Written by Walter Dowling Wood

Dick Eastman mentioned this in an article in his newsletter recently. This is a Library of Congress site that digitizes newspapers and make them available. Using this website you can search America’s historic newspaper pages from 1836-1922 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present.

Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. Currently searchable are those paper from 1836 to 1922. It includes many small town newspapers that might not be available otherwise. It also provides a directory of newspapers published in the US since 1690 that can help you identify what titles exist for a specific place and time and how to access them. If I understand the program correctly, they are working back in time one decade at a time to digitize the entire collection. The Chronicling America newspaper collection may be found at http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov.

Searches can be made for states, counties or cities along with multiple key words. You can also choose to search specific newspapers. I found the user interface not very intuitive and at times annoying because when you perform a search, it find too many records there is no easy way to narrow the search so you have to start from the beginning again. Hopefully that will be fixed in time.

My maternal grandmother’s McDaniel family was from Edgefield South Carolina(Augusta, GA area) and there there were several newspapers for that area. I The newspaper I searched was the Edgefield Advertiser which had records from 1836 to the present. I entered a date range and the keyword MCDANIEL. This search returned over 100 different articles for the 10 or 15 year period I searched for. In this search I found several new ancestors and several articles and advertisements relating to probate which provided the names and relationship for these ancestors. The article on the left mentioned three of my ancestors including my 2nd great grandfather Fred McDaniel. Additionally, I already knew when Levi McDaniel died, but if I did not have that information this articles lets me know he died prior to Nov. 12, 1859.

Note that the search results are shown with the entire newspaper page as a thumbnail with a number of pages per webpage. You then click on each page thumbnail the keyword you searched for is highlighted in red on that page. I recommend opening each page in a new tab in your browser by right-clicking and choosing “Open in new tab” so you don’t lose your original search results page.