One of my favorite resources for genealogical research is historical newspapers. At one time, old newspapers were difficult to find and scattered between various courts, archives, libraries, and historical societies, or even held privately. The U. S. Newspaper Program, with branches in all fifty states and some territories, sought to gather these disparate collections together so that various issues could be preserved, first through microfilm and eventually through digitization.
In Georgia, the primary responsibility for seeking and preserving old newspapers falls to the University of Georgia, which now houses one of the largest collections of microfilmed Georgia newspapers in the state.
Newspapers from many of the larger municipalities are now being digitized through a collaboration between the Digital Library of Georgia and GALILEO in a collection called Georgia Historic Newspapers. Available newspapers include The Columbus Enquirer, The Cherokee Phoenix, The Macon Telegraph, and many others, including historic newspapers published in Atlanta, Athens, and Milledgeville.
The Georgia Historic Newspapers collection is broken down into smaller collections, each with its own search engine. Newspapers can also be browsed by title and year. You will need to install a free DjVu plugin in order to view the newspapers.
While these digitized newspapers are a wonderful resource, the online collection is not an all-inclusive database. Most Georgia newspapers have not yet been digitized. For those depending on microfilm, be aware that there are still issues of historic newspapers, particularly defunct ones from smaller communities, that have not been microfilmed either, a lesson I learned the hard way while working on Rabun County, Georgia, Newspapers, 1894 – 1899. For researchers who had family in these areas, however, the online collections can be a particularly useful boon.
By the way, genealogists have two new resources available for learning how to use historic newspapers, Legacy QuickGuideTM: Using Historical Newspapers for Genealogy Research by Julie Cahill Tarr and How to Find Your Family History in Newspapers by Lisa Louise Cooke. Both are available in either print or PDF formats.