Using Ancestry.com's City Directory Collection. It was difficult to navigate and the directories were not always in files for specific years.
In the right column is the Browse area. I clicked on "State" and there were listings for California, Connecticut, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas. For each state, there are listings for the cities covered. Once the user has selected the city of interest, the user can click on the "Year" down arrow and see the directory years available.
I wanted to see what listings they had for my Carringer family in San Diego, so I decided to Search instead of Browse the collection. I entered "carringer" in the last name field above, chose "San Diego County, California" from the "Lived In" dropdown menu, and made sure all settings were "Exact." I clicked on the "Search" button:
There were 97 entries in the results list, dating from 1897. I clicked on the entry for "David J. Carringer" in 1901 and saw the record summary page:
David J. Carringer resided at Horton and Ella in San Diego, and was a "rancher" according to the indexed information.
I clicked on the "View original image" link and saw the page image for David J. Carringer:
There are three Carringers listed on the right-hand page in this image - David J. Carringer, but also H. A. Carringer, a millman at Russ L. & M. Co., owning a home at 30th and Watkins; and also Harvey E. Carringer, a photogr., residing at Horton and Ella.
From this screen, I can also navigate to browse a directory for another year by clicking on the "San Diego" link in the line above the green menu bar. I can then see the years available for San Diego: