Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Newspapers - Wishful Wednesday

Newspapers have been so very helpful in giving me leads to family members and relationships; to activities and actions in the lives of ancestors; and to the times and environment in which my ancestors lived.

I'm grateful for online newspapers at sites like Google News, Chronicling America, MyHeritage, and findmypast.  (The latter two are subscription sites.)  I'm also grateful to the Ohio Historical Society for the thousands of issues of newspapers from across Ohio that are on microfilm there.

Chronicling America has a newspaper from Butler County, Pennsylvania, as does Google News; Youngstown newspapers are available at Google News; and some issues of a Greenville, Pennsylvania, newspaper (in Mercer County) are available on MyHeritage.

But I wish -- I wish! -- there were OCR-searchable issues of newspapers from more of the localities of my ancestors.

Old issues of The Steubenville Weekly Gazette, The Steubenville Daily Gazette, The Steubenville Herald-Star, and The Steubenville Weekly Herald would certainly yield information about the deaths of Abel Armitage and Emma Nelson Bickerstaff and bring to light more information about my Meinzen, Bickerstaff, Bell, Fithen, and Richardson ancestors.  

Mercer County, Pennsylvania, newspapers would tell me about my Doyle, Froman, and Saylor ancestors; and more Butler County, Pennsylvania, newspapers would tell me about my Bartley, Gerner, and Smith ancestors.

I know more newspapers are becoming available frequently online but how I wish it were quicker.

Just for the record, I love the ease with which I can search specific newspapers using specific search terms at Chronicling America.  When I get to the main page, I click on "advanced search" where I can choose a specific state or newspaper to be searched and give several words/names for searching.  This is an excellent search engine.  (Of course, I'd never know if the search engine missed some entries, would I?)

I'm grateful for the ocr-searchable newspapers that are available online, but I wish for more!


© 2014 Copyright by Nancy Messier.  All rights reserved. .


  1. I hear ya! It seems my ancestors lived in areas where none of the old newspapers made it to GenealogyBank or any of the other providers. When I've found anything, it's because the local paper sent it to Richmond, Virginia.

    1. I generally think the companies that are putting newspapers online with OCR are starting with the big newspapers and may (I can only hope!) eventually get to some of the newspapers from smaller communities.

      Our state historical society has thousands and thousands of issues of newspapers on microfilm. The only time I found anything was because I knew a date and looked at the rolls for that date and subsequent dates, reading column by column, page by page.

      Still, I don't want to complain too much because 20 years ago, OCR wasn't even an option. Some day....


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