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From the Green Valley News, Sunday 2 December 2007, page B9

Genealogy Today, by Betty Malesky

Newspapers to the Rescue (Part II)

Historic newspapers hold hidden treasures for family researchers. The secret is finding the information when we donít know where it may be hiding. Several newspaper databases available on the Internet simplify the task somewhat. Most are subscription sites, however, so be prepared to spend a little money to facilitate your search. advertises over 103 million articles, obituaries, marriage notices, birth announcements and other items published in more than 500,000 issues of over 2,200 historical U.S. newspapers. This is just a drop in the bucket of total U.S. output, but they are continually adding new material. Their search engine works fairly well, with an advanced search available to narrow the field by date, location and keyword. Many papers date back to the 1790s. Take advantage of a monthly subscription for $19.95 or the 1-year special rate of $69.95.

An individual subscription to is $12.50/month billed quarterly. You can browse available newspapers by state and date to determine whether the one(s) you need are offered. At the Godfrey Library features several newspaper databases including, however it is available only with premium subscriptions priced at either $65 or $110 per year.

Ancestry.comís U.S. records subscription costs $149.95 annually and includes a newspaper database. As usual with Ancestry, the indexing handicaps finding entries. Newspapers are arranged by state. The most effective search is often using surname plus the state name or selected papers in the state of residence. The Ancestry library of titles is impressive, but they may have just a few issues for any one title rather than the publicationís entire history.

Pima County Public Library provides access to NewsBank, a database of over 500 U.S. newspapers primarily from the 1990s to current, handy for locating more recent obituaries.

Many early newspapers have been microfilmed and are available by interlibrary loan (ILL) from the local or state library or the state archives where they were originally published. Try a Google search for "microfilm newspapers" plus the "state" for area of interest. The Ohio Historical Society Archives/Library, for instance, contains a collection of 4,500 Ohio newspaper titles on nearly 48,000 rolls of microfilm. Most of the films may be borrowed by ILL.

Over the next 20 years, the Library of Congress (LC) in cooperation with the National Endowment for the Humanities plans to create a national, digital resource of historically significant newspapers published in all states and U.S. territories between 1836 and 1922. The searchable database maintained at the (LC) will be freely accessible via the Internet. Currently, newspaper pages from 1900 to 1910 for the states of California, District of Columbia, Florida, Kentucky, New York, Utah, and Virginia are available. At an online directory lists all newspapers published in the U.S. since 1690.

A historic newspaper may hold the answer to one of your long-standing brick wall problems. Locate the newspapers published where your family lived. Even if you donít find your ancestorsí names, you will learn more about how they lived reading the news of their time.

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