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Using Newspapers in Your Research

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Using Newspapers in Your Research

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In this program, we will explore how to use newspapers more effectively to research family history.  Using newspaper columns, obituaries, death notices, and articles, you can better piece together family ties during times when other types of records did not exist. Newspaper digitization is a new technology that we will discuss, as well. The Indiana State Library has the world’s largest collection of Indiana newspapers. If you would like to find out how to utilize this vast collection to help with your research, plan to attend this webinar.

In this program, we will explore how to use newspapers more effectively to research family history.  Using newspaper columns, obituaries, death notices, and articles, you can better piece together family ties during times when other types of records did not exist. Newspaper digitization is a new technology that we will discuss, as well. The Indiana State Library has the world’s largest collection of Indiana newspapers. If you would like to find out how to utilize this vast collection to help with your research, plan to attend this webinar.

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Using Newspapers in Your Research

  1. 1. USING NEWSPAPERS IN YOUR FAMILY HISTORY RESEARCH Presented by Leigh Anne Johnson Indiana Division Newspaper Librarian Indiana State Library
  2. 2. TYPICAL USES FOR NEWSPAPERS IN RESEARCH Obituaries and death notices Articles Vital Records columns
  3. 3. ADDITIONAL USES Anniversary, engagement, and wedding announcements Legal notices Society columns Local news columns Photographs Articles related to current local and national events Advertisements for stores or businesses
  4. 4. PHOTOGRAPHS Surprising FindsSurprising Finds
  5. 5. ANNIVERS ARY
  6. 6. LOCAL NEWS COLUMN FROM BLOOMINGTONTELEPHONE MARCH 8, 1889 -Hospital news -Visiting or relatives in town -New babies -Job news
  7. 7. ADVERTISEM ENTS
  8. 8. STATE AND NATIONAL NEWS
  9. 9. SOCIETY COLUMNS
  10. 10. OBITUARIES AND DEATH NOTICES Usually, obituaries did not appear in newspapers often before the 1920’s There are exceptions, of course From the Lo co m o tive (Indianapolis) August 25, 1849:
  11. 11. PROMINENT CITIZEN IN WEEKLY PAPER Because Mike Sweeney was a State Senator, he was given a full obituary.
  12. 12. INDIANAPOLIS COMMERCIAL
  13. 13. OPTIONS FOR FINDING DEATH DATES Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014- available through Ancestry Library Edition Findagrave.com - photos of grave stones and possible obits Internet search- sometimes leads to newspaper citations or actual obituaries
  14. 14. ISL’S PHOTOGRAPH COLLECTION
  15. 15. ISL ONLINE DATABASES CREATED IN-HOUSE Indianapolis Newspaper Index, 1848-1991 Indiana Biography Index Marion County (Indianapolis) Death Index- from the Indianapolis Commercial Logansport Newspaper Index (1848-1855) New Albany Newspaper Index (1849-1889) Vincennes Newspaper Index (1804-1827) Indiana Marriages 1958-2015 Indiana Cemetery Locator Index
  16. 16. ISL SUBSCRIPTION DATABASES Ancestry Library Edition- the library version of Ancestry.com Genealogists Newspaper Search American Ancestors HeritageQuest NewspaperArchive ProQuest- Indianapo lis Star, 1903-present Fold3 Newspapers.com
  17. 17. DATABASES FROM OTHER LIBRARIES Indiana Genealogy Databases, Indexes, & Internet Resources by Co unty http://www.in.gov/library/3023.htm Example: Vigo County Cemetery and Obituaries  •Vigo County Cemeteries •Wabash Valley Obituary Index Marriage Records  •Marriage Record Database, 1818-1958 •Marriages, 1800-1810 and 1818-1830 Military •Military Index
  18. 18. ADDITIONAL RESOURCES Indiana Newspaper Bibliography by John W. Miller (ISLI O16 M648i) Indiana Bio g raphy Inde x on website or in card catalog Indianapo lis Ne wspape r Inde x, 1 8 48 -1 9 9 1 -on website or in card catalog ISL’s Genealogy Division has a number of Indiana county newspaper indexes within their county collections.
  19. 19. INSPIRE
  20. 20. INSPIRE: A free set of databases for Indiana residents
  21. 21. INSPIRE
  22. 22. INSPIRE- NEWS AND HISTORY HIGHLIGHTS: McClatchy-Tribune Collection 90-day archive of 100 national newspapers Includes the Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune and Sacramento Bee NewspaperSource  Select coverage of about 10 Indiana papers  389 US newspapers HoosierState Chronicles Hundreds of historical (mostly pre -1923) newspaper titles from Indiana- digitized Does have OCR capabilities Now includes the Indianapo lis Ne ws , 1869-1920
  23. 23. HOOSIER STATE CHRONICLES
  24. 24. HOOSIER STATE CHRONICLES
  25. 25. SEARCHING HOOSIER STATE CHRONICLES Hoosier State Chronicles
  26. 26. IF I CAN’T VISIT THE STATE LIBRARY, WHAT CAN I DO TO OBTAIN NEWSPAPER ARTICLES?
  27. 27. REQUESTING ARTICLES Name, date of death or date obit appeared in newspaper, city, and title of newspaper of which you would like us to check. 5.00 per name for obituaries; Other copies $5.00 for 1-10 pages, each additional page, $.50 Articles can be emailed. Invoice sent by email, as well. We can also print out photocopies and mail them with an invoice.
  28. 28. ASK-A-LIBRARIAN
  29. 29. INTERLIBRARY LOAN FROM ISL (THROUGH YOUR LOCAL PUBLIC OR ACADEMIC LIBRARY) Loan up to 5 reels of newspaper microfilm for 6 weeks Arranged by and delivered to your local public library Free for patrons.
  30. 30. NEWSPAPERS ON MICROFILM AT ISL •Indiana County Newspaper Holdings Guides Indiana Newspaper Holdings Guides by County •Newspapers filed by City- A to Z -except Indianapolis •County Collections filed under County Seat- • Example- Hendricks County Collection films will be filed Danville •Original print papers- can be pulled if microfilm not
  31. 31. MICROFILM READERS/SCANNERS
  32. 32. HOURS Monday 8:00am-4:30pm Tuesday 8:00am-4:30pm Wednesday 8:00am- 4:30pm Thursday 8:00am-7:00pm Friday 8:00am-4:30pm Saturday 10:00am-4:00pm Please check our website (www.in.gov/library) for closing information. ISL is closed on all State and most Federal holidays.
  33. 33. QUESTIONS? Don’t forget to check out programs and events at the Indiana State Library! www.in.gov/library
  34. 34. THANK YOU! Leigh Anne Johnson Indiana Division Newspaper Librarian leijohnson@library.in.g ov

Editor's Notes

  • Hello, I am Leigh Anne Johnson. I am the newspaper librarian here at the Indiana State Library. Today I’ll be speaking with you about using Newspapers in your family history research.
  • These are the typical uses for newspaper in research, especially for your family history.
  • Consider these more unusual uses for newspapers in your research.
  • Here is an example of an unusual find. This is from the Greentown Gem newspaper, April 27, 1933, in Howard County. This was scanned into Indiana Memory, a portal to many online digital collections from around Indiana. Here is a listing of high school graduates, with pictures from Greentown High School.
  • This Golden wedding anniversary article is from the Greentown Gem from 1931. This is a great find because all of the couple’s children and grandchildren are listed in the article.
  • This is a local news column from the Bloomington Telephone from March 8, 1889. In this short column, there are several types of information listed including patients admitted to the hospital, people with relatives in town or who are visiting others, people who have new babies or news about jobs.
  • Here are 2 examples of advertisements for local businesses. These are from the Greencastle Herald-Democrat from August 19, 1921. Both ads list the names of the proprietors, and that could be of value to your research.
  • This is part of a large article in the Indianapolis News, October 10, 1918 regarding the spread of influenza throughout Indiana. The article highlights several cities and actions being taken to avoid the spread of the disease.
  • This is a society column from the Richmond Palladium and Sun-Telegram for September 27, 1921. In this column are announcements of parties and weddings that are taking place, and reports of people visiting other people and people coming in from out of town. Baby news is often mentioned in articles such as this. There is a mention in this article of a memorial service that will be taking place and the pertinent details for attending.
  • Searching newspapers for death notices or obituaries in Indiana newspapers can sometimes be challenging. In many cases, Indiana newspapers did not contain death information on the average citizen until well after the turn of the 20th Century. Conversely, other titles contained birth, death and marriage announcements in the 1850’s or before. For example, the Indianapolis Locomotive, a humor and local gossip-based newspaper published death notices such as this one found in the August 25, 1849 edition.
  • Another potential challenge is finding a death listing in a weekly paper. If the person died right after the latest edition of the paper was published, they may not be listed in the next week’s edition, due to other news overshadowing it. If, however, the person for whom you are searching was a prominent citizen of the area, there may be an article such as this one from the Jasper Courier from Jan. 13, 1922. The entire article is two columns long. Because Mike Sweeney had been a State Senator, he was given a large obituary in the newspaper. Unfortunately, this same edition of the paper did not mention any other deaths occurring that week in the Jasper area.
  • As an example of a later newspaper, the Indianapolis Commercial had vital records columns listing the name of the deceased, the date of death, the age of the person, and the cause of death. The Commercial was primarily a business paper, but this column for deaths is very useful to those searching for obituaries. If you find a listing in the Indianapolis Commercial, you will need to choose another Indianapolis newspaper from that time period, such as the Star or News, and look near the date listed in the Commercial for a more detailed death notice or obituary.
    We started this online index with the 1930s since we already have a print death index for Indianapolis 1882-1930 in our collection. The WPA index to deaths in Marion County (Indianapolis) is available in the Genealogy Division of the Indiana State Library.
  • If the death occurred around 1965 up to 2014, you can use the Social Security Death Index, available on Ancestry.com (available to use for free at ISL), in order to find a date and location of death. Sometimes, the SSDI only lists the month and year of death, but at least you will have a place to start. Ancestry.com now has links to findagrave.com, an online database to which volunteers can submit gravestone and cemetery photos and obits. When you are conducting a search on Ancestry.com, sometimes a link to findagrave.com comes up as a result. Check the link to see if either the date of death is carved on the tombstone, or if an obit has been submitted.
    To save yourself added labor, you might try simply entering the person’s name and location of death into a search engine such as Google. Some websites may have free access to obituaries. There may be a citation from a newspaper, as well. Hopefully, your Indiana ancestor will have a detailed obituary that you will be able to easily find. If this is not the case, hopefully at least one of these tips will help.
  • The State Library has a large picture collection, and many of these are from the Indianapolis Star and News. Access to the collection is available in the research room of the Manuscript Section. A card file index to both the images in the Picture Collection as well as to select books and periodicals in the Manuscripts & Rare Books collection is available. The bulk of the Picture Collection is arranged by subject or geographic area; a listing of the headings is available. Larger collections of photographs donated by a particular family or individual are maintained as separate collections; inventories of many of these collections are available. Some of these photos are scanned into Indiana Memory digital consortium, which I will discuss in more detail in a few minutes.
  • This is the page of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Collection that shows their research tools. If you scroll down on this page…
  • You will come to collection guides. If you click on Photograph Collection, you can access a pdf file which contains a list of photo subjects and geographical areas. In order to see these photos, you would need to make a trip to the library. However…
  • Some photos and documents are available on Indiana Memory, a digital consortium from Indiana libraries. Indiana Memory is an ongoing project that involves integrating digital projects throughout Indiana and hosting them through the State Library’s website.
  • Over the years, ISL has created several useful in-house databases that can be accessed from any computer through our website.
  • ISL subscribes to several databases that have to be accessed within the State Library. The most popular among these is Ancestry Library Edition, which is a library subscription to Ancestry.com. We have recently added the ProQuest Indianapolis Star index 1903 – present.
  • Many public libraries and historical societies throughout Indiana’s counties have indexed obituaries and created other types of databases, as well. We keep a list of these by county on our webpage. Here is an example from Vigo County, Indiana. These are just a few of the many online indexes offered by individual Indiana counties.
  • The John W. Miller Bibliography of Indiana Newspapers is the most comprehensive listing available for a history of newspapers in Indiana up to about 1982.
  • You can see from the homepage of our website that there is a box marked “Inspire” in the middle of the page. If you click on this, you can access the Inspire set of databases.
  • Inspire is a free set of databases provided by the State of Indiana to residents. Your IP address has to be within Indiana in order to access Inspire. There are several newspaper databases that can be accessed through Inspire that I’d like to tell you about. Let’s look at the page that comes up when you click on “Databases by Subject.”
  • If you go to databases by subject, you will see the News and History section in the middle of the page
  • These are available digitally and free. McClatchy-Tribune Collection - 90-day archive of approximately 100 newspapers from the McClatchy-Tribune Collection. Titles include: The Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, The Orlando Sentinel, and The Sacramento Bee. Newspaper Source™ - including The Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Times (London), Toronto Star, etc. Newspaper Source provides cover-to-cover full text for more than 40 (U.S.) & international newspapers. The database also contains selective full text for 389 regional (U.S.) newspapers. In addition, full text television & radio news transcripts are also provided. The database also contains selective full text for 389 regional (U.S.) newspapers. In addition, full text television & radio news transcripts are also provided. We also have Hoosier State Chronicles, which is a database digitized at the State Library. It is available through Inspire and also through the Indiana State Library website.
  • Hoosier State Chronicles is another one of the boxes at the bottom of the homepage that are easy to find an access. Let’s talk about Hoosier State Chronicles.
  • Hoosier State Chronicles is part of a federal grant that the State Library received several years ago to digitize Indiana newspapers. HSC contains an impressive list of newspaper titles. The only disadvantage is with dates. The newspapers have to be out of copyright, so for many titles, the latest dates are from 1923. There are some later papers, but usually those are short runs or defunct newspapers.
  • As you can see, this is just the top of the list of newspaper titles in HSC to date. They are adding more titles and issues all the time. This is a great free resource for digital newspapers.
  • Let’s try a search on Hoosier State Chronicles.
  • What if the newspapers you need to access are only available on microfilm from the State Library? What if the newspapers you need to access are only available on microfilm from the State Library? You have a few options.
  • Because most newspapers at the State Library still need to be looked at on microfilm, you can request an article or obituary look-up by phone, or through our Ask-A-Librarian service. Usually, we can get back to you within 2 business days when you request an obituary.
  • Ask-A-Librarian: This is a feature on our website where you can ask a question or submit a request for an article or obituary look-up. There are 2 options, chat or email. Usually, with an obit request or a genealogy question, email is the more appropriate format. Very few types of genealogy questions can be answered through chat. Usually, this process involves getting back to you within 2 business days or at the very least following up with you to let you know we are working on getting an answer for you.
  • Allows you extra time to search the newspaper on microfilm. It is the best choice if you do not have an exact date of death or the exact date the article appeared in the newspaper.
  • Here is what you need to know in order to find newspapers at ISL. Newspaper microfilm is filed by city. County collection microfilm is filed with the county seat. . We do have some original newspapers in print. If the newspaper you are looking for is not available on microfilm, we can usually pull the original print if needed.
  • ISL has 4 different types of microfilm readers/scanners. These new machines make it possible to print as well as save scans on a flash drive or send to your email. Printouts are $.25 per page. We have provided user guides for each type of reader. Still, librarians are on hand to help you get started using the microfilm readers.
  • ISL hours and closing information
  • Questions??
  • Thank you attending today’s webinar.

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