I found out about this archive thanks to a story in the Plattsburgh (New York) Press-Republican, which announced recently the first phase of its online archive. The first round of its digitization project will put 270,000 pages of its back issues (1959 to 1992) online.
The pages will be available on the Press-Republican’s Web site, but will ALSO be available, for free, at the Northern New York Historical Newspapers Web site, which is at http://news.nnyln.net . This yummy crunchy site has over 900,000 pages of archives from 27 newspapers.
From the front page you’ll see a list of newspapers, from the Adirondack Record-Elizabethtown Post to the Watertown Herald. Pick a paper to search and you’ll get a framed page with a search form. I searched the Akwesasne Indian Time for “tribal court” and got 201 results. The results actually come with very extensive summaries on the left side of the page — lots of context with your keywords highlighted. Click on the file name for the result you find interesting and you’ll get the entire page as PDF on the right side of the screen.
Yes, the entire page. So in addition to reading “New Chief Judge Will Lead Set-Up Of Tribal Court”, I also got to see a list of fire calls for the Akwesasne-Hogansburg fire department and an ad for railroad ties. The picture on the page was a total loss, but the text was very readable. (I looked at other pictures — they varied in quality depending on the size and detail. The text was uniformly good.) There’s a FAQ on the site which gives a little additional information on printing part of PDF pages and navigating through the archives.
If you have family in the northern New York area, this is a really good search. The only problem is that if you’re not from that area, you might not know about the proximity of any given small town to any of these newspapers, which you’ll need to know since you can only search one paper at a time. I found a nice tool on ePodunk that lets you search for newspapers within a certain distance from a given community. Search for the town in which you’re interested and then look for Media Outlets on the information page.