Ogle County Friends - Rootsweb now has an index of the Byron Express newspaper for July 1882 to Dec. 1887. I indexed the last name, first name, type of article, date of the paper, and page number for this weekly newspaper. Most articles are short - one or two sentences about the comings and goings of the town folk, illnesses, unusual incidents, visitors in town, and so on. The index has about 9600 line entries for those years, and is not limited to Byron residents - many articles are about folks from other Ogle County towns - Adeline, Stillman Valley, Leaf River, Forreston, Fountaindale, Lanark, Mt. Morris, Polo, Oregon, Lightsville, Woosung, and others from nearby farms and townships.


I did not index repetitive material such as the weekly article about the Byron Literary Society, or the local Pastors' sermons - they were mentioned so often that anyone wanting their information could search the microfilm and find something almost in every edition. Although the minutes of the county supervisor's meetings in Oregon were published, I did not index these, with a couple exceptions. For one year, I listed the advertisements in the paper by local business owners.

Obituaries are included, and the text of those I sent to Roger Cramer, who continues to post them on the Ogle Co. genweb site. For marriages, I indexed both the groom and the bride (maiden name) separately.

If the "more info" link on the search page at Rootsweb reads something like, "To Rockford," that's probably all the information available - but it tells you your ancestor was alive and traveling! If you are interested in looking up the article, the microfilms are available from the Illinois State Library in Springfield through your local interlibrary loan service as mentioned on the genweb site. If you are in Ogle County, you may be able to find the microfilms at the Byron Library or perhaps through the genealogical society. Having the issue date and page may also help you in requesting copies from one of the libraries rather than ordering the whole microfilm.

I suggest you select the Byron Express from the pull-down list of newspapers first, then enter at least three letters of the last name for a Search. I know there's some spelling errors in the newspaper and in my indexing, so use a wider search like this first, for the best chance of finding a name. I keep suggesting to Rootsweb that they make these databases available for browsing, rather that just a name-by-name search.

Thanks to Robert and Lois Hodge of Emporia, Kansas for the inspiration on this project. They did the same for several small-town newspapers in Lyon County, and I discovered them while researching my ancestry there - what a help that was! I used the same format, and their work has been on Rootsweb for some time now.

Bob Hutchins
Denton County, Texas

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