Sunday, December 21, 2008

Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers

Well, it has been a few days since my last blog again. It is hard to keep up during the holidays, between the parties and shopping and everything. But tonight I am going to highlight a website being developed by the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), a partnership with the Library of Congress. The Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers website is currently in beta testing and can be found at This site allows you to search a variety of newspapers published between 1880-1910. Additionally, you can read up on American newspapers printed since 1690.

Currently there are a limited number of newspapers which are searchable. In May 2005, the NDNP began its development phase by making awards to six state projects that were selecting newspapers published in California, Florida, Kentucky, New York, Utah, and Virginia from the decades of 1880 to 1910. Since then thay have added newspapers from Washington DC, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Texas. These projects have digitized over 100,000 pages, according to the guidelines outlined by the Library of Congress. I decided to search for some of my Tervort relatives in the Utah newspapers. There is an interesting story of how this family ended up in Utah but I will not go into the details. For the search I chose Utah as the state and entered Tervort as the search term. I ended up with 12 results. These results included the marriage of Moroni Tervort and Rosa Hiatt from the Deseret Evening News; a listing of Frank and Henry Tervort as Republican delegates in the 1896 election from the Salt Lake Herald; and I found out that Moroni Tervort was selected in a lottery as one of 714 Utah citizens to fight in the War with Spain in 1898. He was one of the 4 men selected from Payson. All of these articles add just that much more context to my understanding of the life of my ancestors.

The second part of the database is the chronicling of American newspapers published since 1690. I found this database to be very interesting. I decided to do a search on my hometown newspaper, The Community Post of Minster, Ohio. What I found out was that the paper started out as a German paper called the Minster Volksfreund in 1894. It changed names to The Minster Post and continued as a German paper until 1918 but then changed to an English paper until 1964. After that, they again changed the name to The Community Post which is still being printed. I remember as a child visiting my grandmother and having her read the German articles from the old newspapers. I invite you to check out your local newspapers and learn more about the history of the papers in your area.

No comments: