Wednesday, December 9, 2015

New resource for Juneau genealogists

Recently, I posted about the Evergreen Cemetery map, a great tool for genealogists and local researchers. Today I'm highlighting another newly digitized resource: the Vital Records, an index to births, deaths, and marriages listed in the Alaska Daily Empire (predecessor to the Juneau Empire) and the Weekly Douglas Island Newspaper from 1898 to 1936. You can find the digital version on our website.

The six volumes of the Vital Records are the result of fifteen years of work by local historian Betty Miller. Each volume consists of two parts - the first is an alphabetical list of all the names referenced in the volume and the second is a chronological list of the events with the page and column where the article was printed.
The paper volumes of Vital Records from Alaska Daily Empire are well-used items in our genealogy section. The ability to search them digitally will speed up our research.

Although the digitized Vital Records are a valuable resource on their own, they work best in conjunction with the Alaska State Library's newspaper microfilm collection. Now you can search for a name, find the date, page, and column number for an article about that person, and then read the article in the Alaska Daily Empire or the Weekly Douglas Island Newspaper. We have four microfilm scanners that allow you to print, email, or scan to a flash drive or the cloud, making microfilm research easier than ever.
Front page of the Alaska Daily Empire with the headling "Pres. Wilson will visit Alaska."
The Alaska Daily Empire is one of hundreds of Alaskan newspapers available in our microfilm collection.

Some Alaska newspaper microfilm is available for lending through interlibrary loan, so even if you can't make it to an Alaska library, you can find historic articles about your Alaskan ancestors. Ask your local library for more information.

Learn more:
  • Betty Miller wrote a short biography about her life and her work on the Vital Records. A longer bio about her family was published in Gastineau Channel Memories, Volume I.
  • The Alaska Newspaper Project microfilmed all the known Alaskan newspapers and created microfilm repositories at the Alaska State Library, University of Alaska Fairbanks Rasmuson Library, and University of Alaska Anchorage Consortium Library.

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