How to Use TheOldenTimes.com Website

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Introduction

Where to Start?

How to find...?

What are the various Sections about?

How do you choose the stories that you add?

What if I have more questions?

 

Introduction: 

Most of the newspapers in my collection date between 1792 and 1920.


Stories outside of this range may occasionally be added; the majority of these are contributed by generous readers. 

I don't have anything more recent.

This website is a lot like a printed newspaper: you'll see sections for News, Legal Notices, vital statistics like birth, death and marriage information, and so on. However, unlike a printed newspaper, The Olden Times includes an index of names! To find a specific name, it's always good to check the Index of Names.

Alas, except for a few states (see the Site Map), I do not have a specific index of locations....yet. However, if you subscribe to my newsletter, you'll get an index of all the locations and place names mentioned in the stories added during the prior two weeks, as well as a complete list of every name added in the same period... and more!

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Where should I start?  

In a hurry? Go straight to the Index of Names. Otherwise,  browse through the various Sections. Don't forget to stop by The Archives, where you'll find the older stories.

April 16...I've added a Site Map. It's a work in progress, but I think it might be helpful.

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What are the Sections about?  

In the left-hand column on the Front Page, you'll see a listing of the Main Sections: Old News, Deaths, Legal Notices, Births, Marriages, etc.  Don't pass up the Ads and old Classified ads! They are also quite old, and most contain personal names. 

The benefits of the Births, Deaths and Marriages are obvious, though other types of postings may not be as clear. That's where you can get a lot of information from other online resources, such as those at Ancestry.com. For example, you'll find insight into using court records (the Old Legal Notices listings can help lead you to those by giving you dates about which to inquire with records agencies), by reading Case Study: Killing the Hogs and Threatening the Neighbors - Court Records Solve a Kentucky Problem. While the newspaper legal notices aren't the court records themselves, they'll give you important dates and locations with which to begin your records search. Research Cornerstones: 10 Ways to Improve Your Courthouse Research  is another helpful article.

Just for fun, I've included a section of Old Recipes I've found and a section of  Cartoons and Humor...all scanned from the same old newspapers as the genealogical information.  Some of the cartoons are "funnies," and others are editorial cartoons of the day.

There are also Special Sections such as The Family Album, which includes contributions of old newspaper clippings and old family photos from our wonderful readers, as well as old photographs that I've collected from flea markets and antiques shops. Most of the pictures are identified, and all of those names are in the Index of Names.

You will see that there are separate news sections for VA, TN and TX, and this is because I originally had separate sites for these states. I hope to eventually add a complete index of locations, but for now I don't have one. These separate sections do contain birth, marriage and death information that is not included in the main birth, death and marriage pages; however, you'll still find them all in the Index of Names.

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How do I find...?  

To search for a name, see the Index of Names. There is a link to this at the top of every section's main page.  I try to keep this updated at all times, but on occasion I don't have time to index the names for a new page. If the names on a page haven't yet been indexed, I'll always add a note to let you know.

In the names index, Be sure you browse through the various possible spellings - and even the most common typo's - for a given name. I've got names listed in the index that I believe to have been misprinted in the original newspaper, but I feel that I must include them exactly as they were published. 

To search for anything else, see our Search page.

If you're interested in an index of locations, I don't have one of those on the website at this time. Alas, I don't expect to have enough free time to go back and add one, either.  However,  I am including one with each newsletter (every two weeks), so subscribe to the newsletter! It's free!

How do you choose the stories that get put into The Olden Times?  

As my husband says, completely arbitrarily!

Seriously, though, I go through the old papers in my collection and add old stories that mention personal names. That's the main criterion. 

I'd like to get every page of every paper scanned - someday - but for now I have been skipping through different papers from different states and time periods, to give the broadest possible variety of history through which you can search for your family's names. I have literally hundreds of pounds of 19th and 18th century U. S. newspapers to get through, so this project will be ongoing for a long, long time!

I have no particular agenda for choosing any stories: I just scan them and post them. If I'm tired I tend to choose stories that won't have dozens of names for me to index. I also try to skip around a bit between regions, but not in any particular order. It has a lot to do with which newspapers are easier to get to from my desk, how much energy I happen to have, how much time I have to chase down that single obscure issue, etc. If you wonder why I'm adding only stories from Massachusetts for nearly a month, and you want me to add more stories from New Mexico, don't despair: soon I'll switch and my Massachusetts folks will be wondering where all the new stories are!

Here's my PC disclaimer: Many of these old newspapers are not politically correct by today's standards, but you should not assume that any of them - politically correct or not - reflect my own personal opinions. This is simply a reflection of the times in which our ancestors lived, in the words of their contemporaries. 

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Don't Forget...  

Our ancestors got around! Don't limit yourself to looking through only the news stories that were originally published near your ancestors' hometowns. 

Time after time, I see in "society news" little tidbits like "Mr. and Mrs. X entertained their cousins from thus-n-such state this month." You might not even have know that there were cousins there! 

Also, it was common for newspapers to publish lists of hotel guests. Yes, if you checked into a hotel, your name made the paper. Obviously, guests in a hotel aren't (usually) going to be from the same town in which that newspaper was published. Hotels in Memphis, Tennessee had guests from as far away as Massachusetts!

So don't limit yourself geographically!

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Do you have more questions?  

Great! Email me! I'd like to compose an FAQ page (Frequently Asked Questions), so feel free to ask questions! This will help me improve The Olden Times.

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