Genealogy Search Tip: Searching by Topic in GenealogyBank’s Database

Being a genealogy site, most people use GenealogyBank by searching on the name of an ancestor. But there are other ways to search for genealogical information in GenealogyBank’s online database.

Did you realize that you can search using any topic or search terms? It is not necessary to always enter an ancestor’s name for every search you do. GenealogyBank makes it easy to research a specific historical event, place or war battle.

Let’s say you know, from an old family letter, that your ancestor fought during the Civil War’s Battle of Vicksburg, and you want to read all you can about the battle to learn something of your ancestor’s actions and understand a little better what he must have experienced.

GenealogyBank lets you do that—by simply searching on the historical Civil War battle without including your ancestor’s name.

Here’s how to search by topic in GenealogyBank’s database.

First, use the “Include keywords with search” box that appears on the search form on GenealogyBank’s homepage, and leave the other boxes blank. Remember: you do not have to search by personal name; you may search on any word that appeared in a newspaper, document or map.

Enter the search term Battle of Vicksburg into the box field and click on the green “Begin Search” button. As you can see on the Search Results Page, GenealogyBank has more than 20,000 documents in our database about the Civil War Battle of Vicksburg, including 17,245 newspaper articles!

Perhaps you want to start your genealogy research by reading contemporary newspaper reports of the famous Civil War battle. Click on the historical newspapers link to access the newspapers’ search form.

Then perform a search on the term Battle of Vicksburg and limit the year to 1863 by putting 1863 in the Date box.

This search query returns 2,983 news articles from our newspaper archive database about the Battle of Vicksburg, all written in 1863, including reporters’ first-hand accounts of the action, official military reports, maps, and other documents about that important Civil War battle.

Plenty of good newspaper readings to help you better understand what your ancestor went through, and thereby flesh out that name on your family tree!

The Story of Perkins Swain: A Genealogist’s Online Research Discoveries

Online genealogy research is endlessly fascinating—you never know what you will find. I was doing some family history research in GenealogyBank’s newspaper archive when this double obituary caught my eye. Baltimore Patriot (Baltimore, Maryland), 25 July 1834, page 3.

Just a short, simple notice, 4½ lines long—and yet what a sad story it tells.

Sally Swain, 27-year-old wife of Perkins Swain, died on 17 June 1834 in Gilmanton, New Hampshire. Her husband, Perkins Swain, age 37, “was in [his] usual health at the funeral of his deceased wife”—but abruptly died seven days later. No doubt, of a broken heart.

Can you imagine the grief of the pallbearers? They were probably family members, or at least friends and neighbors, who sadly carried the body of young Sally Swain to her grave on June 17th while her grieving yet healthy husband, Perkins, stood nearby. And then suddenly, just seven days later, those same pallbearers were carrying the body of her husband to join Sally’s gravesite.

Who were this couple struck down by tragedy? This story of a perfectly-healthy husband dying seven days after his young wife’s funeral made me want to research more about them and learn about their lives.

Digging deeper into my genealogy research online, I found a marriage announcement that Perkins Swain married Sally Weymouth in Gilmanton, New Hampshire, in a November 1823 newspaper. Portsmouth Journal of Literature and Politics (Portsmouth, New Hampshire), 15 November 1823, page 3.

Looking at the free collection of New Hampshire marriage certificates online at FamilySearch, I quickly found their marriage certificate. They were married on 23 October 1823 by the Rev. William Blaisdell. is a handy genealogy site. It has put up the entire U.S. Census, as well as birth and marriage certificates from all 50 states and many foreign countries. This free website by the Family History Library is well worth a visit to find great genealogical information that can aid in your research. Checking further in GenealogyBank, I found a newspaper probate article showing that Perkins Swain had known tragedy earlier in his life, when he and his brother Gorham were orphaned at age 5 and 4 respectively. The Sun (Dover Gazette & County Advertiser) (Dover, New Hampshire), 21 December 1805, page 4.
Enlarging the first paragraph, we find some interesting details about Perkins Swain’s life.
In this probate notice, Thomas Balch is acting as guardian for the young orphans. We discover that their father was William Swain, “late of Gilmanton,” a tailor who died without leaving a will. Did he die unexpectedly? And why is there no mention of the mother? These are tantalizing questions that require further family history research.

This probate notice also tells us that the two young boys have inherited an estate of 100 acres in Gilmanton.

Continuing to look further in GenealogyBank’s newspaper archive for details about Perkins Swain, I found this public auction notice that perhaps completes the story of his life.
New Hampshire Patriot (Concord, New Hampshire), 19 October 1835, page 3.

A year after his death, the homestead farm of Perkins Swain is being publicly auctioned on Nov. 2, 1835. This farm is a 100-acre parcel in Gilmanton, New Hampshire—the same piece of land we learned about in the probate notice of 1805.

Isn’t it amazing how many details we’ve found out about Perkins Swain, who died in 1834? We have found his marriage and death notices, his marriage certificate, the probate notice when he was orphaned at age 5, and the public auction notice of his farm after his death. With more online genealogy research, we could no doubt uncover even more details about Perkins Swain and his family.

There are so many digitized newspaper articles, historical documents and government records available online today—terrific research resources for genealogists.

This is a great day for genealogy.

Georgia Genealogical Society Hosts Free GenealogyBank Webinar

Ever wanted a quick course on getting the most out of GenealogyBank?
Now you can do that.
Join us online Monday, December 19th at 8:00 p.m. (EST), as Tom Kemp—GenealogyBank’s Director of Genealogy Products—gives a free webinar:

“Using Effectively and Efficiently”
This free one-hour webinar is sponsored by the Georgia Genealogical Society.

Learn how to navigate the 5,850+ newspapers and over 1 billion records on GenealogyBank.

Genealogists, family historians and hobbyists are invited to attend this complimentary webinar while Tom shows the best approaches to using GenealogyBank. He will explain what family history information you can find on our genealogy site, and answer your questions. Sign up today to ensure your seat at the free webinar now:

Holiday Gifts for Genealogists

Give yourself the gift of a subscription to GenealogyBank to help with all your family history research—and right now we are offering our best price ever of $48.95 for an annual membership. Click now: This special Holiday offer is good for three days—today through Friday, Dec. 16—so act now!
GenealogyBank has more than 5,850 newspapers available online, from 1690 to today, from all 50 states—and over 95% of that content is not available anywhere else. Our genealogy site also offers the Social Security Death Index and millions of historical books, documents and government records.

Our genealogy site is dynamic and growing daily, as we continuously add new content. In January 2010 GenealogyBank had 421 million records. Now, almost two years later, we have 1.1 billion records to help genealogists do in-depth family history research.
Did you realize that GenealogyBank now has beautiful historical maps—over 72,000 of them?
These historical maps are gems in our Historical Documents collection.
Look at these great vintage maps, like this example showing land ownership and property lines along with the local cemetery in Edgewater, New Jersey, in 1898.

Or this stunning old cemetery map of Palermo, Italy, that clearly shows the cemeteries as they existed in 1887.

Look at the detail in this historical 1863 Civil War map of the Siege of Vicksburg, showing the battle zone between Miliken’s Bend, Louisiana, and Jackson, Mississippi. The Siege of Vicksburg lasted from May 18 to July 4, 1863.

Give yourself the best genealogy gift this holiday season—give yourself

How Did You Get Started as a Genealogist? Share Your Story with Us!

A Louisiana newspaper in 1853 said of family historians that “their memory is a forest planted with genealogical trees.” How true that is!
Daily Picayune (New Orleans, Louisiana), 25 October 1853, page 5.

After years of family history research many genealogists have had all types of “Eureka!” moments and breakthroughs, when they found a particular newspaper article or government record in their genealogical research that filled in gaps on their family trees.

My breakthrough moment as a genealogist was finding an 1811 real estate ad for my great-great-great-great-great grandfather’s farm in Maine. Aging sea captain James Garcelon (1739-1813) was selling his farm and moving in with his son William. The newspaper ad gave a terrific description of my ancestor’s property: a two-story house “very pleasantly situated” on 150 acres “with a handsome young orchard” and featuring two barns, outhouses, and “an excellent well of water.” Portland Gazette and Maine Advertiser. (Portland, Maine), 25 February 1811, page 4.

When I read this real estate ad, I could really picture my ancestor’s farm. I grew up on old farm property in New Hampshire. There were cellar holes where the homes and barns had once stood, wild apple trees, and with a little priming the well still gave ice cold water—and all around us stretched the long-idle fields. Maybe it was like my ancestor’s Garcelon Farm in the 1700s?

Thinking back on your own family history research—what first got you interested in genealogy? What was your most surprising genealogical discovery? What have you learned about your family along the way? What are your most prized genealogical discoveries? GenealogyBank wants to hear from you! Tell us your story.

Search Tips: What Newspapers Are in GenealogyBank?

What newspapers does GenealogyBank have? After all, it is a vast newspaper archive, with more than 5,850titles from all 50 U.S. states. Does this collection contain a particular newspaper you are interested in? We have added new and improved title lists to make it a snap to find out exactly what newspapers are in GenealogyBank.

Look for the “Newspaper Titles” buttons at the top of the Historical Newspapers and Newspaper Obituaries sections on our genealogy site’s homepage. Click on these Newspaper Titles” buttons and immediately the full list of newspapers, arranged by state, appears.
Now you just click on whatever U.S. state you’re interested in and the full, alphabetized list of all its available newspapers comes right up!
Below you can see a sampling of our Pennsylvania newspaper list. Note that every individual newspaper title in these lists is an active link taking you directly to that newspaper’s specific search form, to help you speedily get on your way seaching the particular newspaper you are interested in.

Have fun searching our comprehensive newspaper archive—and good luck with your family history research!

Newspaper Genealogy Research Discoveries: 7 Brothers Meet at Last

Family reunions are special occasions, but the Jones family reunion in the fall of 1881 in Lewiston, Maine, was especially noteworthy: although they ranged in age from 47 to 72 years old, this reunion was the first time all seven Jones brothers were together in one place at the same time!

This happened because the oldest brother (Ebenezer, born in 1809) married Rebecca Adams in 1831 and settled in Newport, Vermont, while the rest of the family relocated to Lewiston, Maine, before the youngest brother (Luther) was born in 1833.

The family had tried several times over 40 years to have a complete family reunion, but they led busy lives and always one brother or another missed each reunion. Finally, the stars must have fallen into proper alignment, everything clicked into place, and the joyous family occasion happened at last.

Can you imagine the smiles on all the faces? At that remarkable—and long awaited—reunion of all the living members of the family, the seven brothers sat at the table in the order of their ages. To make the reunion complete, the brothers’ one remaining sister, Mrs. Albert Frost, joined them.

This heartwarming family reunion story illustrates two important points about using newspapers to research your genealogy. First of all: you never know what you will find once you start looking through a newspaper archive. Even if the Jones family is not related to you, little discoveries like this story—and newspapers are full of them—add the human touch to your genealogy pursuit, and make your research fun and interesting.

For the second point, look closely at the family reunion newspaper article below: notice that it was originally printed in the Lewiston Journal (Maine), but was reprinted in the Huntsville Gazette—an Alabama paper! This special family reunion story was so popular it was also reprinted by the Sun (Maryland) and Omaha Herald (Nebraska) newspapers as well. Perhaps the newspaper editors thought this amazing story would interest their readers, or maybe someone in those areas was related to the Jones family, and editors are always looking for news items that have connections to their readers.

The lesson here is to expand the geographic scope of your newspaper search if your initial search didn’t turn up enough information. The newspaper archive you’re looking in may not have the issue of the Lewiston Journal this article first appeared in, but it might have the Huntsville Gazette issue where the article was reprinted. It is a good thing that GenealogyBank has brought together the largest collection of U.S. newspapers available online—5,700 of them from all 50 states—with a powerful search engine, making it easy to search through this large newspaper archive to research your genealogy.

What will you discover?

This family reunion story, was printed by the Huntsville Gazette (Alabama), 5 November 1881, page 4.

Monthly Update: GenealogyBank Adds 7 Million Records in December!

Every day, GenealogyBank is working hard to digitize more newspapers and obituaries, expanding our online collection to give you the largest newspaper archives for family history research available anywhere.

Here are some details about our most recent additions (we actually added new content to thousands of titles, but the following is a representative sample):
A total of 149 titles from 24 states
Titles marked with an asterisk (*) are obituaries only and are new to our archive
Those marked with a plus sign (+) are historical newspapers new to our archive
We’ve shown the date ranges so that you can determine if the new content is relevant to your personal research

If a recent addition to our archive interests you, simply click on that newspaper’s title: it is an active link leading to that paper’s search form.

There is also an option available on the historical newspapers’ search form that gives you the ability to search only the new content added in the past month, two months, or three months.

State City Title Start Date End Date
AR Little Rock Arkansas State Press. 1941 to 1955
CA San Diego
Evening Tribune. 1928 to 1936
CA San Diego
San Diego Union. 1925 to 1934
CT Darien Daily New Canaan*. 2010 to Current
CT New Haven
Columbian Register. 1859 to 1876
CT New Haven
Connecticut Herald. 1834 to 1834
CT Norwalk
Daily Norwalk*. 2010 to Current
CT Stamford
Daily Stamford*. 2010 to Current
CT Weston
Daily Weston*. 2010 to Current
CT Westport
Daily Westport*. 2010 to Current
CT Wilton
Daily Wilton*. 2010 to Current
FL Tampa
Tampa Tribune. 1933 to 1936
GA Augusta
Augusta Chronicle. 1884 to 1917
GA Marietta
Marietta Journal. 1985 to 1988
GA Peachtree Cr.
Weekly*. 2004 to Current
IL Arlington Ht.
Arlington Heights Journal*. 2011 to Current
IL Buffalo Gr.
Buffalo Grove Journal*. 2010 to Current
IL Chicago
Broad Axe. 1917 to 1917
IL Chicago
Chicago Citizen*. 2008 to Current
IL Chicago
Hyde Park Herald*. 2011 to Current
IL Des Plaines
Des Plaines Journal*. 2010 to Current
IL Des Plaines
Mount Prospect Journal*. 2011 to Current
IL Des Plaines
Rosemont Journal*. 2011 to Current
IL Elk Grove V.
Elk Grove Journal*. 2011 to Current
IL Evanston
Daily Northwestern. 1910 to 1950
IL Evanston
Northwestern. 1881 to 1910
IL Evanston
Tripod. 1871 to 1880
IL Evanston
Vidette. 1878 to 1880
IL Glenview
Glenview Journal*. 2011 to Current
IL Niles
Niles Journal*. 2011 to Current
IL Palatine
Palatine Journal*. 2010 to Current
IL Park Ridge
Park Ridge Journal*. 2011 to Current
IL Prospect Ht.
Prospect Heights Journal*. 2011 to Current
IL Rockford
Morning Star. 1934 to 1934
IL Rolling Ms.
Rolling Meadows Journal*. 2011 to Current
IL Wheeling
Wheeling Journal*. 2011 to Current
IN Beech Grove
Southside Times*. 2008 to Current
LA Baton Rouge
Advocate. 192 to 5 1955
LA Baton Rouge
Daily Advocate. 1887 to 1903
LA Baton Rouge
Daily State. 1908 to 1910
LA Baton Rouge
State Times Advocate. 1909 to 1916
LA Baton Rouge
Weekly Advocate. 1899 to 1901
LA New Orleans Courrier de la Louisiane.
1821 to 1822
MA Auburn
Daily Auburn*. 2010 to Current
MA Boston
Boston Courier. 1854 to 1854
MA Boston
Boston Herald. 1899 to 1904
MA Grafton
Daily Grafton*. 2009 to Current
MA Holden
Daily Holden*. 2010 to Current
MA Leicester
Daily Leicester*. 2010 to Current
MA Millbury
Daily Millbury*. 2009 to Current
MA Northborough
Daily Northborough*. 2010 to Current
MA Northbridge
Daily Northbridge*. 2009 to Current
MA Shrewsbury
Daily Shrewsbury*. 2011 to Current
MA Springfield
Springfield Union. 1963 to 1987
MA Westborough
Daily Westborough*. 2010 to Current
MA Worcester
Massachusetts Spy. 1857 to 1857
MD Baltimore
Baltimore American. 1903 to 1904
MD Fredericktown
Political Intelligencer. 1817 to 1818
ME Portland
Portland Advertiser. 1832 to 1832
ME Sanford
Sanford News*. 2011 to Current
MI Grand Rapids
Cadence Advance*. 2007 to Current
MI Hudsonville
Grand Valley Advance*. 2007 to Current
MI Jackson
Jackson Citizen. 1898 to 1898
MI Jackson
Jackson Citizen Patriot. 1870 to 1904
MI Kalamazoo
Kalamazoo Gazette. 1896 to 1906
MI Kent City
Northwest Advance*. 2008 to Current
MI Kentwood
Southeast Advance*. 2008 to Current
MI Michigan
On-the-Town* 2009 to Current
MI Rockford
Northeast Advance*. 2007 to Current
MI Sparta
Northwest Advance*. 2008 to Current
MI Wayland
Penasee Globe*. 2007 to Current
MI Wyoming
Southwest Advance*. 2008 to Current
MO Kansas City
Kansas City Times. 1884 to 1885
NC Winston-Sal.
Winston-Salem Journal. 1917 to 1919
NE Omaha
Omaha World Herald . 1980 to 1981
NH Dover
Foster’s Daily Democrat*. 2011 to Current
NJ N. Brunswick
Jewish Journal 1956 to 1968
NJ Trenton
Trenton Evening Times. 1900 to 1922
NY Armonk
Daily Armonk*. 2011 to Current
NY Bedford
Daily Bedford*. 2011 to Current
NY Briarcliff
Daily Briarcliff*. 2011 to Current
NY Bronxville
Daily Bronxville*. 2011 to Current
NY Chappaqua
Daily Chappaqua*. 2011 to Current
NY Cortlandt
Daily Cortlandt*. 2011 to Current
NY Croton
Daily Croton* . 2011 to Current
NY Dobbs Ferry
Daily Dobbs Ferry*. 2011 to Current
NY Eastchester
Daily Eastchester*. 2011 to Current
NY Greenburgh
Daily Greenburgh*. 2011 to Current
NY Harrison
Daily Harrison*. 2011 to Current
NY Hastings
Daily Hastings*. 2011 to Current
NY Larchmont
Daily Larchmont*. 2011 to Current
NY Lewisboro
Daily Lewisboro*. 2011 to Current
NY Mamaroneck
Daily Mamaroneck*. 2011 to Current
NY Mt. Pleasant
Daily Mount Pleasant*. 2011 to Current
NY Mt. Kisco
Daily Mt. Kisco*. 2011 to Current
NY New Rochelle
Daily New Rochelle*. 2011 to Current
NY New York
Civil Liberties Reporter+. 1950 to 1952
NY New York
Commercial Advertiser. 1853 to 1873
NY New York
Daily People. 1908 to 1909
NY New York
Irish American Weekly. 1849 to 1892
NY New York
People. 1891 to 1901
NY New York
Socialist Call. 1937 to 1959
NY New York
Spectator. 1823 to 1851
NY North Salem
Daily North Salem*. 2011 to Current
NY Ossining
Daily Ossining*. 2011 to Current
NY Peekskill
Daily Peekskill*. 2011 to Current
NY Pelham
Daily Pelham*. 2011 to Current
NY Pleasantville
Daily Pleasantville*. 2011 to Current
NY Port Chester
Daily Port Chester*. 2011 to Current
NY Pound Ridge
Daily Pound Ridge*. 2011 to Current
NY Roslyn
Roslyn News*. 1997 to Current
NY Rye
Daily Rye*. 2011 to Current
NY Saratoga Sp.
Saratoga Sentinel. 1833 to 1833
NY Scarsdale
Daily Scarsdale*. 2011 to Current
NY Schenectady
Cabinet. 1813 to 1814
NY Sl. Hollow
Daily Sleepy Hollow*. 2011 to Current
NY Somers
Daily Somers* . 2011 to Current
NY Tarrytown
Daily Tarrytown*. 2011 to Current
NY White Plains
Daily White Plains*. 2011 to Current
NY Yorktown
Daily Yorktown*. 2011 to Current
OH Avon
Sun Sentinel*. 2010 to Current
OH Avon Park
Sun Sentinel*. 2010 to Current
OH Bay Village
West Shore Sun*. 2009 to Current
OH Beachwood
Sun Press*. 2008 to Current
OH Berea
News Sun*. 2007 to Current
OH Brunswick
Brunswick Sun*. 2007 to Current
OH Chagrin Falls
Chagrin Solon Sun*. 2009 to Current
OH Cleveland
Plain Dealer. 1878 to 1916
OH Gates Mills
Sun Messenger*. 2007 to Current
OH Lakewood
Sun Post-Herald*. 2009 to Current
OH Medina
Medina Sun*. 2009 to Current
OH Parma
Parma Sun Post*. 2008 to Current
OH Sandusky
Sandusky Register*. 2006 to Current
OH Solon
Chagrin Solon Sun*. 2009 to Current
OH Strongsville
Sun Star Courier*. 2009 to Current
OK Tulsa
Tulsa World. 1922 to 1922
PA Harrisburg
Old Warrior and…+. 1844 to 1844
PA Lancaster
Lancaster Journal. 1817 to 1817
PA Philadelphia
National Gazette. 1833 to 1833
PA Philadelphia
Philadelphia Inquirer. 1858 to 1859
PA Pittsburgh
National Labor Tribune. 1875 to 1958
TX Blanco
Blanco County News*. 2007 to Current
TX Dallas
Dallas Morning News. 1983 to 1983
VA Richmond
Virginia Patriot. 1815 to 1815
WI Green Bay
Sunday Advance+. 1884 to 1884
WI Hartford
Times Press*. 2011 to Current
WI Milwaukee
Milwaukee American. 1857 to 1857
To see our newspaper archive’s complete title list,
click here.

Researching Genealogy with Military Records and Lists in Newspapers

Researching Genealogy with Military Records and Lists in Newspapers
From the Revolutionary War to Pearl Harbor to Iraq, newspapers are a valuable resource for researching your military ancestry and learning about the history of war in the United States. Newspapers have been a dependable source of information that Americans have relied upon throughout this nation’s history.

U.S. War History in Newspapers
This was vividly demonstrated after Dec. 7, 1941, when Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor launched the U.S. into World War II. The next day Congress declared war on Japan—and Americans were riveted by the bold headlines and news stories splashed across the front pages of the nation’s newspapers.

Omaha World Journal (Omaha, Nebraska), 8 December 1941, page 1.
Newspapers tell us what happened every day of our ancestors’ lives.
From the Revolutionary War to the wars in the Middle East, newspapers let us read about our ancestors’ participation in the nation’s conflicts—and what the country as a whole went through. We volunteered, we were enlisted in the U.S. military through the draft—and when we didn’t register for the draft, the government issued “slacker lists” to encourage full participation in the war.

U.S. Military Draft Lists
Military draft lists were published in newspapers, like this one printed in the 26 July 1917 issue of the Perry Republican (Perry, Oklahoma), page 1. It is a census of the men living in Noble County, Oklahoma, in 1917—a valuable genealogical resource to help with your family history research.
Similar lists were the “slacker lists” or “draft dodger lists”: listings of those persons that tried to evade the draft. After World War I the United States War Department issued lists of those men that did not register with the military draft. These lists were widely published in newspapers across the country, like this example from the Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, New Jersey), 25 May 1921, page 1.
From the declaration of war through obituaries published decades after the conflict ended, newspapers have been a dependable source of information about our ancestors and their participation in the United States Armed Forces. Newspapers reported on the battles and covered the stories of the war every step along the way. Family historians can gather facts for their family trees and put them in the context of the war as it happened.
U.S. Military Casualty Lists
Another valuable resource for family historians are the war casualty lists many newspapers published. In this example, published in the Macon Telegraph (Macon, Georgia), 6 August 1918, page 1, the newspaper published the full casualty list and spiked out the Georgia men that died in a prominent boxed note that appeared on page one.
Most U.S. citizens do not remain in the military as a lifelong career. However, their military service was almost always mentioned in their obituary notice—as in this example, published in the Barre Gazette (Barre, Massachusetts), 31 July 1840, page 2, of the late Isaac Van Wart (1751-1840) of Tarrytown (Westchester County) and Pittstown (Rensselaer County), New York. Obituaries, birth announcements and marriage notices are some of the excellent resources newspapers provide family historians. During times of war, draft, slacker, and casualty lists are another helpful genealogical resource. In addition to information about your individual ancestors, newspapers provide the stories about what the entire United States was going through, to help you put your ancestors’ experiences in context and thereby come to understand them a little more. Digital newspaper archives online have become the core tool for modern genealogy, helping genealogists and family history researchers discover more about their family’s military past than ever before possible. Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, Maryland), 7 April 1917, page 1.