search strategies

28 Aug 2015

Finding Old U.S. Newspapers

Interested in finding old U.S. Newspapers by state and for free?
From 1982 to 2011, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) funded the United States Newspaper Program (USNP) to locate, catalog, and preserve on microfilm newspapers published in the United States from the eighteenth century to the present.
The USNP supported projects in each of the fifty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Each project was conducted by a single organization within a state or territory, usually the state’s largest newspaper repository. Project’s staff inventoried holdings in public libraries, county courthouses, newspaper offices, historical museums, college and university libraries, archives, and historical societies. Catalog records were entered into WorldCat. Microfilm copies of USNP newspapers are generally available to researchers anywhere in the country through interlibrary loan.
I’ve included the dollar amount of each state project, to reinforce the reality that access to information always requires funding. The dollar amount includes funds for planning, implementation, and continuation of multi-stage projects. The list provides the approximate number of titles and newspaper pages that were cataloged and microfilmed.

I’ve also included the lead agency in each state with URLs for their newspaper project Web sites. Please note, however, that not all institutions maintain a Web site specifically for their USNP projects.

(The links are current but if you find a dead one, use the comments section to let me know.)

Work continues to digitize selected United States newspapers through the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), in partnership with the Library of Congress. To view the NDNP digital resources at the Library of Congress, go to Chronicling America at http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/.

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ALABAMA

The Alabama Coalition for the Preservation of Newspapers (CPAN) was responsible for the production of over 19.6 million pages of newspaper microfilm in the state. The Alabama Department of Archives and History serves as the repository for CPAN master microfilm produced using NEH USNP grant funds as well as the microfilm members continued to produce after the end of the project. The project received $571,563 in NEH support.

Alabama Department of Archives and History

Web site: http://www.archives.alabama.gov/newsmicro/search.cfm

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ALASKA

The project has microfilmed 100,000 pages of such papers as the Forty-Ninth Star and the Esquimaux, an 1866 newspaper for men laying Western Union’s overland line. Included are handwritten newspapers from before the U.S. purchase of Alaska. The project received $650,190 in NEH support.

Alaska State Library

Web site: http://library.state.ak.us/hist/newspaper/newspaper.html

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ARIZONA

The Arizona project has microfilmed over 1,212,881 pages of newsprint from 57 towns in all 15 counties of the state. Titles preserved include the Williams News, the Arizona Record, the Copper Era, and El Sol. Holdings are searchable online by title, city, county, and subject. The project received $1,033,226 in NEH support.

Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records

Web site: http://adnp.azlibrary.gov/cdm/otherresources/

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6 Aug 2015

Genealogy Gophers

Genealogy Gophers is my new favorite site. It’s a data aggregator that searches 80,000 digitized genealogy books by name and returns search results to you free of charge.
In the example above, I searched for my GG-grandfather, Hans Loe. Searching for Hans’s family is tricky because his birth patronymic was Christensen but his American surname (based on his Norwegian farm name) was Loe.

Genealogy Gophers sidestepped these details and delivered a screen full of results, mostly based in England. But the top hit was for a book in the Family History Library in SLC for a location in Norway called Eker [Eiker]. The title was distorted a bit by Genealogy Gophers not handling diacriticals very well. But a visit to WorldCat revealed that this book is titled A Genealogy of the Loe and Hoen Families from Østre Aker (Eker), Oslo City, Norway, Who Are Descendants of Hans Børgesen Loe Born in 1616. This title was written […]

25 Jul 2015

Social Security Applications and Claims Index

Ancestry has added a great new database with 49 million records for researchers working in 20th- and early-21st-century America: U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. Entries in this database tend to have more information than the death index, including the following:

Applicant’s full name

SSN (included if the person is deceased more than 10 years; otherwise Ancestry suppresses this data)

Date and place of birth

Citizenship

Sex

Father’s first and surname

Mother’s first and maiden name

Race/ethnic description (optional)

The best part of this database is that it often notes name changes, usually for marriages, making it invaluable for researching women in your tree who may have had multiple spouses.

In the example above, I’ve blurred surnames and some other information. (This ancestor has been deceased for more than 20 years but since she didn’t get to volunteer for my blog, I’m respectful of her privacy.) In the notes field at bottom are indications of two marriages along […]

4 May 2015

Primary Source Analysis Tool

The Primary Source Analysis Tool is a creation of the Library of Congress that can help your genealogy research.
LC’s Primary Source Analysis Tool was originally designed to help teachers enliven history for their students using historical documents. The exercises built into the Primary Source Analysis Tool can also be helpful for genealogy research, encouraging you to look at family primary source photos or documents with a fresh perspective.

For genealogical purposes, it helps to use the Primary Source Analysis Tool on your family primary sources with other genealogist friends or groups. Or you can think of yourself as both the teacher and the student as you work through the questions.

The Library of Congress exercise is as follows:

Using Primary Sources
Primary sources are the raw materials of history — original documents and objects which were created at the time under study. They are different from secondary sources, accounts or interpretations of events created by […]