Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Score!! - Finding Newspaper Bibliographies

One of the coolest things about the genealogical research process, is that success depends upon your usage of a variety of materials - pretty much, everything that is available to you should be consulted. Books that perhaps you never would have laid eyes on before become almost as important as air. Without checking out your sources, including books, you won't break through those brick walls.

One of the most helpful books I've used in the past is John Miller's 1982 work, Indiana Newspaper Bibliography. Like newspaper bibliography books you've probably seen for other states, it is a collection of listings of all known newspapers that were running within the state. It is broken down by county and then by township, and not only gives the names of the papers that ran in each county, but also the dates for each paper, a great tool since some of them didn't last very long, and who opened the press. Not only is something like this extremely useful for finding out when and where there might have been a paper running that could have information pertaining to your subject, but if you have a newspaper man in the family (like I do), these things can become like a second census for you because you can track his movements around the state. It can explain things like why his children were all born in different towns that seemingly have no familial affiliations. So these things are definitely worth having on your bookshelf.

This book has been out of print for quite some time so I've had it on every online wish list I could find (abebooks, amazon, and ebay). I've had no responses to any copies coming up for sale, I contacted the publisher and they didn't have any copies to sell and no plans to put it back in print. If I had found contact information for the author I would have gotten in touch about it. In the meantime, I was constantly ordering the book through Interlibrary Loan and it was getting old. Finally, about 2 weeks ago, I got a hit from abebooks that one had come up for sale from an Indiana bookseller and I jumped on it. It arrived last week and it's mine, all mine!! Finally, I have my very own copy and I couldn't be happier.

I know that Ohio has a similar book for newspapers in its state, by Steve Gutgesell, which you can find on amazon and I've seen others elsewhere too. You can troll around on amazon to check for your own state, or perhaps a better way to do it would be to go on to the Library of Congress website and check their catalog here . Try using search terms like the state's name and "newspapers", or if you're looking for papers within a particular county you can try searching for the county name. I know Kentucky has several localized newspaper bibliographies so for that state, the county search might work best. But try it several different ways and see what comes up. You may find your own piece of genealogical gold within the covers of a book.

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