14 Aug 2016

Chronicling America Additions August 2016

Alaska, Colorado, Maine, and New Jersey are the Chronicling America additions August 2016.

The four new partners are the Alaska Division of Libraries, Archives, and Museums; the Colorado Historical Society; the Maine State Library, and Rutgers University in New Jersey.

Forty-three states and one territory are now participating in the program. NEH is now approaching its goal of representing every state and U.S. territory in Chronicling America, the open access database of historic American newspapers maintained by the Library of Congress.

Additional NEH awards have also been made to Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, South Dakota, and Texas partners to continue their contributions to Chronicling America.  More about all of the awards issued by NEH are available in August’s press release.

The National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) is a partnership between NEH, the Library of Congress, and state partners.  NEH awards enable state partners to choose and digitize newspapers representing their historical, cultural, and geographic diversity.  […]

13 Apr 2016

True Love and Family History

Today, a story from the front page of the Chicago Tribune on true love and genealogy for three two people in my family tree.

Frederick Jellison did indeed forsake his family fortune and eloped over the state line with his chosen bride, Anna Grant. Anna was a milliner and the daughter of Irish-born Roman Catholics and apparently unsuitable to the archetypal rich uncle and mean sisters.
After their marriage on 14 Aug 1907 in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Frederick and Anna returned to Chicago. In the 1910 census, they are living with their first-born and Anna’s parents in Chicago. A son was born and Frederick progressed in his career and made his own living.

On 22 Feb 1917, Anna Grant Jellison died at the age of 33, just short of ten years after her marriage to Frederick.

When Frederick died in Washington, DC, on a business trip in 1945, his obituary noted he was the “beloved husband of the late […]

19 Mar 2016

Why We Do Genealogy

How many times have you been asked why we do genealogy?
Back when I was a working archivist-librarian, the bosses who held the pursestrings would ask me why we should even bother with all that old stuff. After all, it was so expensive to take care of and nobody really cared about those dusty old archives. My immediate, though internal, answer was always, “How can you not care about history?”

None of my grad school classes in history or library science prepared me to justify archival preservation, research, or outreach, especially to bosses who had never done primary-source research themselves. Eventually I figured out ways (with more or less success) to make preservation and access to the historical records in my care palatable to administrators who only had eyes on the bottom line.

A few years ago, I posted about a visit to the Tenement Museum, one of the best historical museums anywhere.

I have eight great-grandparents […]

7 Feb 2016

Saving Historic Newspapers

Today’s post is about the sleuthing librarians and archivists do when finding, sharing, and saving historic newspapers.

I’ve written before about the joint NEH-Library of Congress project, Chronicling America, which offers free digitized historic newspapers from many U.S. states. But it’s easy to overlook the work being done to compile the U.S. Newspaper Directory 1690-Present, a database locating existing copies of newspapers in repositories throughout the United States. The U.S. Newspaper Directory 1690-Present is part of the Chronicling America site, but it’s not too obvious either that it exists or what it can do for your research.

Because this directory contains a list of virtually all of the newspapers published in America since 1690 compiled by LC librarians, it helps you identify what titles exist for a specific place and time, and how to access these newspapers. (Not all of them are digitized yet, of course, but the directory will tell you which repositories hold the newspaper in question.) At this […]