Posts Tagged ‘San Diego Union’

26th April
written by Richard

The library at San Diego State University has unveiled an invaluable tool for researching local history: a digitized database of the San Diego Union and Evening Tribune. This product by NewsBank Inc. is keyword searchable and provides pdf images of the original newspaper copy.

For decades local researchers have relied on the microfiche index to the Union produced by city librarians years ago. As important as this index as always been, it was never completed by the Public Library and was limited by the infamous “gap”—the years between 1904 and 1930 that were left un-indexed. The NewsBank database bridges that gap and also covers the historic Tribune, a separate newspaper until its merger with the Union in 1992. The digitizing is not yet complete and some years are not available.

I would encourage anyone looking for historical information in San Diego newspapers to make a trip to the SDSU library. Parking is a minor hassle but there are several lots on the campus perimeter that cost $1 per hour. The best way to go is on the San Diego Trolley, which takes you close to the library from a station in the center of campus.

23rd September
written by Richard

Douglas Gunn

No man was ever more thoroughly identified with the history of a city than is Douglas Gunn with that of San Diego. No city has ever had a more sincere and zealous advocate.  –San Diego Union, January 12, 1888.

The story of Douglas Gunn.

30th June
written by Richard

When the Brooklyn bridge was built it was pronounced the “eighth wonder of the world,” and now California has another “wonder” to add to the list. This wonder is the biggest dam in America, and so far as I have been able to learn from mining and civil engineers, it is the largest in the world. –Harper’s Weekly, January 8, 1898.

The wonder dam that quickly became a dam fiasco: Building Morena Dam.

Setting rock in position at Morena, 1897.

1st June
written by Richard

Newspaper obituaries and death notices are often a first step in uncovering valuable family history information.  In the California Room of the San Diego Public Library, researchers can search a microfiche index of the San Diego Union to look for obituaries.  A “hit” in fiche will reveal the exact newspaper date, page and column, of the obituary.  The obituary or death notice can then be found on microfilm in the Newspaper Room.

The newspaper indexing has an interesting history.  Librarians at the downtown Carnegie Library (the site of today’s Central Library) began creating the subject index in 1930.   The subject entries were laboriously typed on 3 x 5 cards to create a massive card catalog.  Eventually, the cards were photographed and the film was printed on microfiche, which researchers now use in the California Room.

The fiche covers much of San Diego history.  The Herald was indexed (1851-1860) and the Union from 1868 to 1983.  The Newsbank database in the Newspaper Room carries the indexing forward since 1983.

Unfortunately, there’s a major hole in the indexing.  The “infamous gap” from 1903 to 1930 occurred when the library ran out of funds.  Staff time became too expensive and the indexing project ended without completion.

The current California Room staff has been slowly filling “the gap” for the all-important obituaries and death notices by entering the missing information into an Access database.  So far, about fourteen years of the gap have been filled in.  A pdf version of the database is available here: Index to Deaths and Obituaries