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Family Tales

Do you use newspapers for your research? Have you ever sat in front of a microfilm reader and ‘read’ an older newspaper issue after issue?

Since I live about 75 miles from the Kansas State Historical Society, I’ve had access to the states wonderful collection of newspapers. Thus, I have sat in front of a microfilm reader and turned that knob to slowly move thru a local Kansas newspaper. At times, I was looking for a specific item such as a birth announcement, marriage announcement or obituary. Other times, I was just looking for mention of the family to see what I could learn.

With today’s computer technology and digital images of those newspapers, it is even easier to locate those little bits of information in the papers. This past week, my husband and I have both been celebrating our newspaper finds. I often use ‘gossipy newspapers’ when talking about our finds. I use this term because I have often found where one relative visited another relative for Sunday dinner. This might seem like an insignificant piece of ‘gossip’ but it provides hints of a relationship.

The Emporia Gazette (Emporia, Kansas), July 23, 1974

Not only have I found birth announcements for my niece and nephew, I’ve found articles about the family dating back to the 1800s. Think about that for a minute. Newspapers have survived for a very long time.

Now, look into the future. We still have newspapers, but I don’t believe we have ‘gossipy’ newspapers. Even my small town newspaper has seen a reduction in what is submitted for the ‘gossip’ section.

Instead of submitting info about the family that gathered for a birthday party to the newspaper, this event is being shared on social media. I love viewing these posts! However, they likely will not survive years into the future. So, what can I do to help these stories and pictures survive for another 50 to 100 years?