©2021 Donald R. Snow ( snowd@math.byu.edu
) -- Last updated 2021-12-13 
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ABSTRACT:   The Utah Digital Newspapers website is operated by the University of Utah Marriott Library and consists of scans of newspapers published in the state of Utah.  Their goal is to digitize and post every issue of every newspaper ever published in Utah.  It is free to everyone and is completely searchable, so you can type in your name, or an ancestor's, and find every newspaper it occurs in.  They already have millions of pages of newspapers online and many small-town newspapers are complete now. These have a wealth of local information about families there and their visitors. This class will show how to search and download articles from the website.  The notes for this class and related articles, all with active links, are posted on  https://uvtagg.org/classes/dons/dons-classes.html .


  1. Instructor is Donald R. Snow (snowd@math.byu.edu) of Provo and St. George, Utah.
  2. The notes, and related information in other articles, are posted at  https://uvtagg.org/classes/dons/dons-classes.html , all with active internet links.
  3. To see these notes in a different language paste the above link into Google > Translate (Go to Google, click on the icon with 3 rows of 3 dots > Translate) > Text; set the languages from English to whatever you want; the URL on the right will be in the target language and clocking on it will show these and anything you click on in them, in the new language, until you enter a new URL in your browser.
  4. Tips:  (1)  To put an icon on your desktop for these notes, or any webpage, just drag the icon from in front of the address in your browser onto your desktop.  (2)  To open a link, but keep your place in these notes, hold down the Control key while clicking the link.
  5. The problem for today:  What is the Utah Digital Newspapers website and how do you use it?

  7. Began in the U.S. in the 1600s
  8. Newspapers are public records, so they can be cited freely, unlike recent vital records.  
  9. Besides names in news articles, they may be in newspaper vital records, obituaries, classified ads, legal notices, and many other places.
  10. A helpful compilation of U.S. historical newspaper links is the Ancestor Hunt Newspaper page --  https://www.theancestorhunt.com/newspaper-research-links.html 

  12. Website is  https://digitalnewspapers.org/ -- free and produced by the Marriott Library at the University of Utah with grants from agencies and donations
  13. Has 3.5 million pages of nearly 200 Utah newspapers online now and working to digitize every issue of every newspaper ever published in Utah 
  14. Format is searchable pdf, so you can find and download items easily.
  15. The "About" button (top center) gives the history and acknowledgements about the entire project
  16. The "Papers Scanned" button (near top left)
    1. Shows newspapers online so far - 3.5 million pages of nearly 200 Utah newspapers
    2. Organized by county in the state, but can also search for a newspaper by CTRL-F (Find) and name of paper 
    3. Blocks are 10-year intervals from 1850 to 2000 and bars show years posted so far; some papers actually go beyond 2000
    4. Use right and left arrow keys to show later years; also drag the slider at bottom of each county
    5. For more info about a newspaper click its title in the left column
    6. They have removed some newspapers, e.g. the Brigham Young University Student Newspaper, for some reason.
  17. The "Help" button has answers to many questions about searching, viewing, and downloading.
  18. Click the Home button (top left in front of UTAH DIGITAL NEWSPAPERS) to get back to Home page

  20. Suggestion:  Read all the questions at the "Help" button before you start searching.
  21. Text is searchable since every page is OCR'd (Optical Character Recognized) -- OCR is mostly accurate, but some newspaper type may not be clear
  22. Use quotes to find exact expressions, e.g. "Eldon Snow" (with no quotes)  finds 1000s of hits, but "Eldon Snow" (with quotes) finds the words in that order; there don't seem to be any wild cards to use in searches 
  23. Try variants of the name, e.g. "Eldon Snow", "Eldon S. Snow", "Eldon Stafford Snow", "Snow, Eldon", etc.
  24. Terms are usually highlighted on the page, but still may be hard to find; can also "search on page" to highlight terms; sometimes it helps to download the entire page and use your pdf reader on your computer to find the terms
  25. To get information about an area you can browser its newspapers.  


  26. Note the page of the newspaper so you don't get off that page and can keep track of that page in your file tile -- thumbnails on right are other pages and the arrow chevrons at left and right go to previous and next pages
  27. There are scroll bars to move the entire page around and there is a Hand Tool to move the image with the mouse cursor - click on Hand Tool icon (right end of bar in "More" part, the double arrows); makes moving the image much easier 
  28. Downloading the entire newspaper page image may allow you to save out the part you want more easily; be sure to note the page number in your file title. 
  29. Long articles can be cut and pieces placed side-by-side so they aren't "tall and skinny" -- see notes and articles on my website about how to do this
  30. Labeling articles -- use a system so you can tell what is in the file - My system is SurnameGivenNames (BirthYear-DeathYear)-DateOfEventOrArticle-[Keywords]-[SourceOfArticle]-DateDownloaded.[ext]; dates are written in International Date Format YYYY-MM-DD so they sort chronologically -- see details in other notes on my website

  32. Newspapers are major sources of public information, including public versions of vital records, and much more and many U.S. states have digital collections. 
  33. Small-town newspapers contain lots of local news, since that was important there.
  34. Try your name or a relative or a prominent figure and see what you can find about them in Utah newspapers..  You may find items you didn't expect.

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