I love historical newspapers and I find that you can learn a tremendous amount about the cultural context of a given community by reading through their newspapers. I have ordered old newspapers for a few communities of personal interest and some of my side projects involve indexing them (see links on sidebar).
I was pleased to get a message in my email inbox this past week about an online conference call this weekend that Sharon Seargeant is hosting about the use of newspapers as sources of information. I’ve not yet participated in any genealogy related conference calls/webcasts, so this should be an interesting experience. I very much look forward to any tips that may be offered. More information about the call can be found here.
In related newspaper news, I read on Eastman’s blog today that Genealogy Bank has added new content. I’ve kept my eye on Genealogy Bank for awhile now, but never subscribed. Today however, I decided to go ahead and do a one month subscription. I can’t wait to delve into all the offerings, but something immediately jumped out at me and I am going to email Genealogy Bank.
I do however have a recommendation for them (and any other site that indexes newspapers, Ancestry included) that I think would make these sources immediately more useful. Google Map the location of the newspapers! While there may be times that I am familiar enough with a region to know the nearest major town that I could possibly check for information, I do not know this all the time. A list of paper titles even if it includes the town name does not always make it easy for me to pick a paper. If I could type in the town name in Google Maps and see little red balloons for each paper that is geographically close, that approach would be MUCH more useful to me!
That said, I still cannot wait to get in and play around with Genealogy Bank! Just now I was doing some searching and located this ad from the October 17, 1829 issue of the North Carolina Sentinel. This is an advertisement for a runaway slave named Tom Whitfield from a man named Henry B. Mitchell. The ad states that Tom used to belong to Warre Kilpatrick – a man whom I suspect my own ancestor, Silas Kilpatrick, may have belonged to (or at the least, I suspect Warre to be part of that family). They could have known each other….