Read History As It Was Written via Chronicling America

If you research ancestors in the U.S., you’ve probably already used the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America website for searching digitized newspapers. Now they’ve added a new feature: you can subscribe to receive “old news” on many of your favorite historical topics!

Chronicling America

The Evening World (New York, NY), Sept 10, 1900, Evening Edition, Page 2. Digitized image from Chronicling America.

Here’s how it works. You can sign up for weekly notifications that highlight interesting and newly-added content on topics that were widely covered in the U.S. press at the time. (Click here to see a list of topics.)

My favorite family history-related topics are natural disasters (like the Chicago fire or Galveston flood), war topics (from Appomattox to World War I) and civil and human rights events (from the Railroad Strike of 1886 to Ellis Island to coverage of Pullman porters). But there are a lot of topics that might relate to your family: industrialization (electric cars!), arts, sports (think Babe Ruth and the Boston Marathon), major crimes and trials, politics, holidays and public celebrations and public works and technology marvels (like the Panama Canal or Titanic).

To subscribe, just use the icons at the bottom of the Chronicling America home page.

Learn more about finding your ancestors in the newspaper in Lisa’s book, How to Find Your Family History in Newspapers. She walks you through the process of determining which newspapers might mention your ancestors and where to find those papers (both online and offline). You’ll learn in detail about Chronicling America and more about other free and subscription options for searching online newspapers. Best of all, Lisa shares mouthwatering examples from her own research that show you why newspapers can be such a valuable source of information on our family history.

 

 

Genealogy Gems Book Club: MORE Great Books Recommended

genealogy book club genealogy gemsLooking for something fun to read this holiday season? Whether you need reading material for holiday travels or just want to curl up under a blanket at home, here are two great titles I love. I shared these with Lisa in the December episode of the Genealogy Gems podcast–click here to hear our discussion and excerpts!

Five-Finger Discount: A Crooked Family History
by Helene Stapinski is one of my favorite published family histories. The author recounts her family’s upbringing in the context of the notoriously corrupt culture of Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.A. It’s a page-turner, from the jaw-dropping opening sentence to the author’s final musings about how her own life reflects hand-me-down criminal tendencies. Some of the stories are snickeringly funny and some are sad, and the author keeps just the right distance from the drama. She’s close enough to sympathize with people who are trying to make their way within a culture that rewards dishonesty, greed and violence, yet can laugh at ironies like trying to learn about her grandfather’s petty thefts–when he’s stolen the very newspaper pages about his misdeeds from the library.

Homemade Biography: How to Collect, Record, and Tell the Life Story of Someone You Love
This is more than “just” a how-to book for family historians—it’s a story of its own. I re-read it every time I want to be freshly inspired to pursue the stories of my family. New York Times best-selling author and journalist Tom Zoellner weaves stories of his own into fabulous, hard-won advice on interviewing people. He shares insider tips on how to get the best stories out of those we talk to. There’s even a helpful chapter on how to work with the memories of those who have Alzheimer’s!

Tune in next month to learn our next featured book for the first quarter of 2015. Learn more about other books we’ve recommended at the Genealogy Gems Book Club page.

Orphan Train: More Genealogists are Talking About It!

Guess what? The Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania has also been covering Orphan Train as a book club selection!

Their format’s a little different than ours: they have weekly blog posts on the book and members are invited to get together over coffee and chat about it. The blog posts are part plot summary, part personal response, and even part genealogy and history instruction! Check out these posts:

genealogy book club genealogy gemsWhat do you think of Orphan Train? Post your response on our Facebook page or email us with your comments. We’d love to hear them!

Click here to go to our Genealogy Gems Book Club page, with more about Orphan Train and other great titles we have featured on the show.

Season Six

The Genealogy Gems Podcast Episodes
2011 Season Six

Episode 101 Listen & Show Notes
Tons of great gems in the news, and learn all about becoming a certified genealogist from Alvie Davidson.

Episode 102 Listen & Show Notes
Genealogy Gems News, Updating your Podcast iGoogle Gadget, Research Strategies and an interview with Kendall Wilcox, Executive Producer of The Generations Project about the new Season 2.

Episode 103 Listen & Show Notes
Genealogy Gems News, “Cemetery Justice,” the New Google Books, the New Google Earth Version 6.0 for Genealogy.

Episode 104 Listen & Show Notes
Genealogy and Technology Converge.  Interview with professional genealogist Kory Meyerink on the 50 most popular family history websites.  Geo-Tagging photos with Chris Bair.

Episode 105  Listen & Show Notes
Interview with Josh Taylor of the New England Historic Genealogical Society on RootsTech. Tips for getting the most out of a conference, NARA videos, and free RootsMagic webinars.

Episode 106 Listen & Show Notes
Lisa shares her experience at the Who Do You Think You Are? Live show held recently in London, as well as some her own Cooke ancestry sleuthing.  Interview with New Zealand genealogist Jan Gow on how to create your own family history resource library.

Episode 107  Listen & Show Notes
Free Webinars, the 1911 Scotland Census, Fraternal Organizations, and Dick Eastman joins Lisa to talk about Cloud Computing and Computer Security.

Episode 108  Listen & Show Notes
Census Tips and Tricks with Jason Harrison of FamilySearch.  Also how to cite sources from Wikipedia, Lisa finds a newspaper article for a listener, and where to start in looking for Germany records.

Episode 109  Listen & Show Notes
The Civil War 150th Anniversary with Mike Litterst of the National Parks Service.  Also, the new Jamboree apps, free upcoming webinars, and a tale of a military heros bible finding its way home again.

Episode 110  Listen & Show Notes
Divorce Research: Little White Lies at the Turn of the Century, free webinar, and special guest Maureen Taylor The Photo Detective from the Who Do You Think You Are? Live event in London.

Episode 111  Listen & Show Notes
Military Records: How to find Invalid and Pension files, New Mexican records, and special guest Roger Kershaw of the National Archives UK gives the back ground on the British Home Children from his book New Lives For Old.

Episode 112  Listen & Show Notes
Helping kids embrace family history at the Genealogy Jamboree.

Episode 113  Listen & Show Notes
Family History Writing with author John Paul Godges.

Episode 114  Listen & Show Notes
Online Security, Records Roundup, Genealogy Blogging with Becky Jamison.

Episode 115  Listen & Show Notes
How to Travel to Your Ancestor’s Homeland.

Episode 116  Listen & Show Notes
The Genealogy Gems Podcast recorded live at the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree.  Special guests:  Allison Stacy, Publisher of Family Tree Magazine, and Certified Graphologist Paula Sassi.

Episode 117  Listen & Show Notes
Find out if you should be using “Flourish” in your genealogy research with my guest DearMYRTLE.

Episode 118  Listen & Show Notes
PERSI, Grandmas and Grandpas and Free Transcription Software.

Episode 119  Listen & Show Notes
Prepare for Family History Christmas Gifts, Listener’s Grandparent Terms of Endearment, and 1000Memories.

Episode 120  Listen & Show Notes
Part 1 of Lisa interview with Washington Post editor Steve Luxenberg, author of the riveting true-story book Annie’s Ghost.

“I Found My Family History in Newspapers!” – A Success Story

Recently I did a webinar for Legacy Family Tree called “Get the Scoop on Your Ancestors with Newspapers.” Soon after, I heard from a happy student named Christina.

“I just had to let you know how grateful I am to you,” she writes. “I finally had a chance to utilize the information you shared and wanted to check out the websites you talked about. I started with the Stanford Data Visualization and the very first newspaper I opened online had one of my ancestors on the front page. WOW! When I went into my Legacy program I discovered that I already had that information, but now I also had a verification.”

She goes on to say she started reading through more newspaper issues, which were so interesting she kept getting  distracted. She found another ancestor mentioned in a political newspaper and guesses she’s just discovered his political affiliation.

Then she tells me about a longtime family mystery she decided to try to solve in newspapers. “My cousin’s daughter contacted me about a year ago for information about a child that died in the same time period that the local court records were lost in a fire. I didn’t think we would ever get the information. But I thought I would use the date that we had and start with any paper I could get online, starting the day after. I wasn’t sure it would hit papers that soon in that time period, but I had to start somewhere.  Lo and behold, her death notice was on page 4 of the first paper I opened!”

“I realize I am very lucky to have found so much right away and it won’t happe

How to Find Your Family History in Newspapers

Available at http://genealogygems.com

n every time, but I am encouraged that your training was so helpful that I am going to break through a lot of walls.  Again, Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge.”

I’ve heard countless stories like these from so many people who have discovered their family histories in newspapers. A video version of my newspaper class is available as part of Genealogy Gems Premium Membership, along with over a dozen other instructional videos, and over 100 exclusive podcast episodes. Starting today 11/29/13 through Monday 12/2/13 when you purchase a 1 year membership you will get an exclusive free ebook. Click here for all the details.

You can also get my complete newspaper research method in my book: How to Find Your Family History in Newspapers, available in print and as an e-book. And also starting today 11/29/13 through Monday 12/2/13 you can get it as part of a special book bundle or ebook bundle at a 40% savings.

 

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