It is just impossible to help folks with their genealogy without access to a good historical newspaper database. This is my conclusion after two months of trying. In an earlier post I griped about the sudden loss of the colonial-era newspaper database that had been part of my NEHGS subscription. I tried making do with findmypast.com, the Library of Congress's Chronicling America database (1836-1922), asking friends with ancestry.com subscriptions to get obits or news articles posted on other subscribers's private pages for me, and looking unsuccessfully for a library that had a subscription to a good service, but having been spoiled by the previous database I was very disappointed in the results. Using these methods I found maybe 10% of what I needed (random guesstimate.) So I have officially thrown in the towel and bought a subscription tonight to Genealogy Bank. If you are shopping for a new source for historic newspaper articles you will find other databases, but I tested several by searching for articles from 1770-1830 that I had found in the past. Only Genealogy Bank got the hits I expected. They also had the broadest chronological range, going back to 1690. The sheer volume of old journalism they have available just made it impossible to resist, and based on the past 2 months' experience I knew it was worth $69.95 for a year. I was looking for a particular 1873 death announcement today that I've seen posted online (neatly trimmed around the edges, showing neither the date nor the publisher and thus rendering it useless when applying to a lineage society.) I did not find it anywhere but Genealogy Bank.
The author is an Arizona research historian who enjoys the challenge of looking for Mayflower descendants, hers and anyone else's.
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