are: Find and organize your family history

— Discover through history: See Footnote’s documents online.

— Start by searching for your name among the 63 million-plus documents.

— Are you related? Start a Footnote ancestor page for your family.

— What do others know? Share the page you’ve created at Footnote on Facebook.

There’s new Footnote content to search:

— Naturalization Records: Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania
— City Directories: Des Moines, Indianapolis
— Civil War Union Soldier Service Records: Nebraska, Arkansas, Colored Troops
— Homestead Records: Nebraska
— Texas Death Certificates: more than 3 million images
— Final Payment Vouchers Index for Military Pensions, 1818-1864

And do check out the new enhanced image viewer.

Florida: Genealogy beyond the Internet, April 14

Genealogy beyond the Internet is the program at the next meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Palm Beach County on Wednesday, April 14.

The meeting runs from 12.30-3pm, with a brick wall session, business meeting and main program, at the South County Civic Center, Delray Beach. Members are free; others, $5. SIG groups for Hungary and Ukraine will meet from 11.30am-12.15pm.

Mark Jacobson, Jerry Naditch and Dennis Rice will present the main program, as they discuss genealogy resources not generally available online.

Researchers tend to forget that genealogists discovered useful sources of information well before the internet existed!

The presentation will focus on several “hard copy” resources such as: vital records, grave markers, published obituaries, city directories and Social Security applications.

The speakers will demonstrate examples of source material; how and where to obtain it. They will review resources of the Family History Centers (FHC), sponsored by the Mormon Church.

Many valuable genealogical documents are available only on microfilm, which can often be ordered and read at the Boca Raton Family History Library and other Palm Beach County sites.

Submit questions in advance for the Brick Wall program.

For more information, visit the JGS of Palm Beach County.

Footnote: Free census access … for awhile! is making all of its US census documents accessible for free for a limited time.

No end date was announced, and the Interactive Census Collection is available to all after a simple registration.

According to, this collection provides a unique ability to connect people related to ancestors found on the historical documents. By clicking the “I’m Related” button for a name on the document will identify you as a descendant and also list others that have done the same.

Click here to get started, and you too may find a record bearing an ancestor’s name and your own personal connection to the past.

Interactive tools on Footnote allow viewers to enhance documents and add photos, stories, comments and other records.

Each contribution from a Footnote member means that people can find each other and connect to exchange information about their mutual ancestors.

Footnote CEO Russell Wilding says, “TV programs including ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ on NBC and ‘Faces of America’ on PBS will surely increase the interest in family history in the United States.”

He believes that the interactive census collection is a great way to get started for newcomers to family history research.

If you haven’t checked out recently, there are now 63 million historical records, including military documents, historical newspapers, city directories and naturalization records.

Check out the census collection for free now – you just might find some interesting connections!

Florida: When Leopold Met Lena, Feb. 10

Looking for juicy scandal from old court records and historic newspapers?

“When Leopold Met Lena” isn’t exactly like “When Harry Met Sally,” but will offer many scandalous details from old documents and records – from the old country to the New World – at the next meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Palm Beach County (JGSPBCI).

The program, presented by Pamela Weisberger of Los Angeles, will be held at the South County Civic Center in Delray Beach on Wednesday, February 10.

The JGSPBCI event begins at 12.30pm with a brick wall session, followed by a business meeting and the main program. SIGs (Galicia and Ukraine) will meet prior to the main program, Pamela will also be the Galicia SIG speaker.

“When Leopold Met Lena: Marriage, Divorce and Deception in 1892 New York” will be brought to life with court records, newspapers and other resources as the fascinating story unfolds.

From Czestochowa, Poland to Austria and to Manhattan ‘s Lower East Side and Little Rock , Arkansas, the tumultuous, romantic and litigious world of our immigrant ancestors unfolds as she demonstrates how present-day genealogical research is used to solve 19th-century mysteries.

Pam has documented her family’s history for more than 20 years, traveling through Eastern Europe visiting ancestral towns and villages and conducting research in Polish, Ukrainian and Hungarian archives.

One of her special interests is late-19th to early-20th century city directories, newspapers and court records.

She is a co-chair of JGSLA 2010 (the 30th edition of the IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy), set for July 11-16, in Los Angeles. Her other “hats” include JGSLA program chair, Gesher Galicia president/research coordinator, and has produced two documentaries.

She holds a BA in English (Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri) and an MS in Broadcasting (Boston University).

Fee: JGSPBCI members, free; others, $5.

For directions and more information, see the JGSBCI site.

Pittsburgh: 125 city directories online!

Searching for relatives who lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania? Here’s a collection of 125 directories dated 1815-1945.

The directory collection is “Historic Pittsburgh City Directories,” in the University of Pittsburgh’s Digital Research Library. Thanks to ResearchBuzz for this head’s-up.

Search parameters: simple keyword (even an occupation) or advanced search; author or title. Results show which city directories contain the keyword and a count of how many hits in that specific directory. Click on “results detail,” learn more about the specific directory and see the lines that matched your search.

You can also explore the community for that directory. Click on “Table of Contents,” and see that directory’s contents, including maps and advertisements. Click on those items and link to other pages.

Save images of pages of interest with a mouse right-click. While ResearchBuzz noted the option to view the page as an image or PDF, it didn’t seem to work properly.

While ResearchBuzz did sample searches for SMITH and “clockmaker,” Tracing the Tribe used a surname (COHEN/COHN) and keywords that might be more useful to our readers.

Here’s one of the useful titles for Tracing the Tribe’s readers:

The Pittsburgh Jewish community book; comprising the names and addresses of members and the history of Jewish organizations, also a history of the Jewish community of Pittsburgh. Publication Info: Pittsburgh, Pa., Jewish criterion, [c1917]-

A general search for COHEN produced 98 hits in the following resources (adding COHN produced more):

Wiggins’ directory of Greensburg and Westmoreland County for 1890-91 containing, in alphabetical order, the names, occupations and residences of the inhabitants of Greensburg, also of a list of the taxpayers in the township, giving the assessed value of real estate and personal property.

Harris’ Pittsburgh business directory for the year 1837 : including the names of all the merchants, manufacturers, mechanics, professional, men of business of Pittsburgh and its vicinity.

1920 The Pittsburgh social secretaire.

1917 The Pittsburgh Jewish community book; comprising the names and addresses of members and the history of Jewish organizations, also a history of the Jewish community of Pittsburgh.

1898 Directory of all business and professional men and official guide of Beaver County, Penn’a. : together with a complete map.

1913-17 Directory of the philanthropic, charitable, and civic agencies of the city of Pittsburgh. Vol. 1

Directory of Pittsburgh and Allegheny cities, 1864-1865.

The Pittsburgh and Allegheny blue book, 1895, Vol. 9.

Pittsburgh Allegheny business directory, 1875-6 : containing a complete classified and alphabetically arranged list of the business houses of the cities and adjacent boroughs

1878 A confidential business report of Pittsburgh and Allegheny.
Author: Business Men’s Protective Association.

Directory of Homestead Borough, West Homestead Borough, Munhall Borough 1902

Directory of Pittsburgh and Allegheny cities … 1861-2 through 1895 (not a complete series)

1850 The Pennsylvania business state directory: containing the names of professional men, mercantile firms, and manufacturing establishments, together with all the courts, post offices, public institutions, banks, corporations, companies, hotels, associations, & c. & c., throughtout the state, also the principal firms of the city of Cincinnatti, Ohio, and Baltimore, Maryland ;

1854-5 Ulman’s Pennsylvania business directory and eastern, western, and southern circular : for the year 1854-5,

c1880 Watson & Co.’s classified business directory of Pittsburgh, Allegheny, and prominent towns within a radius of forty miles.

Hits for COHEN ranged from one (and also a COHN) in the 1861-62 Pittsburgh and Allegheny City Director, page 55:

There were 17 hits for COHEN (and a few COHN) on several pages in the 1869-70 book. On page 101, see:

Scrolling through more recent books, numbers rise with the growth of the Jewish community in the city and surrounding areas.

On the Historic Pittsburgh site, there are top tabs for Full Text, Maps, Images, Finding Aids, Census, Chronology and the HSWP Catalog. Under Images, find more than 13,000 historic photographs in 44 collections, including the recently added 27-image Hebrew Institute Collection (1915-1970).

Read more here.

Footnote: Holocaust Collection, updates

A friendly reminder that the new Holocaust Collection at is still available – no charge – through the end of October.

Do check out the records. You might find excellent information. For more information on the collection, read Tracing the Tribe’s post on it. And read Tyler’s post on the Footnote blog.

Tracing the Tribe has written additional posts focusing on Just enter “” in the blog search box and learn about other features.

Additionally, Tracing the Tribe has located various Jewish records in other Footnote collections. such as Civil War Widows’ Pensions and Southern Claims Commission. If your family roots are Civil War-era Southern US, you may be in for a surprise or two. is always adding new items. Some of the new updates include city directories for Baltimore, Boston, Brooklyn, Buffalo, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Fort Wayne, Los Angeles, Louisville, New Orleans, New York, Newark, St. Louis and San Francisco.

City directories help you trace your relatives as they moved around in one city, and may even help you pick up the trail in other cities. I found Philadelphia relatives who disappeared in that city and were later rediscovered, to my amazement, in Baltimore.

Randy Seaver offered two excellent posts at on searching at His technology posts, analysis and explanations of “the tricks of the trade” are priceless; I always learn something new.

Friday, October 16:
Using Wild Cards for Searches

Thursday, October 15:
Learning new Search Tricks

Check out’s offerings now. New resources added

This week, added some interesting new resources.

The US City Directories database has been supplemented by some 50 million names in 1,100 city directories from 45 states and Washington, DC. This includes directories around the year 1890. and the collection’s high quality grayscale images offered are clearer than images in previous collections.

City directories are very important assets in tracking ancestors. You may be surprised at what you can find in these valuable resources. Even better, Ancestry plans to add thousands of additional directories over the next few months. Search this database here.

For more on the new directories, see Chris Lydiksen’s blog post here.

The website has also added to its US military collections. U.S. military collections:

U.S. Military and Naval Academy Registers, 1805–1908;
U.S. Navy Pensions Index, 1861–1910;
Index to General Correspondence of the Record and Pension Office.

The International Collection has also benefited with new or updated databases:

Värmland, Sweden, Parish Records, 1661-1895 (Swedish);
UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919;
– as well as three groupings of Croatia records (christenings, marriages and deaths).

View the complete list of recently added databases (a few months of additions) here.