Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Home Sources: Newspaper Clippings

We all have them. They usually are cut out very carefully so that nothing outside of the article itself can be seen. They may be about a funeral, an anniversary, a celebration or an event. They may even be about our family's darker side, an arrest, a court trial or such.

Newspaper articles are something that almost all families have.  They may be stuck in a scrapbook, photo album or just mingled in with other family papers.  What is important is to gather them up and copy them and use them as clues for your family history.

I recommend that you color copy each newspaper article (the color copy comes out better than a black and white copy) or scan it.  Store the original in an acid free sheet protector and don't let it touch any other articles or papers.  Newspaper isn't meant to last long, it's made from paper that is acidic and thus deteriorates.  That's why they turn yellow.  It will damage any other paper it touches.

These newspapers are often hard for us to cite in our genealogy programs because they lack the information from their original source. You could use online newspaper databases through genealogy providers like WorldVitalRecords, Ancestry, Newspaper Archive, or GenealogyBank to look for newspapers for your ancestor's locality.  You could also see if the state has a newspaper digitization project.  A state archive/library may also have newspapers available on microfilm.  The Kansas State Historical Society,,  has a large collection of newspapers form all over the United States and you can borrow these microfilms through inter-library loan.


Our Family said...

Great information for any genealogist, thanks.

TCasteel said...

I followed your advice and posted it as a Follow Friday.
Thanks for reminding me to do this very important task.

Ambar said...

ESM, in Evidence Explained, suggests sourcing these as part of a family archive, which makes sense when there is no clue about the newspaper or the date. You can make a task of running to ground the actual sources for individual clippings if you want, but this gets them accurately sourced and out of the way without each clipping becoming a project in its own right.