Scattered thunderstorms are in the forecast, which is good news: I can justify spending more time with my newest toy, an online subscription to Newspapers.com.
Yes, I already subscribe to another online database of digitized newspaper pages --- Newspaperarchive.com. But, well, you know how it goes. You can never be too rich or have too much access to digitized newspaper archives.
I spend a lot of time doing research, mostly related to family and local history. And those old newspapers, once published in nearly every small town coast to coast, are one of the best resources for detail.
Then there's also the fact that Newspapers.com, although it advertises 99 million digital pages in its database, is very light on Iowa newspapers. Newspaperarchive.com, on the other hand, offers a huge collection of Iowa paper, including the Chariton newspapers (there are no Lucas County papers on Newspapers.com --- yet at least).
Newspapers.com, though, offers a far bigger selection of Pennsylvania and Kansas newspapers than does Newspaperarchive. And those are two other states I'm especially interested in since big chunks of my family came to Iowa from the former and left Iowa for the latter.
Newspapers.com is, as you might expect, affiliated with Ancestry.com --- the gorilla in the room when it comes to online access to research tools. That means Ancestry.com subscribers get a discounted subscription rate, about $40 annually; roughly half the cost of a non-affiliate subscription.
There are those who complain when Ancestry.com adds access to additional data, then offers it only for a surcharge --- the basic Ancestry.com rate is fairly high. However, it's a huge operation and I would guess each new project has a relatively high overhead. Ancestry.com is in the business of making money. And that's just the way it works. Besides, if you're not a heavy user, you can access Ancestry.com in the genealogical library at the Chariton Free Public Library, other libraries and LDS family history centers nationwide.
I like the Newspaperarchive search engine better --- it's more versatile and offers more ways to search and to order results. However, when searching in PDF format --- the most convenient --- you're confronted with entire newspaper pages and then must wade through everything looking for what you want.
The Newspaper.com search engine is simpler and offers fewer ways to narrow searches. However, it snaps instantly to search terms on a digital page, which speeds the research process.
If you're interested in giving these services a try --- both offer trial memberships: Newspaper.com for a week; Newspaperarchive.com, for three days. Give them a try.