Thursday, September 29, 2005


Volunteering to the find obits in the St. Charles Demokrat German newspaper was a good experience, but it just took too long. And I didn't even do that much of the printing. (I did a fair amount of transcribing, though.) It didn't help that I was at the same time dealing with FHL films which obviously held my interest a great deal more, or that I was also looking for other assorted records here and there. I'll admit it: I don't focus very well sometimes. Most of the time.

When the next Society project — finding obits in the Republikaner, another German paper — came along, I should have passed. But I volunteered knowing that only a few years of the paper survive on film. I had in the past looked for a few obits and marriage announcements in the Republikaner, but found little for certain families. The overall picture, as I learned with this project, is that the Republikaner may have been superior to the Demokrat, if only because it was very easy to locate the news items. Who doesn't like finding the local news in the same place in virtually every issue?

The Demokrat obits have been printed, but I think are in the process of being bound. Although I had a great deal of influence with the introduction for that series, I don't know if I'm mentioned by name in the books, or will be when the Republikaner obits go to press. It doesn't matter because ultimately it was a Society project, but it would be neat to have my name listed in something in one of the fine local libraries.

Anyway, the point of this is that if a local researcher has overlooked the Republikaner, give it another look if 1884, 1897 and 1901 are relevant to your search. Here's what I submitted for the next volume's introduction regarding the Republikaner:

"Between the two German newspapers that were once published in St. Charles, it's probably a safe bet that the St. Charles Republikaner does not have the same recognition among researchers as the Demokrat. This is likely due to the limited number of Republikaner issues available on microfilm — from parts of 1884, 1897 and 1901 — whereas microfilm of the Demokrat covers over 60 years. As death notices were found in the Republikaner, though, it became clear that the paper was a valuable source of local announcements. Additionally, the Republikaner was very consistent with the placement of local news and the overall layout of the paper from week to week — helpful to those that may want to search for news items, but are not experts with the German language."

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