National Family History Month: Tools To Help You Find Out About Your Background
October is National Family History Month and there is nothing we love more than the feedback we receive from our partners who have used Advantage as a resource to help discover their roots.
Advantage works with libraries and historical societies across the country to help preserve and provide access to genealogical materials.
Genealogy in Time Magazine reports that an estimated 1 in 40 people, roughly 8 million Americans, are believed to be actively searching for more information about their ancestors. The digitization of many historical records has made this possible as institutions and libraries put more and more information online.
The James V. Brown Library of Williamsport, Pennsylvania was recently in the news for providing tools to help patrons find out about their background. The library currently provides newspaper microfilm dating back to 1807. These newspaper are the first draft of events as they happened, providing valuable information on people and events. Microfilm provides preservation of this valuable content, but comes with some challenges for researchers such as access and availability.
Advantage is working with the James V. Brown Library to digitize more than 1400 reels of this microfilm. The digitized newspapers will be used to create a keyword searchable database – a tool for genealogists to search by name for records of family in the news, birth announcements and death announcements.
“Usually the best thing you can do if you know the death date or marriage date of the person you’re looking for, the obituaries will often list other families names. You’ll get maiden names, parents names, children’s names and that can be a good lead for people,” said Public Service Director at the James V. Brown Library, Toby Schwartzman.
The ability to narrow a search to a specific newspaper and date returns more relevant results and saves time spent scrolling through rolls of microfilm. The digitized newspapers can also be made available from anywhere in the world making this valuable content only a click away.
Advantage also provides resources to help with historical newspaper research providing some tricks and tips as well as what to avoid when you are doing genealogy research!