Family history researchers can find obituaries and more through digital newspaper archives.
Newspapers are like diaries for cities. They chronicle our political ebbs and flows, our business trends, our athletic feats, our personal tragedies, and the daily hum of our communal lives. With all of this detail, newspaper archives are a gold mine for researchers interested in the people and places of the past.
Genealogists and historians alike turn to newspaper archives for their research. Richland Library card holders have access to digital newspaper archives with their library card. Let's take a look at how these can be used to add to your family tree.
If you are looking for an obituary, the best place to start is in the local newspaper where that person died. If your ancestor was from Columbia, then The State or Columbia Record are excellent sources to check for an obituary. Richland Library card holders can access full-page images of The State from 1891 to the present and the Columbia Record from 1909 to 1988 through NewsBank.
Begin your local obituary search using theLocal History & Obituary Index. This index provides a list of names and dates when an obituary, article, or death notice was published in our local newspapers. Armed with the date, dive in to NewsBank to look up the obituary. If it was published in The State or Columbia Record, you can easily find it by searching The State Collection linked from the NewsBank landing page.
If your ancestor was not from Columbia, never fear! We have recently added MORE newspaper archives for you to dig through in Newspapers.com, with full-page images of historic newspapers from across the nation. These include many small and mid-sized papers in South Carolina, the United States, and even international locales. Search for your ancestor by name, then drill down to location and date to see if anything pops up. You may also find wedding announcements, births, or, heaven forbid, a crime involving your ancestor. Newspapers.com has one of the broadest collections of newspaper archives from across the country in a single, searchable interface so you can cast a wide net. Newspapers.com also has a feature that allows you to pin your article to your family tree in Ancestry.com, if you have a subscription to that service.
If you are looking for a modern obituary for a family member who died outside of Columbia and you don't have any luck in Newspapers.com, then try NewsBank again. NewsBank offers text-only articles from modern state and national newspapers as well as a modern obituary collection which covers national newspapers from about the last decade. Search America's Obituaries & Death Notices from the NewsBank landing page.
Newspaper archives such as that found in NewsBank and Newspapers.com offer an ideal place for mining for those hidden gems in your family’s history, or to explore national events as they unfolded across the country. If the past interests you, then you will definitely want to explore these resources.