16 Mar 2010
I have seen several instances of Dick Eastman's mention of the Wayback Machine or Internet Archives. WOW! Ancestry.com's website sure was plain back in 1997. But then, so were most websites during that time. I didn't know until I reviewed one of Dick's posts again that The Internet Archive Wayback was named after the Mr Peabody and Sherman cartoon WABAC (time) Machine. Besides being an Internet Archive of web pages, the Internet Archives also is a search engine for documents, books and images.
Do you use the Internet Archives for your genealogy research? You should at least try it. I have seen on so many blogs and forums, that people have brick walls in places like New York during certain time periods. Today I saw a NY City Directory for 1786. My point is that you will never know what you find in the Internet Archives until you look. And since it is one of those sites that are frequently being updated, you will want to check back often. For example, using city directories and phone directories, I will soon be able to determine within one to three years when did my uncles move to Pittsburgh and to Cleveland.
Other directories I saw today are Manhattan 1906, Wooster and Wayne County, Ohio directory for 1900.
As I mentioned before, you do want to check back. Today while I was browsing around the Wayback, I saw a 1946 Pittsburgh phone directory. That is no big event, except that I was there in December searching for Pittsburgh city and phone directories and missed the 1946 even though I found the 1951. So in addition to checking often, you want to try various sort strategies. That's probably why I missed 1946 in December. See for yourself. Search for text between [ ]. [pittsburgh phone directory] shows results with only the 1946 directory but [pittsburgh telephone directory] shows you 1936, 1946 and 1951 telephone directories for Pittsburgh.
You can reach the Internet Archive Wayback machine by going to http://www.archive.org or to http://www.waybackmachine.org
Something I noticed while browsing around the Internet Archives to write this post is that they have kindle output for some of the content. If you have a kindle or thinking to get one, you may keep an eye on this site.
Note: I actually wrote this article in March to go with the Wordless Wednesday for 17 March 2010.