Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Tuesday, November 19, 2013 and the Associated Press Bring Historical AP Archives Online

In a press release dated 18 November 2013,, the world’s largest online family history resource, announced a collaboration with the Associated Press making fifty years of news stories--in their original wire copy format--available online. Quinton Atkinson, Director of Content Acquisition for stated:
We are thrilled to announce this collaboration with the Associated Press to bring its name and subject catalog online. It represents a fantastic set of material for our family historians who are researching the news of an era, and gives incredible historical context for the world their ancestors lived in.
The release describes the collection as follows:
Available at, the voluminous card catalog of names and subjects links to more than two million records and more than one million AP stories spanning 1937 to 1985, a resource which took several years to prepare and digitize. 
For subscribers, the collection of AP stories adds a whole new dimension to the family history experience. Stories complement family trees and genealogical records on with period news coverage that provides historical context to the times, places and people Ancestry members are researching. members will be able to search for stories by name, and then click through to view a digitized copy of the full AP story. Stories can also be searched by subject and by date.
I tried my hand with an initial search for some of my ancestor's surnames and found that the articles are in several separate collections.
  • Associated Press, Stories and Newsfeatures, 1937-1985
  • AP News Stories (1946-1948)
  • AP NewsFeatures (1943-1979)
  • Cables (AP stories, 1934-1985)
  • New York Bureau Stories (1966-1987)
  • World Disorders (AP stories 1937-1963)
I am not sure yet how the search works, it seems to be limited to topics and keywords, but there are some searches involving names. It is really interesting to see the old newspapers in very high resolution and contrast images. The explanation of the search process indicates that there is a lot of manual searching necessary. Here is the description:
The process of searching Associated Press Stories and Newsfeatures essentially replicates the manual search process that has been in use at AP for many years. The patron looking up a story consults the Name Card Index or the Subject Card index for the story classification number and then uses that number to locate the story in the database. 
Most stories in this collection have been catalogued with a three-part classification number written in this format: 35.46-5. The first part (35) is a country code (Italy) and the second part (.46) is a subject code (Aviation). The part after the dash (5) is a page number. Classification numbers are hand-written in the upper right-hand corner of the story image and they often occur only on every other image. They are typewritten on the index cards. 
Many of the names in these stories are indexed on cards and searchable in the Associated Press, Name Card Index to AP Stories, 1905-1990.collection.
Adding all these records is simply amazing.

1 comment:

  1. hey nice post mehn. I love your style of blogging here. The way you writes reminds me of an equally interesting post that I read some time ago on Daniel Uyi's blog: Being Grateful For Your Health .
    keep up the good work.