Friday, August 26, 2016

Tip: Finding a Newspaper Article That Is Not Online

If you know of a newspaper clipping but can't find it online, maybe it hasn't been digitized. If so, a great place to find out what repositories have copies of it is at the Chronicling America site.

I've been working on my Dickson family of Tennessee. A 1998 post on RootsWeb by David Walker mentioned an 1846 legal notice. The notice is in regards to the estate of my 4th great grandfather, James Dixon [or Dickson], and also mentions his son, my 3rd great grandfather, Joseph Dixon/Dickson. But, I could not find this article on any of the digital newspaper sites. So, I followed these steps:

Step 1: Go to Chronicling America to see who carries this paper. To do this, go to their site and click on "US Newspaper Directory, 1690-Present." Enter the known information. I entered "Tennessee" and "Academist," which was the name of the newspaper mentioned on RootsWeb. The results showed just one newspaper which was published in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee in 1846.

Step 2: Click on the link to that newspaper and then click on "Libraries that Have It" in the blue strip near the top. The short-lived Academist has copies in five locations.

Step 3: Find the correct date. I know from the RootsWeb post that I am looking for the paper December 2nd, 1846. Since the dating system is a little bit confusing, I'm including two examples.

Chronicling America screenshot showing dates available for the Academist newspaper
at Duke University Library
Example 1: The above example shows Duke University Library's holdings for the Academist. Under dates, it states: <1846:3:18-12:2>  This means they hold all of the published newspapers between the dates of March 18th and December 2nd of 1846. Also, note that these are available as "original" copies, so they are not microfilmed images. Duke would be one place I could find my article.

Chronicling America screenshot showing dates available for the Academist newspaper
at the Tennessee State Library& Archives

Example 2: This second example shows Tennessee States Library & Archives' holdings for the Academist. First of all note that these are available in microfilm format which is different than what Duke holds. The Archives holds the following dates: <1846:3:18, 4:1-5:27, 6:10-7:1,15-9:9, 10:28- 11:4, 12:2> This means they have the following copies from 1846, the only year this newspaper was published: March 18th, April 1st through May 27th, June 10th through July 1st, July 15th through September 9th, October 28th through November 4th, and December 2nd. Since I need December 2nd, this is also a place I could find my article.

Step 4: If none of the locations are nearby, your final step is to contact one of the repositories, or hire a researcher, and have them look up the article. For my article, I chose to contact the Tennessee State Library & Archives. I talked to the reference librarian who first verified they had the paper and date I needed. Then he told me how to send $10, the out-of-state fee, for the clipping. I am now in the process of waiting 4 to 6 business days to receive an emailed clipping of this legal notice! I am hoping it has other helpful information, and I'll be sure to post about it when I receive it.

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