Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Newspaper Articles

From birth and wedding announcements, to obituaries, newspapers can be a treasure trove of very personal information about our relatives and ancestors. How many of you regularly use newspapers in your genealogical research?

But you don't want to limit your research to vital record information. I have found bowling scores, accident reports, election campaign information, servicemen's promotions & schools, and a death notice  that described my great great grandfather as quite the storyteller.
Ironton Register March 9, 1899

Until the last couple of decades, researching family in newspapers was not easy. It involved tracking down who, if anyone, had old copies of newspapers. Luckily, starting in the 1970's many areas starting microfilming their old newspapers.

But you still had to track down who had the microfilm and then drive to the repository to use clunky old machines to view the papers. And then, the HORROR! Most newspapers had no indexing system!

Then, in the 90's, the Internet exploded and between online databases and digitization we now have unprecedented access to newspaper articles.

Here's a run down of some of the top newspaper cites and how to access them!

  1. Chronicling America  from the Library of Congress
    covering newspapers from 1836-1922, it is not a complete digitization of any one newspaper, but a sampling of newspapers from across the country. For example, the Medina County Sentinel 1914-1921 is there. Generally, it does not do large city newspapers, but is great for small and medium sized towns.  Access is free. 

The Medina County District Library system has access to several online newspapers sources. From the library's web site, go under Your Library 24/7, choose Online Resources. On the next window, Choose CLEVNET, then Newspaper Articles. From home, you will have to enter your library card number and password.

    2. Cleveland News Index - lists citation information for the Plain Dealer (1983-1999), Cleveland Magazine (1983-present) Northern Ohio Live (1990-2009) and Ohio Magazine (1990-present). Obituaries from the Plain Dealer & the Cleveland Press are included from 1976- present. For obituaries prior to 1976, see the Cleveland Necrology File.

  3. Newspaper Source - has full text articles for over 40 U.S. & international papers from 1997 to the present.

If you get a library card from a Cleveland Public Library, you get additional access to a number of other newspaper databases, including:

(Though you are supposed to have a Cleveland library card in order to access these databases, I have accessed several of them from inside the Medina library.)

4. 19th Century British Library Newspapers from holdings of the British Library.

5. 19th Century U.S. Newspapers from over 500 newspapers.

6. Historical Plain Dealer  includes digital images of the Plain Dealer from 1845 through 1991. It is great if you have had any relatives in the Cleveland area.

7. Historical New York Times covering 1851-2007. Again, great if you have had relatives in New York City, but also to give you background information on historic events, like the sinking of the Titanic.

8. Cleveland Call and Post Cleveland's African-American newspaper, 1934-1991. This will help anyone doing African American research, as this minority was chronically under-reported in the major newspapers.. 19th Century U.S. Newspapers

9. British Newspapers 1600-1900 from the 16th & 17th Century Burney Collection and the 19th Century British Library newspaper collections

10. Newsbank - Ohio Newspapers - full access to most major Ohio newspapers

11. The Times (London) Digital Archive 1785-2006 221 years of one of the world's most prestigious newspapers.

Cuyahoga County Public Library also provides access to some of the above databases in addition to the one below. Driving to Strongsville to get a CCPL card is not too much to ask to get access to these resources:

12. America's Obituaries & Death Notices  accesses obituaries in over 700 U.S. newspapers since the 1980's.

But my FAVORITE newspaper database to use is from the Akron Summit County Public Library. It is available under their database link, and under the genealogy category. It is called:

 Why do I like this one? It does the smaller, more rural newspapers from the areas where my ancestors lived.

Places like Gallipolis, and Ironton, Ohio. And oh, yes! They have some of the Medina County Gazette and Medina Sentinel digitized also.

So, go start digging around in some newspapers and learn what is there for you discover!


And, you're welcome!


Anonymous said...

Very good post! It's awesome to see where we can access!

Lisa said...

Awesome information! Thank you Kathy.

Wendy said...

What a great resource! Thanks for posting.