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Spotlight: Newspaper Databases, Alabama and Pennsylvania

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Valerie Beaudrault

Valerie Beaudrault
Visitor Services Representative

The Jacksonville Republican, Jacksonville, Alabama


Jacksonville is located in Calhoun County, which is in northeast Alabama. Jacksonville State University has made a historic newspaper database available on its website. The Jacksonville Republican is one of the oldest newspapers in northeast Alabama. It began as a weekly paper in January of 1837. The paper was published continuously between 1837 and 1904, with the exception of a month-long period at the end of the Civil War. The digital archive of Jacksonville State University’s Houston Cole Library includes the full range of newspapers from 1837 to December of 1895. You will need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view these files.


Click on The Jacksonville Republican link to access the digital collection. The first two PDF files in the list were digitized from a published index. The first gives a brief history of the collection and the second is an index to proper names. The index entries include “names, local events, state and national happenings, and local advertisements,” a few keywords to describe the article and its contents (obit, murdered, editorials, 3rd regiment, and so on), and the date on which the article appeared. The PDF files are organized by year, from most recent to earliest. Within each year the newspapers for each month are located in a single file. Click on the “PDF” link to open the files. You will have to scroll through the newspaper images to locate particular issues and articles.


Newspaper Indexes, Altoona, Pennsylvania


Altoona is located in Blair County, which is in central Pennsylvania. The Altoona Public Library has made two newspaper databases available on its website. Click on the database link to access the search page.


Obituary Index

The database indexes obituaries from the local newspaper, the Altoona Mirror, for the period from 1929 to the present. The index is searchable by last name, first name, and maiden name. The data fields include last name, first name, middle name, maiden name, descriptor, and the date or dates on which the obituary appeared in the newspaper. The descriptor field contains such information as the person’s title (Miss, Mrs., Mr.), nickname, and other descriptive information about the deceased. Once located in the database, photocopies of obituaries may be requested in writing from the library’s Reference Department for a small fee.


Birth Index

The Birth Index is a work in progress. The database contains birth notices from the Altoona Mirror. It may be searched by the child's first or last name, mother's first name, maiden name or married name, father's first name or last name, and date of birth. The data fields in the search results include child’s full name, father’s full name, mother’s full married name plus her maiden name, if known, child’s date of birth, and the date on which the birth was announced in the newspaper. If the child is not named, the words son or daughter appear in the first name field.

Posted by Jean Powers at 12/19/2011 07:15:00 AM | 

This post is helpful with an analysis I am doing for a specific group of people. Do you have any other articles to suggest on this topic? Thanks
Posted by: ( Email | Visit ) at 5/7/2012 3:26 AM

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