Thursday, March 1, 2007

Extra! Extra! Check out a Newspaper Library Near You

One of my favorite resources is my state's Newspaper Library. It's part of the State Historical Society of Missouri, located in Columbia, Missouri. They have over 41 million pages of Missouri newspapers on microfilm! These are available to be viewed at the library, or can be borrowed through Interlibrary Loan Service.

Nowadays we live in a very transient society -- but my husband's ancestors came to Boone County, Missouri anywhere from 100 to 185 years ago. So much of their history happened in one place. I can go to the Newspaper Library, and pick up any microfilm reel of the local Boone County newspaper, and probably find some mention of one of his ancestors in it. Sometimes it mentions the "big news," like births, deaths or marriages -- but often I'll find mentions of horses for sale, or out of town visitors, or local activities that they were involved in. If the vital statistics of our ancestors are the "bones" of our genealogy, then the information in these little day-to-day articles "put meat on the bones."

In doing a quick Google search on "Newspaper Library" or "Newspaper Collection" I found that many U.S. states have similar collections. There are also digital newspaper collections available online. Missouri has the Missouri Historical Newspaper Project that is free, but and both have subscription sites, with large digital collections available. With a little research, you may be able to find access to the newspapers your ancestors read. What a treat!

Happy Hunting!

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