What Do You Know about TRAILS?
The Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library provides access to a great local resource for genealogists at its website at http://www.thplc.org. It's called TRAILS and it provides access to indexed newspaper and magazine articles relating to the history of the Tampa Bay area and the state of Florida from selected local publications.
TRAILS is an acronym for Tampa History Research Automated Index to Library Services. TRAILS is a project that was done by Norma and Arthur Schmidt of Riverview, Florida. The data in Trails includes obituary information from 1855 through 1983. (The data from 1855 through 1894 was researched by Julius Gordon.) Death notices, obituaries, and funeral notices from the Tampa Tribune and its predecessor newspapers in Tampa were indexed and entered into TRAILS. An index listing typically includes the name of the person and a reference to the year, month, and day on which one of these death-related notices appear in the Tampa Tribune. Using this information, you can use the microfilm of the newspapers (available at the main John F. Germany Library or at the University of South Florida Library) to locate the obituary. You can print the obituary or save the image to a flash drive.
The library has acquired microfilm within the last year or so of old issues of La Gaceta, the nation's only tri-lingual newspaper and one of the oldest minority-owned and targeted newspapers in America, and of historical African-American newspapers. All of were published in Tampa. There have been discussions concerning the addition to TRAILS of the obituary index listings for these publications.
You can access TRAILS at the library's website at http://www.thplc.org. When you get to this website, click on the link labeled Learning & Research at the top of the page. On the next page, click on the link labeled Genealogy & History in the left-hand column. On the next screen, scroll down to TRAILS and click that link. You'll them be able to enter a name in the Quick Search box. You can also enter a year to narrow the search. For example, if you enter Milton 1940, you'll be presented with a list of results. In this case, click on Milton, Gennie; 1940. You'll be presented with another page that provides more information about the Tampa Tribune listing, including the Section and page. In this case, there is something in the paper under F.N. (Funeral Notices) on page 2.
TRAILS is easy to use and can provide great information in the way of death notices, obituaries, and funeral notices.