Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I love digitization!

So, even though I moved to Montana in 2008 and the facts I have learned about the Betters line has grown exponentially since then, the irony is that most of that additional information has been learned through the internet, so it's research I could have done anywhere.

One thing I'd been meaning to do, the next time I had some spare time in Missoula, was to just flip through the microfilm of the old newspapers, to see if I could happen across something that I was not able to find through the available indexes. Well, last night, on a whim, I decided to see if the early Missoulian papers had been digitized yet. They had! Not only that, but they appear to be searchable as well.

I found the clipping to the left at Chronicling America. A number of early newspapers have been digitized, and are available for free on the Chronicling America website. Chronicling America "is a Website providing access to information about historic newspapers and select digitized newspaper pages, and is produced by the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP). NDNP, a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Library of Congress (LC), is a long-term effort to develop an Internet-based, searchable database of U.S. newspapers with descriptive information and select digitization of historic pages."

This clipping is from the April 10, 1912 edition of The Missoulian. I had already had information about Austin's admission to the soldiers' home from available military records. This article helps explain the context for how and why he ended up there. I found it interesting that he apparently went there voluntarily.

Something that may require further research is the mention of an Austin Betters, Jr. This is not the first time I have heard him mentioned, but he has yet to show up in any official documentation that I have come across. I suspect that one of Austin's three sons, Phillip (my g-grandfather), Stanley or Gilbert, was also known as Austin Jr. All three appear to have been living in Montana at the time.

One of the amusing things about these old newspapers is what passed for news in those days. In the June 1, 1913 edition of The Missoulian, I found this: "Phillip Betters of Clinton spent the day in Missoula."