Vacation Day 2 – Nashville Public Library

The genealogy vacation extravaganza continues! Today I spent my time at the Nashville Public Library in their Nashville Room.  I came to realized I’d seriously underappreciated the resources in the Nashville Room for I learned today much more about their holdings.  As with yesterday, everything I gathered today will eventually go to the TNGenWeb & NCGenWeb projects to aid others doing family history research.

The reason I went to NPL was to capture digital images off of a couple of microfilm rolls I ordered years ago from the NC State Library & Archives.   In the past I’d paid to have two rolls scanned by a professional microfilm company, but I keep trying out different ways to do it myself.  Our public library has two microfilm machines hooked up to computers and this makes scanning quite easy to do.

I captured key information from:

  • Roanoke Beacon of Plymouth, NC from April – June of 1890.  This is a weekly paper.
  • Kinston Free Press of Kinston, NC from a couple of weeks in January 1910 and a couple of weeks in Aug/Sep 1910.  This is a daily paper.

One of my recreational blogs is Black Nashville History & Genealogy.  Most of the info for the site comes from the Nashville Globe, an African-American newspaper that ran in the early-mid 1900s.   Today, I captured:

  • Nashville Globe-Independent — death notices & obituaries from Jan – Jun 1960.

Then, I discovered that the public library has quite a number of yearbooks.  I’ve been in yearbook deluge lately so I had to continue and look at those.  I even had to take a picture.

yearbooks at the Nashville Public Library

Today I captured the senior class listings for:

  • Vanderbilt University – 1896, 1902, 1903, 1904, 1905,
  • Ward Seminary for Young Women -  a girl’s high school.  I got the names of the 1902 seniors.
  • University of Tennessee – 1897, 1914, 1915 – these are all online already having been digitized by the University of Tennessee, but I took a few pictures anyway
  • Hume Fogg High School – 1919, 1921

I also learned that the Nashville Metro Archives has a large yearbook collection so I will need to plan a visit there one day to look at them.  Another very productive day! Unfortunately, tomorrow I need to run errands so no genealogy for me, but these past couple of days have been stellar.  I now need to start my genealogy project Works-In-Progress List so I can keep track of my status with each of these.

Ward Seminary For Young Women - 1902

SNGF: Dream Database

This week @ GeneaMusings Randy has asked us to consider what our dream database would be

Define one or more genealogy or family history databases, that are not currently online, that would really help you in your research. Where does this database currently reside?

What are some of the things people are wishing for??

1)Randy stated that he would like to see an index to the San Diego Union newspaper as well as index to probate records

2) Chris states that he has an interest in seeing Pennsylvania marriage, deed & probate records go online, in addition to a nationwide county level inventory of records.

3) Tina would like to see NARA’s Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Land records

4) Mel also has a desire to see newspaper indexes go online, one from Hawaii and one from San Francisco – in addition to some other resources

5) GeneaDiva has a request close to my heart – the actual images of TN Death Certificates, as well as those from AK and AL. She also has a newspaper in her list – an index to the Jackson, TN paper and one from Jonesboro, AK.

6) Family Tree Writer keeps it simple — every small town newspaper indexed!

7) Transylvania Dutch also desires newspaper indices -for the St. Louis Dispatch that is comprehensive enough to cover existing gaps; better indexes for the St. Louis Globe Democrat;  and indexes for 4 St. Louis area Jewish newspapers.

From these posts that I could quickly locate (there may be more and I’m sorry if I missed you), there is something that very clearly stands out for me.  Do you see it?  NEWSPAPERS!!!  5 out of 7 people have newspaper indexes on their wish list.  Guess what? That is also what I desire for my dream database.

As I began doing genealogical research, I quickly realized the tremendous value of newspapers; I think primarily because of the work of the Evansville Public Library’s Browning Obituary Database and how I was able to find a tremendous amount of information about my husband’s family using their extensive database.  When I considered how I could do something to give back to the genealogical community as I felt I’d been given too, I quickly settled in on creating newspaper indexes.

Instead of just wishing for my dream database, I’m making it happen!

For these efforts, I have three separate newspaper indexing projects going on.  True, they are slow-going, but they have been incredibly valuable for my understanding of local history and culture.  And, I try as I can to share notices from them with other researchers by posting to message boards, looking up persons named in the articles in Ancestry Member Trees and sharing them with tree creators, and sharing them with USGenWeb sites & project archives.

Some people help out by indexing records for FamilySearch & Ancestry.  I personally, would rather work on my own databases.  My three projects so are:

a)  Roanoke Beacon Index — newspaper of Plymouth, Washington County, NC.  So far, I’ve covered issues from the late 1800s.  In addition to my efforts, I’ve just recently made contact with another researcher who wanted to help, so now there are two of us working on it.  This is a weekly paper and the database includes 96 issues so far.

b) Kinston Free Press Index – newspaper of Kinston, Lenoir County, NC. To date, I’ve covered issues from the late 1800s to early 1900s.  This is a daily paper and so far I’ve done 81 issues.  Right now I’m working in 1905.

c)  Black Nashville History & Genealogy Blog – this started with my interest to index a former black newspaper of Nashville, the Nashville Globe, but I’ve expanded the scope to include other aspects of the history & genealogy of blacks in Nashville.  This is the one I get the less work in on because I have to visit the public library to capture the content.  With the other two, I have purchased microfilm and had the microfilm digitized so I can work on them as I wish.

Here’s to making dreams come true!  When I’m done with my academic studies in May, I am looking forward to really picking these projects back up; adding a few more newspapers to the mix and hopefully recruiting a few other interested researchers in helping with the work.  In the ideal world, I’d love to have a database for the newspapers of each of the counties I coordinate for the NCGenWeb Project (Jones, Martin, & Onslow — I already have Washington covered w/ the Roanoke Beacon).

Fundamentally, as I am a librarian, I believe area public libraries should be spearheading these efforts.  Some are, but so many more could be involved.  Until then, you’ll find me indexing away!

Congratulations to the Heritage Trail

The newsletter for one of the genealogy societies that I belong too recently won an award, the Joe M. McLaurin Newsletter Award from the North Carolina Society of Historians, Inc. The Heritage Trail is the newsletter of the Heritage Genealogical Society, a society that covers Lenoir, Greene & Jones counties in North Carolina. My father’s family is in part from Lenoir County.

Since I joined the society, I’ve tried to get involved and have submitted entries for the newsletter. I have made two contributions so far

  • transcribed a couple of marriage notices from a 1909 issue of the Kinston Free Press for the Nov 08 issue
  • did a short write up of the Library of Congress Chronicling America historical newspaper site for the Aug 08 issue
I’m currently trying to figure out what to submit for the next issue, since I have microfilm of old issues of the newspaper, the Kinston Free Press that I use for an index and blog, I have a lot of material to choose from. I’m glad to be a part of the society!