Newspapers are a good source for birth records – family details

The Duluth News Tribune (13 Jan 1918) reported that more than half of the births registered for Duluth were simply listed as “male” or “female” child. This can be a problem for genealogists today but it was also a problem for one Minnesotan in 1918 who was trying to establish he was the legal heir to a family estate.

Per the article the local health department was going to begin to routinely follow-up with parents to have them file ammended birth certificates so that the names of the children would be permanently recorded.

Newspapers regularly published birth announcements which included the names of the new child; date/place of birth; names of the parents and often the names of siblings, grandparents and other genealogical information.

In this example from the Columbus (GA) Enquirer Sun (22 Sept 1922) you can find the core information – names of the new children, their parents and the dates of birth.

Note that the announcements also give the maiden names of the mother and that Porterdeat Golden Smith was named for his maternal grandfather.

Newspapers are a terrific source to get the details we need to document our families.

Search GenealogyBank and see what you’ll find.
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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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