Genealogist Shares Her Genealogy Research Success Story!

With GenealogyBank adding more records at the rate of 10 documents a second, we hear from genealogists every day sharing their excitement about their family history discoveries.

Here is a genealogy research success story we received today from GenealogyBank member Michele Lewis.

Deaths in Louisiana Article - New Orleans Item Newspaper

New Orleans Item (Louisiana), 4 September 1911, page 2, column 4

Michele wrote us:

Here is a newspaper success story for you.

My great, great Aunt Ida Perry was born in Purvis, MS, in 1884. She and two of her sisters became nurses. All three graduated from the Charity Hospital School of Nursing in Shreveport, LA. Two of the three contracted TB and died and one of those was Ida. The American Journal of Nursing had printed a blurb about Ida in the March 1906 issue: “Miss Ida Perry has resigned her position of the charity Hospital, Shreveport, La., and will engage in private nursing.” On the 1910 census she is living in Eunice, LA, with her sister Mary (who happens to be the other sister that died of TB). She is listed under her maiden name and as single. That is the last official record we had of Ida. Our only other clue was a picture postcard (undated) that Ida had sent to her brother from Denver, CO, that stated:

“Dear Bro, I am feeling fine. Had this made to show you all how fit I’m getting.

With love to all from ‘Jack’” [Jack was her nickname.]

So we knew that Ida had gone to CO for health reasons, which was common with TB patients. On the back of the picture it stated “Ida Perry Faust” so now we knew she had also gotten married.

We had checked EVERYTHING.

Colorado couldn’t find a death certificate or marriage license and neither could Louisiana. I had run her name through GenealogyBank (of course) and got nothing. We couldn’t determine when and where she had died. We couldn’t find her grave. It was very frustrating.

Yesterday I decided to run her name through GenealogyBank again since I know you regularly add papers and I got a hit! Apparently you had added the New Orleans Item since the first time I ran her name through.

New Orleans Item (Louisiana), 4 September 1911, page 2, column 4

Mrs. Ida Perry Faust

EUNICE, La., Sept. 4—A telegram from Denver (Colo.) brings the news of the death of Mrs. Ida Perry Faust, sister of Mrs. J. N. Adams of this city. The remains will be interred at Purvis (Miss.), the girlhood home of the deceased.

So we finally know! She did die in Denver as we suspected but she died earlier than we thought. She got married, moved, and died in the span of one year (she was still in LA and unmarried on the 1910 census) which means her husband knew she had TB and married her anyway. We are still searching for him. We assumed she had died in Denver but were surprised to see that they brought her back to Mississippi! We know which cemetery she would have been buried in (where the rest of the family is) but there is no marker for her. We might have to rectify that.

If I hadn’t run her name through again I wouldn’t have found this. Unfortunately, I can’t find her in any of the Colorado papers you have (including the Denver ones). I am assuming that the death of a TB sanitarium patient from another state didn’t warrant an obituary.

Congratulations to Michele for this family history success story!

Have you had a similar genealogy research discovery you’d like to share?

13th Amendment Ratified, Abolishing Slavery in America

Our online archive of old newspapers is a great resource to help with your family history research, filling in details on your family tree. It’s also a good way to learn about the times your ancestors lived in, and better understand their lives.

For example, if your ancestors were alive on Dec. 6, 1865, then you know one of the major news topics they were discussing around the supper table. For on that day, the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, forever abolishing slavery in the United States.

The next day, Americans saw in their local newspapers something very similar to what New Yorkers were reading about the newly-ratified constitutional amendment marking the abolition of slavery:

Slavery Forever Dead New York Herald Newspaper Article December 07, 1865

New York Herald (New York, New York), 7 December 1865, page 1.

Some people today think President Abraham Lincoln banned slavery when he issued his Emancipation Proclamation during the Civil War, but that was not the case. Using his War Powers, President Lincoln only did what he could legally do: free the slaves in Confederate-controlled parts of the country. Slavery itself remained legal in the U.S.— slaves were not freed in the four border states that did not secede from the Union: Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland and Missouri.

It would take an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to legally ban slavery in the United States, and when the Georgia Legislature approved the 13th Amendment—becoming the 27th state to do so—the necessary approval of ¾ of the states was reached and the amendment was ratified.

13th Amendment Newspaper Article Lowell Daily Citizen & News 1865

Lowell Daily Citizen and News (Lowell, Massachusetts), 8 December 1865, page 2.

The American Civil War was fought over two main preservation issues: whether the Union should remain intact, and whether slavery should be preserved. After four terrible years of military fighting that killed over 600,000 soldiers and wounded hundreds of thousands more, the nation had its answers: the Union would remain whole, and slavery was ended.

What a tumultuous year 1865 was for America! At the beginning of the year the Civil War was still raging. During April General Robert E. Lee surrendered the main Confederate army—and five days later U.S. President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by a Southern sympathizer. By that summer the fighting had ended and the American Civil War was finally over.

And all during that long year the process of ratifying the 13th Amendment to ban slavery in America was slowly winding its way through the state ratification process. While this was of great interest to all Americans, of course, it is safe to say the outcome of the constitutional amendment’s ratification was especially important to African Americans, as the following three newspaper articles show (all from GenealogyBank’s African American newspapers collection).

The Duty of Colored Men in Louisiana Black Republican Newspaper 1865

Black Republican (New Orleans, Louisiana), 15 April 1865, page 2.

This newspaper article was published on the day President Lincoln died, and reminds its African American audience that ending the Civil War and freeing the slaves is but a first step toward a society where all members are free, educated, and equal participants with full legal protections. The old newspaper article warns that it is prejudice itself that must be overcome:

There are many remnants of the past guilt yet polluting the soil and the atmosphere. There are cruel and dangerous prejudices that must be outlived. The sting of the serpent of slavery is in the hearts of the people. They may die with it, but justice and righteousness will live forever, and with them we must and shall succeed.

Our Country Black Rights Article South Carolina Leader

South Carolina Leader (Charleston, South Carolina), 21 October 1865, page 2.

These are powerful words in an African American newspaper from South Carolina—the first state that seceded from the Union and where the Civil War’s first battle was fought—published just months after the war ended. The historical newspaper article goes on to say:

We are confident of a change, because satisfied that the present policy is a failure. No cause can long prevail unless founded in absolute justice to all men. With such implicit faith in the justice of our cause, let us give our unqualified support to the President, and press steadily on for the accomplishment of the great purposes of our country—the moral rights, the intellectual privileges, and the physical liberties of mankind.

At the end of December 1865, following ratification of the 13th Amendment, this newspaper article was published with the title “What Is a Man?”

What Is a Man? Black Equality Article Colored American Newspaper

Colored American (Augusta, Georgia), 30 December 1865, page 2.

This old newspaper article concludes with these stirring words:

But these laws are dead, and we are glad of it. Fate has torn down the shutters and broken the locks of the temple of knowledge, and the great problem of advancement has commenced, and if, in its solution, it should give birth to men in the full sense of the term; we hope and trust that the boundary lines of color and race shall be obliterated from the map of common sense, and every man shall stand on his own merits as a man, and the world shall behold the consummation of the poet’s [i.e., Robert Burns] highest hope, that

Man to man the world o’er

Shall brothers be, an’ a’ that.

Good luck with your family history research, and enjoy browsing through historical newspaper archives such as the ones GenealogyBank offers. You’ll find many details, and possibly even maps, photographs or other illustrations, to learn more about your ancestors—and the times they lived in.

If you are researching your black American ancestry you may find our special African American newspaper archive to be particularly helpful.

GenealogyBank’s Historical Books Section: Another Rich Resource for Genealogists

In addition to its core of 5,850 online newspapers, GenealogyBank has other family history resources to offer genealogists.

As GenealogyBank combs through archives and repositories for the oldest American newspapers, we find many one-of-a-kind early printed items of high genealogical value. These can range from one-page keepsakes to small printed books.

We digitize these and put them in the “Historical Books” section of GenealogyBank.

Old Family Genealogy Records & Funeral Sermon

These historical books and other non-newspaper items were printed between 1800 and 1900; most of them were printed before 1840. These publications can be one page or hundreds of pages long. All of these historical printed materials are of high genealogical interest and are a permanent family treasure to be passed down and kept. Here is a list of some of the books and other printed materials you can discover in our Historical Books archive:

  • Rare books including autobiographies, biographies, genealogies and memoirs
  • Historical maps and atlases
  • Directories and subscribers lists
  • Ad cards and vintage advertisements
  • Church and funeral sermons
  • Travel literature
  • Invitations
  • Old concert and play programs

Imagine finding a copy of the actual sermon preached at the funeral of an ancestor, or the invitation to the 25th anniversary party for your 2nd great-grandparents.

Mr. & Mrs. A.W. Putnam 25th Anniversary of their Marriage Invitation

The best way to search our historical books collection is by surname.

Click on the “Historical Books” section and then enter only the surname of the family that you want to research.  For example, type in: Bristow.

Searching Surnames in GenealogyBank's Historical Books Archive

This will pull up 12 relevant results, ranging from a biography of Benjamin Bristow to the “Patriotic Concert” concert program of popular American composer George Frederick Bristow (1825-1898).

Benjamin Bristow Concert Program & Biography

Dig deeply and mine GenealogyBank for all of its valuable content.

You especially want to sift through the Historical Books collection, with its wide variety of printed ephemera.

1799 Newspaper Announcing Death of George Washington: Free Download!

The old Colonial newspapers let us look back and see our country’s news as it happened. We get to see the early American history as it unfolded in our ancestors’ day.

Imagine the utter shock in 1799 upon hearing the grim news that General George Washington was dead—America’s military leader during the Revolutionary War and the nation’s first President. George Washington died on Dec. 14, 1799, at the age of 67.

The people would have been galvanized by the news of President Washington’s death.

They would remember exactly when and where they were when they first heard about it.

The Saturday Evening Post Newspaper

They would go and get a newspaper to learn about how George Washington died and get all the details surrounding his death. Then they would read the newspaper, read it again, and save it for their children and grandchildren.

They would never forget this tragic loss in our country’s history.

Here is a copy of the Colonial newspaper that area residents of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, read cover to cover to learn about the death of George Washington. It was published by the Oracle of Dauphin and Harrisburgh Advertiser (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania), 30 December 1799.

Most of this historical newspaper issue is about the death of George Washington. It includes his obituary, information about his funeral and much more.

Today is a federal holiday originally enacted by Congress in 1879 to close government offices in the District of Columbia, at the time known as “Washington’s Birthday.” In remembrance of President George Washington on this Presidents Day 2012, we are offering a free download of this important early American newspaper that covers his death.

Henry ‘Hank’ Aaron: Baseball Superstar, Humanitarian—& Gentleman

As regular readers of this blog know, GenealogyBank’s historical newspaper archives are a great resource to research your family history and fill in details on your family tree. These newspapers are also a terrific window into the past, letting us learn more about important people and events in our nation’s history.

For example, let’s see what these old newspapers have to tell us about one of the outstanding athletes in American history: Henry “Hammerin’ Hank” Aaron, the superstar who played baseball in Milwaukee and Atlanta for 23 seasons, from 1954 to 1976. Aaron is famous as the baseball player who broke Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record of 714—and, as expected, there is plenty of newspaper coverage of his historic home run and other baseball exploits.

The newspapers also tell us much more about his life than this: in addition to being a rare and gifted American athlete, Henry ‘Hank’ Aaron was a humanitarian—and a true gentleman.

The sports media and baseball fans were whipped into a frenzy as Hank Aaron approached Babe Ruth’s magical number in the 1973 Major League baseball season. Although 39 years old that summer (an age when most baseball players have retired) Hank Aaron was on target, hitting 40 home runs…but ended the year with 713 home runs, still short of the goal of 715. He had to wait all winter for another opportunity to break baseball’s home run record the next spring.

When the 1974 season began, Aaron wasted no time. He hit the record-tying 714th home run on his first at-bat that year, in Cincinnati. On April 8 the Atlanta Braves returned to Atlanta for their home opener, and 53,775 wildly cheering fans attended the game hoping Aaron would get the record that night. Hammerin’ Hank did not let the crowd down, hitting home run number 715 in the fourth inning. He received a thunderous standing ovation from the Braves’ baseball fans while fireworks lit up the sky above the stadium.

Hank Aaron hammers historic 715 homerun

Augusta Chronicle (Augusta, Georgia), 9 April 1974, page 1.

In addition to details of the baseball game itself and Aaron’s record 715th home run, the newspaper article provides this detail:

Aaron broke away from his mates and rushed to a special box adjacent to the Atlanta dugout where he clutched his wife, Billye, and parents, Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Aaron, of Mobile, Ala.

“I never knew she could hug so tight,” Aaron said of his mother.

The following newspaper article tells us something about the character of Hank Aaron. Although he was one of the greatest American baseball players ever, he kept his ego in check; Aaron was widely recognized as a good teammate and a quiet, respectful man—a true gentleman.

Hank Aaron kept his word on the 715th homerun

Wichita Times (Wichita, Kansas), 2 May 1974, page 5, (African American Newspapers).

As this newspaper article relates, Hank Aaron was sensitive to the disruption his teammates had to endure while the press thronged around him night after night in 1973-74 covering his chase of the home run record. When it was finally over and the champagne celebration in the Atlanta locker room after the game was ready, Aaron thought immediately of his teammates:

The Braves had opened the champagne and were ready to pour, but Hank Aaron had something he wanted to say first to all his teammates.

“Thank you for being patient,” he said, his sincerity moving them. “Thank you for putting up with all that you have—the newspapermen, the photographers and all the other distractions. I know how difficult it was sometimes, and I appreciate the patience you’ve shown.”

Hank Aaron doesn’t make many speeches. Everybody in the room knew he meant this one.

Away from the spotlight and the glare of media publicity, Aaron had another career: he was a great humanitarian. He devoted countless hours to helping others, especially children, as shown in the following newspaper article.

Hank Aaron Goes to Bat for Easter Seals

Milwaukee Star (Milwaukee, Wisconsin), 9 August 1973, page 8, (African American Newspapers).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Newspaper archives provide all sorts of surprising stories about the life of the person we’re researching. How many people know that Henry Aaron was once a mayor?

All Black Alabama Town Makes Hank Aaron Mayor

Wichita Times (Wichita, Kansas), 13 March 1975, page 1, (African American Newspapers).

Hank Aaron was born in Alabama, and in 1975 he was:

…sworn in as honorary mayor of Hobson City during ceremonies in which 75-year-old northeast Alabama all-black town dedicates new Town Hall.

There was a dark side to Hank Aaron’s pursuit of Babe Ruth’s home run record—and the newspapers covered that as well: racism raised its ugly head. Throughout the 1973 Major League baseball season, during the offseason, and again in 1974, Aaron received hate letters mixed in with the supportive letters that were pouring into the Atlanta Braves’ mailbox. Some even sent him death threats.

What pursuit of baseball homerun record has meant for Hank Aaron: People listen

Augusta Chronicle (Augusta, Georgia), 9 April 1974, page 11.

In the above very revealing newspaper article, Hank Aaron opens up about the threats he’d been facing:

Aaron’s hero off the field is Dr. Martin Luther King. “He could walk with kings and talk with presidents,” said Aaron. “He wasn’t for lootings and bombings and fights but he wasn’t afraid of violence, either. He was 20 years ahead of his times.”

King’s death by assassination cannot, of course, be forgotten by Aaron. Sometimes Aaron wonders about that, too. He says that among the hundreds of letters he receives weekly, many are threats on his life.

“But I can’t think about that,” he says. “If I’m a target, then I’m a target. I can only worry about doing my job, and doing it good.”

This same newspaper article says of Aaron:

He has recently become identified with black causes. For example, he is now a close personal friend of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, a leading young black spokesman. Aaron, in winter, now is the organizer of a celebrity bowling tournament in Atlanta with proceeds going to research on sickle cell anemia, a disease that afflicts black people.

And this:

Aaron is also outspoken on the progress, or lack of it, for blacks in baseball. He says that blacks are stagnating. “Whatever so-called progress there is—like blacks staying in the same hotels with the white players—this came about from civil rights legislation, not from any leveling action by baseball,” says Aaron.

“Why aren’t there even no black managers? Why aren’t there even no black third base coaches? There are token first base coaches—a few. But what does a first base coach do? He has no duties. No responsibilities. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. He’s not expected to have any intelligence.”

Aaron still feels some of the clichés of being black. He remembers that once blacks were considered “too gutless” to be able to take the pressures of day-in, day-out major league baseball.

“Jackie Robinson changed a lot of those beliefs,” says Aaron. “His courage and intelligence showed what the black man could be made of.

Hank Aaron’s stance on black rights is explored further in the following newspaper article.

Hank Aaron: Baseball Still Not Doing Enough To Give Equal Opportunities To Minorities

USA Monitor (Fort Worth, Texas), 1 March 1993, page 17, (African American Newspapers).

As you can see, newspaper archives are filled with stories you may never have heard before. You can discover little known facts, view pictures and learn more about the personal lives of famous people and your family members with newspapers.  Have fun searching our newspaper archives for details about celebrities and your own ancestors—you never know what you might find!

 

31 Million Records Added to Our Archives in February!

Every day, GenealogyBank is working hard to digitize more newspapers and obituaries, expanding our online collections to give you the largest newspaper archives for family history research available anywhere. In fact, we’ve already added 31 million new genealogy records to our historical newspaper archives and obituary archives this February 2012 and we’re just getting started!

Here are some details about our most recent newspaper content additions (we actually added new content to thousands of newspaper titles, but the following is a representative sample):

  • A total of 120 newspaper titles from 30 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia
  • Newspaper titles marked with an asterisk (*) are obituaries only and are new to our obituary archives
  • Newspaper titles marked with a plus sign (+) are historical newspapers new to our historical newspaper archives
  • We’ve shown the newspaper date ranges so that you can determine if the new content is relevant to your genealogy research

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

State City Newspaper Title Start Date End Date
AK Bethel Delta Discovery* 2011 Current
AL Mobile Mobile Register 1858 1869
AR Jonesboro Jonesboro Daily News 1909 1909
AR Little Rock Arkansas Democrat-Gazette* 2011 Current
AR Little Rock Arkansas Gazette 1819 1908
AR Sil. Springs Siloam Sp. Herald-Leader* 2011 Current
AR Jonesboro Jonesboro Evening Sun 1906 1922
AR Jonesboro Jo. Weekly Times-Enterprise 1906 1906
AR Jonesboro Jonesboro Weekly Sun 1922 1922
CA San Diego San Diego Union 1912 1965
CA San Diego Evening Tribune 1900 1932
CA Riverside Riverside Daily Press 1939 1949
CA El Centro Imperial Valley Press* 2001 Current
CO Denver Den. Rocky Mountain News 1880 1922
CO Denver Denver Post 1906 1906
CO Denver Rocky Mountain News 1859 1862
CT Hartford Connecticut Courant 1842 1843
CT Hartford Times 1836 1837
CT Hartford American Mercury 1830 1833
CT Norwich Norwich Aurora 1858 1873
CT New Haven Columbian Register 1831 1851
CT Litchfield Litchfield Republican 1848 1855
DC Washington United States Telegraph 1827 1829
DE Wilmington Delaware Gazette 1787 1787
FL Tampa Tampa Tribune 1929 1931
FL Pensacola Pensacola Gazette+ 1843 1848
GA Marietta Marietta Journal 1979 1985
GA Augusta Daily Constitutionalist+ 1840 1861
GA Milledgeville Georgia Journal 1822 1832
GA Savannah Daily Georgian 1826 1832
GA Augusta Augusta Chronicle 1792 1922
IA Forest City Britt News Tribune* 2003 Current
ID Idaho Falls Idaho Register 1892 1892
ID Twin Falls Twin Falls News 1920 1920
IL Rockford Register-Republic 1957 1957
IL Rockford Register Star 2007 2007
IL Shorewood Shorewood Sentinel* 2011 Current
IL Springfield Illinois State Register+ 1840 1844
IL Niles Bugle* 2011 Current
KY Maysville Ledger Independent* 2002 Current
LA New Orleans Courrier de la Louisiane 1823 1824
LA New Orleans Times-Picayune 1901 1914
LA Baton Rouge Advocate 1945 1985
LA Baton Rouge Daily Advocate 1869 1883
LA Baton Rouge State Times Advocate 1922 1922
MA Boston Weekly Messenger 1831 1831
MA Northampton Hampshire Gazette 1826 1840
MA Worcester National Aegis 1822 1876
MA Boston Repertory 1821 1821
MA Newburyport Newburyport Herald 1834 1837
MA Boston Boston Commercial Gazette 1835 1840
MA Worcester Massachusetts Spy 1821 1869
MA W. Springfield American Intelligencer 1796 1796
MA Springfield Hampden Whig 1830 1837
MA Springfield Springfield Union 1913 1915
MA Boston Sat. Morning Transcript+ 1835 1838
MA Nantucket Nantucket Inquirer 1826 1841
MA Boston Boston Herald 1893 1907
MA New Bedford New-Bedford Mercury 1857 1869
MA Salem Salem Register 1841 1856
MA Boston Boston Courier 1845 1845
MI Kalamazoo Kalamazoo Gazette 1876 1876
MI Petoskey Petoskey News-Review* 2001 Current
MI Charlevoix Charlevoix Courier* 2009 Current
MI Jackson Jackson Citizen 1897 1897
MN Winona Winona Daily News* 2001 Current
NC Cary Cary News* 2011 Current
NC Wins.-Salem Winston-Salem Journal 1917 1928
NC Smithfield Smithfield Herald* 2011 Current
NC Zebulon Eastern Wake News* 2011 Current
NC Fayetteville Carolina Observer+ 1824 1830
NE Omaha Omaha World Herald 1957 1983
NE Beatrice Beatrice Daily Sun* 2002 Current
NH Portsmouth P. Jrnl. of Lit. and Politics 1860 1872
NH Concord New-Hampshire Patriot 1861 1861
NJ Trenton True American 1801 1812
NJ Morristown Genius of Liberty 1798 1805
NJ Trenton Trenton Evening Times 1916 1916
NY Cazenovia Pilot 1818 1822
NY New York Spectator 1842 1851
NY Sara. Springs Saratoga Sentinel 1826 1837
NY New York New York Herald-Tribune 1887 1887
NY New York New-York Gazette 1803 1803
NY New York Commercial Advertiser 1821 1876
NY Auburn Aub. Journal and Advertiser+ 1837 1846
NY New York Weekly Visitor 1822 1823
NY Syracuse Post-Standard: Blogs* 2011 Current
NY New York New York Herald 1876 1876
NY Albany Albany Argus 1823 1869
OH Chillicothe Supporter & Scioto Gazette+ 1821 1827
OH Cleveland Plain Dealer 1847 1922
OH Canton Repository 1939 1939
OR Portland Oregonian 1904 1904
PA Somerset Daily American* 2011 Current
PA Philadelphia Philadelphia Inquirer 1830 1859
PA Washington Washington Reporter 1821 1869
PA Philadelphia National Gazette 1827 1835
PA Harrisburg Patriot 1866 1912
PA Pittsburgh Tree of Liberty 1801 1802
PA Harrisburg Harrisburg Republican 1816 1818
SC Charleston Charleston Courier 1822 1872
SC Charleston South-Carolina State-Gazette 1801 1801
SC Charleston Charleston Mercury 1860 1868
TX Dallas Dallas Morning News 1983 1984
TX Marble Falls River Cities Daily Tribune* 2010 Current
TX Lexington Lexington Leader* 2009 Current
TX Texarkana Texarkana Gazette* 2011 Current
VA Richmond Virginia Patriot 1814 1814
VA Richmond Richmond Times Dispatch 1929 1930
VA Richmond Richmond Enquirer 1867 1870
VA Norfolk N. Gazette & Publick Ledger 1804 1816
VA Alexandria Alexandria Gazette 1823 1870
VA Richmond Richmond Whig 1833 1874
VT St. Albans St. Albans Daily Messenger 1861 1872
VT St. Albans St. Albans Transcript+ 1873 1873
VT St. Albans St. Albans Messenger 1850 1921
VT Windsor Vermont Journal 1862 1862
VT Windsor Vermont Republican 1821 1828
VT Brattleboro Vermont Phoenix 1866 1866
WI Chip. Falls Chippewa Herald* 1999 Current

You can also view our complete title list of U.S. newspapers by state.

Celebrating the 200th Anniversary of Charles Dickens’s Birthday

This week marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles John Huffam Dickens, the famous English novelist who created such memorable characters as David Copperfield, Oliver Twist, Ebenezer Scrooge, and Tiny Tim.

Born on Feb. 7, 1812, Charles Dickens remains one of the most popular and beloved writers in the world—in fact, his stories have never gone out of print!

One of the pleasures of doing family history research in a large collection of historical newspapers like GenealogyBank’s is that you can also find material about famous people. Not only can you explore their lives and trace their family trees in newspapers—you can get priceless information about famous people that isn’t available from other genealogical resources.

For example, two days after the famous author’s death these impressive words were written about Charles Dickens in a newspaper obituary published by the Cincinnati Daily Enquirer (Cincinnati, Ohio), 11 June 1870, page 4:

“Without the slightest tinge of exaggeration it may be said with solemn meaning that no announcement could have created a profounder feeling of sorrow and regret than that which conveys the intelligence of the death of Charles Dickens, the eminent novelist—the friend of humanity.

“The event, while it was not altogether unexpected—for Dickens was a man of years, of full habit and many ailments—yet it came like an electric shock which deadens for an instant and is followed by a somber gloom.

“A potentate of Europe might have passed away and created no ripple, save in his own immediate circle; but the death of one so great and good as Dickens is a world-wide calamity, and it will be felt wherever the English language is spoken—wherever human impulses are felt.”

On the 100th anniversary of Dickens’s birth the Oregonian (Portland, Oregon) ran this page-long chronology of the life of the beloved author, published 28 January 1912, page 4.

Charles Dickens 100th Birthday Anniversary Newspaper Collage

Oregonian | January 28, 1912

You can discover the facts about Charles Dickens at GenealogyBank. Visit our historical newspaper archives today to explore the life and death of the world-renowned author Charles Dickens: http://bit.ly/AobNT9

RootsTech Presentation Download: Newspapers for Genealogists

Wow—over 4,000 genealogists attended this year’s RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City last week. This must-attend conference was a nonstop opportunity to learn about the latest genealogy technology and to talk shop with like-minded genealogists from around the country. I have been attending genealogy conferences for nearly 50 years and RootsTech 2012 was the best ever. Plan now to attend the next RootsTech conference, on March 21-23, 2013!

GenealogyBank was there in force, with seven reps from our Team on-site to meet our members and explore their ideas, “wow” finds, and suggestions for GenealogyBank as we move into 2012.

At the RootsTech 2012 conference, I gave a presentation on searching newspapers for your family history that was well attended and very well received. If you were unable to attend my presentation at the conference in person, you can download a free copy of the PowerPoint slides I used, entitled “Newspapers for Genealogists: Document Every Day of Your Ancestors’ Lives” by clicking the Facebook “Like” button below:

Newspapers for Genealogists: Document Every Day of Your Ancestors’ Lives | GenealogyBank 2012 RootsTech Presentation

Newspapers for Genealogists: Document Every Day of Your Ancestors’ Lives | GenealogyBank 2012 RootsTech Presentation

Download the RootsTech presentation and read through this effective overview of GenealogyBank, with plenty of search tips and strategies for using the terrific genealogical resources provided by our historical newspaper archives.

 

GEDCOMX Announced at RootsTech 2012 Genealogy Conference

The recent (Feb. 2-4, 2012) RootsTech genealogy conference in Utah was a mega-success with 4,300 attending genealogy’s version of COMDEX (the large computer trade shows).

I had a terrific time meeting the participants and talking with them about genealogy in general—and GenealogyBank in particular.

In addition to the audience, one of the most exciting things about the RootsTech conference was all the incredible announcements about cutting-edge breakthroughs in genealogy tools.

RootsTech 2012 logo

2012 RootsTech | rootstech.org

The key announcement for me at RootsTech this year was made by Jay Verkler (outgoing FamilySearch CEO) about the ongoing “New” GEDCOMX record genealogy tool that will carefully record all genealogical information about a person and then find and attach itself—along with photos and documents—to that person in the family tree of all GEDCOMX-compliant sites.

The final details of how these new fortified, individual GEDCOMX records will work is being thought through, but look for them to have three key parts:

  • Exchange Standard (what GEDCOM does now) so that the records can migrate to any family tree site.
  • API Standards for pulling data from multiple sources.
  • Repository of Data (all uploaded documents, photos, media, etc.).
GEDCOMX Model Diagram

2012 GEDCOM X | gedcomx.org

This is huge.

This is the genealogy tool our community has needed.

These individual “Packaged Data” units will carry all the data about a person—the core genealogical facts, photos and video clips—with the GEDCOM ability to plug in and find itself on a family tree, or the ability to create itself as a new twig on the family trees on all GEDCOMX-compliant websites.

Genealogy Podcast 1: Newspapers Are A Critical Genealogy Resource

Play

Genealogy Podcast by GenealogyBankLearn why newspapers are a critical resource to complete your family tree in this GenealogyBank podcast episode. Listen as our seasoned in-house genealogist Tom Kemp explains how to search for and find genealogical information in old newspapers. Learn how you can trace back your family tree using genealogy records found in historical newspapers.