Digitized Newspapers and Genealogy

May 10, 2016

by Micki Gilmore
Reference, Sweetwater County Library

Most people these days use at least a few types of technology, whether it be cell phone, digital cameras, HD televisions, remote controls, etc. We all do. We love our computers (most of the time). There are countless ads online telling us of all the great online this and that. Well sometimes, it really is true.

newspapers-graphicWhen was the last time you took a look at the online resources Wyoming libraries offer? Not just a quick glance, but a good look. You might be surprised. Most people are. One of my absolute favorites is Wyoming Newspapers. I personally love this site and use it often. If you do genealogy, local history or any other type of research in Wyoming, this might just be the tool to help you along your way.

From the site:

Wyoming Newspapers is a service of the Wyoming State Library to ensure the preservation of historic Wyoming newspapers … Historic newspapers can be a goldmine of information for those doing historical research of any kind, whether academics, students, genealogists, or for entertainment, they often contain information that is not available in any other source. 

Working as a reference librarian, I field many questions about local genealogy and history. By using the Wyoming Newspapers site, you have a better chance of finding articles about the subject you are researching.

CaledoniaFor example: I was working on my family history. I knew my great-grandmother had lived in Rock Springs and was buried there. I wanted more information about her. I longed on to the site and by setting a few perimeters, I was able to view her obituary. The town and county where she was born was listed in Scotland. Score!! No one else living had this information. Along with this, she had belonged to the Caledonia Society and was honored by them at her service. Both facts helped me to continue with my search.

union suit adMany times, patrons will be in search of information on a specific event back in time. It is great to be able to do a search and find much of what they are looking for. One gentleman was looking for information about ads listed in the old newspapers. If you have never seen these, take a little time and check them out. The prices will floor you, but the styles and language used will amaze you. Great fun. My family has been in the area for years. While helping others with their searches, I have stumbled across several great photos and articles with my family in them. It is always a plus to my day when this happens.

Many states in the U. S. are now joining this bandwagon. By doing a simple search online you can find each state’s digitized newspaper site. They vary greatly, so take your time when researching. Watch for the “Help” button, when you are finding a bit of difficulty. Some countries also provide this service. Just remember to keep this information in your arsenal when compiling information. I for one am very grateful to all those responsible for this service.

Be sure to check out all six of the State Library’s digital collections at digitalcollections.wyo.gov and the GoWYLD.net genealogy resources at gowyld.net/genealogy.html. You just might be surprised what you will find. For more information, visit these websites or your local library.

Happy Hunting!

Adapted and reprinted with permission from the Sweetwater County Library System’s Roots and Branches blog.

If you have a question about this or any other article, please contact us at statelibrary@wyo.gov

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