Case Study Part 3: Finding Old Newspaper Articles about Family

Continuing my search in GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives for the history of the Crofoot family (see: “Case Study: Using Old Newspaper Articles to Learn about Your Ancestors” & “Case Study Part 2: How to Find Old Newspaper Articles about Family”) I found  information about the death of Ephraim Crofoot.

When we found the obituary of Thomas S. Crofoot published in August 1852, the newspaper article referred to his father as “the late Ephraim Crofoot, Esq.”

Constitution (Middletown, Connecticut), 25 August 1852, page 3 Thomas Crofoot Death Notice

Constitution (Middletown, Connecticut), 25 August 1852, page 3.

This clue told us that Ephraim Crofoot had died before August 1852.

Digging deeper into the archives I found Ephraim Crofoot’s obituary that stated he died on 24 February 1852 at the age of 51.

Constitution Newspaper March 3, 1852 Ephraim Crofoot Death Notice

Constitution (Middletown, Connecticut), 3 March 1852, page 3.

A week later a notice appeared in the same newspaper alerting everyone that probate proceedings for Ephraim Crofoot’s estate had begun on 28 February 1852.

Constitution Newspaper 1852 Ephraim Crofoot Probate Notice

Constitution (Middletown, Connecticut), 10 March 1852, page 4.

So far we have found quite a bit of genealogical information and clues about Ephraim Crofoot and his family in the newspaper archives including information about his marriages, children and death. It takes time to piece together the clues and facts that document a family tree.

In the weeks ahead I will continue to report on my findings about the Crofoot family and provide similar examples from other typical families to help you better understand the kinds of information that you can discover about your family history in old newspaper articles.

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Written by Thomas Jay Kemp

Thomas Jay Kemp

Thomas Jay Kemp is the Director of Genealogy Products at GenealogyBank. Tom Kemp is an internationally known librarian and archivist – he is the author of over 35 genealogy books and hundreds of articles about genealogy and family history.

He previously served as the Chair of the National Council of Library & Information Associations (Washington, DC) and as Library Director of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

An active genealogist, he has been working on his own family history for 47 years. With the rapidly growing online archives at GenealogyBank – it is a great day for genealogy!

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4 thoughts on “Case Study Part 3: Finding Old Newspaper Articles about Family

  1. I am unable to find any Suffolk news papers, or and papers in and around Nansemond county va. all my ancesters or from this area they lived and died , and got married in this area of Virginia, do you have any newspaper clipping from this area. and also Smithfield va. area and isle of wight county va.

    • Hi John,

      We’re sorry to hear you’re having trouble finding the newspapers you need.

      A list of our newspapers can be found here: http://www.genealogybank.com/gbnk/newspapers/sourcelist/

      You’ll notice that there aren’t any Suffolk or Smithfield papers specifically, but keep in mind that it was in the best interest of newspapers to publish information in the surrounding areas. In fact, you’d be surprised how often you will find an obituary in a neighboring state, or even on the other side of the country, because the deceased had family or friends there.

      We recommend doing statewide searches for the names you’re looking for, and perhaps entering the name of their city as a keyword.

      You’re welcome to give us a call at 866-641-3297 between 10am-7pm EST, Monday-Friday if you would like help searching.

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