Has anyone had a chance to visit the Library of Congress newspaper website “Chronicling America” recently? Since I visited two weeks ago, the website has a whole new look and search interface.
I am working on my relatives, Nellie Jones and William Hull Phelps. I believe I found them in census and mortuary records, but Nellie is listed as Helen and Lottie. I need to find other sources that will prove to me Helen, Nellie, and Lottie are one and the same or three entirely different people.
So, off I went to find a marriage announcement in the San Francisco Call Newspaper. I used an online index to narrow it down to 1894.
The new search interface at the Chronicling America website works much more smoothly. Gone are the myriad of options of keywords and phrase. There is only one search line in the basic search screen. You can use the advanced search screen which has more options.
I set my criteria to California Newspapers only, 1894. Then I searched for “Phelps”. That brought up 12 pages of results. Ouch!
Let’s see how good this new thing is. I added Jones to my search. Bingo! Only one entry came up and it was mine. Yeah!
This entry doesn’t tell me much more than I had before. Though now I have a year of marriage. I can compare that to the census and see if the Helen or Lottie matches up.
Before doing a search like this might have taken several tries. The surname Jones would have complicated things rather than made them easier. So, it looks like the database might be able to search for terms close together a little bit more efficiently than it did before.
I thought that it brought up the page much quicker. Navigation also seemed easier. You no longer have to enlarge a document section by section. There is one magnifying “+” button to work with.
I’ll have to do more searches to see how well this stacks up with different types of searches. If you’ve tested it out, post a comment and let me know how your search went.