Friday, September 19, 2008

Advice: Check your local library's databases!

I was surprised on Wednesday when I checked the Internal Databases at the Chula Vista Public Library - they provided access to digital images of the Chula Vista Star-News (a weekly, then a twice-weekly) newspaper from 1938 to 1969.

I wondered if there was online access to the database from home using my library card, and there was. Very cool! I had not seen it last year when I looked at online library databases.

This access will help me look for obituaries from that time period when I answer queries. However, the newspaper pages are not indexed, so it will be a cold search just like I do now at the library. The benefit is that I can capture an image and not rely on the lousy microfilm machine and printer at the library.

The user interface is fairly poor, but usable once you figure out how to access a specific newspaper issue.

I decided to look and see if there was a birth announcement for me - my parents lived at 577 Twin Oaks Avenue in Chula Vista from their marriage in 1942 until my farther went into the US Navy in early 1944. I checked the pages after my birth date, and found a shower announcement in the 5 November 1943 issue on page 5, as shown below:

In the right-hand column is this article:


Pink and Blue Shower For Mrs. F. Sever

Mrs. Henry Graham was recently hostess at a pink and blue shower at her home on Twin Oaks Avenue honoring Mrs. Frederick Seaver. The guests presented the honoree with a lovely play pen.

Those present for the party were Mrs. Carringer, Mrs. Jessie Lee Veteto, Mrs. Dwight Gove, Mrs. Sally Lyons, Mrs. Jean Hobson, Mary Alice Jordan and Josephine Meyers.


That's it - I think a "pink and blue shower" means they didn't know if the baby was a boy or a girl. I'm going to review the next few issues to see if there is a birth announcement for this bouncing "blue" boy. They spelled the last name wrong in the headline, too. Oh well!

The only names I recognize from the list of attendees are Mrs. Carringer (my mother's mother, Emily) and Mrs. Sally Lyons (a lifelong friend and sorority sister of my mother). My guess is that the others are neighbors, sorority sisters or school teacher colleagues of my mother. I was surprised that my mother's grandmother, Georgia Auble, wasn't in attendance.

The lesson here is: Check your local library's online databases from time to time - you may find a useful genealogy resource is available to you at home.

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