William Halsall: Artist of ‘Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor’

Marine artist William Formby Halsall’s 1882 “Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor” painting is a favorite of New Englanders and Mayflower descendants. What do we know about the painter – was he also a Mayflower descendant?

painting: “Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor” by William Formby Halsall

Painting: “Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor” by William Formby Halsall, 1882. Source: Wikipedia.

William Halsall was born 20 March 1841 in Kirkdale, Lancashire, England, and came to America in 1858 at age 17.

During the Civil War, Halsall enlisted in the U.S. Navy. His naval experience clearly shows in the theme of his paintings.

Following the war he married Josephine A. Nickerson (1841-1915) in Roxbury, Suffolk County, Massachusetts. He was naturalized a U.S. citizen on 24 January 1872 at the U.S. District Court in Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts. He died 7 November 1919 in Winthrop, Suffolk County, Massachusetts.

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While William was not a descendant of the Mayflower Pilgrims, his wife Josephine was. She was a descendant of Pilgrim Stephen Hopkins.

There are many newspaper articles in GenealogyBank about William Halsall, including this one published a few weeks after his death.

article about the artist William Formby Halsall, Momento newspaper article 15 November 1919

Momento (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), 15 November 1919, page 3

The old 1900s news article describes the hanging of his painting “The Arrival in Boston Bay of the Fleet Bearing Governor John Winthrop’s Company of Colonists,” saying that it “…is a large canvas, in which the light of the early morning is flooding the spaces of the sea and sky with a rosy tone.”

GenealogyBank is your go-to source for thousands of newspaper articles and historical documents about the Mayflower Pilgrims and their descendants.

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Must-Have Tech Tools for Genealogy

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” In this blog article, Gena talks about some of the tech tools available today to help genealogists with their family history research.

I’m grateful to be living in a time when family historians have so many options for doing their genealogy work. Technology gives us opportunities to organize, research, share and store our precious family history work in so many ways not available to previous generations. Are you taking advantage of today’s genealogy technology? If you’re not, you might want to reconsider. Here are some ideas of what you need and why it’s important to your research now.

photo of a woman holding up a sign that reads "must-have tech tools for genealogy"

Scanners

When I was young, my family would visit my maternal grandmother every summer. One year, my dad “copied” images from her photo albums by using his camera and tripod. In the days before digital cameras, he could only hope that those precious images of past generations he duplicated would come out clear and usable. It wasn’t until after we arrived home and he had the film developed that we were able to see the results. Years later when copy machines could be found everywhere, some family historians chose to use these to duplicate vintage images. Unfortunately those paper copies resulted in muddy, fuzzy images that are not ideal for long-term viewing, sharing, or storing.

Boy, has life changed since those days. Today, I can visit a relative or attend a family reunion, digitize their images, and instantly see whether the image I have copied is what I want. With the use of portable scanners and yes, even digital cameras or a mobile device, I can “copy” images and immediately store or send them via email or cloud storage websites.

So what do you need to scan at home or on the go? Various devices exist for your scanning needs, including scanning apps for your smartphone/mobile device or mobile scanners. One popular option that I also use is the Flip-Pal mobile scanner. You might have seen this scanner demonstrated at a genealogy conference; one nice feature is that you can remove the lid of this compact scanner to scan three dimensional objects like quilts, military medals or other heirlooms. The Flip-Pal includes a small window that allows you to see the finished scan, and a removable disk that allows you to take the images and transfer them to your computer. Scanning a large document or photo? No problem! Take several scans and then “stitch” them together with the software provided with the scanner. It’s a great tool for scanning at a repository or a family reunion.

Are there other mobile scanners available for genealogists? Absolutely! One that I found recently is the Zcan + mouse scanner. Available as a wireless or wired mouse, it is a great way to easily scan documents or photos and it automatically stitches images together as you scan. It even saves documents as Word files or PDFs. See the Zcan video below for more information about this nifty new gadget.

If you decide to use your smartphone or mobile device’s camera as a scanner, check your device’s app store for scanner apps that have the features you want. Also, consider purchasing a tripod made especially for these devices. Tripods ensure that your device is still and gets the best image possible.

Mobile Devices

Oh, the good old days of making a trip to a library or archive. I remember how excited I was to have my first laptop. Typing out notes was made so much easier by having a computer that I could take everywhere. But, boy was it heavy! By the time I gathered that, my notes, pens, copy machine change and maybe even a lock to secure the computer to the table, I was hauling around a wheeled suitcase that made using my “portable” laptop not as easy as I had initially thought.

Fast forward to today and I rarely take a laptop computer with me to do my genealogy research. Occasionally I may take my notebook computer that can easily fit in a small bag and weighs a fraction of what my first laptop computer did. Otherwise I bring only my mini iPad and portable keyboard that I carry in my purse. Mobile devices come from numerous manufacturers, in all ranges of size and price. I highly recommend trying them out at a local retailer and deciding which one is best for you.

Features to look for? A built-in camera is a must. Forward- and backward-facing cameras allow you to not only take photos but to also utilize services like Skype or Google Hangouts. While you may think those are features you don’t need, you may one day decide that having the ability to make a video call for free via Skype, or participating in an online genealogy meeting via Google Hangouts, is well worth it.

Other features that are must-haves for me include the ability to switch to a data plan when accessing WiFi is impossible. Plenty of memory and storage is important since you will most likely be storing your ancestry research and images on your device.

Why am I a big fan of a tablet? I use my Apple iPad at libraries and archives to research, take photos of documents and book pages, “scan” family photos, share my research with family and write articles. I even watch webinars and read books all using this one device.

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Backup Storage

It’s a tragedy that I’ve been a part of one too many times. It stems from the wishful thinking that it can never happen to you. And then one day it does. It’s the tragic story of the fabled blue screen of death that takes with it your functioning computer and every single one of your files. Yes, the inevitable computer crash.

That’s why experts have recommended backing up your files since the dawn of the personal computer. But like dentists warning us to floss our teeth, we don’t always listen. Start today and make a pact to start backing up your files to an external device at least once a month (feel free to also back up to a cloud storage website as well).

Numerous options exist when choosing an external device, from thumb/flash drives to CDs to portable devices and external hard drives. Your decision about what to use will depend upon the amount of space you need as well as what works best for you (where will you store the device, does it need to be portable, do you want to have several of the same copy so that they can be stored offsite or with a friend). To get a sense of what’s available, take a look at CNET’s Storage Buying Guide.

As a family historian, do you need tech? Yes, your genealogy will benefit from it. Take some time to think about what you are doing with your research, such as traveling to libraries or archives, making copies at a courthouse, or visiting the family member with all the photos, and plan now to utilize the tech that will help you with your family history research.

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Resources to Trace African American Slave Ancestry

FamilySearch recently announced it is working with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society and the California African American Museum to crowdsource the online indexing of 1.5 million Freedman’s Bureau records that FamilySearch has put online.

This is a great resource to start learning about African American slaves in early American history. Is it possible to find out more about these slaves – the actual stories of their individual lives? Can we know what happened to each one?

photo of a slave cabin

Photo: slave cabin. Source: Library of Congress.

In some cases, yes – we can.

There are two key sources for these African American slave stories.

Slave Stories in Newspapers

Some of these black slave stories can be found in old newspapers. GenealogyBank’s 1.8 billion news stories are available – with unlimited downloads – at a nominal monthly or annual fee, making them easily available to genealogists everywhere.

a montage of newspaper articles about former slaves

As the nation grew so did newspapers – and newspapers recorded and preserved our ancestors’ stories.

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For example, in newspapers we can learn the story of 79-year-old “Uncle Reuben” Taylor who grew up a slave on a farm near Baltimore, Maryland, was freed in 1863, and launched his career over the next 57 years delivering coal in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The Patriot (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) 31 December 1920, page 7 tells us that he then retired to live with his daughter in Chicago.

Dig in and find your ancestors’ stories in GenealogyBank’s newspaper vault 1690 to Today.

a montage of newspaper articles from African American newspapers

Note that GenealogyBank also has a special search for our expansive online collection of more than 260 African American newspapers, which contains some of the earliest black publications such as Frederick Douglass’ Paper, an early anti-slavery newspaper by abolitionist Frederick Douglass. Access our African American newspaper archive here: http://www.genealogybank.com/static/african-american-heritage.html

Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1938

The Library of Congress has digitized and put online the collection of all 2,300+ first-person interviews with former slaves that were conducted by the Federal Writers’ Project from 1936-1938.

a photo of three ex-slaves interviewed for the by the Federal Writers’ Project from 1936-1938

Source: Library of Congress

These one-on-one slave interviews are invaluable.

The typescripts retain the tone of the person being interviewed. Reading the pages, you quickly can “hear” them speaking to you today.

Robert Bryant lived in Herculaneum, Mississippi – here is his story.
Find his story – and the story of thousands of others in this online collection.

ex-slave Robert Bryant's story as told to the Federal Writers’ Project

Source: Library of Congress

Real people. Real stories. Real lives.
These stories give you the opportunity to glimpse the life of a slave – as told one story at a time.

Get to know them – read and experience their stories.

Related African American Slavery Articles:

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Hawaii Archives: 25 Newspapers for Genealogy Research

Hawaii, the most recent addition to the United States, became the nation’s 50th state when it joined the Union on 21 August 1959. The only U.S. state not located in the Americas, the state of Hawaii is a string of islands located in the central Pacific Ocean. Hawaii is the country’s 8th smallest state and the 11th least populous.

photo of Punaluu Beach Park, Big Island, Hawaii

Photo: Punaluu Beach Park, Big Island, Hawaii. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

If you are researching your ancestry from Hawaii, you will want to use GenealogyBank’s online HI newspaper archives: 25 titles to help you search your family history in “The Aloha State,” providing coverage from 1836 to Today. There are more than 166,000 articles and records in our online Hawaii newspaper archives! These historical HI newspapers are fantastic resources to trace back Native Hawaiian and Polynesian ancestry.

Dig deep into our online archives and search for historical and recent obituaries and other news articles about your Hawaiian ancestors in these HI newspapers. Our Hawaii newspapers are divided into two collections: Historical Newspapers (complete paper) and Recent Obituaries (obituaries only).

Search Hawaii Newspaper Archives (1836 – 1991)

Search Hawaii Recent Obituaries (1999 – Current)

Illustration: state flag of Hawaii

Illustration: state flag of Hawaii. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Here is a list of online Hawaii newspapers in the historical archives. Each newspaper title in this list is an active link that will take you directly to that paper’s search page, where you can begin searching for your ancestors by surnames, dates, keywords and more. The HI newspaper titles are listed alphabetically by city.

City Title Date Range* Collection
Hilo Big Island Weekly 04/18/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hilo Hawaii Tribune-Herald 07/28/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Honolulu Hawaii Independent 06/21/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Honolulu Polynesian 06/06/1840 – 09/11/1858 Newspaper Archives
Honolulu Afro-Hawai’i News 01/31/1989 – 12/31/1991 Newspaper Archives
Honolulu Hawaii Reporter 10/21/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Honolulu Pacific Commercial Advertiser 07/02/1856 – 05/13/1876 Newspaper Archives
Honolulu Temperance Advocate 01/01/1843 – 12/02/1843 Newspaper Archives
Honolulu Hawaiian Gazette 11/04/1865 – 03/28/1893 Newspaper Archives
Honolulu Honolulu Star-Bulletin 01/01/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Honolulu Sandwich Islands News 09/02/1846 – 12/23/1846 Newspaper Archives
Honolulu Friend 01/01/1844 – 12/01/1880 Newspaper Archives
Honolulu Sandwich Island Gazette and Journal of Commerce 08/06/1836 – 07/27/1839 Newspaper Archives
Honolulu Honolulu Star-Advertiser 06/07/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Honolulu Folio 11/16/1855 – 11/16/1855 Newspaper Archives
Honolulu Punch Bowl 07/01/1869 – 09/01/1869 Newspaper Archives
Honolulu Honolulu Advertiser 01/01/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Kailua-Kona West Hawaii Today 09/27/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Kamuela North Hawaii News 03/29/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Kaunakakai Molokai Dispatch 07/28/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Laie Ke Alaka’i 09/12/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lihue MidWeek Kaua’i Weekly 06/16/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lihue Garden Island 11/10/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
Pearl City Afro-Hawai’i News 06/01/1987 – 10/31/1988 Newspaper Archives
Waialua Afro-Hawai’i News 04/30/1990 – 05/31/1990 Newspaper Archives

*Date Ranges may have selected coverage unavailable.

You can either print or create a PDF version of this Blog post by simply clicking on the green “Print/PDF” button below. The PDF version makes it easy to save this post onto your desktop or portable device for quick reference – all the Hawaii newspaper links will be live.

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Google Remembers Olympian & Surfer Duke Kahanamoku

This week’s Google Doodle honors famed five-time Olympic medalist, Hawaiian athlete and swimmer, Duke Kahanamoku (1890-1968), who was born 24 August 1890 in Hawaii. He was known as the “Father of Surfing.”

a Google Doodle of Hawaiian surfer Duke Kahanamoku

Source: Google

Here is a 1965 interview with him by Bruce Brown at the start of the first annual Duke Kahanamoku invitational surfing competition. Source: YouTube.com

There are hundreds of old news articles in GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives that detailed his remarkable surfing career – which lasted more than 50 years.

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article about Hawaiian surfer Duke Kahanamoku, Oregonian newspaper article 24 September 1917

Oregonian (Portland, Oregon), 24 September 1917, page 10

Discover more about Kahanamoku’s life and amazing success in professional surfing in the historical archives now: http://genealogybank.com/explore/all?lname=Kahanamoku&fname=Duke

GenealogyBank is your source for more than 300 years of America’s history.

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Vintage Fashion: Our Ancestors’ Summer Apparel

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” In this blog article, Gena searches old newspapers to find articles and advertisements that show what our ancestors wore during the hot summer months.

I don’t know about where you live, but here in California it is HOT. This week has been hot and humid, something we are not as used to since we normally live with a “dry heat.” So as the temperature goes up people try all sorts of ways to keep cool, including altering the way they normally dress. A few days ago I was standing in line at the bank and a woman in her bathing suit was in front of me! Because it is warm all year long here, I would say the concept of “summer fashion” is lost on most of us Californians.

Typically in most places, however, each season brings with it new fashions. It wasn’t too terribly long ago that our ancestors learned about the newest fashion trends via the newspaper. And while swimsuits are a summer fashion must-have (see Great-Grandmother’s Swimsuit in Vintage Fashion Articles & Photos), other summer fashions are important for outdoor activities, social events, and vacationing.

bathing suit ad, Charlotte Observer newspaper advertisement 11 July 1916

Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, North Carolina), 11 July 1916, page 7

Summer Fashions of Yesteryear

I am grateful fashion trends have changed over the generations because some of the older apparel trends included way too much fabric to wear during hot summer months. Take this 1906 example from Louisiana. The Gibson girl look is well represented in these summer dresses, which are described as being “light” and made from “filmy fabrics.” And while I have no doubt that these linen dresses were much lighter than women’s standard fare at that time, I am grateful I didn’t have to wear that much fabric in a time when air conditioning wasn’t available.

summer fashions ad, Times-Picayune newspaper advertisement 11 February 1906

Times-Picayune (New Orleans, Louisiana), 11 February 1906, page 5

I have to admit I love looking at vintage fashions from the 1920s, and newspaper advertisements provide us with a sense of what clothing was really available to our ancestors for purchase. Sure, it’s interesting to see what models were wearing at fashion shows, but newspaper advertisements verify what styles of apparel were available for the common family.

Take for instance this short-sleeved frock. The reader is informed that “The whole background of summer fashions is white” and the use of “dainty pleatings and exquisite lace trimmings” can be seen in the fashions of 1924.

ad for summer clothes, Plain Dealer newspaper advertisement 25 May 1924

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 25 May 1924, page 49

Similarly-styled dresses can be seen in an advertisement on the same page of the Plain Dealer, that proclaims:

When summer comes – it must not find us unprepared. Filmy Frocks of printed or plain georgette, crepe or chiffon, embellished with lace, embroidery or beads, in themselves suggest vine shaded verandas and light laughter, or the joys of the summer evening dance.

ad for summer clothes, Plain Dealer newspaper advertisement 25 May 1924

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 25 May 1924, page 49

Looking toward Hollywood

Celebrity has always attracted attention – and there is no doubt that, just like today, people have always been interested in what was being worn by the rich and famous. I love the description of the outfits in this 1939 article entitled “Ladies of the Screen Vie with Each Other in Wearing Latest in Summer Fashions.”

Ladies of the Screen Vie with Each Other in Wearing Latest in Summer Fashions, Dallas Morning News newspaper article 5 June 1939

Dallas Morning News (Dallas, Texas), 5 June 1939, page 4

One of the stars mentioned in the piece is Margaret Sullavan who starred opposite Jimmy Stewart in the movie Shop Around the Corner, the inspiration for the Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan film You’ve Got Mail. Sullavan’s outfit is described as:

…new hostess pajamas, the latest in lounging comfort, combine pigskin with a heavy roma crepe. The blond star chooses a watermelon pink shade for the very full trousers, with shirred bodice draped from the plain round neckline. A wide, natural-colored pigskin girdle, studded in silver nailheads, individualizes the suit, and, with it, Miss Sullavan wears a heavy cord snood to keep her curls in line.

Most likely the use of the word pigskin here indicates a type of leather.

A more summer-sounding outfit in the article is described as worn by Lupe Velez who:

…relaxing recently at Palm Springs, wore transparent oilskin fuchsia-colored slacks and bolero over a fuchsia and white striped oil-silk puckerette bathing suit.

(Oil-silk, incidentally, is a material much like that used for men’s tobacco pouches.)

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$$$

What did those summer fashions cost our ancestors? I mentioned above how advertisements can provide us images of fashions that were available to our families, but they can also answer questions about the price of the apparel. This large 1933 newspaper advertisement includes sale prices for everything from wool bathing suits to summer coats and dresses.

 

ad for summer clothes, Daily Illinois State Journal newspaper article 20 July 1933

Daily Illinois State Journal (Springfield, Illinois), 20 July 1933, page 11

What shoes would they have worn with that summer wardrobe? Today we mostly think of sandals and flip-flops as summer ware, but fashionistas know you need much more. This ad offers shoes for $1.95 a pair:

Every style in this sale was selected for fashion-rightness. Shoes for all summer occasions – in models for street, sports, daytime and summer resort wear.

Notice that they proclaim to have plenty of white shoes in stock, since white was traditionally worn during the summer months or specifically after Memorial Day and before Labor Day; a fashion “rule” most likely established by high society women to distinguish themselves from everyone else.

ad for summer shoes, Evening Star newspaper advertisement 13 May 1934

Evening Star (Washington, D.C.), 13 May 1934, page 26

When you find an old newspaper fashion advertisement, take the time to research what the price would translate to in today’s world. Various websites including Measuring Worth can assist you in converting those prices into modern-day sums.

What did your ancestors wear during the summer? While our ideas about what constitutes summer wear have changed over the generations, it’s a good bet that your ancestors chose outfits that would have helped them beat the heat. What did your ancestors wear? Their hometown newspapers provide clues.

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Calvert Family Bible Worth Share of $300 Million!

What’s your old family Bible worth? For the Calvert family of Mason, Lewis and Bracken counties in Kentucky, their family Bible was invaluable.

Old Family Bible of Calverts Found, Lexington Herald newspaper article 10 March 1911

Lexington Herald (Lexington, Kentucky), 10 March 1911, page 9

According to a 1911 article from the Lexington Herald, their old family Bible was the proof the descendants of Obadiah Calvert needed to connect their line back to the original Calvert family of Maryland. With the pending probate court action, the confirmed descendants would share in the $300,000,000 estate!

Do you have an old family Bible?

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A word to the wise: Don’t let the information in your family Bible become lost to the family – as this Calvert family’s information almost was. Scan and upload copies of each page of the family register information and preserve it online.

Do it today.

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August Update: 4 Million Genealogy Records Just Added!

Every day, GenealogyBank is working hard to digitize more newspapers and obituaries, expanding our burgeoning collection to give you the largest newspaper archives for family history research available online. We just completed adding 4 million more U.S. genealogy records, vastly increasing our content coverage from coast to coast!

screenshot of GenealogyBank's homepage showing the Monthly Update for the month of August

Here are some of the details about our most recent U.S. newspaper additions:

  • A total of 30 newspaper titles from 19 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia
  • 10 of these titles are newspapers added to GenealogyBank for the first time
  • Newspaper titles marked with an asterisk (*) are new to our online archives
  • We’ve shown the newspaper issue date ranges so that you can determine if the newly added content is relevant to your personal genealogy research

To see our newspaper archives’ complete title lists, click here.

State City Title Date Range Collection
California Idyllwild Idyllwild Town Crier 11/1/1946–12/20/1947 Newspaper Archives
California Redding Free Press 1/2/1892–12/31/1892 Newspaper Archives
California Riverside Riverside Daily Press 4/1/1941–6/30/1941 Newspaper Archives
California San Francisco San Francisco Chronicle 1/1/1871–8/31/1984 Newspaper Archives
Connecticut Cheshire Cheshire Citizen, The* 11/20/2012–Current Recent Obituaries
Connecticut New Canaan New Canaan Messenger 1/2/1904–12/25/1909 Newspaper Archives
District of Columbia Washington (DC) Washington Times 3/1/1982–10/31/1989 Newspaper Archives
Idaho Boise Idaho Statesman 10/21/1886–12/6/1970 Newspaper Archives
Idaho Idaho Falls Idaho Falls Times* 5/16/1966–5/31/1966 Newspaper Archives
Indiana Evansville Evansville Courier and Press 1/1/1932–12/31/1937 Newspaper Archives
Kentucky Lexington Lexington Herald-Leader* 3/1/1951–1/8/1984 Newspaper Archives
Kentucky Lexington Lexington Leader 1/1/1965–9/15/1981 Newspaper Archives
Louisiana New Orleans New Orleans States 11/1/1923–11/30/1928 Newspaper Archives
Louisiana New Orleans Times-Picayune 1/1/1860–9/3/1860 Newspaper Archives
Maryland Baltimore Sun 1/28/1921–2/20/1921 Newspaper Archives
Massachusetts Manomet Manomet Current, The* 04/27/2011–Current Recent Obituaries
Mississippi Biloxi Daily Herald* 4/1/1953–12/31/1955 Newspaper Archives
Missouri Kansas City Kansas City Star 5/27/1945–7/12/1945 Newspaper Archives
New Mexico Albuquerque Albuquerque Morning Democrat 9/20/1882–12/30/1885 Newspaper Archives
North Carolina Winston-Salem Winston-Salem Journal 4/1/1921–12/31/1922 Newspaper Archives
Ohio Cleveland Cleveland Leader 7/6/1902–7/6/1902 Newspaper Archives
Oklahoma Coweta Coweta American* 03/13/2006–Current Recent Obituaries
Pennsylvania Bristol LevittownNow.com* 03/13/2013–Current Recent Obituaries
Pennsylvania State College Centre Daily Times 7/1/1988–12/31/1996 Newspaper Archives
South Carolina Charleston Charleston News and Courier 5/1/1970–5/1/1970 Newspaper Archives
South Carolina Charleston Evening Post 11/1/1977–11/30/1977 Newspaper Archives
Texas Austin Texas State Gazette 8/25/1849–6/7/1851 Newspaper Archives
Texas San Angelo San Angelo LIVE!* 06/09/2015–Current Recent Obituaries
Virginia Dumfries, Stafford, Woodbridge Potomac Local* 06/28/2010–Current Recent Obituaries
West Virginia Charleston Charleston Gazette-Mail* 07/20/2015–Current Recent Obituaries

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Was Your Ancestor’s Marriage Certificate Filed Late?

Everyone is familiar with the regulations that couples wanting to be married need to register and obtain a marriage certificate. This document permits them to be wed by a justice of the peace, minister or other authorized official.

Pastors Liable to Heavy Fines, Oregonian newspaper article 2 September 1906

Oregonian (Portland, Oregon), 2 September 1906, page 36

Perhaps less well known is the question: Who returns the signed and completed marriage certificate to the town hall or county registrar?

That was the responsibility of the minister or person performing the wedding.
But – sometimes they never filed the paperwork with the government, or filed it very late.

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The Oregonian reported on this problem in 1906, reporting that: “In years gone by…many marriage certificates were never returned at all.”

The old news article went on to cite multiple examples of late filing of the documents.

article about Rev. Ghormley being fined for filing marriage certificates late, Oregonian newspaper article 2 September 1906

Oregonian (Portland, Oregon), 2 September 1906, page 36

For example, the Greenwood-Mitchell marriage certificate wasn’t filed until six years after their marriage. Cases like this can make it difficult for genealogists to locate their ancestors’ marriage certificate.

Genealogy Tip:

When you are searching for a birth, marriage or death certificate, remember: they are often filed in chronological order by the date that they are received in the clerk’s office, not necessarily the date of the event. Be sure to search for several years after you believe the event occurred to make sure you find the certificate. Registrars often received “Delayed Registrations” years after the event occurred.

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Alaska Archives: 29 Newspapers for Genealogy Research

Although Alaska is the largest of the United States, it is the nation’s 4th least populous state. The territory was purchased from Russia on 30 March 1867 for the incredibly low price of only two cents per acre. Alaska became the 49th state when it was admitted into the Union on 3 January 1959.

photo of Denali - Mt. McKinley, Alaska, the highest point in North America

Photo: Denali – Mt. McKinley, Alaska, the highest point in North America. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

If you are researching your ancestry from Alaska, you will want to use GenealogyBank’s online AK newspaper archives: 29 titles to help you search your family history in “The Last Frontier,” providing coverage from 1869 to Today. There are more than 1 million articles and records in our online Alaska newspaper archives!

Dig deep into our online archives and search for historical and recent obituaries and other news articles about your Alaska ancestors in these AK newspapers. Our Alaska newspapers are divided into two collections: Historical Newspapers (complete paper) and Recent Obituaries (obituaries only).

Search Alaska Newspaper Archives (1869 – 1993)

Search Alaska Recent Obituaries (1985 – Current)

illustration: state flag of Alaska

Illustration: state flag of Alaska. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Here is a list of online Alaska newspapers in the historical archives. Each newspaper title in this list is an active link that will take you directly to that paper’s search page, where you can begin searching for your ancestors by surnames, dates, keywords and more. The AK newspaper titles are listed alphabetically by city.

City Title Date Range* Collection
Anchorage Alaska Dispatch 10/15/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Anchorage Alaska Spotlight 07/28/1956 – 11/30/1968 Newspaper Archives
Anchorage Arctic Sounder 06/28/2013 – Current Recent Obituaries
Anchorage Arctic Warrior, The: Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson 06/03/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Anchorage Bristol Bay Times & Dutch Harbor Fisherman 06/07/2013 – Current Recent Obituaries
Anchorage Anchorage Daily News: Web Edition Articles 12/17/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Anchorage Anchorage Daily News 10/03/1985 – Current Recent Obituaries
Anchorage Anchorage Gazette 12/01/1992 – 01/01/1993 Newspaper Archives
Anchorage Anchorage Daily News 12/01/1970 – 12/30/1972 Newspaper Archives
Anchorage Alaska Dispatch News 07/08/2014 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bethel Tundra Drums 11/28/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bethel Delta Discovery 07/15/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cordova Cordova Times 04/27/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fairbanks Fairbanks Daily News-Miner 09/17/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fairbanks Fairbanks Daily News-Miner 11/29/1917 – 03/16/1928 Newspaper Archives
Fort Adams Yukon Press 05/01/1894 – 05/01/1894 Newspaper Archives
Healy Aurora Borealis 12/31/1898 – 03/01/1899 Newspaper Archives
Juneau Daily Record-Miner 02/23/1903 – 05/08/1911 Newspaper Archives
Juneau Juneau Empire 01/02/1998 – Current Recent Obituaries
Juneau Alaska Mining Record 03/26/1891 – 12/27/1899 Newspaper Archives
Juneau Daily Alaska Dispatch 01/20/1900 – 09/28/1919 Newspaper Archives
Kenai Peninsula Clarion 08/18/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Kodiak Kodiak Daily Mirror 01/10/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Nome Nome Nugget 01/06/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Seward Seward Phoenix LOG 08/25/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Sitka Alaska Times 11/06/1869 – 12/25/1869 Newspaper Archives
Sitka Daily Sitka Sentinel 01/09/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Sitka Alaskan 11/07/1885 – 08/02/1893 Newspaper Archives
Wasilla Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman 09/13/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries

*Date Ranges may have selected coverage unavailable.

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