The new online database will contain images of millions of documents of genealogical interest. Ninety-nine percent of these documents have never been available before in electronic format, and perhaps 50% of the documents have not even been available on microfilm. Many have never been available in any format other than the original paper documents, if you could find them. Now these millions of documents will be available to everyone in a new online database that will contain the equivalent of 100,000 books, fully indexed and searchable by every word. You will be able to see images of the original documents on your computer screen.
This site is expected to expand significantly within the next few years. According the Genealogy Bank announcement, the new web site is launching with the following databases in place today:
Historical Newspapers 1690 - 1977
Quickly find names and keywords in millions of articles, obituaries, marriage notices, birth announcements, and other items published in more than 500,000 issues of over 1,300 historical U.S. newspapers. New content added monthly!
Historical Books 1652 - 1900
A unique source that provides you with complete text of more than 17,000 books, pamphlets, and printed items, including: genealogies, biographies, funeral sermons, local histories, cards, charts, and more - all published in the U.S. prior to 1900. New content added monthly!
Historical Documents 1789 - 1930
Find military records, casualty lists, Revolutionary and Civil War pension requests, widow's claims, orphan petitions, land grants, and much more, including all of the American State Papers (1789-1838) and all genealogical content carefully selected from the U.S. Serial Set (1817-1930). More than 81,000 reports, lists and documents. New content added monthly!
America's Obituaries 1977 to current
Obituaries contain helpful information such as names, dates, places of birth, death, marriage, and family information. Over 22 million obituaries make this the most complete collection from the 20th and 21st centuries - includes more than 800 U.S. newspapers. New content added daily!
Social Security Death Index 1937 to current
Search more than 78 million death records and get genealogical information crucial to your family research.
The following are "works in progress" that will be added soon:
- Dallas (TX) Morning News, 1885-1977
- Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer 1860-1918
- San Jose (CA) Mercury 1884-1914
- Richmond (VA) Enquirer 1804-1838
- ...and much more.
You can conduct searches free of charge. A search will tell you that it found possible matches and will even display a tiny "thumbnail" image of the original document. However, to view the full document, you must purchase a subscription. NewsBank is available at an introductory price of $19.95/month. That price will give you access to all the records on the site.
NewsBank is a company that is well-known to historians and librarians but not as well known within the genealogy community. For several years NewsBank has provided subscribing libraries with online databases containing the following:
- Early American Newspaper Collection (scanned images of old American newspapers)
- America's Obituaries
- U.S. & World Newspaper Collections
- American State Papers
- Early American Imprints (1639-1819)
- The U.S. Congressional Serial Set
The new service is built with many of the same resources but with new ones added. Also, for the first time, NewsBank is offering these services directly to consumers.
I'll repeat this one more time as it is important: the new database contains scanned images of original documents, the most accurate sources available. The service is completely indexed and searchable by every word. You can quickly find documents and then view images of the original documents on your own computer screen.
You can find more information or even sign up for the Genealogy Bank service at http://www.genealogybank.com.