The University of Illinois has placed some 45 different newspapers in the state of Illinois in a digital format and made it available online. It is equal to some 1,105,004 pages with 6,975,155 articles. It is free to search.
Besides the public newspapers there are special newspapers such as trade papers for the entertainment business covering from the 1850s to the 1920s. Also papers from colleges and universities and farm trade papers covering numerous decades.
Since newspapers carry the latest news, they are always a rich source of information of the times. Obituaries are a wonderful source of family history details, so that is an area to investigate in the Illinois papers if your ancestors were deceased in that state or even lived in Illinois. In the search box at the top, type in obituary then in quotes the name of the person. If it is an unusual surname, just use that with the word obituary.
In a search just of a surname (no dates or locations) a list of any articles will appear with a brief summary or portion of the article with the surname highlighted. You will also see to the left the articles grouped by locations, time periods and types – such as advertisements or even a photo / illustration.
You can browse the different dates, using the ‘browse’ tab at the top and then selecting a month and year. Here will be a calendar with the title of newspapers having articles on a specific day.
Click on one of interest and the actual scanned microfilm article / page will appear. To the left will be the OCR (text) of that article. You can enlarge the scanned articles using the plus-minus to the right. Do a right click on the article and you can ‘clip’ out just that article of interest. Then right click on that to ‘save to’ your computer – easy!
Photos: Teepe in the Chicago Packer, Jan. 6, 1916 and shoe advertisement in 1917 and the illustration of the Mayor of Chicago- Carter H. Harrison – assassinated Oct. 1893.
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