The American Civil War Newspapers website can be a valuable resource for genealogists researching Civil War era ancestors, even those outside of Virginia. The ultimate goal of the American Civil War Newspapers website is to index newspapers from the Civil War era — Northern and Southern, Eastern and Western, urban and rural, white and black — in order to offer a balanced cross-section of opinion, observation, and experience, from all across America.
Quoting from the newspaper collection’s web site:
“For many years the newspapers of the Civil War era were probably the most neglected of all sources, and yet they are one of the richest. The reason no doubt lay in the sheer mass of them, their inaccessibility, and the fact that they were not indexed. Few if any scholars had the time or resources to spend weeks and months scanning page by page in the hope of finding something of use to their projects. Yet the newspapers are the surest windows on the attitudes of the time, despite their inevitable editorial bias.
“All of the daily affairs of the common people play out in the pages of newspapers, only perhaps in smaller type than the antics of the great and powerful. Moreover, thousands of soldier letters, military reports, general orders, and even occasionally diaries, found their way into ink on newsprint, many of them items available nowhere else. Thanks to the policy of editors exchanging newspapers among themselves and borrowing stories from each other, often newspapers for which not a single issue survives, still live in excerpts published in other journals. Even the advertisements are mirrors of consumers and their concerns in the 1860s.
“The goal of the American Civil War Newspapers database is to select a representative group of journals to index, with digital images of the newspapers themselves, for use by students and scholars. The newspapers selected will be a representative sampling of Union and Confederate, urban and small town, Eastern and Western, pro- and anti-administration.”
The American Civil War Newspapers site is available free of charge, as one of the continuing projects of the center to further awareness and understanding of the Civil War era. Users may search by keyword, or browse the pages either on their own or by predefined topics. Each page provides options for downloading and viewing printable digital images of the newspaper columns in which a search finds a hit, and also to browse the pages throughout an issue.
American Civil War Newspapers has been funded in part by a grant from the Watson-Brown Foundation with the cooperation of ProQuest of Ann Arbor, Mich.
You can access Virginia Tech’s Civil War Newspapers at https://goo.gl/wBNIcH.