Many Paths to Sources: Newspapers, Part 3b

So, what do we do when newspapers are not digitized, like those I mentioned in the last post that are on microfilm at the Wood County (Ohio) District Public Library? There are some options, not all are going to work for each case. Each library will have different services, policies, etc. that might interfere with some of my suggestions. Your task is to figure out which might work with your situation.

  • Does the library offer any kind of look-up or research service that you can take advantage of? Sometimes they will have a free (for a limited amount) or a free service if you have enough information to point them to a few days in a newspaper. If the service they offer is free, please send a small donation as a thank you!
  • If the library does not offer a look-up service, does the library work with a local genealogical or historical society who might do look-ups? Check the library website for such a connection. Also, look at the local society websites as well. Some societies have look-up/research services for a fee to earn some money for their society. Again, consider adding a donation to your fee as a thank you for this service.
  • Is interlibrary loan a possibility? Before you assume it isn’t for newspapers on microfilm, let me point to you to the Ohio History Connection website. They offer interlibrary loan on their newspapers on microfilm! I don’t see this option often, so my point is: LOOK at what services are available for a given repository.
ILL section at the Ohio History Connection website.
  • You may locate a professional genealogist in the area to do your research for you. Sometimes the local genealogical and historical societies, archives, and libraries might offer a list of researchers available for hire for a particular repository. For example, when I lived near Austin, Texas, I was on the list of proxy researchers for the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History. Look for such a list at the repository you are needing to access. There are also directories available from both the Association of Professional Genealogists, Board for Certification of Genealogists, and International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGEN) that might offer a genealogist in your area of need.
  • Finally, as the world opens up to us again and travel becomes safer, consider taking a trip to these locations. I know that this is not always feasible, you may only need one newspaper article in one far-flung area. I keep lists of things I need in various locations, and if it isn’t a critical piece for a project, I wait. When that list gets “big enough” and perhaps I can conjure up another reason to go visit that location (or nearby), I like to take trips. I like to do the research myself. If waiting to take a trip is not going to work, then one of the other suggestions will, I hope.

I have been able to access just about everything I need using one of the methods described above. I’d also like to point out that usually there is more than one run of those microfilm in other locations. For example, the Daily Sentinel Tribune from Bowling Green, Ohio is also available on microfilm at the Center for Archival Collections on the Bowling Green State University Campus.

CAC Newspaper list showing the Sentinel-Tribune.

CAC also offers interlibrary loan.

CAC website showing Interlibrary Loan as an option.

If one library or archive does not have what you need, look at another. At some point you will find a way to access what you are looking for.

Many of the principles shared in the last several blog posts are going to apply to any resource. However, we will look at some other types of resources and ways to access them. The biggest favor you can do for yourself, is to keep looking. Just because you get stopped at one repository does not mean there aren’t other options. Keep looking.

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