Earthquake! Newspapers Record Destruction in California History

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” In this guest blog post, Gena shows how historical newspapers provide excellent coverage of disasters such as earthquakes, including detailed casualty lists helpful to genealogists.

Living in California as I do, earthquakes are a fact of life. Because of their suddenness and intensity, earthquakes can be a terrifying event to experience. When the shaking begins your mind starts racing, wondering when the earthquake will stop. Seconds feel like minutes. An automatic reaction to an earthquake is to run to safety. I remember during one trembler a few years ago yelling to my kids not to run down the stairs. Earthquakes can kill—so too can the panicked actions of those experiencing the earthquake.

It goes without saying that our ancestors experienced devastating natural disasters as well. My great-grandmother used to talk of the 1933 Long Beach earthquake when all of her china was broken. That 6.4 (on the Richter scale) earthquake cost millions of dollars in damage and killed more than 100 people. My guess is it must have been a terrifying experience for a young married woman with an 8-year-old child, as my great-grandmother was at the time. She was lucky that her only loss was the china.

When thinking of historic California earthquakes, many people think of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. The destruction caused by that earthquake and the resulting fires has been the subject of books, documentaries, and vintage photos. But that earthquake wasn’t the only one that resulted in heavy destruction for a California city. Lone Pine, a little town in the Eastern Sierra region of California, experienced an earthquake in 1872 so strong that it almost leveled the entire town.

It is easy to understand why the 1872 Lone Pine earthquake and the 1906 San Francisco earthquake (both believed to have measured over 7.0 on the Richter scale) caused so much damage in and around California. 19th century buildings in the West, mostly wood and brick structures, were not forgiving when the earth shook. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, that March 1872 earthquake destroyed 52 out of 59 homes and killed 27 people in the city of Lone Pine. The earthquake was felt as far south as San Diego and as far east as Elko, Nevada.

Historical newspapers give us a sense of what the resulting chaos was like when Lone Pine residents were rudely awakened at 2:35 that March morning. The Inyo Independent newspaper quoted one resident as yelling to his wife during the earthquake: “Get up; hell’s broke loose!” The newspaper’s front page headline for March 30 screamed: “HORRORS!! Appalling Times! EARTHQUAKES. Awful Loss of Life! 24 People Killed! Earth Opens! Houses Prostrated!!” Some people were crushed by the debris of their collapsing houses as they lay in their bed. This earthquake and the inevitable aftershocks must have made it seem like the world was ending.

The 1872 Lone Pine earthquake was reported in newspapers across the country. These earthquake reports reveal the sense of shock felt at the time of the natural disasters and also provide genealogists with practical information like causality lists.

For example this historical San Francisco newspaper article, reprinted by a New York paper, provides lists of the dead and the injured.

The Earthquake in California, New York Herald newspaper article 9 April 1872

New York Herald (New York, New York), 9 April 1872, page 7

The list of fatalities in this historical newspaper article also reports where the victims were from originally:

List of the Killed (in 1872 earthquake), New York Herald newspaper article 9 April 1872

New York Herald (New York, New York), 9 April 1872, page 7

Survivors of this terrifying California earthquake buried their loved ones. Earthquake victims without family members, mostly immigrants, were buried in a mass grave. The Inyo Independent reported that “a large grave was prepared on a little rise north of town. In this grave all of foreign birth were consigned the next day. Fifteen coffins numbered and contained sixteen bodies were all deposited in one huge grave.” Catholic and Protestant rites were said at the burial. A modern memorial marks the mass grave and lists the known names. For the victims whose names were not known, it says “…of French, Irish, Chilean, Mexican & Native American ancestry are known but to God.”

photograph of the historical marker for the 1872 Lone Pine, California, earthquake

1872 Earthquake Historical Marker. Lone Pine, California. © 2012 David Ortega

To read more about the history of the 1872 Lone Pine earthquake, consult the Historic Earthquakes page of the United States Geological Survey and visit GenealogyBank’s historical newspaper archives.

 

 

1940 Census Taker Doesn’t Let 3 Vicious Dogs & 50 Stitches Stop Her

It was a sunny day in Sonoma, California, on April 6, 1940, and census taker Alice Davis was off on her rounds enumerating the people of Sonoma, California, for the permanent record of the 1940 U.S. census. Little did she know that she was about to become “the first census-taker casualty in northern California.”

Three Dogs Attack Woman Census Taker, San Diego Union 7 April 1940

San Diego Union (San Diego, California), 7 April 1940, page 11

As this old news article reports: “The enumerator was attacked by three large Airedale dogs when she attempted to take the tab at the Sonoma home of Carl Bergfried, retired San Francisco merchant.

“Bergfried, who was not at home at the time, returned to find Mrs. Davis battling valiantly against the enraged animals. He took her to Ferndale sanatorium where 50 stitches were required to close her wounds.”

Published in the San Diego Union (San Diego, California), 7 April 1940, page 11.

The determined Alice completed the enumeration, and Carl Bergfried and his wife Ida were recorded in the 1940 census. But the formal, dry federal census pages do not tell us of the sacrifice that Alice Davis made that day.

1940 census form for Carl Bergfried of Sonoma, California

1940 census form for Carl & Ida Bergfried of Sonoma, California

1940 Census. Sonoma, California. FamilySearch.org https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-27793-626-28?cc=2000219&wc=MMRS-PP1:786740582

Fortunately, the census enumerator’s story was recorded in the pages of a local newspaper. And thanks to GenealogyBank the pages of the San Diego Union have been indexed, digitized and put online—so we can learn that despite three vicious dogs and 50 stitches, Alice Davis saw it through and got the job done.

When doing your family history research, don’t rely just on the data provided by census and other government records. To really get to know something about your ancestors’ lives and the times they lived in, read their stories in the millions of newspaper articles contained in GenealogyBank’s historical newspaper archives.

Old West Stories in Newspapers: Here Comes the Morning Stagecoach!

Maybe it was because of Father’s Day, but there were a lot of old western movies on TV this past weekend. Good ones, too, starring Gregory Peck, John Wayne, and more.

Daily Ohio Statesman -  Stagecoach Story Newspaper Article 1860

Daily Ohio Statesman (Columbus, Ohio), 10 May 1860, page 3

So, it was no surprise when I was combing through GenealogyBank today that I found this great newspaper article about an old western stagecoach, published in the Daily Ohio Statesman (Columbus, Ohio), 10 May 1860, page 3.

It read like the plot of a TV western—only these stories of the old Wild West were real.

This historical newspaper article reports that the Overland Mail Coach arrived with passengers “Lieut. Cogswell, of the USA, Dr. J. P. Breck, and Mr. and Mrs. Arnold.”

They brought news from the Texas frontier and points west. “They report the Indians very troublesome in the vicinity of Mustang Pond [Nevada], and between Mountain Pass Station and Phantom Hill.”

The stagecoach passengers provided details of several attacks:

“A blacksmith in the employ of the Overland Mail Company, and three men living at Mountain Pass, were murdered by the Comanches the day before the stage passed there.

“Fifteen Indians stopped at Mustang Pond and committed sundry depredations upon the whites.

“The scout for this stage saw some bands of Indians at the latter place, looking with eager eyes towards the coach, and the passengers prepared themselves for a fight, but the red skins were too wary, and it did not become necessary to fire upon them.

“Col. Fountleroy had started on a tour to select a site for Fort Butler.

“Maj. Ruff had been ordered with five companies of rifles to take the field immediately against the Kiowa and Comanches. His depot was at Fort Butler.

“Several ranging companies were out in the vicinity of Jackborough.”

Clearly, riding a stagecoach in the Wild West was just as dangerous as western movies later portrayed it!

Every stop was an adventure. This old Pony Express Route, April 3, 1860 – October 24, 1861 map (courtesy, Library of Congress) shows the overland route many travelers took from Missouri to California.

Historical Map of Pony Express Route that Stagecoaches Followed - 1860-1861

Pony Express Route, April 3, 1860 – October 24, 1861

The strength of historical newspapers is that they provide a daily record of the past.

GenealogyBank has the largest online newspaper archive, full of details about our American heritage. You can find stagecoach passenger lists, information about the early American pioneers and Native Americans and so much more in GenealogyBank. Carefully review GenealogyBank’s 1.2 billion records for the details of your family’s history.

D73FCRRRYRTP

Southern California Genealogical Society’s Successful 2012 Jamboree

The Southern California Genealogical Society (SCGS) just completed another very successful Jamboree in Burbank, California, this month.

Over 1,700 genealogists jammed the genealogy classes, presentations and the exhibit hall for the past four days.

Our own in-house genealogist, Tom Kemp, spoke at three sessions during the SCGS Jamboree. His Friday Genealogy Jamboree talk (“Newspapers: Finding the Details about Your Family”) was so popular that a large crowd wanting to get into the two-room lecture hall had to be turned away. Seeing this large interest in Tom’s talk, the SCGS conference organizers then arranged for an additional session and he repeated the program on Sunday afternoon.

On Saturday he gave an early morning pep talk: “GenealogyBank Quick Tips.”

GenealogyBank Is Coming to the SCGS Genealogy Jamboree 2012!

Are you coming to the Southern California Genealogical Society’s Jamboree in Burbank, California, this week? GenealogyBank will be there.

I hope that you will join us at our conference session on Friday, June 8th at 3 p.m. at the Los Angeles Marriot hotel. The topic of my genealogy presentation will be Newspapers: Finding the Details about Your Family. You can view the entire Genealogy Jamboree schedule for Friday on the SCGS website.

collage of handout material for Southern California Genealogical Society's Jamboree 2012

"Newspapers: Finding the Details about Your Family" handout for SCGS Jamboree 2012

If you can’t be at this year’s SCGS Genealogy Jamboree in person but you have a family history question you’d like to ask, leave your question in the comments section and I’ll respond to you here on the blog and incorporate your question into our session.

For those of you who will be attending the genealogy conference this year, we look forward to seeing you there!

Monthly Update: GenealogyBank Just Added 24 Million More Records!

Every day, GenealogyBank is working hard to digitize more newspapers and obituaries, expanding our collection to give you the largest newspaper archives for family history research available online. We just completed adding 24 million more U.S. genealogy records, vastly increasing our content coverage from coast to coast!

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

  • A total of 152 newspaper titles from 42 U.S. states and the District of Columbia
  • Newspaper titles marked with an asterisk (*) are new to our online archive
  • 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

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

State City Title Date Range

Collection

Alabama Mobile Mobile Register 11/19/1862–12/02/1869

Historical Newspapers

Arkansas Little Rock Arkansas Gazette 11/30/1882–10/20/1899

Historical Newspapers

Arkansas Little Rock Arkansas State Press 06/25/1943–10/04/1957

Historical Newspapers

California Riverside Press and Horticulturist* 1/31/1880–8/26/1902

Historical Newspapers

California Riverside Riverside Daily Press 06/10/1886–12/30/1922

Historical Newspapers

California Riverside Riverside Independent Enterprise 03/03/1891–12/31/1922

Historical Newspapers

California San Diego Evening Tribune 12/04/1895–12/30/1922

Historical Newspapers

California San Diego San Diego Union 7/1/1898–11/26/1983

Historical Newspapers

California San Francisco San Francisco Abend Post 11/02/1871–08/14/1873

Historical Newspapers

Colorado Colorado Springs Colorado Springs Gazette 10/11/1915–10/11/1915

Historical Newspapers

Connecticut Norwich Norwich Aurora 08/11/1866–08/11/1866

Historical Newspapers

Delaware Wilmington Advance* 09/22/1900–09/22/1900

Historical Newspapers

District of Columbia Washington Washington Bee 12/26/1885–11/23/1889

Historical Newspapers

District of Columbia Washington Evening Star 3/2/1857–10/15/1880

Historical Newspapers

Florida Tampa Tampa Tribune 01/02/1895–12/29/1922

Historical Newspapers

Georgia Augusta Augusta Chronicle 08/16/1794–01/04/1860

Historical Newspapers

Georgia Marietta Marietta Journal 04/07/1892–03/02/1922

Historical Newspapers

Georgia Savannah Georgian* 06/12/1823–11/24/1830

Historical Newspapers

Idaho Idaho Falls Idaho Falls Times 6/9/1892–6/9/1892

Historical Newspapers

Illinois Chicago Broad Axe 09/21/1901–02/20/1904

Historical Newspapers

Illinois East Moline Common Bond 03/16/1978–10/12/1978

Historical Newspapers

Illinois Highland Highland Union 01/24/1873–09/09/1910

Historical Newspapers

Illinois Rockford Crusader 10/07/1955–03/03/1971

Historical Newspapers

Illinois Rockford Daily Register 01/06/1873–01/30/1891

Historical Newspapers

Illinois Rockford Daily Register-Gazette 1/31/1891–6/27/1930

Historical Newspapers

Illinois Rockford Morning Star 3/20/1888–1/1/1979

Historical Newspapers

Illinois Rockford Register Star 12/2/1979–7/27/1992

Historical Newspapers

Illinois Rockford Register-Republic 6/11/1948–9/20/1963

Historical Newspapers

Illinois Rockford Rockford Weekly Register-Gazette* 5/5/1866–5/13/1871

Historical Newspapers

Illinois Springfield Daily Illinois State Journal 1/26/1872–12/31/1922

Historical Newspapers

Illinois Springfield Daily Illinois State Register 4/25/1849–6/30/1908

Historical Newspapers

Indiana Indianapolis Freeman 02/09/1889–02/09/1889

Historical Newspapers

Indiana Indianapolis Recorder 01/27/1900–01/27/1900

Historical Newspapers

Kansas Coffeyville Vindicator 11/10/1905–11/10/1905

Historical Newspapers

Kansas Kansas City American Citizen 08/31/1900–08/31/1900

Historical Newspapers

Kansas Kansas City Kansas Elevator 03/25/1916–09/02/1916

Historical Newspapers

Kansas Lawrence For Our People* 09/08/1971–09/08/1971

Historical Newspapers

Kansas Salina Salina Enterprise 12/24/1908–01/28/1909

Historical Newspapers

Kansas Topeka Herald of Kansas 01/30/1880–01/30/1880

Historical Newspapers

Kansas Topeka Kansas State Tribune* 10/06/1881–10/06/1881

Historical Newspapers

Kansas Weir City Weir City Eagle 03/16/1900–03/16/1900

Historical Newspapers

Kansas Wichita Kansas Weekly Journal 02/05/1981–02/05/1981

Historical Newspapers

Kansas Wichita Wichita Times 08/24/1972–11/20/1975

Historical Newspapers

Kentucky Frankfort Frankfort Argus 11/16/1831–11/16/1831

Historical Newspapers

Louisiana Baton Rouge Daily Advocate 1/2/1854–10/31/1906

Historical Newspapers

Louisiana Baton Rouge Daily State 08/01/1906–07/16/1910

Historical Newspapers

Louisiana Baton Rouge State Times Advocate 1/1/1909–2/28/1967

Historical Newspapers

Louisiana Baton Rouge Weekly Advocate 12/24/1845–10/31/1903

Historical Newspapers

Louisiana New Orleans Courrier de la Louisiane 10/15/1823–01/05/1824

Historical Newspapers

Louisiana New Orleans New Orleans Tribune 04/11/1865–04/11/1865

Historical Newspapers

Louisiana New Orleans Times-Picayune 02/18/1906–02/18/1906

Historical Newspapers

Louisiana New Orleans Weekly Pelican 11/26/1887–11/26/1887

Historical Newspapers

Maryland Baltimore Afro-American 12/14/1895–12/14/1895

Historical Newspapers

Maine Hallowell Maine Cultivator and Hallowell Gazette 09/25/1841–09/03/1842

Historical Newspapers

Maryland Bel Air National American 09/05/1856–08/10/1866

Historical Newspapers

Massachusetts Boston Boston Herald 7/2/1855–10/31/1932

Historical Newspapers

Massachusetts Boston Boston Post 04/29/1861–02/14/1870

Historical Newspapers

Massachusetts Nantucket Nantucket Inquirer 11/07/1838–11/28/1840

Historical Newspapers

Massachusetts New Bedford New-Bedford Mercury 10/26/1866–04/23/1869

Historical Newspapers

Massachusetts New Bedford Whaleman’s Shipping List and Merchants’ Transcript* 05/16/1843–10/23/1849

Historical Newspapers

Massachusetts Newburyport Newburyport Herald 05/31/1836–05/31/1836

Historical Newspapers

Massachusetts Quincy Patriot Ledger* 7/2/1917–12/29/1922

Historical Newspapers

Massachusetts Springfield Springfield Republican 01/01/1911–12/31/1922

Historical Newspapers

Massachusetts Springfield Springfield Union 1/4/1864–12/18/1987

Historical Newspapers

Massachusetts Worcester Massachusetts Spy 10/21/1870–12/29/1876

Historical Newspapers

Massachusetts Worcester National Aegis 12/13/1862–12/13/1862

Historical Newspapers

Michigan Adrian Daily Telegram 2/1/1904–12/22/1913

Historical Newspapers

Michigan Bay City Bay City Times 01/02/1889–12/30/1922

Historical Newspapers

Michigan Detroit Plaindealer* 01/13/1893–05/19/1893

Historical Newspapers

Michigan Jackson Jackson Citizen Patriot 07/11/1882–03/17/1902

Historical Newspapers

Michigan Sault Ste. Marie Evening News* 6/8/1907–12/28/1921

Historical Newspapers

Missouri Kansas City Rising Son 11/18/1904–08/09/1906

Historical Newspapers

Missouri Sedalia Sedalia Times 05/09/1903–05/09/1903

Historical Newspapers

Missouri St. Louis Missouri Gazette and Public Advertiser 10/5/1808–3/27/1813

Historical Newspapers

Montana Helena Helena Weekly Herald* 12/06/1866–11/25/1869

Historical Newspapers

Nebraska Omaha Omaha World Herald 11/16/1887–12/30/1941

Historical Newspapers

New Hampshire Dover Sun 10/26/1796–9/10/1808

Historical Newspapers

New Hampshire Portsmouth New-Hampshire Gazette 4/6/1847–4/6/1847

Historical Newspapers

New Hampshire Portsmouth Portsmouth Journal of Literature and Politics 05/14/1864–05/27/1876

Historical Newspapers

New Jersey Newark New Jersey Deutsche Zeitung 04/26/1880–10/14/1889

Historical Newspapers

New Jersey Trenton Sentinel 06/17/1882–11/13/1882

Historical Newspapers

New Jersey Trenton Trenton Evening Times 01/10/1884–08/20/1891

Historical Newspapers

New York Albany Albany Argus 11/21/1872–11/29/1886

Historical Newspapers

New York Auburn Auburn Journal and Advertiser 02/14/1840–07/12/1843

Historical Newspapers

New York Auburn Cayuga Republican* 03/31/1819–01/16/1833

Historical Newspapers

New York New York Commercial Advertiser 03/04/1861–03/04/1861

Historical Newspapers

New York New York Evening Post* 01/02/1823–12/31/1823

Historical Newspapers

New York New York New York Age 08/30/1890–03/07/1891

Historical Newspapers

New York New York New York Freeman 04/24/1886–01/29/1887

Historical Newspapers

New York Schenectady Cabinet* 01/20/1824–12/26/1854

Historical Newspapers

New York Utica Columbian Gazette 1/7/1805–2/28/1815

Historical Newspapers

North Carolina Greensboro Greensboro Daily News 6/1/1906–9/30/1906

Historical Newspapers

North Carolina Greensboro Greensboro Record 1/16/1923–6/30/1930

Historical Newspapers

North Carolina Hillsborough Hillsborough Recorder* 03/10/1824–05/10/1865

Historical Newspapers

North Carolina Winston-Salem Winston-Salem Journal 08/30/1898–09/30/1921

Historical Newspapers

Ohio Canton Canton Repository* 7/3/1884–12/28/1905

Historical Newspapers

Ohio Canton Repository 1/31/1898–5/19/1925

Historical Newspapers

Ohio Cleveland Cleveland Gazette 05/09/1885–11/25/1944

Historical Newspapers

Ohio Cleveland Plain Dealer 12/28/1883–03/24/1912

Historical Newspapers

Ohio Wooster Wooster Republican 08/06/1857–08/06/1857

Historical Newspapers

Oklahoma Langston Langston City Herald 04/30/1892–04/30/1892

Historical Newspapers

Oklahoma Oklahoma City Guide 03/30/1899–09/19/1901

Historical Newspapers

Oregon Portland Oregonian 09/15/1907–09/15/1907

Historical Newspapers

Pennsylvania Harrisburg Patriot 12/08/1903–12/29/1922

Historical Newspapers

Pennsylvania Philadelphia Illustrated New Age 6/25/1864–6/25/1864

Historical Newspapers

Pennsylvania Washington Washington Reporter 08/23/1848–12/20/1876

Historical Newspapers

Pennsylvania Washington Washington Review and Examiner 06/28/1823–06/28/1823

Historical Newspapers

Rhode Island Newport Newport Mercury 08/24/1872–12/07/1872

Historical Newspapers

Rhode Island Providence Providence Evening Press 09/19/1872–12/24/1872

Historical Newspapers

South Carolina Charleston Charleston Courier 01/01/1833–11/27/1858

Historical Newspapers

Texas Austin Austin City Gazette 08/25/1841–08/25/1841

Historical Newspapers

Texas Clarksville Standard 1/8/1852–10/2/1852

Historical Newspapers

Texas Dallas Dallas Morning News 4/5/1984–9/19/1984

Historical Newspapers

Utah Salt Lake City Salt Lake Telegram 08/12/1902–11/20/1914

Historical Newspapers

Vermont St. Albans St. Albans Daily Messenger 10/25/1872–10/07/1922

Historical Newspapers

Vermont St. Albans St. Albans Messenger 08/29/1918–08/29/1918

Historical Newspapers

Vermont Windsor Vermont Republican 03/05/1821–07/23/1821

Historical Newspapers

Virginia Alexandria Alexandria Gazette 02/03/1873–12/31/1875

Historical Newspapers

Virginia Norfolk Norfolk Gazette and Publick Ledger 11/09/1808–06/09/1813

Historical Newspapers

Virginia Richmond Enquirer 12/09/1873–08/22/1876

Historical Newspapers

Virginia Richmond Richmond Times Dispatch 1/27/1903–2/28/1943

Historical Newspapers

Virginia Richmond Richmond Whig 11/13/1840–09/05/1856

Historical Newspapers

Alaska Nome Nome Nugget, The* 01/06/2011–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

Arkansas Farmington Washington County Enterprise-Leader* 02/15/2012–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

Arkansas Gravette Westside Eagle Observer* 02/15/2012–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

Arkansas Pea Ridge Times of Northeast Benton County, The* 02/15/2012–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

California Cupertino La Voz Weekly: De Anza College* 05/15/2000–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

Florida Lakeland Ledger, The: Blogs* 07/17/2007–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

Georgia Woodstock Cherokee Ledger-News, The* 08/18/2010–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

Massachusetts Jamaica Plain Mission Hill Gazette* 01/16/2009–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

Michigan Detroit Detroit News, The: Web Edition Articles* 11/17/2011–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

Mississippi Oxford Oxford Eagle, The* 02/09/2012–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

Missouri Noel, Lanagan McDonald County Press, The* 11/12/2009–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

National National Christian Science Monitor, The* 05/07/1987–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

North Carolina Mount Olive Mount Olive Tribune* 10/06/2011–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

North Dakota Beulah Beulah Beacon* 01/06/2011–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

North Dakota Center Center Republican* 01/27/2011–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

North Dakota Garrison McLean County Independent* 01/06/2011–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

North Dakota Hazen Hazen Star* 01/06/2011–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

North Dakota McClusky McClusky Gazette* 01/06/2011–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

North Dakota New Town New Town News* 01/07/2011–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

North Dakota Parshall Mountrail County Record* 01/07/2011–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

North Dakota Turtle Lake McLean County Journal* 01/06/2011–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

North Dakota Underwood Underwood News* 01/06/2011–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

North Dakota Velva Velva Area Voice* 01/20/2011–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

North Dakota Washburn Leader-News, The* 01/06/2011–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

Ohio Bluffton Bluffton News* 12/30/2010–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

Ohio North Baltimore North Baltimore News* 08/25/2011–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

Tennessee Chattanooga Chattanooga Times Free Press* 04/01/2011–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

Texas Irving Irving Rambler, The* 07/02/2011–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

Wisconsin Brookfield Brookfield-Elm Grove NOW: Blogs* 01/14/2010–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

Wisconsin Hartland Living Lake Country: Blogs* 01/10/2011–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

How to Find Your Grandfather’s Birth Records Online

Every day we receive questions from our members regarding their family history searches. We are here to help!

Here’s a genealogy question we just received.

GenealogyBank Member Question:

My grandfather Hugh Cornwell was born in Prairie Grove, AR, 4/6/1883. I have been searching for a birth record for the past 20 years with no luck. Any suggestions?

“Ask the Genealogist” Response:

Arkansas vital records do not begin until 1914.

So, while you can possibly obtain a church baptismal certificate, you won’t be able to find a government birth certificate for your grandfather.

I found your grandfather’s California death certificate, which does give his date of birth along with the family surnames of his father and mother. His death certificate is available online on the FamilySearch website at https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VPW3-9Q3.

There is another record for your grandfather in the 1900 census, which also states that he was born in April 1883. His census record is available on FamilySearch.org at https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M9PK-R7K.

Here is a third document with genealogical information about your grandfather: his World War II draft registration card, also showing that he was born on April 6, 1883. You can view your grandfather’s military record at https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/V48Y-54Q.

So, while you cannot get a formal birth certificate—here are three U.S. government documents, created over the past 112 years, that give his date of birth. That should be the evidence you are looking for.

Let’s see how we can help you make progress in your own family history research.

All the best in your genealogy research.

GenealogyBank’s Genealogy Archive Expansion Keeps Rolling!

Old Historical Newspaper Vendor

GenealogyBank keeps expanding our online archives of historical newspapers, books, documents, and government records—continuously adding new material for your genealogy research at the astonishing rate of 10 more records every second.

In the next few weeks GenealogyBank will be adding more newspapers and filling in gaps for over 2,800 U.S. newspapers providing you more family history coverage online than ever before.

We are adding so many newspaper titles that there isn’t space to list every one that will soon be added into our genealogy archive. As such, we selected out only a few dozen of the newest paper titles and date ranges coming to GenealogyBank. These new research resources will be added to our archive over the course of the next few weeks.

Nome Nugget (Nome, AK)

  • Obituaries:  01/20/2011 – Current
  • Death Notices:  01/06/2011 – Current

La Voz Weekly: De Anza College (Cupertino, CA)

  • Obituaries:  05/15/2000 – Current

Ledger: Blogs (Lakeland, FL)

  • Obituaries:  07/17/2007 – Current

Cherokee Ledger-News (Woodstock, GA)

  • Obituaries:  08/18/2010 – Current
  • Death Notices:  08/18/2010 – Current

Bay Windows (Boston, MA)

  • Obituaries: 12/10/1998 – 2/2/2011

Mission Hill Gazette (Jamaica Plain, MA)

  • Obituaries:  01/16/2009 – Current

Detroit News: Web Edition Articles (MI)

  • Obituaries: 10/28/2005 – 12/30/2010

Oxford Eagle (Oxford, MS)

  • Obituaries:  02/22/2012 – Current
  • Death Notices:  02/09/2012 – Current

Mount Olive Tribune (Mount Olive, NC)

  • Obituaries:  02/22/2012 – Current
  • Death Notices:  10/06/2011 – Current

Beulah Beacon (Beulah, ND)

  • Obituaries:  01/13/2011 – Current
  • Death Notices:  01/06/2011 – Current

Center Republican (Center, ND)

  • Obituaries:  07/21/2011 – Current
  • Death Notices:  01/27/2011 – Current

Hazen Star (Hazen, ND)

  • Obituaries:  01/13/2011 – Current
  • Death Notices:  01/06/2011 – Current

Leader-News (Washburn, ND)

  • Death Notices:  01/06/2011 – Current

McClusky Gazette (McClusky, ND)

  • Obituaries:  04/14/2011 – Current
  • Death Notices:  01/06/2011 – Current

McLean County Independent (Garrison, ND)

  • Obituaries:  02/10/2011 – Current
  • Death Notices:  01/06/2011 – Current

McLean County Journal (Turtle Lake, ND)

  • Obituaries:  02/17/2011 – Current
  • Death Notices:  01/06/2011 – Current

Mountrail County Record (Parshall, ND)

  • Obituaries:  03/11/2011 – Current
  • Death Notices:  01/07/2011 – Current

New Town News (New Town, ND)

  • Obituaries:  03/11/2011 – Current
  • Death Notices:  01/07/2011 – Current

Underwood News (Underwood, ND)

  • Death Notices:  01/06/2011 – Current

Velva Area Voice (Velva, ND)

  • Obituaries:  04/12/2012 – Current
  • Death Notices:  01/20/2011 – Current

Chester County Press (Oxford, PA)

  • Obituaries: 1/21/2009 – 2/16/2011
  • Death Notices: 11/5/2008 – 1/19/2011

Delaware County Daily Times (Primos – Upper Darby, PA)

  • Obituaries: 4/1/1994 – 1/1/2009
  • Death Notices: 4/1/1994 – 3/23/1995

Chattanooga Times Free Press (Chattanooga, TN)

  • Obituaries:  04/01/2011 – Current
  • Death Notices:  04/01/2011 – Current

Irving Rambler (Irving, TX)

  • Obituaries:  08/20/2011 – Current
  • Death Notices:  07/02/2011 – Current

Living Lake Country: Blogs (Hartland, WI)

  • Obituaries:  01/10/2011 – Current

It’s a great day for genealogy!

New Titles Coming to Our U.S. Newspaper Archives Soon!

GenealogyBank adds more content to our online archives daily—including newspaper titles new to our collection. Here is an advance peek at some of the newspapers that will be added to our rapidly growing U.S. newspaper obituaries collection in the weeks ahead, making millions more genealogy records available for your family history research. Our new newspaper additions include multiple newspaper titles for California, Indiana, Missouri and Wisconsin.

American Canyon Eagle   (Napa, California)
Obituaries:  09/07/2004 – Current
Death Notices:  01/18/2005 – Current

Californian (Temecula, California)
Obituaries:  07/14/2003 – Current
Death Notices:  10/03/2003 – 07/30/2007

Napa Valley Register (Napa, California)
Obituaries:  01/02/2001 – Current
Death Notices:  01/01/2001 – Current

North County Times (Escondido, California)
Obituaries:  01/03/2001 – Current
Death Notices:  01/02/2001 – 08/31/2007

St. Helena Star (St. Helena, California)
Obituaries:  04/07/2005 – Current
Death Notices:  03/03/2005 – Current

Weekly Calistogan (Calistoga, California)
Obituaries:  09/25/2003 – Current
Death Notices:  09/04/2003 – Current

Garden Island (Lihue, Hawaii)
Obituaries:  12/27/1999 – Current
Death Notices:  11/10/1999 – Current

Leader (Knox, Indiana)
Obituaries: added 11/27/2008 – 11/18/2010
Death Notices: added 8/7/2008 – 9/16/2010

Mt. Vernon Democrat (Indiana)
Obituaries: added 9/2/2009 – 2/15/2012
Death Notices: added 12/23/2008 – 1/19/2011

South Bend Tribune (South Bend, Indiana)
Obituaries:  01/04/2011 – Current
Death Notices:  01/01/2011 – Current

Muscatine Journal (Muscatine, Iowa)
Obituaries:  10/12/2000 – Current
Death Notices:  10/01/2000 – Current

News Journal (Corbin, Kentucky)
Obituaries:  01/04/2012 – Current
Death Notices:  01/04/2012 – Current

Bethany Republican-Clipper (Bethany, Missouri)
Obituaries:  11/30/2011 – Current
Death Notices:  10/26/2011 – Current

Daily Journal (Park Hills, Missouri)
Obituaries:  07/08/2000 – Current
Death Notices:  06/20/2000 – Current

Democrat News (Fredericktown, Missouri)
Obituaries:  07/23/2003 – Current
Death Notices:  01/31/2003 – Current

Farmington Press (Farmington, Missouri)
Obituaries:  02/12/2003 – Current

David City Banner-Press (David City, Nebraska)
Obituaries:  09/26/2011 – Current
Death Notices:  09/13/2011 – Current

Fremont Tribune (Fremont, Nebraska)
Obituaries:  09/27/2000 – Current
Death Notices:  08/16/2000 – Current

Schuyler Sun (Schuyler, Nebraska)
Death Notices:  10/20/2011 – Current

Akron Beacon Journal: Blogs (Akron, Ohio)
Obituaries:  08/15/2005 – Current

Sentinel (Carlisle, Pennsylvania)
Obituaries:  08/20/1998 – Current
Death Notices:  06/01/1997 – Current

Shippensburg Sentinel (Shippensburg, Pennsylvania)
Obituaries:  09/23/2010 – Current

Daily Herald (Provo, Utah)
Obituaries:  02/27/2001 – Current
Death Notices:  07/23/2003 – Curren

Daily News (Longview, Washington)
Obituaries:  11/02/2000 – Current
Death Notices:  11/01/2000 – Current

Baraboo News-Republic (Baraboo, Wisconsin)
Obituaries:  01/01/2004 – Current
Death Notices:  01/01/2004 – Current

Columbus Journal (Columbus, Wisconsin)
Obituaries:  09/26/2011 – Current
Death Notices:  01/26/2010 – Current

Daily Citizen (Beaver Dam, Wisconsin)
Obituaries:  01/27/2004 – Current
Death Notices:  01/03/2005 – Current

Daily Register (Portage, Wisconsin)
Obituaries:  07/12/2005 – Current
Death Notices:  01/07/2004 – Current

Juneau County Star-Times (Mauston, Wisconsin)
Obituaries:  01/22/2004 – Current
Death Notices:  01/29/2005 – Current

Reedsburg Times-Press (Reedsburg, Wisconsin)
Obituaries:  01/28/2004 – Current
Death Notices:  06/11/2005 – Current

Sauk Prairie Eagle (Sauk City, Wisconsin)
Obituaries:  04/28/2010 – Current
Death Notices:  05/18/2005 – Current

Wisconsin Dells Events (Portage, Wisconsin)
Obituaries:  04/30/2005 – Current
Death Notices:  02/26/2005 – Current

GenealogyBank Adds 22 Million Newspaper Records in March!

Every day, GenealogyBank is working hard to digitize more newspapers and obituaries, expanding our online collection to give you the largest newspaper archives for family history research available anywhere.

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

  • A total of 85 titles from 29 states plus the District of Columbia
  • Titles marked with an asterisk (*) are obituaries only and are new to our archive
  • Those marked with a plus sign (+) are historical newspapers new to our archive
  • We’ve shown the date ranges so that you can determine if the new content is relevant to your personal research

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

State Abbr Title City Start Date End Date
AL Mobile Register Mobile 1862 1870
AR Arkansas Gazette Little Rock 1823 1900
CA Free Angela San Francisco 1971 1971
CA San Diego Union San Diego 1937 1983
CT Connecticut Courant Hartford 1843 1843
CT Litchfield Republican Litchfield 1851 1851
CT American Mercury Hartford 1831 1831
CT Norwich Aurora Norwich 1858 1872
CT Columbian Register New Haven 1836 1875
CT Times Hartford 1834 1840
DC United States Telegraph Washington 1827 1829
FL Hometown News* Fort Pierce 2006 Current
GA Daily Constitutionalist Augusta 1862 1862
GA Marietta Journal Marietta 1987 1989
IA Globe Gazette* Mason City 2012 Current
IA Mitchell County Press-News* Osage 2005 Current
IA Forest City Summit* Forest City 2003 Current
IL Common Bond East Moline 1974 1978
IL Crusader Rockford 1952 1971
IL Illinois State Register Springfield 1844 1844
KS Wichita Times Wichita 1975 1975
KY Frankfort Argus* Frankfort 1822 1834
KY Palladium Frankfort 1807 1807
LA Times-Picayune New Orleans 1852 1907
LA Courrier de la Louisiane New Orleans 1821 1822
MA Weekly Messenger Boston 1829 1829
MA Hampshire Gazette Northampton 1840 1840
MA Massachusetts Spy Worcester 1866 1875
MA Salem Register Salem 1850 1871
MA Boston Courier Boston 1845 1855
MD Advocate of Hampstead and Manchester, The* Hampstead, Manchester 2011 Current
MD Baltimore American Baltimore 1904 1904
MD Political Intelligencer Fredericktown 1819 1819
ME Portland Advertiser Portland 1829 1833
MN Broad Axe St. Paul 1891 1891
NC Durham News, The* Durham 2011 Current
NC Southwest Wake News* Apex, Holly Springs 2011 Current
NC Garner-Cleveland Record* Garner, Cleveland 2011 Current
NC Midtown Raleigh News* Raleigh 2011 Current
NC Charlotte Observer Charlotte 1901 1901
NC North Raleigh News* Raleigh 2006 Current
NC Clayton News-Star, The* Clayton 2011 Current
NE Omaha World Herald Omaha 1980 1980
NE Plattsmouth Journal, The* Plattsmouth 2007 Current
NH Portsmouth Journal of Literature and Politics Portsmouth 1869 1872
NH Dartmouth Gazette Hanover 1801 1804
NJ Genius of Liberty Morristown 1798 1808
NV Elko Daily Free Press* Elko 2003 Current
NY Gold Coast Gazette* Glen Cove 2010 Current
NY Cabinet Schenectady 1813 1814
NY Commercial Advertiser New York 1836 1836
NY Waterford Gazette Waterford 1802 1802
NY New York Herald New York 1875 1876
NY Plattsburgh Republican Plattsburgh 1845 1850
NY New-York Morning Post New York 1787 1788
NY Ontario Messenger Canandaigua 1812 1812
NY Geneva Gazette Geneva 1815 1815
NY Spectator New York 1819 1819
NY Albany Argus Albany 1830 1872
PA State Journal Harrisburg 1884 1884
PA Public Ledger Philadelphia 1867 1867
PA National Gazette Philadelphia 1832 1841
PA Valley Advantage, The* Olyphant 2006 Current
PA Pennsylvania Journal* Philadelphia 1749 1791
PA Harrisburg Republican Harrisburg 1817 1817
PA Patriot Harrisburg 1890 1916
PA Washington Reporter Washington 1853 1872
RI Providence Evening Press Providence 1862 1871
SC Charleston Courier Charleston 1822 1870
SC Charleston News and Courier Charleston 1822 1870
SC Southern Chronicle Camden 1824 1824
SD Collegian, The* Brookings 2002 Current
TX Rancher, The* Sugar Land 2011 Current
TX Dallas Morning News Dallas 1984 1984
VA Virginia Patriot Richmond 1814 1814
VA Richmond Whig Richmond 1835 1870
VA Richmond Examiner Richmond 1862 1863
VA Richmond Times Dispatch Richmond 1930 1930
VA Alexandria Gazette Alexandria 1870 1873
VT Vermont Republican Windsor 1822 1822
VT North Star Danville 1831 1862
VT Vermont Phoenix Brattleboro 1834 1866
VT Vermont Journal Windsor 1821 1823
VT Vermont Centinel Burlington 1825 1825
VT Brattleboro Messenger Brattleboro 1825 1833

Click here to see our list of newspapers by state.