Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tuesday's Tip - Check the Chronicling America Website for Historical Newspapers

This week's Tuesday's Tip is:  Check the Chronicling America website (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/) for historical newspaper articles in the 1836 to 1922 time period. 

There are now 547 newspapers, with over 4 million pages digitized, included in the Chronicling America website provided by the Library of Congress.  Free to search, download and read. 

The About page on the website says:

"Chronicling America is a Website providing access to information about historic newspapers and select digitized newspaper pages, and is produced by the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP). NDNP, a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Library of Congress (LC), is a long-term effort to develop an Internet-based, searchable database of U.S. newspapers with descriptive information and select digitization of historic pages. Supported by NEH, this rich digital resource will be developed and permanently maintained at the Library of Congress. An NEH award program will fund the contribution of content from, eventually, all U.S. states and territories."

Here is what the screen looks like for one newspaper page:

Each page on the site shows a simple search engine at the top of the page - the user can select states, year ranges and enter keywords to search with.  There is also an Advanced Search page where the user can select a specific newspaper in addition to the states and year range, and can restrict the search to "any of the words," "all of the words," ""the exact phrase," and/or "with the words within N words of each other."  Note that the user cannot exclude any  words.  The user should not use quote marks for exact phrases on the Basic Search or wild cards in either search.

Besides the 4 million digitized newspaper pages on the site, there is a U.S. Historic Newspaper Listing, 1690 to the present, which provides the names of newspapers and their publication date ranges, for many historical United States newspapers.  The web page says:

"This directory of newspapers published in the United States since 1690 can help identify what titles exist for a specific place and time, and how to access them. Use the options below to select a particular place and time, using keywords to locate specific titles. Titles currently listed: 140,115."

Unlike almost every other major historical newspaper website that genealogists use to find family history information, this one is free to search.  It's a tremendous resource!

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