Newspaper research provides treasures for genealogists

Newspapers can provide both clues and background for family historians. Beyond the obituaries and birth notices, articles, notices and advertisements in newsprint can give researchers a level of detail that many public records are not designed to do.

For example, a death certificate for a man dying in 1923 will give cause of death as “farming accident,” and will state the place, time and date of the death. What it does not tell you is that the man was crushed in a thresher during harvest and that his 9 orphaned children (whose mother died six months earlier giving birth to the youngest) have been taken in by four different families in the area. This information is gained from the front page story which features a picture of the 9 children lined up in front of the threshing machine the day of the funeral. Due to the family’s poverty, no death notice appears in the newspaper.

The Ohio Historical Society holds newspapers from across the state of Ohio, from 1785 to the present day. Due to the time that it takes to find information in these largely un-indexed sources, it is our staff policy that we do not research newspaper articles. We can, however, interlibrary loan rolls of newspaper microfilm. A copy of our interlibrary loan procedures can be found at the following Web address: http://www.ohiohistory.org/resource/archlib/ill.html .

You can search for newspapers for interlibrary loan using our Newspaper Database link available at http://www.ohiohistory.org/occ/menu.htm . You can search by city name, county name, or title of newspaper. We can interlibrary loan newspapers that have microfilm roll numbers. Any newspapers that are labeled with an “N” number and volume designation have not been microfilmed. Original, un-filmed newspapers are not available for interlibrary loan.

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5 Responses to Newspaper research provides treasures for genealogists

  1. Kathy says:

    Will the Ohio Historical Society by applying for a National Digital Newspaper Program grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in order to digitize the newspapers in your collection?? The deadline for the gran application is November 1, 2007.

  2. Hi Kathy,
    Thank you for your interest in the Ohio Historical Society. The Society is preparing a proposal for submission to the NDNP before Nov. 1. If funded, the project would allow for digitization of 100,000 pages of Ohio newspapers between 1890 and 1922. Thank you for your support!

    Angela O’Neal
    Digital Projects Manager
    Ohio Historical Society
    aoneal@ohiohistory.org

  3. Mike says:

    Hi,
    Thank you very much for all your efforts. I’ve found the “Canton News” and “Repository” at your library via the Internet for the 1925-1928 period of interest to me. Is the “Canton News” in that period (N193 volumes 718-743) the “Canton Daily News”? I’m planning a trip to visit your archive and library.
    Thanks,
    Mike

  4. Mike,
    Yes, the Canton News is the Daily News. Our catalog does not use time increments like “daily” or “morning” as many of the 19th century titles in our collections changed frequently from one to the other. Rather than creating a confusing mixture we simply dropped the time part. This does make it confusing for locals who are used to calling their paper the “Morning Journal” but do not realize that it started out as the “Daily Journal” in 1876!

  5. Jim Sanders says:

    Newspapers can provide a significant amount of genealogical information. You can find so much more than birth announcements, marriage announcements and obituaries. See what can be found in newspapers at Newspapers and Genealogy .

    Regards, Jim

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