Fold3 (formally known as Footnote) has a distinct focus on military records but also has a range of other document types including Naturalization, Native American, African American, city directories, digital historic newspapers, limited census information and others. It should be on the list if must visit websites. Fold3 is a pay-for service but it is highly likely that you can access it free while visiting your local library or through the web using your library card number.
Fold 3 via County Library – In Cleveland Fold3 is available through the Cuyahoga County Library website using a library card and pin number.
Once on the library main screen select Research and then Genealogy Research. That will bring up the Genealogy page which has a link for Premium Genealogy Electronic Resources which has a link to Fold3. At that point you will enter your library card number and pin. I use my Cleveland Public Library card and this single step link to get to Fold3 via Cuyahoga County Library.
Fold3 Introduction – Fold3 has a unique approach as to how information is organized and an introductory tour worth checking out.
Footnote has very few options within the preliminary search screen. Not to worry, it is great once you get to the second set of screens. On the initial Fold3 screen select Person and then enter the first and last name and press search.
Alternatively, you can select Option which then enables you to enter a date range and state.
Once you press search the results page will come up and from there you can refine the results by either category (on the left side) or by location by selecting a state.
City Directory – Fold3 – search-by-name On the Fold3 home page, enter the first and last name and press search. On the left side of the search results then refine your search by selecting city directories and your desired state. If searching by first and last name does not produce results try re-running again just the last name and leaving the first name blank. City directories display the information using different methods and you will not always find the first and last name on the same row. For example, some list last name then comma and first name on each row (Smith, Mary) whereas others may list Smith one time and then for each row they just printed first name. If this is the case you cannot directly find Mary Smith, you instead need to find the page where Smith starts and look for Mary. Fold3 has Cleveland City directories from 1861 to 1923.
City Directory – Fold3 – browse-by-year Browsing by year has certain advantages. As mentioned above, depending on the style of city directory, the first and last name may be separated making a traditional search unreliable. On the Fold3 home page, select City Directory and then select Browse and then select a city and a year.