Historic American Newspapers Website Bug

Last weekend, I became aware of the fact that the Library of Congress Historic American Newspapers website had recently added more than one million digitized American newspapers to its collection. I spent the bulk of my free time the next four days running searches and doing data entry in my genealogy database.

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Main page of the Chronicling America Historic American Newspapers website

In the course of this activity, I noticed a “bug” in the display of filtered search results when using the Advanced Search form. By default, search results on this site are ordered in terms of Relevance, or how many times your search terms appear on the page. Since I typically prefer to see my results ordered by date, I change the Sort by parameter by using the drop down arrow. However, when this option is selected, search results limited by state are no longer retained. The upshot is that my “hits” balloon and include states that I did not select at the outset.

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Chronicling America Advanced Search form 


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My search for Thomas Mulkey initially yielded 8 results from Missouri and Oregon newspapers

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Changing the default sort order to Date causes my hits to increase, and includes states that I did not select in my original search 

This problem does not occur when using the search box on the main page and changing the sort order of the results, but you cannot limit your search to newspapers from only two states if you use this form. For now, my advice would be to search a single state at a time if you want to sort your results by date.

I tweeted this issue yesterday, and reported the bug to the Library of Congress via their website comment form. Hopefully it will be an easy fix for them. I will report here when there is a response.

@ancestorroundup-tweet-2015-09-22

In case you are interested, John Thomas Mulkey is my third-great-grandfather, a son of the noted preacher, Philip Mulkey. Many from the extended Mulkey family were early pioneers who relocated from Missouri to Oregon via the Oregon Trail to stake Oregon Donation Land Claims.

A New NGS Member Benefit

The National Genealogical Society (NGS) quietly released a new digital publication called NGS Monthly in late February 2015. I say “quietly” simply because it wasn’t on my radar until this morning, even though I am a long-time member who follows them on Twitter, reads the printed publications of the society and their e-newsletter.

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NGS Monthly, the new digital publication of the National Genealogical Society

Although NGS Monthly appears to be a standard WordPress blog, only the first four articles (those published in February & March 2015) are available to the public at large. Clicking on any other article link takes you to a page where you can login with your membership credentials or are invited to join the society.

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The NGS Monthly “paywall”

The orange subscribe button on the website allows you to add the blog’s RSS feed to your favorite feed reader. When a new article is published you will be notified. Without logging in, however, you will only be able to read the first few sentences of the post.

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NGS Monthly via RSS feed. Click to enlarge.

Despite the inconvenience of having to sign in every time, this is a fantastic new resource for members of NGS. If you have not yet joined the National Genealogical Society perhaps this latest membership benefit will sway you.

FREE articles, written by Melissa A. Johnson, CG. Note that you must be a member of NGS to click into any of the internally referenced NGSQ journal articles.

“What is an NGSQ Case Study?”
http://ngsmonthly.ngsgenealogy.org/what-is-an-ngsq-case-study/

“Eight Tips for Deconstructing an NGSQ Case Study”
http://ngsmonthly.ngsgenealogy.org/eight-tips-for-deconstructing-an-ngsq-case-study/

“The Great Mix-Up: Sources, Information, Evidence, and Proof”
http://ngsmonthly.ngsgenealogy.org/the-great-mix-up-sources-information-evidence-and-proof/

The Proof Is In the Writing
http://ngsmonthly.ngsgenealogy.org/the-proof-is-in-the-writing/

A Little Bird Told Me…the Power of Twitter

Twitter iconI spend an inordinate amount of my free time researching early New Jersey history and sources for shreds of information about several of my ancestral lines that once lived in Trenton and surrounding communities: namely the Carson and Hopkins families of Middlesex, Monmouth and Mercer Counties.

My challenge is that I have never lived in New Jersey, nor have I ever traveled to New Jersey. I do the bulk of my research online, so I am always interested in learning about websites that focus on New Jersey history or have original New Jersey documents.

Yesterday, I learned through Twitter (a social networking site) that the journal called
New Jersey History is available online, for free:

I explored the link, and discovered not only the latest version of the journal online, but several additional issues, going back to 2009. Best of all, the journal is searchable, and browseable,

I quickly located three articles that were of interest to me, and may be of interest to other genealogists. I then shared these explicit links through Twitter. Since I’ve not yet integrated my Twitter feed into my blog, I thought I would share them here.

 Another: “To Reach Sweet Home Again”:The Impact of Soldiering on New Jersey’s Troops During the American Civil War.” njh.libraries.rutgers.edu/index.php/njh/…

— Dawn Bingaman (@AncestorRoundup) September 27, 2012

Contains map: “A Survey of the Canals and Water Raceways of New Jersey”. njh.libraries.rutgers.edu/index.php/njh/…. Thanks to @petermarsch for main URL.

— Dawn Bingaman (@AncestorRoundup) September 27, 2012

Tweets appear in Twitter  in reverse chronological order, with the newest at the top.

New Jersey History is a peer-reviewed journal, with issues dating back to 1845. I cannot wait to explore more than what is currently available online!

Twitter, like other social networks, has been maligned at times for having too much meaningless information (cruft). However, it can be used by genealogists to share information and resources. Even without a Twitter account, you can search public tweets. Look for common hashtags like #genealogy or #familyhistory.