Friday, November 18, 2011

World Vital Records, Don't Pass It By!

In the August 18, 2011 post, we announced that the Van Buren District Library is providing to its patrons free access to the online genealogical powerhouse, World Vital Records (WVR).  This has been made possible by an anonymous gift of a one-year subscription by a local Local History patron.
The following is a WVR testimonial from Joyce Gash Rossler Beedie, Van Buren Regional Genealogical Society  president:

"I get excited when I can locate a small town or neighborhood newspaper online and I was pleased to see the large quantity of these papers on the World Vital Records website.  I have many ancestors who resided in Illinois, both in the Chicago area and downstate, and this site has a wonderful collection of the papers from those areas.  I was also pleased to see the date range of the papers in the collection.  There are many that date prior to 1900 as well as ones with more current issues dates.

When I was a kid I remember my family subscribing to the South End Reporter (Chicago, IL) and the paperboy would throw it on the stoop.  It was the neighborhood daily paper and was always full of the latest goings on.  I did not know if this paper had been archived or even where to start to look for the old editions so I was amazed to see it at WVR.  The years that are available are 1912 – 1977.  Needless to say I have looked back in time and found articles that mention my parents, aunts, uncles and cousins; I also found my grandparent’s marriage under the article titled “Marriage Licenses” in the paper from January 25, 1927.   This was the first time I have been able to pinpoint an approximate year for their marriage. 

Searching this site was very easy and the results are clearly presented making it easy to disqualify searches that do not pertain to your research.  The newspaper pages are also searchable and, when commanded, the area of the page where your ancestor appears is highlighted.   The only trouble I encountered was when I was searching for my surname “GASH”.  The search results show not only the surname of GASH but all the references to a severe wound and advertisements that include the word CASH.   I also found that this site does not show every hit when doing a surname search from the home page.  I suggest that you also do surname searches of specific databases on this site that are of interest to your research.

I hope you give World Vital Records a spin and happy genealogy trails to you."
If you haven't had a chance to try it out, add World Vital Records to your list of online family history search sites this winter.  For more information about how to access through the Van Buren District Library website, contact the library.

Nameless Picture of the Day
unknown boy
Photographer - A. D. Lacy, Benton Harbor

Can you identify the boy in this photo?  Are you familiar with the photographer's name?  Please contact us if you any information and we will publish it in a future blog.  Please include the photo's catalog number with your e-mail.