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HISTORIC SONOMA COUNTY NEWSPAPERS NOW ONLINE

Source:: I see by the Papers…

For everyone interested in Sonoma County history and genealogy, it's a fabulous day: The historic Santa Rosa and Petaluma newspapers are now online and searchable. This includes the Press Democrat (up to 1916), the Sonoma Democrat, The Argus-Courier and many Argus' (Argussess?) before that paper emerged. Together with the Healdsburg archive that's been available for awhile we finally have a pretty good picture of local doings all over the county.

To make it easy for you (and myself!) to search the Santa Rosa and Healdsburg archives I've created an Internet resources web page where queries can be entered for each paper. There are also links to the Petaluma papers - available through a newspapers.com subscription - as well as other county journals. The web page additionally includes sections with every online Sonoma county history, local maps, searchable books on state history, Luther Burbank, the 1906 earthquake and more.

That resource page is part of SantaRosaHistory.com which I've been developing over the last several months. It's a spin-off from the Comstock House web site with several important differences.

The house web site was designed 'way back in 2007 and integrates four blogs on house restoration, architecture, gardening and local history plus a few pages with precise layouts. It all looks fine on a desktop computer but today most people are using smartphones or tablets, and not being 100 percent "mobile friendly" is the kiss of death when it comes to the search engines. Non m.f. pages may rank lower in the display of search results or not be shown at all, which means the material effectively has disappeared from the Internet. That Google et. al. are putting thumbs on the scale to favor pages deemed to have a high quality "user experience" over high quality of content should concern you.

There are also technical issues with the "I See by the Papers…" blog, which started with modest ambitions to discuss newspaper items about the Oates and Comstock families. Now it has almost 600 articles containing a million words. The Blogger service (owned by Google) was state-of-the-art a decade ago but has been plagued with problems; as just one example, I can't correct a typo in an older item without being prepared for the Blogger editor to mess up parts of my page layout by "fixing" it without warning or asking permission. I have spent untold hours in the archives undoing these and other monkey-wrench changes made by Blogger.

Rather than redesign all the sections of the house web site and continuing to workaround Blogger's bugs and quirks, the easiest solution was to port "I See by the Papers…" to a more stable platform that was mobile-friendly from the start - hence SantaRosaHistory.com. I will continue to mirror the blog at both sites, with the difference that I'm no longer going to make major repairs to the original site the next time Blogger blows up.

Thanks to the WordPress platform, SantaRosaHistory.com is not only more stable but easier to customize; I was able to ...read more

Source:: I see by the Papers…

The Sages of Petaluma – Oral History Project

Recently, my blogs have focused on promoting our Petaluma Historical Museum and Research Library as a local “Treasure Chest” that contains many “Golden Nuggets” that enrich the legacy of “Our River Town.” A discussion group of Petalumans, who were either born here or have lived in Petaluma for several years, has been meeting monthly at the Museum and sharing their personal memories of growing up, going to school, playing, working and living here. They're known as “The Sages of Petaluma.” A few years ago, an oral history project was initiated by students at Kenilworth Jr. High School. They interviewed several Sages, using a video camera. To date, seven of these interviews, plus DVDs featuring “The Petalumans of Yesteryear” (Capt. Tom Baylis, Isaac Wickersham, William Howard Pepper) and a talk about Fred Wiseman's first air mail flight from Petaluma to Santa Rosa in 1911, have been given to the Museum and will be available for viewing by the public. The Sages who have been interviewed include: Dick Dunbar, Jim Giovando, Growling Bear, Lily Krulevich, Shep Shepard, Tim Talamantes, and Don Waite. Hopefully, additional interviews will take place over the coming months and added to this collection of “Golden Nuggets” in our community's “Treasure Chest.” Stay Tuned. Source: Petaluma - Our River Town

Sacramento archives crawl is this month

Sacramento Archives Crawl is an annual Archives Month event held the first Saturday in October (Saturday, October 5, 2013, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.). Crawlers tour among four host archives in Sacramento, gathering stamps in their passports as they view treasures from dozens of archives and special collections libraries, visit with archivists, and go on special behind-the-scenes tours. More info  

Kitchen Memories: Kathleen Thompson Hill Culinary Collection

"An exhibition to entertain people and inspire them to learn about our kitchen culture through utensils and implements. The art of their design along with their function throughout history is illuminating.” 

—Kathleen Hill

At:  Sonoma Valley Museum of Art On: September 7, 2013 to December 1, 2013 Kitchen Memories: Kathleen Thompson Hill Culinary Collection | Sonoma Valley Museum of Art.

In the News: Long Overdue - Libraries remain closed on Mondays and evenings

bohoStacksNorthbay Bohemian: Dr. Carmen Finley, a retired research scientist and genealogist, still remembers the "Juvenile Hall" of the Santa Rosa public library. During the 1930s, her mother worked at a shop near the library, dropping her off every day before work. "I have such fond memories," Finley says, recalling that the children's librarian "taught me how to write my name before I entered school so that I could get a library card." More...

CaVraCon 2013 - Conference on Digital Image Collections - This month

There is a conference being held at SSU on June 27-28, 2013 - Subject: managing and maintaining digital image collections. Thought this might be of interest to Historians in Sonoma County. Website Description: The California Visual Resources Association Conference, also known as CaVraCon, will provide presentations, case studies, and demos dealing with the many aspects of creating, managing and maintaining digital image collections, as well as the opportunity to network with both emerging professionals and veterans of the field. https://sites.google.com/site/cavracon2013/

Katherine J. Rinehart, MA Historian