The Government & Heritage Library provides access to many databases. I will regularly post information about different databases. Today, I want to talk about the database 19th Century Newspapers. Our library has a subscription to this database and our visitors can use it. Other libraries may provide access as well.
Here are some facts about this database: There are 190 newspapers in the database, 4 of which are from NC. The dates of newspapers vary, but they span the entire 19th century (1800-1899). The four newspapers from NC are:
- Fayetteville Observer 1816-1899
- Fayetteville Observer [daily] 1896-1899
- Fayetteville Observer [semi-weekly] 1828-1865
- Raleigh Register 1800-1886
There are multiple ways to search the database. There is a normal search function that allows you to search for a word or phrase through all documents or you can search by keyword. The keyword search looks only at titles and citation information. You can also limit your search by date or date range.
The advanced search allows searching up to 3 words or phrases and allows you to narrow results by the type of result, such as advertisements, articles, editorials, news, people, arts, sports, and leisure. You can also limit by a specific newspapers or place it was published.
I’ve been using this database in my personal research to find runaway slave advertisements in the Raleigh Register and Fayetteville Observer. Since some of the newspapers go back to 1800, some of the northern states that did not abolish slavery until the early 1800s have runaway slave advertisements.
Newspapers can be important to genealogy. Even advertisements, which can help you learn what your ancestor did. For example, I found through newspaper ads that an ancestor worked in the accounting office of his brother-in-law when his name was mentioned as an employee. The census just said he was a laborer, but the advertisement showed where he worked. I’ve been supplementing my genealogy research with newspapers for nearly 20 years now. This database has been a good one since it covers many states with 190 newspapers.
Come and check out this database at GHL!