Monday, January 28, 2013

A Great Day at the Library

This past Saturday approximately 45 people attended a program on using historical newspapers to further your genealogical research. Patricia Van Skaik discussed how to use Pro Quest and showed how she had used this resource to try to identify the descendants of African-American Civil War soldiers. She also discussed the strengths and limitations of OCR software, providing us with tips on how best to take advantage of search results.

Steve Headley discussed free online indexes that are available to anyone. The first was Chronicling America, which includes digitized newspapers from around the country. Participating states share their digitized newspapers for this nationwide database. Newsdex is a local project that originally started in 1927. For Cincinnati researchers, it is a valuable resource. You can access it through the PLCH home page by searching on databases. If you identify an article or obituary that is relevant to your research, you can request that a librarian send it to you by return email. There is no cost for this service.

The third speaker, Kathy Reed, did a presentation on how she was able to break down a "brick wall" through the use of all three of these resources. She has a "black sheep" Kentucky ancestor whose activities were reported in 16 separate newspaper articles from 1882 that were picked up as far away as Los Angeles.

In between each talk, attendees had the opportunity to ask questions of the presenters and socialize with each other. Snacks were provided by the Hamilton County Genealogical Society which co-sponsored this event with the library. This half-day program was planned and organized by the HCGS Tech Program Committee chaired by Jenny Davis. The committee also acknowledges the contributions of Liz Stratton who suggested many of the topics for the day. Based on the turnout, we hope to offer similar programs in the future.

Submitted by Kathy Reed

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