Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tuesday's Tip: Delpher

I am a huge fan of digitized online books. Google Books, the Internet Archive, Project Gutenberg, Hathi Trust Digital Library, Making of American (Cornell University and University of Michigan), FamilySearch Books, and HeritageQuest (available through participating libraries) are all resources I use quite regularly in my genealogical research. Imagine my surprise when I discovered yet another digitized online library, highlighting the digitized books, newspapers, magazines, and radio bulletins of the Netherlands! This is Delpher, a source for all researchers using historical sources. The English translation of the purpose of the website lists that it is for scientists and journalists who want to expand their research a step further, for genealogists who search for undiscovered pieces of family history, and for students working on their theses.

The first thing I see when I go to Delpher is this page:

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Because I have Google Translate in my Chrome Toolbar, it soon becomes this:

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If you don't have Chrome, you can go to Google Translate and enter the URL for this site, http://www.delpher.nl. It will bring up this page, translated into English from Dutch.

The first thing I wanted to check out was their books, which I accessed via the Book/Boeken icon under the header. There is also a tab at the top of the page. There is the Basic Books Collection and the Google Books Collection. The Basic Books Collection is a "combined offering of books from the special collections of the university libraries of Leiden and Amsterdam and the Royal Library. You will find over two million pages from more than 11,000 old prints from the Dutch-speaking region from the period 1781-1800. It consists primarily of historical, political, theological and literary works." This collection is held on the website.

The Google Books Collection is held on the Google Books site, but can be searched and accessed from Delpher. It consists of 80,000 of the first 160,000 copyright-free books from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries digitized from the Royal Library. There "is a wealth of information at your disposal. The subjects of the books are very diverse; both fiction and non-fiction has been included in the offer."

Keep in mind that most of these books are in Dutch (and other non-English languages). However, as a genealogist, this site is useful in searching names and locations for genealogical and historical purposes. Once a search result is found in the book, you can choose the Text/Tekst tab on the right side of the display. This text can then be copied and pasted into Google Translate. I plan on learning the history of many of my Dutch ancestral locations this way.

The digitized newspaper collection ranges from 1618 to 1995. The English translation of the description of this collection states: "Dig into the past with old newspapers from the Dutch East Indies, Suriname, the Netherlands Antilles and the United States. [Historical news] in more than nine million pages of newspapers from the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th centuries - including ones from the Second World War. View thousands of newspaper articles, news, advertisements, and family announcements."

I found the Text/Tekst feature unhelpful in the newspaper collection. However, I could easily pull up Notepad and transcribe the article and translate it with Google Translate. What I did find helpful were lists of births, marriages, and deaths when I searched on Ferwerderadeel, an ancestral municipality. This definitely will be an area where I'll be searching for my ancestor's names, especially for emigration lists. Clicking on the Details tab gives me the source information (newspaper name, publication place and date, and page number) for citation information.

Next, don't think the magazine collection won't be useful for genealogy. The description states: "Search full text of 1.5 million pages from 80 old journal titles that have appeared in the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. You'll find a lot of (new) information in general, cultural, literary, religious, scientific, political, sporting and economic journals that are available. There are magazines for the general public, such as the Dutch Revue and Our Own Magazine, and there are journals, including the Journal Marine and Lawyers Journal." This collection is also a great way to learn about the cultural aspects of the Netherlands.

Finally, under More, you will find radio bulletins: "View 1.5 million digitized typescripts from the 20th century (period 1937-1984). The ANP Radio Bulletins [collection] provides news every day, as it was read on the radio. Along with the digitized newspapers and magazines this collection provides an interesting picture of the new consumption then."

I encourage you to check out Delpher, even if you don't have Dutch heritage. I did find a number of other European books in their collection. It's definitely a website worth adding to your digital library!

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