Thursday, May 21, 2009

Paper of Record returns

In February, we noted historians' and researchers' dismay at the disappearance of, an Ottawa-based website that had made available a collection of digitized historic newspapers whose users evidently loved it for being comprehensive, easy to use, and free.

Now Paper of Record founder R.J. Huggins announces that his newspaper online archive is returning to the World Wide Web through the genealogical website Access will not be free anymore, apparently -- another small sign of rationality starting to prevail in the digital realm. This is the announcement:
To Our Library Community,

Thank you for your continuing patience as we bring back online. has recently concluded an exclusive distribution agreement with World Vital Records of Provo, Utah a division of, Inc. has more than 15 million unique global visitors each month and 40 million page views per month. With more than 31 million users We’re Related is the fastest growing social network for families and genealogists. We’re Related, a top-five application on Facebook, allows individuals to find relatives on Facebook, connect with friends and family members, build family trees, and share news and photos. It is the most popular family application on Facebook. Since October 2007, when the application was launched, more than 150 million relationships (of living people) have been defined on We’re Related. Within the past 30 days, the application has had 14.9 million monthly active users and 1,000,000 daily active users. provides affordable access to genealogy databases and family history tools used by more than 258,000 monthly visitors. The site registers 3.6 million monthly pages views and serves tens of thousands of paying subscribers. With thousands of databases—including birth, death, military, census, and parish records— makes it easy to fill in missing information in your family tree. Some of its partners include Everton Publishers, Quintin Publications, Archive CD Books Australia, Gould Genealogy, Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild, Archive CD Books Canada, The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc., SmallTownPapers®, Accessible Archives, Genealogical Publishing Company, Find My Past, Godfrey Memorial Library, Find A Grave, and FamilySearch.

I encourage you to contact Scott Spencer at to access our critically successful database of Historical Newspaper Images at the site that began it all,!


R.J. (Bob) Huggins
Update (May 22): Mark Reynolds observes:
Familylink/World Vital Records seem to have some connection with the Church of Latter Day Saints genealogical database (I did some poking around a few months ago when people tried to sign me up to use their Facebook application). Not that this is a reason to not use it, but I suspect that people looking into old obituaries for their family trees might end up having their data stored in ways that they aren't entirely comfortable with.

On the other hand, I'm just glad the resource is still out there - if someone wants to convert me after I die, I can hardly complain.
In my (limited) experience, you do genealogy, you deal with people in Utah. They just plain have the data, and have it in accessible form. Mostly, I think, genealogy gets at least as much from the Mormons' database than the Mormons get from us. Yes?
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