A Genealogist’s Family Story: A Blind Baby & Kind Strangers

This is a bittersweet family story, about an abandoned blind baby and the kindness of strangers. But it is also an interesting story about family history research, telling the tale of a genealogist finding the facts about her grandmother.

Melissa Archibald wrote us about the brick wall on her family tree involving her grandmother—and how she solved it.

She wrote:

“I wanted to thank you for posting the historic newspapers from Saginaw, Michigan. I thought you’d want to know how GenealogyBank solved my problem. My Grandmother was an abandoned baby and I did a search one day under the terms “Sunshine Baby,” Saginaw and blind. The only thing I knew about my Grandmother was her nickname “Sunshine Baby,” she was born in Saginaw, and that she was blind. I had been searching for 15 years to try and find out the truth about my Grandmother who was abandoned but also blinded because of it. One amazing service you have. I found her.

“Thanks again for making these papers available online. My Grandmother had seven children who all wondered about the mystery surrounding the birth of their Mother and your service has answered all of our questions.”

Here is what she found doing genealogy research in GenealogyBank:

The story of her grandmother, an abandoned baby—a sympathetic story that touched people’s hearts in Saginaw, Michigan, and around the country. The Sunshine Society, dedicated to helping blind children, had a chapter in Saginaw. They put out the call for the public and for “every school child in Saginaw [to] give one penny to the Sunshine fund for the blind baby.”

blind baby abandoned, Saginaw News newspaper article 25 November 1904

Saginaw News (Saginaw, Michigan), 25 November 1904, page 11

But, who was this baby? Could the parents be found?

The old newspapers give the brutal details.

It was a grim day when Grace Vergeson put her newborn daughter into a suitcase and left her in the “closet in the house where she had been working.” We don’t know what she was thinking. Was it post-partum depression? Did she think the baby was already dead? Were others involved? We don’t know all the reasons or circumstances, but we do know that the baby was not discovered for three days. By then she was “totally blind as a result” of not having had proper medical care.

Mother's Cruel Act, Grand Rapids Press newspaper article 19 November 1904

Grand Rapids Press (Grand Rapids, Michigan), 19 November 1904, page 2

The young mother soon “signed release papers relinquishing all claim on the child,” turning the guardianship of her child over to the Sunshine Society.

Gave Up Her Babe, Flint Journal newspaper article 25 November 1904

Flint Journal (Flint, Michigan), 25 November 1904, page 4

A brutal story, brightened by the kindness of the members of the “Sunshine Society,” and the fact that the blind baby went on to have a wonderful life, marrying and raising seven children.

It is almost impossible to find the parents of an abandoned child. Melissa had been searching for the answers for over 15 years—and that patient research paid off in the old newspaper archives at GenealogyBank.

 

 

More Recent Newspaper Obituaries Going Online at GenealogyBank

We recently added 16 million more records to our historical newspaper archives—and already this month we are working on putting more recent newspaper obituaries online to keep adding resources for your family history research.

Obituaries and death notices from newspapers in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas are being added to our Recent Obituaries Collection (1977 – Today), adding thousands more obituaries for your genealogy research. Look for these recent obits to go live online soon on the New Content page.

Newton Press Mentor (Newton, IL)

Obituaries: added 11/10/2005 – 10/5/2009

Death Notices: added 7/25/2005 – 10/6/2010

Wood Dale Press (Wood Dale, IL)

Obituaries: added 8/16/2007 – 1/21/2011

Death Notices: added 3/4/2011 – 7/13/2012

Benzie County Record Patriot (Frankfort, MI)

Obituaries: added 8/12/2009 – 1/19/2011

Death Notices: added 6/24/2009 – 1/5/2011

Harbor Country News (New Buffalo, MI)

Obituaries: added 3/3/2005 – 4/12/2012

Death Notices: added 4/8/2004 – 1/5/2011

Lake County Star (Baldwin, MI)

Obituaries: added 3/26/2009 – 6/7/2012

Death Notices: added 1/1/2009 – 1/6/2011

Minnetonka Sun-Sailor (Minnetonka, MN)

Obituaries: added 4/8/2010 – 06/23/2010

Death Notices: added 2/22/2010 – 1/26/2011

Norwood Young America Times (Norwood, MN)

Obituaries: added 7/26/2006 – 2/9/2011

Death Notices: added 8/4/2005 – 1/5/2011

Pioneer (Waconia, MN)

Obituaries: added 11/2/2007 – 9/23/2011

Death Notices: added 9/15/2005 – 1/19/2007

Indianola Enterprise-Tocsin (Indianola, MS)

Obituaries: 09/16/2010 – Current

Chowan Herald (Edenton, NC)

Obituaries: 07/12/2011 – Current

Duplin Times (Kenansville, NC)

Obituaries: 09/29/2011 – Current

Martin County Enterprise and Weekly Herald (Williamston, NC)

Obituaries: 08/02/2011 – Current

Nashville Graphic (Nashville, NC)

Obituaries: added 1/6/2009 – 1/28/2010

Death Notices: added 1/6/2009 – 6/22/2010

Statesman: SUNY, Stony Brook (Stony Brook, NY)

Obituaries: 12/08/2008 – Current

Sentinel-Tribune (Bowling Green, OH)

Obituaries: 06/02/2012 – Current

Index-Journal (Greenwood, SC)

Obituaries: 07/01/2012 – Current

Chattanooga Times Free Press (Chattanooga, TN)

Obituaries: added 4/3/1995 – 4/1/2011

Death Notices: added 4/1/1995 – 4/1/2011

Herald Democrat (Sherman, TX)

Obituaries: added 12/10/2004 – 1/26/2011

Death Notices: added 12/1/2004 – 3/11/2008

Note: Scattered earlier data also available

 

 

Planning a Trip to Salt Lake City for Your Family History Research?

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” In this guest blog post, Gena provides practical advice for genealogists planning a trip to Salt Lake City for doing family history research.

Want to go to Salt Lake City in Utah? If you are like most genealogists that question is answered with an emphatic “yes!” because Salt Lake City is one of the world’s centers for family history research.

photograph of Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah

Temple Square as seen from the Joseph Smith Building, Salt Lake City, Utah. © 2012 Gena Philibert-Ortega

Like any research trip it’s a good idea to do your homework prior to leaving home. There’s so much you can do in Salt Lake City including researching at the world famous Family History Library (open to the public free of charge) or even attending a conference like RootsTech. But before you pack your bags consider these tips.

Travel is easier when you have a guide. The Chart Chick’s Quick Insider’s Guide to Salt Lake City by Janet Hovorka, president of the Utah Genealogical Association and a Salt Lake City native, provides family history researchers with what they need to know for a trip to this genealogical mecca. Covered in this guide is everything from how to get around Salt Lake City to archives and libraries (aside from the Family History Library), places to visit, shop, and most importantly—where to eat. To purchase this Salt Lake City, UT, travel guide book or download it as a free PDF, visit Janet’s blog The Chart Chick. If you do request the PDF you have the added advantage of being able to download it to a mobile device for easy reference.

Do your genealogy homework. Before you take a genealogy research trip make sure you are prepared. Conduct a thorough search of the Family History Library Catalog and make note of all the microforms, books and resources you want to see. Pay special attention to the location of the item. If an item is in the “Vault” you will need to order it beforehand. Since the Family History Library Catalog is available on the Internet, do this preliminary research first so you don’t waste time while at the library.

photograph of microfilm drawers inside the Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah

Microfilm Drawers inside the Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah. © 2012 Gena Philibert-Ortega

Ask other genealogists. It’s always a good idea to talk to other genealogists who’ve traveled to your destination. Frequent travelers to the Family History Library may have helpful tips about making photocopies, what to bring, how they go about researching at the facility, and where the best places to stay in Salt Lake City are. Not sure you know anyone who has been to Salt Lake City? Ask around at your local genealogy society or post a question on a social media website like Facebook, Twitter or GenealogyWise.

photograph of the Family History Library of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah

Family History Library of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints located in downtown Salt Lake City. © 2010 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. Photo courtesy of FamilySearch.org

Have fun! Yes, there is so much you can research at the Family History Library, as well as the other archives and libraries, but don’t forget to take some breaks during your trip as well. It’s important to schedule some time to eat, walk around or even take the night off to check out the sights and tourist attractions. If you arrive on Sunday, the Family History Library is closed but that gives you time to prepare for your research and do some sightseeing in Utah.

photograph of Salt Lake Temple, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake Temple, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah. © 2012 Gena Philibert-Ortega

However you plan your family research trip, remember this: no matter how much time you spend researching, there will always be more you wished you had seen. So when you get home, organize what you found, update your database and start planning your next trip!

 

 

A Murder in the Family Tree: Policeman Stabbed to Death

Introduction: Scott Phillips is a genealogical historian and owner of Onward To Our Past® genealogy services. In this guest blog post, Scott reports a sad discovery when doing his family history research—finding a murder in his family tree.

Ever have one of those eerie experiences that make you just a little bit scared in your family history work? I did and it happened early in my genealogy research when I decided to visit the Woodland Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio. I had been wanting to visit this cemetery for some time as I have faint memories of visiting there with my family when I was a very young boy. Additionally, in my genealogy research, I have discovered that our family has more than 160 deceased family members resting eternally in Woodland Cemetery.

On this particular cemetery visit I was planning on paying my respects to my great grandfather’s sister, Theresa Sluka. As I arrived at her grave I not only found her gravestone, but I found a substantial family burial plot. I was madly clicking photos and writing down notes as to location, directions, etc., when one of the Sluka family gravestones caught my attention.

Up until that visit, I had never seen a gravestone that held portraits captured in porcelain. The small obelisk in front of me held not one portrait, but two. As I came closer, I realized that for the first time I was gazing at the likenesses of my cousins, Albert and Frank Sluka. Both looked remarkably young and then I noticed that Albert died at just 29 (1877-1907) and his brother, Frank, wearing a uniform of some sort in his portrait, died at only 33 (1878-1912).

gravestone portrait of Albert Sluka (1877-1907)

Gravestone portrait of Albert Sluka (1877-1907)

It wasn’t an hour later that I was booting up my computer and digging into these two family members. Beginning with Albert, my first stop was at GenealogyBank.com and I was not disappointed. On the first page of search results there was an article from the front page of the Plain Dealer:

Policeman Dies in Street Fight, Plain Dealer newspaper article, 28 March 1907

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 28 March 1907, page 1

I felt as if the headline was screaming at me. I couldn’t believe what I was reading: “Policeman Dies in Street Fight. Is Stabbed Just Once, but Life Ebbs Away in Short Time.”

Only three blocks from the very cemetery where I had been standing only an hour earlier, my cousin, wearing his badge and working as a “Special Policeman,” was stabbed to death by a man he had bounced from a dancehall! The old newspaper article explained the crime scene and reported that his brother was a member of the Cleveland Police Department. My curiosity, being fully piqued at this point, kept me looking further.

Amidst the tragedy of this police murder story, I discovered in another newspaper article that the Cleveland Police did indeed get their man, who was a fellow by the name of Harry Fertel:

Murder Charge Rests Lightly, Plain Dealer newspaper article, 29 March 1907

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 29 March 1907, page 2

The news of Albert Sluka’s murder was carried in other newspapers in other states, such as this historical news article which appeared on the front page of an Indiana paper:

Policeman Stabbed to Death, Elkhart Truth newspaper article, 28 March 1907

Elkhart Truth (Elkhart, Indiana), 28 March 1907, page 1

GenealogyBank.com was finding, and I was reading, news stories that covered the initial reports of the assault and crime, and explanations of the impact of the murder on my ancestors including this: “The aged father and mother of the dead policeman are brokenhearted. All day long they sat sobbing beside the casket in the little front room of their home at 5311 McBride Av., S.E…”

I was even learning about my great aunt trying to get her son’s killer sentenced to serve his time in the Penitentiary rather than the Ohio State Reformatory—which itself was none too nice, as revealed in the 1994 film The Shawshank Redemption (the movie was filmed at the Ohio State Reformatory).

Mother Seeks Revenge, Plain Dealer newspaper article, 15 May 1907

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 15 May 1907, page 3

Ever since that first day of those discoveries about my cousin Albert and his murder, I have been further augmenting my knowledge of this family tragedy with information available from the coroner’s autopsy report, trial transcripts, jail records, and more.

The one thing I can tell you for certain is that reading those early newspaper articles sure beats any TV courtroom drama I have ever seen, because, as they say, “This Is Family.”

 

Handy Quick List: 40 Rhode Island Newspapers Now Online

GenealogyBank is rapidly growing—we now have over 40 Rhode Island newspapers online for you to trace your genealogy. That’s a lot of local RI papers!

Search for your ancestors in multiple newspaper titles from Providence, Newport and other popular cities in Rhode Island. Here is the complete list of RI newspapers currently available in our archives. Bookmark this list of Rhode Island newspapers that is frequently updated to stay abreast of newly added titles.

City

Title

Date Range

Collection

Bristol Mount Hope Eagle 1/10/1807 – 10/8/1808 Historical Newspapers
Charlestown Charlestown Press 8/3/2006 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Coventry Coventry Courier 1/14/2011 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Cumberland Valley Breeze 7/19/2001 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
East Greenwich East Greenwich Pendulum 1/20/2011 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Hopkinton Wood River Press 8/3/2006 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Newport Companion 5/2/1798 – 7/20/1799 Historical Newspapers
Newport Gazette Francoise 11/17/1780 – 1/2/1781 Historical Newspapers
Newport Guardian of Liberty 10/3/1800 – 9/26/1801 Historical Newspapers
Newport Newport Gazette 1/16/1777 – 12/26/1777 Historical Newspapers
Newport Newport Herald 3/1/1787 – 9/17/1791 Historical Newspapers
Newport Newport Mercury 6/19/1758 – 12/30/1876 Historical Newspapers
Newport Rhode-Island Gazette 10/4/1732 – 3/1/1733 Historical Newspapers
Newport Rhode-Island Museum 7/7/1794 – 12/29/1794 Historical Newspapers
Newport Rhode-Island Republican 10/3/1801 – 4/21/1841 Historical Newspapers
North Kingstown Standard-Times 1/20/2011 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
North Providence North Providence Breeze 2/2/2006 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Pawtucket Pawtucket Times 1/1/1898 – 2/28/1921 Historical Newspapers
Pawtucket Times 10/7/2009 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Pawtucket Valley Breeze, The: Pawtucket Edition 8/19/2009 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Providence American 10/21/1808 – 10/17/1809 Historical Newspapers
Providence American Journal 3/18/1779 – 8/29/1781 Historical Newspapers
Providence Columbian Phenix 1/2/1808 – 1/8/1814 Historical Newspapers
Providence Impartial Observer 8/11/1800 – 3/6/1802 Historical Newspapers
Providence Literary Cadet and Rhode-Island Statesman 4/22/1826 – 7/18/1829 Historical Newspapers
Providence Manufacturers’ & Farmers’ Journal 1/3/1820 – 9/18/1876 Historical Newspapers
Providence Microcosm, American and Gazette 4/17/1830 – 6/5/1830 Historical Newspapers
Providence Providence Evening Press 3/14/1859 – 11/13/1878 Historical Newspapers
Providence Providence Gazette 8/31/1762 – 10/8/1825 Historical Newspapers
Providence Providence Journal 1/2/1799 – 12/30/1801 Historical Newspapers
Providence Providence Patriot 1/15/1814 – 12/27/1834 Historical Newspapers
Providence Providence Phoenix 4/28/1802 – 12/26/1807 Historical Newspapers
Providence Religious Intelligencer 5/13/1820 – 11/4/1820 Historical Newspapers
Providence Rhode-Island American 10/20/1809 – 2/1/1833 Historical Newspapers
Providence State Gazette 1/4/1796 – 7/2/1796 Historical Newspapers
Providence United States Chronicle 1/1/1784 – 5/17/1804 Historical Newspapers
Smithfield Valley Breeze & Observer 2/2/2006 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Wakefield Narragansett Times 1/21/2009 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Warren Bristol County Register 3/11/1809 – 3/31/1810 Historical Newspapers
Warren Herald of the United States 1/14/1792 – 12/12/1812 Historical Newspapers
Warren Telescope 11/6/1813 – 6/28/1817 Historical Newspapers
West Warwick Kent County Daily Times 1/22/2011 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Westerly Westerly Pawcatuck Press 7/1/2009 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Westerly Westerly Sun 4/27/2000 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Woonsocket Call 10/8/2009 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Wyoming Chariho Times 1/20/2011 – Current Newspaper Obituaries

 

 

Handy Quick List: 22 Idaho Newspapers Now Online

GenealogyBank is ever growing—we now have 22 Idaho newspapers online. That’s a lot of local city papers for you to research your ID ancestry!

Search for your ancestors in newspaper titles from Boise, Nampa, Silver City and more popular cities in the “Gem State.” Here is the complete list of the Idaho newspapers in our archives.

Bookmark this list of Idaho newspapers that is frequently updated to stay abreast of newly added titles.

City

Title

Date Range

Collection

Blackfoot Blackfoot Register 7/10/1880 – 6/5/1886 Historical Newspapers
Blackfoot Morning News 8/2/2008 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Boise Idaho Statesman 7/26/1864 – 12/31/1922 Historical Newspapers
Boise Idaho Statesman 1/26/1999 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Bonners Ferry Bonners Ferry Herald 10/5/2006 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Coeur d’Alene Idaho Spokesman-Review 7/3/1994 – 11/28/2007 Newspaper Obituaries
Coeur d’Alene Coeur d’Alene Press 10/1/2003 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Idaho Falls Idaho Register 4/4/1885 – 10/31/1916 Historical Newspapers
Idaho Falls Idaho Falls Times 7/9/1891 – 9/16/1920 Historical Newspapers
Idaho Falls Citizen 3/11/1907 – 4/2/1907 Historical Newspapers
Kellogg Shoshone News-Press 4/6/2007 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Lewiston Lewiston Morning Tribune 1/1/1998 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Nampa Idaho Press-Tribune 7/1/2006 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Payette Independent Enterprise 5/16/2007 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Pocatello Idaho State Journal 6/27/2006 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Priest River Priest River Times 6/5/2006 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Salmon City Idaho Recorder 12/12/1889 – 5/4/1892 Historical Newspapers
Sandpoint Bonner County Daily Bee 3/2/2004 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Silver City Owyhee Avalanche 8/19/1865 – 12/28/1900 Historical Newspapers
Silver City Owyhee Daily Avalanche 10/19/1874 – 4/26/1876 Historical Newspapers
Twin Falls Twin Falls News 4/8/1918 – 12/31/1922 Historical Newspapers
Twin Falls Times-News 8/19/1999 – Current Newspaper Obituaries

Handy Quick List: 75 Kentucky Newspapers Now Online

GenealogyBank is growing at a rapid pace—we now have over 75 Kentucky newspapers online. That’s a lot of local city papers for your ancestry research in the “Bluegrass State.”

Here is the complete list of KY newspapers currently available in our archives. Easily search newspapers from Louisville, Lexington, Bowling Green and more popular KY cities online.

Bookmark this list of Kentucky newspapers that is frequently updated to stay abreast of newly added titles.

City

Title

Date Range

Collection

Ashland Daily Independent 5/12/2007 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Bardstown Kentucky Standard 9/29/2008 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Bardstown Western American 9/6/1803 – 12/21/1804 Historical Newspapers
Bedford Trimble Banner 9/29/2010 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Bowling Green Daily News 7/2/1999 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Campbellsville Central Kentucky News-Journal 10/3/2008 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Carrollton Carrollton News-Democrat 7/14/2008 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Columbia Adair Progress 4/27/2011 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Corbin News Journal 1/4/2012 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Corbin Times-Tribune 5/15/2006 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Covington Kentucky Post 4/2/1990 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Cynthiana Cynthiana Democrat 10/8/2008 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Danville Advocate-Messenger 8/1/2003 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Danville Mirror 9/3/1804 – 10/24/1804 Historical Newspapers
Danville People’s Friend 1/30/1819 – 1/30/1819 Historical Newspapers
Elizabethtown News-Enterprise 4/30/2008 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Frankfort Frankfort Argus 2/3/1808 – 11/12/1834 Historical Newspapers
Frankfort Kentucky Journal 12/5/1795 – 12/5/1795 Historical Newspapers
Frankfort Palladium 12/25/1798 – 9/6/1816 Historical Newspapers
Frankfort Western World 7/7/1806 – 6/8/1810 Historical Newspapers
Georgetown Telegraph 9/25/1811 – 12/22/1813 Historical Newspapers
Glasgow Glasgow Daily Times 2/9/2007 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Grayson, Olive Hill Journal-Times 7/5/2007 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Harlan Harlan Daily Enterprise 1/24/2003 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Harrodsburg Kentucky People 3/18/1870 – 8/25/1871 Historical Newspapers
Hazard Hazard Herald 10/2/2009 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Henderson Gleaner 4/14/2006 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Hodgenville Larue County Herald News 11/26/2008 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
LaGrange Oldham Era 10/17/2007 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Lancaster Political Theatre 11/18/1808 – 7/26/1809 Historical Newspapers
Lawrenceburg Anderson News 1/2/2007 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Lebanon Lebanon Enterprise 11/20/2007 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Leitchfield Grayson County News Gazette 10/2/2009 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Leitchfield Record 8/20/2008 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Lexington Kentucky Gazette 3/15/1794 – 12/28/1837 Historical Newspapers
Lexington Lexington Herald 3/20/1904 – 12/31/1922 Historical Newspapers
Lexington Lexington Herald-Leader 1/25/1984 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Lexington Lexington Standard 1/27/1900 – 1/27/1900 Historical Newspapers
Lexington Morning Herald 1/1/1896 – 3/19/1904 Historical Newspapers
Lexington Reporter 3/12/1808 – 12/25/1820 Historical Newspapers
Lexington Stewart Kentucky Herald 7/14/1795 – 9/15/1801 Historical Newspapers
Lexington True American 6/3/1845 – 10/21/1846 Historical Newspapers
Lexington Western Monitor 8/3/1814 – 12/20/1817 Historical Newspapers
Liberty Casey County News 8/27/2008 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
London Sentinel Echo 9/18/2007 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Louisville Bulletin 9/24/1881 – 9/24/1881 Historical Newspapers
Louisville Louisville Eccentric Observer 4/21/2004 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Louisville Ohio Falls Express 7/11/1891 – 7/11/1891 Historical Newspapers
Louisville Weekly Courier-Journal 5/19/1879 – 7/29/1889 Historical Newspapers
Louisville Western Courier 11/16/1813 – 9/26/1816 Historical Newspapers
Madisonville Messenger 5/14/1999 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Maysville Eagle 1/19/1815 – 3/27/1818 Historical Newspapers
Maysville Ledger Independent 7/11/2002 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Middlesboro Middlesboro Daily News 5/31/2004 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Monticello Wayne County Outlook 7/3/2007 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Morehead Morehead News 8/31/2007 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
New Castle Henry County Local 10/9/2008 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Nicholasville Jessamine Journal 10/8/2005 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Owensboro Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer 9/1/1988 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Owenton Owenton News-Herald 1/12/2011 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Paris Western Citizen 12/24/1808 – 12/27/1815 Historical Newspapers
Prestonsburg Floyd County Times 10/2/2009 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Richmond Globe 1/24/1810 – 10/17/1810 Historical Newspapers
Richmond Richmond Register 7/15/2008 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Russellville Mirror 11/1/1806 – 12/1/1807 Historical Newspapers
Russellville News-Democrat & Leader 10/29/2001 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Russellville Weekly Messenger 1/26/1819 – 12/19/1820 Historical Newspapers
Shelbyville Sentinel-News 10/10/2007 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Shepherdsville Pioneer News 10/8/2008 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Somerset Commonwealth-Journal 8/5/2008 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Springfield Springfield Sun 7/8/2008 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Stanford Interior Journal 8/31/2005 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Taylorsville Spencer Magnet 7/18/2008 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Washington Republican Auxiliary 8/15/1807 – 8/15/1807 Historical Newspapers
Washington Union 3/8/1814 – 5/9/1817 Historical Newspapers
Whitley City McCreary County Record 6/7/2007 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Williamstown Grant County News and Express 4/15/2008 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Winchester Winchester Sun 8/25/2006 – Current Newspaper Obituaries

 

 

 

Three Steps to Help You Get Your Genealogy in Gear

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” In this guest blog post, Gena provides three ideas to help genealogists break through the “brick wall” they sometimes run into while searching their family history.

Do you feel stuck? All genealogists come to a point where they just aren’t sure what they should do next. Like with any activity, a researcher may feel burned out after having faced brick walls, uncooperative relatives, and a lack of time and money to devote to research.

vintage family photograph

Note: The vintage family photographs in this article all come from the personal collection of the author, bought off eBay. None came with attribution or identification. If any of our readers can provide information about any of these photos, the author would love to hear from you.

When you feel stuck it’s time to consider a different approach, something to help bring the excitement back to your research. Here are three ideas to help you get past a speed bump in your research and back on track to break down your research brick wall.

Try Something New

Instead of searching the same old way that you always search, try something new. Look at the genealogy sites and other resources you use with a fresh eye, to see if there’s something more there that you haven’t tried before.

vintage family photograph

A good example is how you may search GenealogyBank. Sure it’s known primarily as an online newspaper site, with more than 6,100 digitized newspapers from all 50 states—but examine the site more closely. GenealogyBank has several other collections of genealogy records to help with your family history research: the Social Security Death Index (SSDI), historical documents, and historical books. Search those collections as well to see what other information you can find about your ancestors.

Pay similar attention to the other sites and resources you use—they, too, may have additional genealogy records that you’ve never explored.

Another new approach is to vary the type of searches you do. For example, consider searching for your ancestors by substituting their initials for a first and middle name. Or try using such variants as “Bill” or “Wm.” for “William.” Another trick is to purposely “misspell” the surname to catch possible errors the newspaper editor or the SSDI clerk made.

Reevaluate Your Project

Sometimes, in the rush and excitement of finding documents that help us learn about our ancestor’s story, we get so caught up that we forget what our original genealogy goal was. Maybe your goal was too big, a mistake many genealogists make. When you are stuck, it’s a good idea to go back and reevaluate your family history project and recommit yourself to that project, a variation of that project or an entirely new one. Maybe it’s time to put away your current research and look at a different branch of the family.

vintage family photograph

Genealogy, like any pursuit, is one that’s best worked at one small task at a time. Come up with a few projects that can be done in a small amount of time—like ordering death certificates, writing letters to family members, scanning documents, or taking photos at the cemetery. Then move on from there.

Work with a Genealogy Partner

We’ve all heard that two heads are better than one and in many cases that can be true. Working with a relative on your research problem can not only help get you excited about the research, but also help you come up with more ideas to ease the workload.

vintage family photograph

Don’t live near your genealogy partner? No problem—use a collaborative editing program like Google Docs or use a file-sharing program like Dropbox to share your findings, write research plans and keep track of research that has been done. Google Docs allows you to create word processing documents and spreadsheets and then collaborate with others. Dropbox allows you to store and share files. To use Google Docs you will need a Google account which is free. Dropbox does have a free membership option that includes up to 18GB, with additional storage space available for a fee.

Don’t have any family members to work with? In that case, consider collaborating with a fellow genealogy society member or even a genealogy friend online. Sometimes just the motivation of knowing someone is there to help can assist you in reaching your research goals.