UK: 160 years of Illustrated London News now online

Researching your ancestors in the UK just became easier, with 160 years of the Illustrated London News now online.

Hosted by Gale, there are some 250,000 pages and about 750,000 photographs and illustrations, from its first issue on May 14, 1842 to the last in 2003. At a time when copper printing was expensive and took time, the ILN developed a fast, cheap woodcut print method for illustrations. Photographs first began to appear in print during the late 19th century.

“It was the multimedia of its day,” said Seth Cayley, publisher of media history at Cengage Learning, which has digitised the ILN archive. “In one sense, people didn’t know before then what the rest of the world really looked like. ILN was the strongest paper of its sort and helped shape the middle class.”

According to the Guardian, highlights include articles by such writers as Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Wilkie Collins and Agatha Chrstie. The first illustrated news publication included all the news of the day, such as wars, disasters, exhibitions and work by famed artists of the day.

While access is currently available only to subscribing institutions, there seems to be hope, as noted in the original Guardian story:

The online archive, which goes up to 2003, will initially be available only to libraries and educational institutions.

The archive presents articles both on an individual page, or to view in the original layout next to adverts and other editorial of the day. Pages are full-colour with both text and tagged images indexed for search, though the archive is not publicly accessible and has not been indexed by Google.

Cayley said the firm had improved the archive experience with each previous project, including its work on Times Online, the Economist, the British Library and the FT.

“The Times archive has been so successful it has almost distorted the way people research, because they assume that is the only newspaper archive. But more archives coming online will mean better representation of different reporting and a clearer perspective on the past,” Cayley added.

He said it would be ideal for all newspaper archives to be cross searchable in the future, and that Cengage is exploring that option.

From a page at Gale, here’s more on access:

Please note: The ILN Historical Archive is only available for institutions to trial and purchase.The archive is not available at this stage for individual subscriptions, although a pay per view site may be considered at some future time. Users of the archive can share images and articles for non commercial purposes only.

If you have access, here’s what you’ll find.

The Illustrated London News Historical Archive gives students and researchers unprecedented online access to the entire run of the ILN from its first publication on 14 May 1842 to its last in 2003. Each page has been digitally reproduced in full colour and every article and caption is full-text searchable with hit-term highlighting and links to corresponding illustrations. Facsimilies of articles and illustrations can be viewed, printed and saved either individually or in the context of the page in which they appear. Wherever possible Special Numbers covering special events such as coronations or royal funerals have been included.

For more from Gale, click here, which notes that the new archive will be of interest to researchers in many fields:

Use this remarkable resource to support scholarly and enthusiast research in social history, fashion, theatre, media, literature, advertising, graphic design and politics, as well as those interested in genealogy.

The Guardian noted:

The archive includes an 1850s illustration of a “sea serpent” seen by sailors from HMS Daedalus on a passage from the West Indies – which they promptly tried to shoot – and a column by feminist Florence Fenwick Miller. She describes using cocaine drops to combat sea sickness. “All chemists keep it, and my readers undertaking a sea-voyage should have no difficulty in procuring a supply.”

Tracing the Tribe hopes for future access for all.

Family Tree Magazine: New issue

The March 2010 issue of Family Tree Magazine provides another great issue for researchers, providing many practical resources and articles.

It went on sale January 5 and, if you have a subscription, you’re already enjoying it.

Diane Haddad covered the new issue in her Genealogy Insider post.

–Assess your genealogical fitness level with a “Shaping Up” survey. Find links to classes, websites, books and organizations to help everyone, from beginners to experts, brush up on skills or learn new ones.

–Learn about your ancestors with a social history of their times, such as childbirth practices in our grandmothers’ and great-grandmothers’ days, in”We Deliver for You.” There’s information on birth, hospital and midwives’ records.

–“Flirting With Disaster” will help you understand about disasters our ancestors lived through … or didn’t. Find sources to victims’ names.

–“Go Go Gadgets” tells researchers what to look for in seven technology tools – a practical article comparing popular models for each tool.

–There’s a Toolkit Tutorial on Twitter and its new vocabulary for social networking.

–How to keep your family connected via a family website with the MyHeritage Web Guide, detailing how to use a tree on MyHeritage.com to do research and connect with family.

Other articles include Puerto Rican root tracing, color photography and sources to help African-American researchers.

Illinois: Digitizing the records

The availability of digitized records spurs interest in genealogy research.

More people, regardless of where they live, will be able to access more records and find the information required to advance their family’s history.

In Pekin, Illinois, a project is making general research easier for Tazewell and Mason counties.

This week, Tazewell County Genealogical & Historical Society member Carol Hiller finished scanning in the last pages of two large history texts and converting them to CDs: “The History of Tazewell County, 1879” and “A Portrait and Biographical Record of Tazewell and Mason Counties, Illinois, 1894.”

Both books, which are 794 pages and 712 pages respectively, are now available on CDs, which the Genealogical Society is selling to any history buff who fancies one — or anyone who knows a history buff who would fancy one.

Both digitized books are searchable by name and are in PDF format, which can be read by the commonly used program Adobe Reader, Hiller said.

The article, by Tara Mattimoe, covers the advantages of such projects, covering the cost of reprints versus inexpensive scanning to CDs. With budget problems facing many groups, the for-sale CDs ($20 each) are expected to bring in needed funds.

The books offer personal accounts and memories, biographies, drawings, geographic features, houses and settlements, soldiers and more.

It took several months to scan the books and convert them to PDF format.

The project could be replicated by other societies using rare materials from their own libraries.

Read the complete story for more details.

The Jewish dimension of 9/11

An interesting column appeared in the New Jersey Jewish Standard posing the question if there was there anything distinctly Jewish about the suffering that resulted from the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack.

Orthodox Rabbi Howard Jachter wrote in his Torah Commentary column that there was a uniquely Jewish facet to this horrific event despite it being an undiscriminating attack on all Americans.

The terrorist attacks left hundreds of individuals whose remains were not found or only small remnants of their bodies were discovered. Besides families waiting for a measure of clarity that their loved ones perished in order for them to begin the formal process of mourning, the plight of the women who wish to one day remarry loomed large in the wake of the World Trade Center attacks.

These women remained agunot, unable to remarry until a bet din (rabbinic court) was able to amass sufficient evidence to issue a ruling verifying the death of the husband and thereby permitting the wife to remarry. As a result of this tragedy, 15 cases of agunot were presented to batei din (rabbinical courts) in the New York metropolitan area.

Throughout history, rabbis have tried to resolve agunot cases. According to the rabbi, the Otzar Haposkim encyclopedia (1982 edition) devotes eight volumes and 1,500 pages to summarize responsa on this topic.

Throughout history, rabbinical authorites have wrestled with this problem during the Holocaust, Israel’s various wars and following terrorist attacks. The New York tragedy, writes Jachter, also saw the rabbis focus on months of research, to find evidence that could be used to reach decisions.

The material used – including records for telephones, cellphones, subways, elevators, dental and DNA testing – connects the city’s rabbinical court investigations with CSI.

This is a fascinating example of how the rabbinic courts tackled this problem:

The first plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 a.m., between floors 93 and 98. Rabbinic courts determined (after consultation with experts) that this immediately destroyed the elevators and all stairways from the 92nd floor and above. Thus, anyone who was located in this part of the building at the time of the plane’s impact could not escape. Indeed, there are no known survivors from the 92nd floor or above. Thus, anyone who was determined to have been above the 92nd floor or above at 8:46 a.m. was presumed dead by Jewish Law.

The second plane hit the South Tower at 9:02 a.m. between floors 84 and 87. Of those who were at floor 78 and above at the time of impact, only 10 are known to have survived. The 10 who survived were standing by stairwell “A.” The elevators and stairwell “B” were destroyed by the impact of the plane. It seems that stairwell “A” remained intact only for a very brief time after the impact, and that only people who were standing immediately next to it were able to survive. The 10 survivors sustained very serious injuries and would not have survived without immediate hospitalization. Thus, anyone determined to have been in the South Tower at 9:02 a.m. regarding whom there was no record of being hospitalized on Sept. 11 was presumed by Jewish Law to have perished.

He goes further into the sources and presents specific examples such as a husband’s phone call to a friend. DNA evidence was accepted and US rabbinic courts were authorized by eminent Israel rabbis to use that evidence.

Read the complete column for more details at the link above.

The Jewish dimension of 9/11

An interesting column appeared in the New Jersey Jewish Standard posing the question if there was there anything distinctly Jewish about the suffering that resulted from the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack.

Orthodox Rabbi Howard Jachter wrote in his Torah Commentary column that there was a uniquely Jewish facet to this horrific event despite it being an undiscriminating attack on all Americans.

The terrorist attacks left hundreds of individuals whose remains were not found or only small remnants of their bodies were discovered. Besides families waiting for a measure of clarity that their loved ones perished in order for them to begin the formal process of mourning, the plight of the women who wish to one day remarry loomed large in the wake of the World Trade Center attacks.

These women remained agunot, unable to remarry until a bet din (rabbinic court) was able to amass sufficient evidence to issue a ruling verifying the death of the husband and thereby permitting the wife to remarry. As a result of this tragedy, 15 cases of agunot were presented to batei din (rabbinical courts) in the New York metropolitan area.

Throughout history, rabbis have tried to resolve agunot cases. According to the rabbi, the Otzar Haposkim encyclopedia (1982 edition) devotes eight volumes and 1,500 pages to summarize responsa on this topic.

Throughout history, rabbinical authorites have wrestled with this problem during the Holocaust, Israel’s various wars and following terrorist attacks. The New York tragedy, writes Jachter, also saw the rabbis focus on months of research, to find evidence that could be used to reach decisions.

The material used – including records for telephones, cellphones, subways, elevators, dental and DNA testing – connects the city’s rabbinical court investigations with CSI.

This is a fascinating example of how the rabbinic courts tackled this problem:

The first plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 a.m., between floors 93 and 98. Rabbinic courts determined (after consultation with experts) that this immediately destroyed the elevators and all stairways from the 92nd floor and above. Thus, anyone who was located in this part of the building at the time of the plane’s impact could not escape. Indeed, there are no known survivors from the 92nd floor or above. Thus, anyone who was determined to have been above the 92nd floor or above at 8:46 a.m. was presumed dead by Jewish Law.

The second plane hit the South Tower at 9:02 a.m. between floors 84 and 87. Of those who were at floor 78 and above at the time of impact, only 10 are known to have survived. The 10 who survived were standing by stairwell “A.” The elevators and stairwell “B” were destroyed by the impact of the plane. It seems that stairwell “A” remained intact only for a very brief time after the impact, and that only people who were standing immediately next to it were able to survive. The 10 survivors sustained very serious injuries and would not have survived without immediate hospitalization. Thus, anyone determined to have been in the South Tower at 9:02 a.m. regarding whom there was no record of being hospitalized on Sept. 11 was presumed by Jewish Law to have perished.

He goes further into the sources and presents specific examples such as a husband’s phone call to a friend. DNA evidence was accepted and US rabbinic courts were authorized by eminent Israel rabbis to use that evidence.

Read the complete column for more details at the link above.