Sunday, December 28, 2008

HOT TIP - Free Virginia Newspaper Search 1900-1910

I was turned onto a new web site this past week and I have been burning it up! It is brought to you for FREE by the Library of Congress and is called "Chronicling America." According to their website, Chronicling America is...
enhancing access to America's historic newspapers. This site allows you to search and view newspaper pages from 1880-1910 and find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress as part of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP)
They have a couple of different Virginia newspapers, mostly between 1900 and 1910. Of special interest to me has been the Richmond Dispatch! I have found a lot of good stuff that I would never have found otherwise.

The way the site works is that they have made scans of the newspapers and ran them through a program that indexes all of the text. You can therefore search every word of every paper. It is not a perfect system but it works pretty good. Take my name for example, Lett. It is often indexed as Lott or Litt or it will even pick up the word "letter" as a positive match. You have to sift through some junk results but the pay off can be great. I found several obituaries I needed that I was never able to find on my own.

This is a great resource, especially with the 1890 census being destroyed...once they get back all the way to 1880. Anyway the site link is as follows. Check it out and let me know if it helps you out. Credit goes to my distant cousin, Vanessa Crews, for pointing it out to me. FYI - the site is in Beta and does crash a lot. Just be patient and try again is worth the wait.

No comments: