Putting Marcellus history on the Web

Births, deaths, marriages ... they are just a few of the editorial items that go into each newspaper, daily and weekly publications.

But what about the newspaper records from 50 years ago? Or even 100 ... or 129 like those from the Marcellus Observer's first editions?

Thanks to a little ingenuity and a lot of work, Marcellus historian Hollis Abbott has now helped to preserve those papers for generations to come by providing microfilmed copies of all the papers to FultonHistory.com hobbyist Tom Tryniski.

Tryniski began scanning postcards and newspapers about 11 years ago and putting the wok on the Internet, free of charge, as a form of historic preservation. What is a hobby for him though, is an asset to others.

"It's really impressive to see what he has there," Abbott said of the equipment Tryniski uses. "He's done this sort of thing, newspapers, and of course he has post cards from all over. We're anxious to see how this comes out"

The Marcellus Observer's first edition was printed April 17, 1879 -- the pages are aged, worn and brittle, but the text is still readable. Abbott and Marcellus Historical Society President Peg Nolan had it stored like each of the other editions at the Steadman House in a gray acid free box to keep the deterioration to a minimum.

Nearly all editions of the Observer have been preserved by the society, first to microfilm then to compact disc.

"We have copies of many of the newspapers and then we have had microfilm done over the years," Abbott said. "We spent, about three years ago, we spent several thousand to have them put on CD."

While the CDs are PC-compatible, the microfilmed copies are what Tryniski used in order to scan the papers' contents for his Web site. Throughout the process, he's also run a word recognition program through the documents so users can search the papers more easily, an element to research that was not available for users searching the microfilm and CDs.

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