On Day 30 of Family History Month, use the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) for genealogy searches. It’s free, regardless of where you live, and has more than 45 million items coming from over 2,000 institutions. DPLA doesn’t host the original collections but it helps you find collections and then points you to the hosting institution.
SEARCHING AT DPLA
At DPLA, you type a query in the “Search the Library” window, then look through the results page and select which item you wish to view and you’ll be taken to the hosting institution.
It’s an easy way to search multiple institutions at once and have the best chance of returning a “hit.”
You can filter your searches in many ways. Here I searched for “City Directories” and I’ll have the option to refine my search.
DPLA found more than 120,000 City Directories (a pretty broad search) and on the left column some ways to refine this search include:
Location (City Directories from New York for example)
Partner (this filter searches by which partner accessed and shared the collection)
Type (text, image, etc)
Date (helpful to specify the date range that interests you)