How Tom Tryniski Digitized Nearly 50 Million Pages of Newspapers in his Living Room

Tom Tryniski has been mentioned several times in this newsletter. (See for a list of past articles about him and his work.) Anyone who has looked at Tom Tryniski’s web site at probably has been impressed by the site’s collection of 27 million historic newspaper pages available to everyone, free of charge.

Now the Columbia Journalism Review has also written about Tom’s work, saying (amongst other things):

“TOM TRYNISKI DOES NOT LOCK HIS DOORS. He spends most days sitting in his living room in Fulton, New York, 30 miles northwest of Syracuse, in front of two jumbo computer monitors, looking something like a security guard, but friendlier. He appears young for 68—skinny, with a head of white hair and an energetic demeanor. He wears a uniform of jeans and a slim-fitting T-shirt, but no coat in the chilly fall air. When we talk, he is almost always smirking.

”There are few newspapers left in his community; the Fulton Patriot closed in 2010, and The (Oswego County) Valley News, is printed just twice weekly. And yet Tryniski’s living room is drowning in newsprint, home to millions of pages of newspapers from all over New York, and the country, and Canada, stretching back to the 19th century. Every day, he sits in front of his surveillance-style monitors, shoulders hunched forward, face burrowed into the blue glow of the screen, scanning newspapers from microfilm into his massive online repository,”

You can read the full article written by Alexandria Neason in the Columbia Journalism Review web site at:


Great article, thanks! All this time I thought he was scanning actual papers, not “just” digitizing microfilm. Unless he does a bit of that too, since he’s described as having newspapers somewhere in the apartment.


Tom Tryniski is amazing, doing what he does. I have used and benefitted from his sight for over 15 years. I have found many articles pertaining to my family and families of others I have helped with research. I found one article describing how my 3rd great grandmother’s brother was shot and killed by his own guard coming back into camp during the civil war. He had one more week to serve. Unfortunately for him he did not know the countersign to give the guard!


Thank You for bringing this latest about Tom Tryniski to your blog. I was priviledged to be working when he did the Auburn, NY newspapers and enjoy seeing his progress with this Fulton History site continue.


I am eternally grateful Tom!!! The amount of genealogy information that I have found on your website is staggering and priceless to me (for instance- a several great grandfather advertising he had found someone’s cow and they could have it back for the cost of the ad). How great is that!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you for ALL of your time and efforts.


The Fulton History site is one of my favorite newspaper website not because it is free (donations are very welcomed). I was able to find my 3 gr uncle, Dennis Charles Mahoney/Mahaney (I thought he died before he did) & family, aunts, cousins who settled or born in Auburn. Tom is a genealogy saint. If you have any relations in northern New York state, you must check his site.


His work has been so valuable in my research. I’d be so far behind without it.


I have relied on Tom’s work for years and he opened up a whole world for me when he digitized my hometown (Buffalo, NY) papers. His contribution to genealogists such as myself has been invaluable.


There must be a special place in Heaven reserved for genealogy angels like Tom! His work has been a Godsend for so many of us


Hi Dick. Maybe in another article in one of your newsletters on security, you might explain what the deal is with Adobe Flash – apparently required by this website. I removed Adobe Flash from my computer some time ago because I read it was a security risk. Is that no longer the case? Or, did I misread the original info from a few years ago about Adobe Flash Player being unsafe? Thanks in advance.

Liked by 1 person

    —> I removed Adobe Flash from my computer some time ago because I read it was a security risk. Is that no longer the case? Or, did I misread the original info from a few years ago about Adobe Flash Player being unsafe?

    That is a long story. There have been several security issues with Adobe Flash although Adobe seems to believe that (1.) the “issues” are overblown and that (2.) past issues are now resolved and newer issues will be resolved this week with a software update. However, quite a few security experts disagree with Adobe’s statements. (I have Flash disabled on my desktop and laptop systems.) In any case, Adobe plans to kill off Flash in 2020.

    You can find lots of articles on the Internet concerning Flash and its security issues. I would suggest ignoring all the articles that are more than a few months old as the information they provide probably is now obsolete. However, you can still find numerous current articles about Adobe Flash and its supposed problems.

    A 6-day-old article on the Adobe web site describes a security update that Adobe plans to release this week. Take a look at:

    In short, I would question anyone who categorically states that either (1.) Adobe Flash is a security problem or that (2.) Adobe Flash is NOT a security problem. I believe the truth lies somewhere in between those two simple statements. Like many other things, a simple “yes or no” statement doesn’t fully describe the issues.


Thank you sir, for your labor of love! I hope to access these records for our own geneological search.


Tom Tryniski is amazing. Years ago, I was afraid to use his website, despite many recommendations, because of its unusual (to say the least) home page. I finally took the plunge and have found gold many times, including the place of origin in Ireland, always such a Mount Everest of difficulty, of my great-great grandfather. What a guy. A true American original.


Once when I was trying to get on one of the pages I could not get it to come up no matter how many times I tried over a several day period. I emailed Tom and he hung in there with me until I managed to get on the page I wanted, it was my problem, not his, I just was not clicking the right place, I needed to go one more level. He was wonderful about sticking with this technologically challenged person until I got it right, once I got there I immediately saw my mistake.
It is a wonderful site and not just for those that know they have family in NY but for those hunting their needles.


I keep hoping someone, anyone, will take over the site and add a usable search engine. Elephind, are you listening?

I have dozens of direct ancestors who lived in New York starting in the mid 1600s to the late 1800s and have found exactly 2 newspaper articles on this site. I find it hard to believe that none of my nice middle-class ancestors were ever mentioned in a newspaper while they lived in New York. I have found lots using Chronicling America, GenealogyBank and Sadly there is little overlap with his newspapers and the other sites.

Unfortunately he has also indexed Kentucky newspapers covering the period when my ancestors lived there so I’m SOL on those folks too.


Tom is an amazing super hero. I’ve used his site hundreds of times with great success.

He’s also one of the reasons I got into genealogy. I was trying to help my mom find a missing cousin of my grandpa’s who moved from Michigan to New York following her parent’s divorce. I can’t remember who pointed me in the direction of his website, but I found my missing person rather quickly even though I had almost nothing to go on. By some miracle, her local NY paper printed her birth father’s Michigan obituary! I never would have found her on my own as she Americanized her first name, used her stepfather’s surname as a child, married twice, lived in several counties, etc. From that point on, I was hooked on solving the family mysteries.


Because FultonHistory’s archive is so valuable to researchers and there is no data backup/redundancy, I think it is imperative that Tom Tryniski partner with a non-profit such as to ensure the preservation of and public-access to his archive in the future. If only someone could get Brewster Kahle to talk to Tom.


    Yes, it is true the value we all have rec’d from Tom’s generosity, am sure he understands it needs to be protected. However I am & I think many others are feeling betrayed by Ancestry and it’s treatment of their purchases, namely just about everything they have offered. So Tom will be careful we hope if he wants to keep it free, and in the meantime let’s hope he has some idea of what he will do with it.


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