Saturday, March 15, 2014

Annual Update to Obituary Index

Great news for genealogy researchers: the annual update to the Pottsville Republican obituary index has been put up on our genealogy page! You can find the index here: .  The list is now more than 3,700 pages long and includes more than 178,000 names. It covers 1884-1894, 1950-mid1982, 2008-2013, and any names we find as we answer requests for copies of obituaries, plus names and dates provided by other genealogy researchers. As you can see, we have a long way to go, but every name we add (and we add names on an almost daily basis) helps it grow.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Take Part in Read an E-Book Week, March 2-8, 2014

E-books: they seem to be everywhere, talked about by everyone, argued about, loved, hated, cheered, ignored. If you haven't tried reading e-books yet because you don't want to spend the money on a tablet or e-reader, we have some great news for you: you can read e-books on your computer, laptop or smartphone. Here are some great places to find free e-books, most of which can be downloaded and read without any special software or devices.

Project Gutenberg ( is the original source for free e-books on the Internet. (I read my first e-book, "Herland", from this site more than 20 years ago!) These are all books that were previously published and are now in the public domain. Great place to find the classics, most of which can be downloaded for use on most devices and computers. (Parents, keep this site in mind for your kid's summer reading assignments!)

The Online Books Page hosted by the University of Pennsylvania ( has gathered together the records for more than one million free e-books from all over the Internet. Here you will find non-English language e-books, banned books, featured women writers, and other collections. Where else could you stumble on Haunted Houses: Tales of the Supernatural, With Some Account of Hereditary Curses and Family Legends (London: Chapman and Hall, 1907), by Charles G. Harper?

Read Easily Online Library ( focuses on providing more display options for e-books. The site allows you to change the font size, as well as font color and background color, with the options based on research for what works best for those who are partially sighted and old age readers. The files are also formatted to work with text-to-speech software for the blind and visually impaired.

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, DigiLibraries, Feedbooks, and Smashwords are all sources for more free e-books, both classic and current, as well as e-books you can purchase. If you are looking for e-books written by Schuylkill County authors, these sites are the best places to check.

So, if you've been one of those who have ignored e-books, thinking there was nothing you wanted to spend money on, this is the time to give e-books a chance. And if you are a fan of e-books, and we left out one of your favorite sources for reading, please share that site with us!