Upper New York State Newspapers

Today is 12-12-12

You may wonder where are the best sources for information on your ancestors or their hometown. The one research that generally yields the most and many times some very unusual bits of information are the local newspapers. The more localized you can make your search many times is where the best results occur.

There is an online site, Northern NY Library Network Newspapers, dealing just with newspapers of the seven counties of upper New York State. Listed are Oswego, Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Franklin, Essex and Clinton counties of New York. With this region’s long history, more than likely you have one or more ancestors who were in those counties at some time.

From these seven counties there are 53 newspapers represented and some 2.3 million pages. To the right of the map of counties are any newly added newspapers to the collection.

By placing the cursor for the computer mouse over the name of a certain county, a list of available newspapers will appear. For example in Oswego County the newspaper ‘Pulaski Democrat’ has published articles running from 1834 to 1990.

Once you make a selection the page will show the other names over the years that newspaper may have been known as. To the left is the search box. Do a search using a surname, a town, a business or historical event. There will be about 50 articles in each list, with a short summary. If there are more click for the next 50 in a list. Most start with the more recent articles and then work back in time.

The page where each search keyword or phrase will appear when you click on that selection. In the lower right of the page are boxes with icons to enlarge the page to read the print. This will assist in locating the keyword. Unfortunately, there is no highlighting of the keywords in the newspaper page, so you do have to look closely.

Besides the standard obituaries in a newspaper there can be articles when a family moved into the area, left the county, purchased property, what organization they are members of, when family members visited, etc. Finding something in a newspaper article can be quite a treasure of information.

You don’t have to remain on the first page, at the top is a button to move to the next page, third page and so on. Another good item to look for are the advertisements of the day. You get an idea of the food prices, cost of merchandise and styles of products available.

Always know of the smaller neighboring towns because information about their citizens will be carried in the larger city newspapers. Included will be information on schools, churches, social groups and special activities occurring.

Instructions are given on the site for downloading copies to your computer. You can also highlight a paragraph or articles, copy it and then paste to a word document page on your computer.

If you have any ancestors from the northern New York region, this is the site to check.

Photo: Pulaski Democrat – advertisement in 1900.

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