Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Q: Is there any chance that the Philadelphia Inquirer will extend from 1922 into the 1940s? Is there an index to obituaries from that era?

A: GenealogyBank actively partners with the publishers of thousands of newspapers from across the country - including the Philadelphia Inquirer. Many of our newspaper runs stop at 1922. Because of copyright laws publishers often weigh their options about digitizing and putting online their newspapers after that because of the New York Times Co. vs. Tasini case in 2001. That ruling requires newspaper publishers to pay writers, photographers for the republication of the articles that they wrote or the pictures that they took since 1922. This can be very difficult for newspapers to find these writers decades later. As newspaper publishers work out those arrangements we work with them and put their newspapers online.

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania has the clipping file from the Philadelphia Public Ledger - by finding the obituary there you could then check for an obituary appearing in the Philadelphia Inquirer at that same time. They also have indexes to other local Philadelphia newspaper obituary and marriage notices. I would suggest that you contact them about any indexes for that later period.

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