Local newspapers are one of the primary sources for many types of historical research. They are treasure troves of information about the events that have shaped our current lives – from floods to earthquakes to wars and space exploration. It’s relatively easy to find information about these events in our newspaper files – you just find the date in a readily available book or timeline and pull out the appropriate roll of microfilm and find the date you need. But newspapers also document our lives at the smallest level. Local papers from even 40 years ago included snippets of gossip about dinner parties and who was visiting family from out of town. They have photos of brownie troops and peewee soccer teams and rolls of honor from local high schools. And they include the records of a community – not just birth, death and marriage, but building permits and business licenses. Finding this information has traditionally involved a LOT of careful reading of rolls and rolls of newspaper microfilm. Now, however, a visit to the Special Center at Davenport Public Library may be able to unlock this information for you.
We recently subscribed to a new newspaper database that offers keyword searching to tens of millions of newspaper pages dating as far back as the late 1700’s. NewspaperArchive.com is the world’s largest archive of online newspapers. It lets you search, view and print full-page newspaper s from around the world.
This database is available for in-house use at any Davenport Public Library locations – just click on the link to Genealogy information and look for the icon that says “newspaper index”. You’ll be surprised at what you can find!