Databases · Websites

Using Try-It! Illinois for Newspaper Research – Follow Friday

Earlier this month, I had a chance to examine Historic Map Works, an amazing site available to researchers through the Try-It! Illinois Database Trial.  With the end of the trial approaching, let’s take a look at the incredible newspaper collections available on this year’s database trial, as well as a few notable resources you will want to explore.

Take a look at the newspaper collections on the Try-It! site.  They can be divided by time and location as follows:

UK Publications
19th Century British Library Newspapers
The Times (London) Digital Archive

Historic US Newspapers
19th Century U.S. Newspapers
Historical Chicago Defender (1909-1975)
Historical Chicago Tribune (1849 – 1989)
Historical New York Times (1851 – 2010)
Newspaper Archive

Modern US  and World Newspapers
Chicago Tribune
ProQuest Newsstand
Proquest Obituaries

As I’ve been fielding a lot of questions about early newspapers on the trial, let’s take a look at the 19th Century British Library Newspapers and the 19th Century U.S. Newspapers.  The strength of these databases are their array of newspaper collections, most notably for major metropolitan areas.  newspapers 1The ability to search for an individual can be done in a keyword search, and by adding a location name, time period.  Try using the ‘Advanced’ search options to add other details which can assist in filtering your results.  Search BOTH content sets, labeled ’19th Century British Library Newspapers & 19th Century British Newspaper, Part 2′ in the box on the bottom.  I forgot to select them during my first few searches on the site, which led to a ‘zero’ result.

Most of the surnames in my Scottish lineage is very plain – Smith, Grant, Stuart, Will, Webster, Barclay.  Add in the common forenames of John, Robert, Agnes, Mary, and Margaret, and you can see why the advanced search feature can be helpful.

But I had a better project in mind for this exercise.  I have a third great grand uncle who published three books (poetry and stories) in the late 1820’s through the mid 1830’s.  Juvenile Lays, Kincardineshire Traditions, and Tales of the Glens.  I wondered if anyone bothered to review his work in a newspaper from the time period.

Using the advanced search option on the site, I submitted the name of Joseph Grant and the title of his first book Juvenile Lays.  The search resulted in a notice of publication from the Aberdeen Journal dated Wednesday, June 4, 1828.
Juvenile Lays 1

Each book title yielded one notice each, the best result of which was a notice for Joseph’s last book Tales of the Glens in the The York Herald, and General Advertiser (in York, England of all places) dated Saturday, March 26, 1836.
tales of the glens review

Taking a look at the 19th Century US Newspapers, I wanted to look at articles for my ancestors from Connecticut during and after the revolutionary war.  Newspaper records from this time are spotty, but I wanted to see what was available.  I conducted a search using the basic search options, keyword (variants of Ezra AND Pope AND Independence) in Ohio and Connecticut.  No results were found, but I learned how the site worked with each variant search conducted.  I read random articles from my searches, and enjoyed myself immensely.

While the trial is still active, take a look at Archives Unbound and MyHeritage Library Edition.  I was very fortunate to take a look at Archives Unbound last year just as the database was being released to libraries, and I found some of the books on the site very interesting.  The MyHeritage site looks very promising, but I haven’t had an opportunity to compare this library edition on the trial to a private account yet.  If anyone has the opportunity to do so, I would love to hear what you think.

Remember, the Try-It! Illinois trial ends November 30, 2014, so take advantage of the time you have left!  Let your relatives cook their own Thanksgiving meal or order out your dinner.  There are ancestors waiting to be found on the Try-It! Illinois databases, so don’t keep them waiting!

See you at the Library!

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