Monday, March 17, 2008

Chronicling America has 500,000 newspaper pages

Lisa Louise Cooke on the Genealogy Gems News blog provided a description of the Chronicling America newspaper collection (currently 1897 to 1911) at the Library of Congress in her post "79,000 Newly Digitized Newspaper Pages Now Available FREE."

I haven't visited this site more than once, but I need to visit it regularly. The potential benefits for finding news articles about my ancestors, or about people in my one-name studies, is tremendous. As an example, here is a transcription of an article from the Los Angeles Herald, dated 27 October 1907.


"Too Busy

"Parents Ill, Couple Wait 21 Years to Wed

Courtship is Extended Over a Long Period, Owing to Faithfulness of Each to Invalid Father

By Associated Press.
NEW YORK, Oct. 26 -- There is to be a wedding in St. Patrick's church at Richmond, Staten Island, soon, which will bring to a happy close a patient wooing. John Seaver, the prospective bridegroom, and Margaret V. Pfaff, the prospective bride, have had a courtship lasting twenty-one years because of the faithfulness of each to an invalid father.

"Seaver is about 45 years old and Miss Pfaff is in the thirties. Seaver's father died about five months ago, aged 86, and Miss Pfaff's father died a few weeks ago aged 75."


According to the 1930 census, John Seaver was born in 1858 (therefore age 49 in 1907) and Margaret Pfaff was born in 1865 (therefore age 42 in 1907). So they cheated on their ages ... they apparently had no children, and this may be the only article in the newspapers that explain why they waited so long to marry and were childless.

What I really like about the images on this site are that the search terms are highlighted so that you can easily find them. You can also see an OCR rendering of some of the text, or a PDF of the whole page. If you zoom in to just the area of interest, you can click the Print button and get what you see on the screen in the window. When you do this, you get a source citation of the image.

The article above is an excellent example of what you might find in this newspaper archive on the Chronicling America web site. While it is only for 1897 to 1911 now, they will gradually expand the available years.

Have you looked for your family members here? By the way, it's FREE!!!

Thanks, Lisa, for the reminder. Bookmarked. Back to looking for goodies. Randy O'Seaver, over and out.

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