The newspaper is the most important printed source for local history and especially so for genealogists.On Saturday, July 10, 2010, at the CGS July membership meeting, Dr. Henry Snyder presented The California Newspaper: A Genealogical Treasure, What Survives, How to Find and Use It. Henry is a member of CGS and Professor of History Emeritus at the University of California, Riverside.
– Dr. Henry Snyder
Dr. Snyder described the national umbrella project, The United States Newspaper Program, managed by the Library of Congress and funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands had a program which spent twenty-five years locating, cataloging, and microfilming newspapers published in the United States from the eighteenth century to the present.
Now retired, Snyder continues to offer assistance to The Center for Bibliographical Studies and Research (CBSR) at the University of California, Riverside, where he was the director of the California Newspaper Project from 1990 through 2009. He and his team scoured the state, chasing down any clues that might lead to a stash of old papers or microfilm. According to their website, "Close to 9,000 California newspapers were inventoried in over 1,400 repositories throughout the state, 1.5 million pages of California newspapers were preserved and made available on microfilm, and 100,000 rolls of negative microfilm rolls are being processed for permanent storage at the UC Regional Library Storage Facilities."
Although the first California newspaper wasn't published until 1846, the state has the third largest number of known titles after New York and Illinois. Papers have been published in thirty-nine different languages in the state, including Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Japanese and Chinese.
The state program has evolved into the California Digital Newspaper Collection. As of today, the collection contains 44,922 issues comprising 396,287 pages and 4,907,047 articles. Approximately 200,000 of these pages can also be accessed through Chronicling America on the Library of Congress website.
Copyright © 2010 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library