HWGS digitizing newspapers

—Plain Dealer will be available online when project is completed in May
Cresco - Now when you wonder who all owned the A&W restaurant over the years, you can look it up online, through Cresco Public Library’s website (https:// www.cresco.lib.ia.us). A few of the answers are Norbert Krause, Loren Maahs, Richard Conlin and Leighton Johnson, not to mention Wayne and Randy Mashek in 2003.
It’s taken about a year of research and fund-raising skills, but Howard-Winneshiek Genealogical Society (HWGS) has achieved its goal of raising funds to digitize the Plain Dealer newspaper. Helping out in a big way was the Thomson Charitable Foundation through a matching $5,000 donation.
The newspapers, starting back in 1859 as the New Oregon Plain Dealer through 2014, will be available online at the end of April or early May. More information will follow when it is up and running. 
Chronicling America already has the papers from 1859-1880 and 1895-1920, but HWGS will be filling in the gaps. The organization already has the newspapers on microfilm at the library, but without a date, it takes awhile to research when an event took place. Now, a person will just be able to type “A&W,” and all the times it is mentioned, a person can look it up!
Jan Wearda, president of HWGS, said, “The idea came up, and then it kinda sat for awhile. Then we decided to see how to do it. We wrote a couple grants, and it kept going.”
The group did talk with current publisher of the Times Plain Dealer, Dan Evans, and got him on board as well.
Janice Strike, member and volunteer of HWGS, added, “We had a member who donated money toward the project right away. That got us going.”
Wearda agreed. “Plus several nice donations from people in town.”
When Scott Thomson gave the ladies the matching funds donation, he stated, “A town’s newspaper is its story, and now you are putting it online. I think of the students of Howard-Winneshiek School District who can research their projects with this.”
Strike added, “It is also a good connection for those who have moved away.” She experienced someone who did some research and found a relative’s farm. The relative then came to Howard County to walk where Grandpa walked.
Everyone involved is excited about the project. Evans said it will be easier for his staff to find information on a business, event or individual.
Wearda mentioned, “I have done so much genealogy. Now I can put in a name or event, and it’ll just be there. It is exciting to be able to share information.”
Strike elaborated, “I can’t wait for it to be done! I’ve got so many questions about what people have done. Now it will be easy to get answers. I enjoy the challenge of finding obscure information.”
The cost for the Cresco newspaper project is $17,000-plus. Add in the other newspapers in the county and the total is around $30,000. Anyone wishing to contribute to helping get the newspapers digitized, send a check to Howard-Winneshiek Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 362, Cresco, IA 52136. HWGS is a 501-c3 charitable organization.

Cresco Times

Phone: 563-547-3601
Fax: 563-547-4602

Cresco TPD
214 N. Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136

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