Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Old newspapers contain rich information

In her article, "Don't Forget the Local News, " Karan Pittman provides a strategy for researching old newspapers, keeping in mind how old papers were organized, what information might might be found and where. "People often underestimate the type of information that may be gleaned from newspapers in the past. The papers need to be viewed a bit differently than those of today in order to utilize them effectively."

One thing I have learned about old newspapers over the years is how much personal information might actually be reported as "news," a father who abandoned his family, for example. Important stuff if that's your family, but at the same time, you are chagrined at its being aired for public viewing. But those were the times. However rewarding, searching old newspapers today can be tedious and must often be done in the dusty recesses of the local courthouse or archives. But as more and more old newspapers are digitized and come online, the greater our opportunity to browse and even search for our family members by name. Oh my, with that prospect in mind, when will I ever get anything else done?

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