Illinois Archives: 357 Newspapers for Genealogy Research

Today Illinois celebrates the 196th anniversary of its statehood—the “Prairie State” was admitted into the Union on 3 December 1818 as the 21st state. Featuring Chicago, the nation’s third largest city, Illinois is the 5th most populous state in the country.

photo of downtown Chicago, Illinois

Photo: downtown Chicago, Illinois. Credit: Adrian104; Wikimedia Commons.

If you are researching your family roots in Illinois, you will want to use GenealogyBank’s online Illinois newspaper archives: 357 titles to help you search your family history in the “Land of Lincoln,” providing coverage from 1818 to Today. There are more than 123 million newspaper articles and records in our online IL archives!

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

Search Illinois Newspaper Archives (1818 – 2010)

Search Illinois Recent Obituaries (1985 – Current)

Here is our complete list of online Illinois newspapers in the 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 IL newspaper titles are listed alphabetically by city.

City Title Date Range* Collection
Abingdon, Avon, St. Augustine Argus-Sentinel 4/14/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Addison Addison Press 2/15/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Aledo Times Record 3/5/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Algonquin Algonquin Countryside with News of Lake in the Hills 11/23/2006 – 11/20/2008 Recent Obituaries
Algonquin Algonquin Countryside 1/9/1997 – 11/15/2006 Recent Obituaries
Alton Telegraph 1/1/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Antioch Antioch Review 5/21/1998 – 4/14/2011 Recent Obituaries
Arlington Heights Arlington Heights Post 1/9/1997 – 3/10/2011 Recent Obituaries
Arlington Heights Arlington Heights Journal 1/12/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Arlington Heights Daily Herald 3/7/1995 – Current Recent Obituaries
Augusta Eagle-Scribe 4/14/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Aurora Beacon News 1/1/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Aurora Beacon News, The: Web Edition Articles 3/28/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Barrington Barrington Courier-Review 2/22/1996 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bartlett Bartlett Press 2/15/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bartlett Bartlett Examiner 8/10/2011 – 8/14/2013 Recent Obituaries
Batavia Sun, The: Batavia 9/4/2002 – 5/5/2010 Recent Obituaries
Batavia Batavia Republican 2/15/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Belleville Belleville News Democrat 1/2/1901 – 12/30/1922 Newspaper Archives
Belleville Belleviller Post und Zeitung 1/11/1899 – 1/11/1899 Newspaper Archives
Belleville St. Clair County Journal 11/24/2004 – 8/31/2011 Recent Obituaries
Belleville Belleville News-Democrat 10/17/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Belleville Belleville News-Democrat: Blogs 5/22/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Belleville Belleville Journal 10/20/2004 – 8/28/2005 Recent Obituaries
Bensenville Bensenville Press 3/14/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Benton Benton Evening News 2/18/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Berkeley Berkeley Suburban Life 4/14/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Berwyn Berwyn Life 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bloomingdale Bloomingdale Press 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bloomington Pantagraph 10/1/1989 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bolingbrook Sun, The: Bolingbrook 9/6/2002 – 3/19/2010 Recent Obituaries
Bolingbrook Reporter 2/23/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Braidwood Braidwood Journal 2/1/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Broadview Broadview Suburban Life 3/6/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Brookfield Brookfield Suburban Life 2/23/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Buffalo Grove Buffalo Grove Countryside 1/2/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Buffalo Grove Buffalo Grove Journal 12/30/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Burr Ridge Burr Ridge Suburban Life 2/20/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Burr Ridge, Darien, Willowbrook Doings 4/28/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cambridge Cambridge Chronicle 1/1/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Campton Hills Campton Hills Examiner 2/1/2012 – 7/10/2013 Recent Obituaries
Canton Daily Ledger 10/5/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Carbondale Southern Illinoisan 6/10/1993 – Current Recent Obituaries
Carmi Carmi Times 10/22/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Carol Stream Carol Stream Press 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Carol Stream Carol Stream Examiner 4/6/2011 – 8/14/2013 Recent Obituaries
Carthage Hancock County Journal-Pilot 6/21/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cary Grove Cary Grove Countryside 8/27/1998 – 3/10/2011 Recent Obituaries
Centralia Centralia Sentinel 5/28/1863 – 5/23/1867 Newspaper Archives
Champaign IlliniHQ 3/25/1998 – Current Recent Obituaries
Champaign, Urbana News-Gazette 6/2/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Champaign, Urbana News-Gazette, The: Web Edition Articles 2/10/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
Charleston Times-Courier 4/13/2004 – 9/24/2011 Recent Obituaries
Chester Randolph County Herald Tribune 4/30/2009 – 10/27/2011 Recent Obituaries
Chicago Daily Inter Ocean 2/15/1874 – 12/31/1896 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Hyde Park Herald 4/29/1882 – 6/23/2010 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Chicago Herald 1/1/1890 – 12/31/1891 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Broad Ax 6/29/1899 – 9/10/1927 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Chicago Metro News 1/20/1973 – 10/6/1990 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Sunday Times 10/10/1869 – 12/31/1876 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Pomeroy’s Democrat 1/1/1876 – 2/15/1879 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Lucifer, the Light-Bearer 5/8/1896 – 3/4/1903 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Chicago Times 11/2/1854 – 7/3/1888 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Inter Ocean 6/5/1879 – 4/21/1891 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Vida Latina 2/21/1952 – 7/21/1963 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Bulletin 9/11/1968 – 12/3/1969 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Vorbote 2/28/1874 – 12/23/1876 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Metropolitan Post 9/10/1938 – 6/3/1939 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Noticia Mundial 8/7/1927 – 2/12/1928 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Bags and Baggage 8/1/1937 – 4/1/1943 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Chicago Daily Times 1/16/1855 – 5/2/1856 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Chicago World 1/27/1900 – 6/15/1935 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Liberator 9/3/1905 – 4/15/1906 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Spokesman 1/7/1933 – 3/18/1933 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Chicago Courier 10/22/1932 – 11/15/1975 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Second Ward News 12/14/1935 – 4/2/1938 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Illinois Staats-Zeitung 4/21/1898 – 4/21/1898 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Conservator 11/18/1882 – 12/18/1886 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Chicagoer Freie Presse 2/6/1872 – 7/2/1896 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Black X-Press 6/30/1973 – 6/30/1973 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Chicago Post 10/9/1871 – 10/9/1871 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Reminder 1/2/1938 – 1/2/1938 Newspaper Archives
Chicago D. A. Burgerzeitung 12/30/1921 – 12/30/1921 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Illinois Sentinel 11/20/1937 – 11/20/1937 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Sol de Chicago 3/21/1960 – 3/21/1960 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Central South Sider 7/6/1929 – 7/6/1929 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Olivet Baptist Church Herald 11/29/1936 – 11/29/1936 Newspaper Archives
Chicago Chicago Sun-Times: Blogs 2/20/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chicago Chicago Defender 4/9/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chicago Chicago Journal 9/30/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chicago Extra 3/25/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chicago Chicago Sun-Times: Web Edition Articles 3/26/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chicago Chicago Tribune RedEye Edition 10/30/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chicago Hyde Park Herald 1/6/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chicago Chicago Crusader 11/26/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chicago Skyline 12/8/2005 – 12/6/2007 Recent Obituaries
Chicago Daily Southtown 7/31/2004 – 11/17/2007 Recent Obituaries
Chicago Chicago Tribune 1/1/1985 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chicago Chicago Sun-Times 1/1/1986 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chicago Chicago Citizen 11/5/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chillicothe Chillicothe Times-Bulletin 11/3/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cicero Cicero Life 2/13/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Clarendon Hills Doings 4/28/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Clarendon Hills Clarendon Hills Suburban Life 3/13/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Coal City Coal City Courant 2/1/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Collinsville Collinsville Herald 10/20/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Columbia Clarion Journal 10/20/2004 – 8/31/2011 Recent Obituaries
Cook County Booster 12/3/2007 – 1/9/2008 Recent Obituaries
Crystal Lake Northwest Herald 1/1/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Danville Commercial-News 11/6/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Darien Darien Suburban Life 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
DeKalb Daily Chronicle 8/16/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Decatur Herald & Review 3/19/1990 – Current Recent Obituaries
Deerfield Deerfield Review 1/9/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Des Plaines Edgebrook Times Review 1/16/1997 – 1/24/2008 Recent Obituaries
Des Plaines Des Plaines Times 12/12/1996 – 12/24/2008 Recent Obituaries
Des Plaines Mount Prospect Journal 1/12/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Des Plaines Des Plaines Journal 12/28/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Des Plaines Rosemont Journal 12/31/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Dixon Sauk Valley Newspapers 10/13/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Downers Grove Sun 9/5/2002 – 2/4/2010 Recent Obituaries
Downers Grove Downers Grove Reporter 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Du Quoin Du Quoin Evening Call 10/5/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Dupo Cahokia-Dupo Journal 10/20/2004 – 8/31/2005 Recent Obituaries
East Dubuque East Dubuque Register 1/24/2003 – 7/1/2011 Recent Obituaries
East Moline Common Bond 12/12/1974 – 11/16/1978 Newspaper Archives
East St. Louis East St. Louis Journal 10/20/2004 – 8/17/2005 Recent Obituaries
Edgewater News-Star 11/16/2005 – 1/9/2008 Recent Obituaries
Edwardsville Edwardsville Spectator 5/29/1819 – 10/20/1826 Newspaper Archives
Edwardsville Edwardsville Journal 10/20/2004 – 10/8/2008 Recent Obituaries
Edwardsville Edwardsville Intelligencer 7/4/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Effingham Effingham Daily News 9/19/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Elburn Elburn Herald 10/9/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Elgin Courier News 7/4/1998 – Current Recent Obituaries
Elgin Courier News: Web Edition Articles 3/27/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Elk Grove Elk Grove Times 3/19/1998 – 1/15/2009 Recent Obituaries
Elk Grove Village Elk Grove Journal 1/12/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Elmhurst Doings 4/28/2005 – 4/14/2011 Recent Obituaries
Elmhurst Elmhurst Press 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Elmwood Park Elm Leaves 1/1/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Evanston Daily Northwestern 9/23/1910 – 12/4/2000 Newspaper Archives
Evanston Northwestern 1/28/1881 – 5/20/1910 Newspaper Archives
Evanston Tripod 1/1/1871 – 12/17/1880 Newspaper Archives
Evanston Vidette 1/15/1878 – 12/9/1880 Newspaper Archives
Evanston Evanston Review 1/9/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Evanston Evanston Now 3/10/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Flora Clay County Advocate-Press 8/5/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Forest View Forest View Life 2/20/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Franklin Park Franklin Park Herald-Journal 1/1/1997 – 11/8/2006 Recent Obituaries
Franklin Park Franklin Park Herald-Journal with News of North Lake 11/15/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Freeport Deutscher Anzeiger 9/16/1903 – 8/31/1904 Newspaper Archives
Freeport Journal-Standard 12/14/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Galesburg Paper 1/26/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Galesburg Register-Mail 1/5/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
Galva Galva News 12/30/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Geneseo Geneseo Republic 12/17/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Geneva Geneva Republican 2/20/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Geneva Kane County Chronicle 12/10/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Geneva Sun, The: Geneva-Elburn 10/9/2002 – 12/29/2004 Recent Obituaries
Glen Ellyn Glen Ellyn News 2/13/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Glen Ellyn Sun, The: Glen Ellyn 12/24/2004 – 5/7/2010 Recent Obituaries
Glencoe Glencoe News 1/9/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Glendale Heights Glendale Heights Press 2/15/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Glenview Glenview Announcements 1/9/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Glenview Glenview Journal 1/12/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Granite City Granite City Press-Record 10/20/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Grayslake Grayslake Review 2/13/1997 – 4/14/2011 Recent Obituaries
Grayslake Lake County Suburban Life 11/1/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Gurnee Gurnee Review 2/13/1997 – 4/14/2011 Recent Obituaries
Hanover Park Hanover Park Press 2/15/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hanover Park Hanover Park Examiner 8/3/2011 – 8/14/2013 Recent Obituaries
Harlem, Irving Times 11/4/2004 – 1/24/2008 Recent Obituaries
Harrisburg Harrisburg Daily Register 11/4/1996 – Current Recent Obituaries
Harvard Harvard Main Line 1/7/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Harwood Heights Norridge News 1/9/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Herrin Spokesman 2/24/2011 – 6/30/2011 Recent Obituaries
Highland Highland Union 1/4/1867 – 9/9/1910 Newspaper Archives
Highland Highland News Leader 4/3/2014 – Current Recent Obituaries
Highland Park Highland Park News 1/9/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hillside West Proviso Herald 1/1/1997 – 11/8/2006 Recent Obituaries
Hillside Proviso Herald 11/15/2006 – 3/10/2011 Recent Obituaries
Hillside Hillside Suburban Life 2/26/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hinsdale Doings 4/28/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hinsdale Hinsdale Suburban Life 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hodgkins Hodgkins Suburban Life 4/12/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hoffman Estates Hoffman Estates Review 1/1/1998 – 12/25/2008 Recent Obituaries
Homer, Lemont, Lockport Sun, The: Homer Township – Lockport – Lemont 9/4/2002 – 4/28/2010 Recent Obituaries
Huntley Farmside 3/23/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Indian Head Park Indian Head Park Suburban Life 2/23/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Itasca Itasca Press 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Jacksonville Jacksonville Journal-Courier 4/17/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Jefferson Park, Portage Park, Belmont Cragin Times 11/4/2004 – 1/24/2008 Recent Obituaries
Joliet Herald News 1/2/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Kaskaskia Illinois Intelligencer 1/27/1819 – 10/14/1820 Newspaper Archives
Kewanee Star-Courier 10/16/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
La Grange Park La Grange Park Suburban Life 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
La Grange, La Grange Park, La Grange Highlands Doings 4/28/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
La Salle NewsTribune 9/24/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lake Forest Lake Forester 1/16/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lake View, North Center, Roscoe Village, Avondale Booster 12/21/2005 – 11/7/2007 Recent Obituaries
Lake Villa Lake Villa Review 2/13/1997 – 4/14/2011 Recent Obituaries
Lake Zurich Lake Zurich Courier 1/16/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lake in the Hills Lake in the Hills Countryside 7/10/2003 – 11/9/2006 Recent Obituaries
Lemont Lemont Reporter Metropolitan 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Libertyville Libertyville Review 1/9/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lincoln Courier 1/29/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lincolnshire Lincolnshire Review 6/29/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lincolnwood Lincolnwood Review 1/16/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lisle Sun, The: Lisle 9/13/2002 – 5/7/2010 Recent Obituaries
Lisle Lisle Reporter 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lombard Lombard Spectator 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lyons Lyons Suburban Life 2/20/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Macomb Macomb Journal 2/4/2000 – 10/3/2009 Recent Obituaries
Macomb McDonough County Voice 10/9/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Marion Marion Daily Republican 10/5/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Mattoon Journal Gazette 4/13/2004 – 9/24/2011 Recent Obituaries
Mattoon, Charleston JG-TC 9/26/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Maywood Maywood Herald 1/1/1997 – 11/8/2006 Recent Obituaries
McCook McCook Suburban Life 4/5/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
McLeansboro Times-Leader 1/21/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Melrose Park Melrose Park Herald 1/1/1997 – 11/8/2006 Recent Obituaries
Metamora, Eureka Woodford Times 6/29/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Millstadt, Smithton Millstadt-Smithton Enterprise 10/24/2004 – 3/26/2008 Recent Obituaries
Monmouth Daily Review Atlas 10/5/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Morris Morris Daily Herald 3/8/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Morton Morton Times-News 12/17/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Morton Grove Morton Grove Champion 1/9/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Mount Carmel Daily Republican Register 10/12/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
Mount Prospect Mount Prospect Times 1/9/1997 – 12/18/2008 Recent Obituaries
Mount Vernon Register-News 11/13/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Mundelein Mundelein Review 1/9/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Murphysboro Murphysboro American 3/5/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Naperville Naperville Reporter 2/27/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Naperville Naperville Sun, The: Web Edition Articles 4/8/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Naperville Naperville Sun 1/1/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Naperville Sun, The: 60504 Fox Valley 10/21/2002 – 4/7/2005 Recent Obituaries
Nauvoo Nauvoo Expositor 6/7/1844 – 6/7/1844 Newspaper Archives
New Lenox Sun, The: Lincoln-Way 12/4/2002 – 3/17/2004 Recent Obituaries
Newton Newton Press Mentor 7/25/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Niles Bugle 8/18/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Niles Niles Herald-Spectator 1/9/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Niles Niles Journal 1/12/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
North Riverside North Riverside Suburban Life 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Northbrook Northbrook Star 1/16/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Northlake Northlake Herald-Journal 1/1/1997 – 10/18/2006 Recent Obituaries
Northwest Chicago Edison-Norwood Times Review 1/9/1997 – 4/14/2011 Recent Obituaries
O’Fallon O’Fallon Progress 9/26/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
O’Fallon O’Fallon Journal 10/27/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Oak Brook Oak Brook Suburban Life 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Oak Brook Countryside Suburban Life 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Oak Brook, Oakbrook Terrace Doings 4/28/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Oak Park Forest Park Review 1/28/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Oak Park Oak Leaves 1/1/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Oak Park Wednesday Journal of Oak Park & River Forest 12/1/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Oak Park Austin Weekly News 2/16/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Oakbrook Terrace Oakbrook Terrace Press 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Olney Olney Daily Mail 10/5/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Oregon Ogle County Newspapers 12/17/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Orion Orion Gazette 12/17/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Palatine Palatine Countryside 1/9/1997 – 1/15/2009 Recent Obituaries
Palatine Palatine Journal 12/30/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Park Ridge Park Ridge Journal 1/12/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Park Ridge Park Ridge Herald-Advocate 1/23/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Pekin Pekin Daily Times 10/8/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Peoria Journal Star 4/1/1951 – 3/31/1953 Newspaper Archives
Peoria East Peoria Times-Courier 11/25/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Peoria Peoria Times-Observer 2/19/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Peoria Peoria Journal Star 7/15/1991 – Current Recent Obituaries
Plainfield Sun, The: Plainfield 12/13/2002 – 11/20/2009 Recent Obituaries
Pontiac Daily Leader 3/26/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Princeton Bureau County Republican 10/2/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Prospect Heights Prospect Heights Journal 1/12/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Quincy Quincy Daily Whig 5/3/1868 – 12/30/1876 Newspaper Archives
River Forest Forest Leaves 1/1/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
River Grove River Grove Messenger 1/1/1997 – 11/21/2007 Recent Obituaries
Riverside Riverside Suburban Life 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Riverside, Brookfield Riverside-Brookfield Landmark 1/24/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Rock Island Rock Island News 4/29/2007 – 4/20/2008 Recent Obituaries
Rockford Morning Star 3/20/1888 – 1/1/1979 Newspaper Archives
Rockford Register Star 1/2/1979 – 11/30/2008 Newspaper Archives
Rockford Register-Republic 9/29/1930 – 12/29/1978 Newspaper Archives
Rockford Daily Register-Gazette 1/31/1891 – 9/27/1930 Newspaper Archives
Rockford Republic 6/5/1891 – 7/12/1950 Newspaper Archives
Rockford Daily Register 1/6/1873 – 1/30/1891 Newspaper Archives
Rockford Daily Gazette 8/4/1879 – 1/30/1891 Newspaper Archives
Rockford Rockford Journal 11/18/1871 – 12/30/1882 Newspaper Archives
Rockford Rockford Weekly Gazette 11/22/1866 – 12/28/1887 Newspaper Archives
Rockford Rockford Weekly Register-Gazette 2/15/1855 – 12/26/1879 Newspaper Archives
Rockford Crusader 9/12/1952 – 6/2/1971 Newspaper Archives
Rockford Rockford Register Star 1/1/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
Rolling Meadows Rolling Meadows Review 1/9/1997 – 12/11/2008 Recent Obituaries
Rolling Meadows Rolling Meadows Journal 10/14/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Romeoville Romeoville Reporter 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Roselle Roselle Press 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Roseville Roseville Independent 4/14/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Saint Charles Winfield Press 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Sandwich Valley Free Press 6/21/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Schaumburg Schaumburg Review 1/16/1997 – 12/11/2008 Recent Obituaries
Shawneetown Illinois Emigrant 7/8/1818 – 9/18/1819 Newspaper Archives
Shawneetown Illinois Gazette 3/2/1822 – 12/11/1830 Newspaper Archives
Shelbyville Daily Union 12/10/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Shorewood Shorewood Sentinel 6/13/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Skokie Skokie Review 1/16/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
South Elgin South Elgin Examiner 5/9/2012 – 7/3/2013 Recent Obituaries
Springfield Daily Illinois State Journal 6/16/1848 – 6/30/1950 Newspaper Archives
Springfield Daily Illinois State Register 1/2/1849 – 12/31/1922 Newspaper Archives
Springfield Illinois Weekly State Journal 11/10/1831 – 12/26/1849 Newspaper Archives
Springfield State Capital 3/28/1891 – 12/3/1892 Newspaper Archives
Springfield Illinois State Register 11/13/1840 – 12/27/1844 Newspaper Archives
Springfield Illinois Record 11/6/1897 – 4/22/1899 Newspaper Archives
Springfield Illinois Conservator 6/29/1929 – 6/29/1929 Newspaper Archives
Springfield State Journal-Register 7/3/1985 – Current Recent Obituaries
Springfield Illinois Times 7/24/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
St. Charles St. Charles Republican 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
St. Charles Sun, The: St. Charles-South Elgin 8/20/2003 – 5/20/2009 Recent Obituaries
St. Charles St. Charles Examiner 2/1/2012 – 7/3/2013 Recent Obituaries
Stickney Stickney Life 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Streamwood Streamwood Press 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Streamwood Streamwood Examiner 9/7/2011 – 8/14/2013 Recent Obituaries
Sycamore Midweek 4/3/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Taylorville Breeze-Courier 7/3/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Teutopolis Teutopolis Press 5/7/2009 – 11/9/2011 Recent Obituaries
Tinley Park SouthtownStar 9/1/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Tinley Park SouthtownStar: Web Edition Articles 3/27/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Tinley Park STAR 1/1/2004 – 11/11/2007 Recent Obituaries
Vandalia Illinois Intelligencer 12/14/1820 – 3/5/1822 Newspaper Archives
Vandalia Illinois Advocate 1/5/1833 – 8/5/1835 Newspaper Archives
Vandalia Vandalia Leader-Union 1/19/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Vernon Hills Vernon Hills Review 1/9/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Villa Park Villa Park Argus 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Warrenville Warrenville Press 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Washington Washington Times-Reporter 11/25/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Wauconda Wauconda Courier 4/15/2004 – 8/15/2008 Recent Obituaries
Waukegan Lake County News-Sun: Web Edition Articles 3/26/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Waukegan Lake County News-Sun 1/1/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Wayne Wayne Examiner 8/10/2011 – 8/14/2013 Recent Obituaries
Wayne Wayne Republican 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
West Chicago West Chicago Press 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
West Frankfort Daily American 2/14/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Westchester Westchester Herald 1/1/1997 – 9/13/2006 Recent Obituaries
Westchester Westchester Suburban Life 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Western Springs Western Springs Suburban Life 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Western Springs, Indian Head Park Doings 4/28/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Westmont Westmont Progress 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Wheaton Wheaton Leader 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Wheaton Sun, The: Wheaton 9/6/2002 – 8/27/2010 Recent Obituaries
Wheeling Wheeling Countryside 1/9/1997 – 1/19/2009 Recent Obituaries
Wheeling Wheeling Journal 1/12/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Wicker Park, Bucktown, Ukranian Village Booster 1/11/2006 – 11/7/2007 Recent Obituaries
Willow Springs Willow Springs Suburban Life 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Willowbrook Willowbrook Suburban Life 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Wilmette Wilmette Life 1/9/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Wilmington Free Press Advocate 2/1/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Winnetka Winnetka Talk 3/20/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Wood Dale Wood Dale Press 8/16/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Woodridge Woodridge Reporter 1/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Woodstock Woodstock Independent 6/2/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries

*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 Illinois newspaper links will be live.

Related Illinois Articles:

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Major Historical Fires in the U.S.—Save Your Genealogy!

Introduction: Scott Phillips is a genealogical historian and owner of Onward To Our Past® genealogy services. In this blog post, Scott searches old newspapers to learn more about some of the major fires in our country’s history—including one he and his family lived through—and reminds genealogists how important it is to make copies of your family history research so that a natural disaster doesn’t destroy years of work.

Fire, fire, fire raging all about. Who’ll call the fireman to put the fire out?
—first line of a children’s song

If you grew up in the 1950s you may well recall this song. Details of the author, full lyrics, etc., seem to be lost to time, but after reading about a fire recently in the newspaper I began to research fires and their possible effect on our genealogy and family history work.

Iillustration of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, by John R. Chapin, originally printed in Harper’s Weekly, showing people running for their lives over the Randolph Street Bridge

Illustration: the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, by John R. Chapin, originally printed in Harper’s Weekly, showing people running for their lives over the Randolph Street Bridge. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Personally, I remember all too well the fire that ravaged my in-laws’ home. Although the house was saved the damage was extensive, and many heirlooms, pictures, etc., were lost forever as a result. It was a good lesson that taught me: genealogists should back up all their family history work and keep a copy of that backup somewhere other than in their home, unless they have a fireproof vault!

Enter Last Name

Great Chicago Fire of 1871

It is hard to look at famous fires throughout U.S. history and not begin with the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. One of the more detailed articles I discovered in GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives was from this 1871 Massachusetts newspaper. This detailed news story covers almost a full page and reports: “…over 10,000 buildings are in ruins. The fire is still raging…” The article also reports that no one was spared, from “the dwellings of the mass of the German population of the city” to “some of the oldest and best residences of the city.” More than 100,000 people were left homeless by the two-day inferno. Finally on the second night a heavy rain did what the fire fighters—whose water supply had been cut off by the blaze—could not. The rain put the Great Chicago Fire out, but not before more than 17,000 buildings were destroyed at an estimated loss of over $200 million in property—in 1871 dollars!

article about the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, National Aegis newspaper article 14 October 1871

National Aegis (Worcester, Massachusetts), 14 October 1871, page 1

San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of 1906

It was in the early morning hours of 18 April 1906 when the earth rumbled, heaved, and shook terribly beneath the city of San Francisco. I found details in this 1906 Arkansas newspaper. As I read this article, I was struck by the fact that while I certainly recalled learning about the San Francisco earthquake in history class, I was not aware that fire raged across the city for three days afterward and actually caused most of the damage. Broken water mains prevented firemen from dousing the flames, and allowed the fire to move unhindered—eventually consuming over four square miles of the city. The earthquake and fire resulted in more than 3,000 deaths, left some 225,000 people homeless, and destroyed 28,000 buildings.

article about the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of 1906, Jonesboro Evening Sun newspaper article 18 April 1906

Jonesboro Evening Sun (Jonesboro, Arkansas), 18 April 1906, page 1

As I researched the news about this famous fire more, I found a very interesting article published in a 1907 Michigan newspaper. While the headline writers make it seem as though the San Francisco earthquake and fire was the year’s worst disaster, this extensive article admits this may be only “in the interest of the people of the United States” since “Hongkong” (sic) was ravaged by a three-day typhoon that devastated the city and cost an estimated 5,000 lives; a major earthquake destroyed Valparaiso, Chile, and damaged nearby Santiago causing the loss of between 1,500 and 2,000 lives; and in Italy, Mount Vesuvius erupted killing more than 2,000 and obliterating four towns and several villages. Natural disasters know no boundaries and can reach us in huge cities or tiny towns—and all this was just in the one year of 1906.

article about natural disasters, Kalamazoo Gazette newspaper article 1 February 1907

Kalamazoo Gazette (Kalamazoo, Michigan), 1 February 1907, page 8

Cerro Grande Fire of 2000

Not many years ago, my family and I lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico. During our time there we witnessed the “Cerro Grande” fire. I found a good article about this fire in a 2000 Illinois newspaper. Not only did this major fire force the closure of the famed Los Alamos National Laboratory, but it resulted in the evacuation of every one of the town’s 11,000 residents. While the nuclear materials at the Laboratory were all safe within fireproof facilities, many homeowners were not so lucky.

Fire Forces Evacuation of Los Alamos, N.M., Register Star newspaper article 11 May 2000

Register Star (Rockford, Illinois), 11 May 2000, page 3

A year later, there was a follow-up article in this 2001 Connecticut newspaper. This old news article begins poignantly with this:

The tears come for Lucy Thomas when she thinks about the family Bible and other precious possessions that burned in the Los Alamos fires a year ago.

Ms. Thomas was not alone either. The article reports that more than 220 structures were destroyed by the fire leaving more than 400 families homeless; the fire destroyed or damaged a further 115 buildings at the Laboratory; and burned over 43,000 acres of timberlands.

A Year after Fire, Los Alamos Residents Rebuild Their Lives, Daily Advocate newspaper article 6 May 2001

Daily Advocate (Stamford, Connecticut), 6 May 2001, page 20

Each morning during that fire, I well remember waking up to smoke throughout our yard, ash over an inch deep covering everything in sight, and the air quality monitor the EPA put at the end of our driveway. Shortly after the fire I had a meeting in Los Alamos and, while driving through the town, I was stunned at the complete and total destruction of so many houses. This brought the threat closer to home than we would have liked, but it also acted as a warning that fire can happen anywhere—and we had better be prepared for the possibility of the worst happening.

Enter Last Name

Capitan Fire of 1950

My newspaper research then brought me to an article regarding fires that could finally make me smile. It was in a 1954 newspaper from Washington, D.C. This story was about the famous Smokey Bear, who was rescued by firefighters during the Capitan fire in New Mexico in May of 1950.

article about Smokey the Bear, Evening Star newspaper article 13 June 1954

Evening Star (Washington, D.C.), 13 June 1954, page 153

An early news report of this fire in a 1950 Nebraska newspaper was headlined: “Central New Mexico Forest Fire Unchecked.” That news reporter couldn’t have known that a national treasure would be found, with singed paws and legs, clinging to a burned pine tree!

Central New Mexico Forest Fire Unchecked, Omaha World Herald newspaper article 9 May 1950

Omaha World Herald (Omaha, Nebraska), 9 May 1950, page 8

As the examples in this article have shown, old newspapers are a great way to learn about the major events that impacted our ancestors’ lives, and the news that affected them. And these reports of the devastating power of fire and the overwhelming destruction it can cause serve as a powerful reminder that no home—and no collection of family records, documents and photos—is ever completely safe. Be sure to digitize your material and store it safely online, preferably on at least two different websites!

Related Articles about Records Preservation:

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Extra! Extra! 12 Million More Newspaper Articles for Research!

Every day, GenealogyBank is working hard to digitize more U.S. newspapers and obituaries, expanding our online archives to give you the largest newspaper archives for family history research available on the web. We just completed adding 12 million more newspaper articles to the online archives, vastly increasing our news coverage of life in America from coast to coast!

screenshot of GenealogyBank's home page announcement of the recent addition of 12 million articles and records to its digitized newspaper collection

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

  • A total of 73 newspaper titles from 24 U.S. states
  • 45 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
Alabama Mobile Alabama Staats-Zeitung 10/09/1902–02/08/1917 Newspaper Archives
California Fresno Fresno Morning Republican 10/17/1922–8/20/1925 Newspaper Archives
California Riverside Riverside Daily Press 10/1/1940–9/29/1945 Newspaper Archives
California San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo Daily Telegram 1/3/1922–3/25/1931 Newspaper Archives
California Stockton Record, The: Blogs* 05/15/2006–Current Recent Obituaries
Florida Miami Miami Herald 1/1/1923–3/31/1926 Newspaper Archives
Florida Miami Nuevo Herald 7/1/1977–4/30/1984 Newspaper Archives
Georgia Augusta Augusta Chronicle 12/2/1978–12/31/1981 Newspaper Archives
Georgia Columbus Columbus Daily Enquirer 4/10/1930–10/12/1931 Newspaper Archives
Georgia Macon Macon Telegraph 1/1/1929–6/22/1930 Newspaper Archives
Idaho Boise Idaho Statesman 10/1/1926–8/14/1931 Newspaper Archives
Illinois Chicago Chicagoer Freie Presse 07/02/1896–07/02/1896 Newspaper Archives
Illinois Chicago Illinois Staats Zeitung* 04/21/1898–04/21/1898 Newspaper Archives
Illinois Springfield Daily Illinois State Journal 8/1/1947–6/30/1950 Newspaper Archives
Indiana Indianapolis Indiana Lawyer* 11/05/2003–Current Recent Obituaries
Iowa Ames Iowa State Daily* 06/20/1995–Current Recent Obituaries
Kentucky Lexington Lexington Herald 6/1/1927–7/31/1928 Newspaper Archives
Maryland Baltimore Katholische Volkszeitung 01/06/1872–07/15/1876 Newspaper Archives
Massachusetts Boston Boston American 4/16/1953–3/28/1960 Newspaper Archives
Massachusetts Boston Huntington News, The* 09/24/2002–Current Recent Obituaries
Michigan Detroit Detroiter Abend-Post* 08/18/1929–08/18/1929 Newspaper Archives
Michigan Detroit Herold 01/06/1911–12/29/1911 Newspaper Archives
Mississippi Biloxi Daily Herald 7/1/1932–3/30/1940 Newspaper Archives
Missouri Sedalia Sedalia Democrat, The* 11/14/2013–Current Recent Obituaries
Nebraska Omaha Tagliche Omaha Tribune* 06/25/1937–06/25/1937 Newspaper Archives
New Jersey Trenton Trenton Evening Times 6/19/1983–6/26/1983 Newspaper Archives
New York New York Jewish Messenger 01/15/1869–12/27/1901 Newspaper Archives
New York New York Sozialist 01/03/1885–11/12/1892 Newspaper Archives
New York New York Vorwarts 11/19/1892–12/27/1913 Newspaper Archives
North Carolina Charlotte Charlotte Observer 4/1/1926–5/31/1927 Newspaper Archives
North Carolina Franklin Franklin Press, The* 01/03/2014–Current Recent Obituaries
North Carolina Winston-Salem Winston-Salem Journal 11/12/1921–2/28/1929 Newspaper Archives
Ohio Clyde Clyde Enterprise* 12/17/2012–Current Recent Obituaries
Ohio Eaton Register Herald* 01/21/2014–Current Recent Obituaries
Ohio Fairborn Fairborn Daily Herald* 01/12/2014–Current Recent Obituaries
Ohio Georgetown News Democrat, The* 11/21/2013–Current Recent Obituaries
Ohio Oberlin Oberlin News-Tribune* 11/01/2012–Current Recent Obituaries
Ohio Piqua Piqua Daily Call* 08/07/2012–Current Recent Obituaries
Ohio Troy Troy Daily News* 01/18/2014–Current Recent Obituaries
Oregon Beaverton Beaverton Valley Times* 06/14/2006–Current Recent Obituaries
Oregon Canby Canby Herald* 01/29/2009–Current Recent Obituaries
Oregon Clackamas Clackamas Review* 06/26/2006–Current Recent Obituaries
Oregon Estacada Estacada News* 07/11/2006–Current Recent Obituaries
Oregon Forest Grove Forest Grove News Times* 07/26/2006–Current Recent Obituaries
Oregon Gresham Outlook, The* 06/27/2006–Current Recent Obituaries
Oregon Hillsboro Hillsboro Tribune* 06/26/2008–Current Recent Obituaries
Oregon Lake Oswego Lake Oswego Review* 06/21/2006–Current Recent Obituaries
Oregon Lake Oswego Southwest Community Connection, The* 08/28/2006–Current Recent Obituaries
Oregon Lake Oswego West Linn Tidings* 06/21/2006–Current Recent Obituaries
Oregon Madras Madras Pioneer* 10/17/2001–Current Recent Obituaries
Oregon Molalla Molalla Pioneer* 01/29/2009–Current Recent Obituaries
Oregon Newberg Newberg Graphic* 06/26/2008–Current Recent Obituaries
Oregon Portland Bee, The* 07/31/2006–Current Recent Obituaries
Oregon Portland Boom! Boomers & Beyond* 01/29/2009–Current Recent Obituaries
Oregon Portland Portland Tribune* 01/02/2003–Current Recent Obituaries
Oregon Prineville Central Oregonian* 02/05/2001–Current Recent Obituaries
Oregon Sandy Sandy Post* 10/24/2006–Current Recent Obituaries
Oregon Scappoose South County Spotlight, The* 09/30/2007–Current Recent Obituaries
Oregon Sherwood Sherwood Gazette* 02/01/2007–Current Recent Obituaries
Oregon Tigard Regal Courier* 10/29/2006–Current Recent Obituaries
Oregon Tigard Tigard-Tualatin-Sherwood Times* 07/05/2006–Current Recent Obituaries
Oregon Wilsonville Wilsonville Spokesman* 06/26/2008–Current Recent Obituaries
Oregon Woodburn Woodburn Independent* 06/26/2008–Current Recent Obituaries
Pennsylvania Philadelphia Nord Amerika* 07/10/1952–07/10/1952 Newspaper Archives
Pennsylvania State College Centre Daily Times 4/3/1974–7/31/1976 Newspaper Archives
Tennessee Knoxville Knoxville News Sentinel: Blogs* 06/01/2006–Current Recent Obituaries
Washington Bellingham Bellingham Herald 1/1/1929–8/30/1930 Newspaper Archives
Washington Bremerton Kitsap Sun: Blogs* 03/18/2006–Current Recent Obituaries
Washington Olympia Morning Olympian 6/21/1934–1/10/1940 Newspaper Archives
Washington Seattle Seattle Daily Times 5/24/1903–11/26/1922 Newspaper Archives
Washington Tacoma Tacoma Daily News 7/1/1889–7/6/1909 Newspaper Archives
Wisconsin Appleton Appleton Volksfreund * 03/25/1920–09/21/1922 Newspaper Archives
Wisconsin La Crosse La Crosse Volksfreund* 01/03/1906–12/28/1907 Newspaper Archives

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 on your desktop or portable device for quick reference—all the links will be live.

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Extra! Extra! 5 Million More Newspaper Articles Recently Added!

Every day, GenealogyBank is working hard to digitize more U.S. newspapers and obituaries, expanding our online archives to give you the largest newspaper archives for family history research available on the web. We just completed adding 5 million more newspaper articles to the online archives, vastly increasing our news coverage of life in America from coast to coast!

screenshot of GenealogyBank's home page announcing that five million more newspaper articles have been added to its historical newspaper archives

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

  • A total of 51 newspaper titles from 22 U.S. states, with many newspaper additions from Illinois, New York and Pennsylvania
  • 25 of these titles are newspapers added to GenealogyBank for the first time
  • Newspaper titles marked with an asterisk (*) are new to our online archives. Note that many of these totally new archive additions are German American newspapers.
  • 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. Note that some of these newly added newspapers date back to the mid-1800s.
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To see our newspaper archives’ complete title lists, click here.

State    City                 Title                                                    Date Range

AL       Mobile             Alabama Staats-Zeitung                     1/10/1900 – 10/11/1902

AZ       San Manuel     Pinal Nugget*                                     3/5/2013 – Current

CA      Riverside         Riverside Daily Press                          10/1/1938 – 12/31/1945

CA      San Francisco  California Chronik*                            4/28/1866 – 11/3/1866

CA      S. L. Obispo    San Luis Obispo Daily Telegram        7/1/1915 – 9/30/1921

CT       Bridgeport       Connecticut Post                                 9/21/2001 – 6/30/2002

GA      Atlanta               Emory Wheel: Emory University*      8/25/2002 – Current

GA      Augusta           Augusta Chronicle                              11/26/1983 – 11/22/2003

GA      Columbus        Columbus Daily Enquirer                   2/25/1926 – 4/10/1930

GA      Macon             Macon Telegraph                                11/6/1925 – 12/31/1928

ID        Boise               Idaho Statesman                                 2/16/1925 – 9/30/1927

IL        Alton               Telegraph*                                          1/1/2010 – Current

IL        Belleville         Belleviller Post und Zeitung*             1/11/1899 – 1/11/1899

IL        Chicago           Chicagoer Freie Presse*                      2/6/1872 – 2/6/1872

IL        Chicago           D.A. Burgerzeitung*                          12/30/1921 – 12/30/1921

IL        Springfield      Daily Illinois State Journal                  8/1/1942 – 3/31/1950

IN        Elkhart              Elkhart Truth                                       1/2/1902 – 12/30/1920

IN        Evansville        Evansville Courier and Press              1/23/1936 – 12/31/1937

IA        Davenport       Wochentliche Demokrat*                   1/2/1902 – 1/2/1902

KY      Lexington        Lexington Herald                                11/1/1924 – 5/31/1927

MD      Baltimore        Katholische Volkszeitung*                 2/10/1872 – 7/8/1876

MD      Baltimore        Sun                                                      1/27/1916 – 3/4/1916

MA      Boston             Boston American                                4/11/1952 – 9/30/1961

MA      Boston             Boston Herald                                     2/17/1974 – 9/28/1975

MA      Springfield      Springfield Republican                       2/1/1853 – 9/2/1875

MI       Detroit             Herold*                                               4/14/1911 – 11/24/1911

NJ        Woodbury       Woodbury Daily Times                       9/20/1900 – 3/16/1922

NY      Binghamton    Binghamton Univ. Pipe Dream*         11/1/2005 – Current

NY      New York       Jewish Messenger                               7/3/1857 – 12/28/1883

NY      New York       New Yorker Volkszeitung                  5/1/1919 – 12/31/1922

NY      New York       Sonntagsblatt Der NY Volkszeitung*            1/29/1928 – 1/29/1928

NY      New York       Sozialist*                                             4/11/1885 – 12/14/1889

NY      New York       Vorwarts                                             12/10/1892 – 7/29/1916

NC      Charlotte         Charlotte Observer                              11/1/1924 – 3/31/1926

NC      Greensboro      Greensboro Record                             10/11/1950 – 10/12/1950

NC      Win.-Salem     Winston-Salem Journal                       10/1/1921 – 8/31/1927

OH      Cincinnati        Cincinnati Republikaner*                   12/1/1858 – 3/23/1861

OH      Columbus        Lutherische Kirchenzeitung*              1/1/1910 – 1/1/1910

OH      Englewood      Englewood Independent*                  10/23/2012 – Current

OH      West Union     People’s Defender*                             11/12/2013 – Current

PA       Harrisburg       Christlicher Botschafter*                    1/3/1935 – 1/3/1935

PA       Philadelphia    Daily Pennsylvanian: U. of Penn.*     3/19/1991 – Current

PA       Pittsburgh        Volksblatt und Freiheits-freund*       11/3/1934 – 11/3/1934

PA       Pittston            Sunday Dispatch*                               10/12/2013 – Current

PA       State College   Centre Daily Times                             1/2/1973 – 11/29/1974

PA       Wilkes-Barre   Weekender*                                        10/8/2013 – Current

TX       San Antonio    Freie Presse fur Texas*                       5/12/1915 – 5/12/1915

UT       Salt Lake City Salt Lake City Beobachter*                4/6/1930 – 4/6/1930

WA     Bellingham      Bellingham Herald                              1/1/1926 – 12/31/1928

WA     Seattle             Seattle Daily Times                             4/2/1912 – 1/9/1916

WI       La Crosse        Nord Stern*                                        4/10/1908 – 4/10/1908

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Looking for Your Family Roots in Chicago?

Incorporated in 1837, the city of Chicago, Illinois, has long played a leading role in the nation’s cultural and commercial life. After New York City and Los Angeles, Chicago has the third largest population of any city in the U.S.—nearly 3,000,000 residents, with almost 10 million in the greater Chicago metropolitan area.

photo of the official city seal of Chicago, Illinois

Illustration: official city seal of Chicago. Credit: Wikipedia.

Are you researching your family history from Chicago? GenealogyBank’s online Chicago newspaper archives contain 40 titles to help you search your family history in “The Windy City,” providing coverage from 1854 to Today.

Dig in and search for obituaries and other news articles about your ancestors in these historical and recent Chicago newspapers online:

Search Chicago Newspaper Archives (1854-2010)

Search Chicago Recent Obituaries (1985-Today)

Click the image below to download a PDF of the list of Chicago newspapers to save to your desktop. Just click on the newspaper name to go directly to your title of interest.

List of Chicago Newspapers Online at GenealogyBank

List of Chicago Newspapers Online at GenealogyBank

Here is our complete list of online Chicago newspapers, divided into two collections: Historical Newspapers (complete paper) and Recent Obituaries. 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.

Discover a variety of genealogy records and news stories in these 28 Chicago historical newspapers:

Search recent obituary records for your relatives in these 12 Chicago newspapers:

Find Grandma’s Recipes in Old Newspaper Food Columns

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” In this guest blog post, Gena searches old newspapers to examine food columns that may have provided the recipes our ancestors used—and shows how those food columns that featured recipe contests may contain names and addresses helpful to our family history research.

What’s in your grandmother’s recipe box? Chances are there are a variety of recipes that are either handwritten on index cards or clipped from newspapers and magazines. Maybe you have some of those yellowed newspaper clippings stuffed in a recipe box or pasted in a cookbook.

photo of a recipe book with old newspaper recipe clippings pasted in

Photo credit: Gena Philibert-Ortega

Newspaper food columns provided women with recipes by food writers, nutritionists and even neighbors. In some cases, food column contests solicited reader recipes centered on a specific theme. (For more about newspaper recipe contests see my earlier GenealogyBank Blog post, Newspaper Recipe Contests: Was Your Ancestor a Contest Winner?) Whether your ancestor actually participated in submitting a recipe or just cut out her favorites, these columns were an important way to add variety to the family’s dinner table.

Tongue and Pickles

Newspaper food columns provide us a glimpse of the food our families ate throughout the decades. This 1917 column from an Arizona newspaper is a compilation of money-saving recipes that were awarded prizes by the newspaper. Recipe columns published in the newspapers during war time would concentrate on saving money and, in the case of World War I and II, how to make do with limited quantities due to food rationing. In the paragraph introducing the recipes, the writer suggests that readers clip these columns and add them to cookbooks, or paste an envelope into a cookbook and then place clippings inside the envelope. In this article, notice that women’s names and addresses are included with their submissions—a potentially helpful clue for your family history research. The first recipe, provided by Miss Chloe Ray for Braised Tongue, even includes a suggestion for where to buy the tongue.

Recipes Which Help Reduce the Cost of Living, Tucson Daily Citizen newspaper article 2 March 1917

Tucson Daily Citizen (Tucson, Arizona), 2 March 1917, page 5

In some cases newspaper columnists wrote articles with everything from recipes to food advice. “Jane Eddington,” the pen name for Caroline S. Maddocks, was a syndicated columnist with the Chicago Tribune. The Tribune started its food column in 1910 and Eddington penned her articles until her retirement in 1930. She was then succeeded by women who penned the food column under the moniker “Mary Meade” until 1974.*

In Eddington’s column for 5 September 1913, she discusses pickles and provides some recipes. Making pickles wasn’t a small job; these recipes call for over 100 cucumbers!

Recipes for Home Cooking, Plain Dealer newspaper article 5 September 1913

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 5 September 1913, page 11

Food and “Womanly” Advice

Some recipe columns were about much more than sharing recipes and meal ideas. In some cases they were advice columns. The Chicago Tribune said the purpose of its column was to “preach daily that cooking is a noble as well as an ancient duty.”**

In the following column from a 1909 Pennsylvania newspaper, “Womanly Answers to Womanly Questions,” recipes are but one form of advice given. Other advice has to do with other “womanly” issues like quilt cleaning. Lunch meal planning suggestions in this particular column include “sardines cut up with ham and pickles make a good filling for sandwiches” and desserts such as vinegar pie and fried apple turnovers.

Womanly Answers to Womanly Questions, Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper article 24 September 1909

Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), 24 September 1909, page 11

Another recipe/advice column, written by Miss Lilian Tingle and entitled “Answers to Correspondence,” provides recipe help to readers. In this column from a 1917 Oregon newspaper, she provides everything from recipes for mushroom catsup to potato doughnuts to corned beef. Like the previous example, although recipes seem to be the main focus there is a homemaking question in between the recipes for how to care for houseplants. This column is a good example of how food preferences over time change, so that what was popular to eat at one time may not be to most people’s liking today.

food column, Oregonian newspaper article 4 November 1917

Oregonian (Portland, Oregon), 4 November 1917, page 7

Do you have a favorite food column in your local newspaper? Do you have clippings from your grandmother’s favorite column? Maybe your family still eats a family favorite clipped from an old newspaper. Recipe newspaper columns are just one place where we can find the names of the women in our families and better understand what they had for dinner.

photo of an old newspaper recipe clipping pasted into a cookbook

Photo credit: Gena Philibert-Ortega

Share your favorite food column with us in the comments section. Better yet, if you have newspaper clippings or recipe cards with family recipes, take a picture of them and post them to our public Old Fashioned Family Recipes board on Pinterest. Get an invite to participate by following the board. We look forward to trying your favorite family recipes!

______________

* Serving Food News for 150 Years by Kristin Eddy. July 16, 1997. Chicago Tribune. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1997-07-16/entertainment/9707170320_1_food-page-pen-cake-mixes accessed 6 October 2013.

** Ibid.

German American Newspapers for Genealogy at GenealogyBank

Introduction: Mary Harrell-Sesniak is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background. In this guest blog post, Mary provides search tips to help you find family history information in GenealogyBank’s online collection of German American newspapers.

America has long been a prized destination for immigrants. In the case of our German American ancestors (known as Deutschamerikaner), many arrived during the early years of the British colonies—with evidence dating to the 17th Century.

This long history of German Americans in America can be researched in the many German American newspapers, or “Deutsch-Amerikanische Zeitungen,“ found in GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives.

Early German American immigrants were especially drawn to New York and Pennsylvania, with families typically settling among those of their same origins. Later there were westward migrations, most notably in Midwestern areas such as Cincinnati, Chicago, St. Louis, Milwaukee and northern Kentucky. In many of these areas, you can still find strong German influences on the culture, customs and food. In Cincinnati for example, where I attended elementary school, I remember that the cafeteria often served sausage and sauerkraut—a dish we no longer encountered when our family moved south.

Immigrant community names are often reminiscent of their homelands, as demonstrated in this 1732 estate notice from the American Weekly Mercury:

“To be Sold by Richard Martin Executor of William Harmon of Upper-Dublin, in the County of Philadelphia, deceas’d…a considerable Quantity of clear’d Land and good Meadowing in Dublin-Township; and One Hundred and Ten Acres of Land near Germantown…”

estate sale ad for William Harmon, American Weekly Mercury newspaper advertisement 30 March-6 April 1732

American Weekly Mercury (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), 30 March-6 April 1732, page 4

This estate notice was published in the same year that Founding Father Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) published the first German-language newspaper in America, the Philadelphische Zeitung.

Although Franklin’s newspaper didn’t last even a year, publishers recognized the need to communicate with the German-speaking population. So it is common to see bilingual papers with the placement of foreign language articles and advertisements side-by-side with those printed in English.

collage of various ads, Pennsylvania Gazette newspaper advertisements 3 March 1742

Pennsylvania Gazette (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), 3 March 1742, page 4

In the above example from the Pennsylvania Gazette we see a German-language notice regarding an Evangelical Conference; followed by an English-language estate notice for Joseph Woollen, late of Germantown Township; and an English-language ad for the The Pocket Almanack. Note the reference in the last ad to Poor Richard’s Almanack, another of Benjamin Franklin’s publications, which appeared from 1732-1758.

There was such a desire to publish newspapers in German that in 1775, one of the Committees of Correspondence resolved that their notice should “be published both in the English and German news-papers,” as reported at the end of the following article.

notice about a meeting of the Committee of Correspondence, Pennsylvania Evening Post newspaper article 10 June 1775

Pennsylvania Evening Post (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), 10 June 1775, page 242

Their concern was that the British Ministry was “fully determined and bent upon the total extinction and utter destruction of American liberty.” These Committees, as noted in a Wikipedia article, were an integral part of the colonists’ resistance to British rule, providing coordinated efforts to distribute information for their safety.

Clearly, there is a lot of good family history information in German American newspapers—so how does one begin one’s search for German ancestors in historical newspapers?

How to Search & Read German-Language American Newspapers

It helps if you are fluent in German, but if not, don’t despair—try the following strategies.

Familiarize yourself with common Germanic words found in ancestral birth, marriage and death notices. Numerous lists can be found on the Web, but here are some commonly-used terms:

  • Familial relationships: wife (frau, gattin), mother (mutter), father (vater, väter), son (sohn), daughter (tochter)
  • Genealogical events: birth (geburt), born (geboren), married (verheiratet), death (tod, todesfall), died (starb, gestorben), buried (begraben, bestatten)
  • Days of the week (in order): Montag, Dienstag, Mittwoch, Donnerstag, Freitag, Samstag, Sonntag
  • Months (in order): Januar, Februar, März, April, Mai, Juni, Juli, August, September, Oktober, November, Dezember

Use a language translator, such as Google Translate (at translate.google.com) to translate German to English. If a word or phrase doesn’t translate exactly, try breaking it into parts. For instance, the newspaper Volksfreund doesn’t translate, but if you separate the two parts into “Volks” and “freund” the translator will respond with “people friendly,” indicating that the translation of the newspaper’s name is something like People’s Friend.

Try alternate spelling variations (don’t expect standardization). If the translator fails, experiment with changing a few letters. Local dialects affect spellings, and over time the accepted way to spell words has changed. FamilySearch’s German Word List, located at https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/German_Word_List, will give you a head start. Some of its suggestions are to interchange: p for b; a for e; and t for d or dt.

“Americanize” spellings. Although German words typically have umlauts applied to letters, such as ä or ü, GenealogyBank’s search engine may perform better if you ignore them.

Let GenealogyBank’s search engine identify what type of article is on a newspaper page.  If you are struggling with the description presented, expand the page information on the left-hand side of the screen, where GenealogyBank’s search engine notes the types of articles found on the newspaper page. In this example, the content of this newspaper’s page two is listed with many German descriptions—but the search engine also explains, in English, that there are advertisements, mortuary notices, and matrimony notices on this page—helping you to better understand the content you are looking at on page two.

screenshot of GenealogyBank showing an article from a German American newspaper

Finally, it’s useful to learn as much as you can about a particular German American newspaper publication. Where was it published? Who was the editor? When did it initiate and cease publication? Were there gaps in coverage, and was it ever published under an alternate name?

In this example, I expanded an article to view the nameplate of the 16 March 1801 (16ten Merz) edition of Die Harrisburger Morgenrothe. With this expanded view, we can read that this newspaper (diese zeitung) was published every Monday morning (Montag morgen) in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

masthead for the German American newspaper Die Harrisburger Morgenrothe 16 March 1801

Die Harrisburger Morgenrothe (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania), 16 March 1801, page 1

Some of this information can be confirmed at the Library of Congress’s website U.S Newspaper Directory, 1690-Present, located at http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/search/titles/. Not only is it a comprehensive list of every known newspaper, but it also serves as a target list for potential research.

screenshot of the Library of Congress website, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers

Credit: Library of Congress, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers

For example, this is the information I found about the German American newspaper Die Harrisburger Morgenrothe using the Library of Congress Newspaper Directory site:

  • Title: Die Harrisburger Morgenrothe und Dauphin und Cumberland Caunties Anzeiger: (Harrisburg [Pa.]) 1827-1839
  • Alternative Titles: Harrisburger Morgenrothe, Morgenrothe
  • Place of publication: Harrisburg [Pa.]
  • Publisher: Wm. Boyer und J. Baab
  • Dates of publication: 1827-1839; Nr. 1476 (11 Aug. 1827)-Nr. 2142 (9 Mai 1839)
  • Frequency: Weekly
  • Language: German

Examples of German American Newspaper Mastheads

masthead for the German American newspaper Erie Tageblatt 8 January 1910

Erie Tageblatt (Erie, Pennsylvania), 8 January 1910, page 1

masthead for the German American newspaper New Yorker Volkszeitung 17 August 1804

New Yorker Volkszeitung (New York, New York), 17 August 1804, page 1

masthead for the German American newspaper Readinger Adler 8 July 1800

Readinger Adler (Reading, Pennsylvania), 8 July 1800, page 1

Example of a German American Newspaper Obituary (Gov. Frank Higgins)

obituary for Frank Higgins, Erie Tageblatt newspaper article 13 February 1907

Erie Tageblatt (Erie, Pennsylvania), 13 February 1907, page 1

For more information, read Mary’s earlier Blog article:

How to Do Genealogy Research with German-Language Newspapers

German American Newspapers at GenealogyBank

Discover a variety of genealogy records and news stories in these 33 German American newspapers:

Click on the image below to download a printable list of the German American newspapers in GenealogyBank for your future reference. You can save the list to your desktop and click the titles to go directly to your newspaper of interest.

German American Newspapers

Embed This Image On Your Site (copy code below):

Tips & Tricks to Search Online Newspapers at GenealogyBank

Introduction: Mary Harrell-Sesniak is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background. In this guest blog post, Mary shows some of the search techniques she uses when researching GenealogyBank’s newspapers collection—to help our readers do more efficient searches and save them time with their family history research.

Every American family has a heritage to celebrate—whether it is a connection with a specific event, such as the arrival of the Mayflower in 1620; a military event, such as the Civil War of 1861-1865; a particular country of origin; or person of interest, such as a president, suffragette or abolitionist.

I’m lucky to have proved connections in my family history to many of the above (alas, no president), and like most family researchers have jumped for joy at finding the documented proof.

Once we find the genealogical connections (sometimes with the help of others’ research), we feel enormous satisfaction. However, many genealogists don’t realize that search engines can be tweaked to shorten searches and make family history research more efficient— in particular the genealogy search engine within GenealogyBank.

The trick to more efficient searching is to experiment with specific targeted keywords, related to events or ancestry, along with adding wildcards (more on that below) that accommodate for variations.

Keyword Search: Lineal Descendancy

Let’s start with searches related to specific descendants, using the keywords “lineal descendant,” with or without an added surname.

In this example (long before lineage societies became popular), we read that Mr. Michael Kett, a Quaker, was a lineal descendant from Robert Kett, described as the famous tanner and political reformer in the reign of King Edward the Sixth.

Michael Kett obituary, Providence Gazette newspaper article 27 March 1784

Providence Gazette (Providence, Rhode Island), 27 March 1784, page 2

Doesn’t an ancestral report like that get a genealogist excited!

Most of us are happy to research to an immigrant’s arrival in America, but this gentleman had reportedly traced his ancestry to King Edward VI of England, whose brief life occurred between 1537 and 1553, having been crowned at the young age of nine.

Search Newspapers for Events

Another suggested query is to incorporate the word descendant with a specific event, such as the arrival of the Mayflower in 1620.

Enclosing the search in quotes, “Mayflower descendant,” produces a different result than if you searched on each term without the quotation marks. The difference is that when you simply input terms without quotes, the search engine will find results whenever the two words are located anywhere within the same article—but if you enclose the terms in quotation marks, the terms have to be next to each other in an article in order to show up on the search results page.

Note: generally the “s” is ignored, along with capitalization, so don’t worry about entering “Mayflower descendants” or “mayflower descendant”; either will suffice.

Mayflower Descendants, Daily Inter Ocean newspaper article 14 April 1896

Daily Inter Ocean (Chicago, Illinois), 14 April 1896, page 10

This obituary for Sarah Harlow of 13 March 1823 mentions that she was a descendant from “Mr. Richard Warren, who came in the Mayflower, in 1620, of the 4th generation.” It was found without using quotation marks around the words Mayflower and descendant.

Sarah Harlow obituary, Repertory newspaper article 13 March 1823

Repertory (Boston, Massachusetts), 13 March 1823, page 4

Accommodating Spelling Variations with Wildcards

Try variations of queries that accommodate spelling variations, by using either a question mark (?) or an asterisk (*). Known as wildcards, the first option replaces a single character in a word, and the other takes the place of several characters.

For example, “Harrell” can be spelled in a variety of ways, such as “Harrall” or “Herrell.”

If you want to search for all of these variations at once, substitute vowels with question marks. In addition, many early newspapers sometimes abbreviated “Samuel” as “Saml,” so try entering the given name as “Sam*” or “Sam*l.”

screenshot of GenealogyBank's search box looking for Samuel Harrell

When I search for American Revolutionary War patriots, I often find the war described in various ways. One article might mention the Revolution, and another might describe someone as a Revolutionary War patriot. The solution is to abbreviate the term and add a specific surname.

screenshot of GenealogyBank's search box looking for Gilman

Don’t forget that you can direct the genealogy search engine to ignore certain words using the “Exclude Keywords” box.

If you are looking for one of George Washington’s namesakes, it might be useful to ignore the title President, whether it is abbreviated or spelled in full. And if you are repeating a previous search, you might wish to limit the query to the content added to GenealogyBank since your last search. Simply select the “Added Since” drop-down arrow, and limit by date.

screenshot of GenealogyBank's search box looking for George Washington

These newspaper search techniques usually carry over to your favorite Internet search engines.

Many search engines, such as Google Chrome, have advanced search options. However, if you can’t spot how to do that, you can still succeed. Without complicating things, you can apply what is known as a Boolean operator to a search query.

The three most common Boolean operators are AND, OR and NOT (in capitals).

  1. AND is usually a given in searches, but if you wish to be specific for search engines that ignore certain terms, be sure to add it.
  2. NOT is equivalent to adding a minus sign (-), and indicates that you want a search that does not include something.
  3. OR is an option that tells the search engine to find one thing or another.
  • Harrell OR Herrell OR Harrall
  • “George Washington” NOT President
  • “George Washington” -President
  • George Washington AND Adams

Occasionally you’ll find additional operators, such as the mostly undocumented NEAR in Bing, or AROUND in Google, as well as the ability to search by date ranges.

  • “Susan Smith” 1940…1950 (finds references for this person between two dates)
  • “Egbert Jones” 38…48 (finds a range of numbers connected with this person, such as a specified age)

You’ll need to experiment with the various search engines, and browse their help features. Click here to find a reference on search operators from GoogleGuide’s list: http://www.googleguide.com/advanced_operators_reference.html.

In addition, you’ll find that many popular social network and e-mail programs have additional shortcuts and search options that can be useful for searching.

Please let us know your favorite search techniques in GenealogyBank. Other readers may find them useful!

Dispelling Superstitions about 13: History of the Thirteen Club

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” In this guest blog post—appropriate for Friday the 13th—Gena searches old newspapers to find stories about Captain William Fowler and the Thirteen Club he founded in 1880 to defy superstitions about the number 13.

Superstitions about 13

There are four Fridays in September and one of those—today—is a day that some look upon with dread. September marks the first of two occurrences of Friday the 13th in 2013; the other happens in December. While popular horror movies have been made about this day, it’s not just Friday the 13th that scares some people—it’s also the bad luck associated with the number 13 in general.

Many superstitions have existed around that number, whether it’s about a room numbered 13 or the 13th floor. All kinds of cautions exist including numerous warnings about sitting 13 people at a table. One such superstition declares that whenever 13 sit at a table, one will die within the year. Triskaidekaphobia, the fear of the number 13, was something well known to our 19th century ancestors.

History of the Thirteen Club

Because of these numerous superstitions around the number 13, in 1880 a Captain William Fowler decided to test some of those superstitions and prove them false by creating a social club known as the Thirteen Club in New York. He tested the fates by decreeing that his club would meet on the thirteenth day of the month and he would have 13 people sit at a dining table in room 13. Other superstitions he incorporated included having guests walk under a ladder and breaking a mirror.

His club was a way to show that superstitions were “a relic of the past that impeded progress.”* Should none of his 13 members die during the year after the meeting, he would show that the superstition around the number 13 was unfounded. Although his club was organized in 1880 it took a year to find 13 members brave enough to join.**

We get a sense of what a meeting of the Thirteen Club might have entailed from old newspapers. This article from an 1898 New York newspaper provided the menu for a meeting, related some of what occurred, and gave a few names of those in attendance.

Train as Master of the Feast: Lively Dinner of the Thirteen Club, New York Tribune newspaper article 14 February 1898

New York Tribune (New York, New York), 14 February 1898, page 7

Those original 13 members of the New York Thirteen Club grew to 487 members by 1887. Soon other Thirteen Clubs started around the United States, both official and unofficial clubs.*** This article from an 1885 Missouri newspaper recounted a Thirteen Club meeting in Chicago.

Defying Fate: Thirteenth Dinner of the Thirteen Club of the City of Chicago, Kansas City Star newspaper article 15 May 1885

Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Missouri), 15 May 1885, page 2

While the Thirteen Club began as an all-male club, they eventually decided that they needed to encourage female participation because women were “the more superstitious sex.” Special dinners were held where women were invited, and women spoke on the superstitions that kept them subjugated—including the need for suffrage. Eventually, separate Thirteen Clubs for women were also formed.****

This historical newspaper article from an 1894 New York newspaper reported on one of the Annual Ladies’ Dinners including the fact that a mirror broke, and pieces from it were given out as souvenirs of the night. The women in attendance were listed at the conclusion of the article.

Bade Defiance to Superstition: Members of the "Thirteen Club" Give Their Fourth Annual Ladies' Dinner, New York Herald newspaper article 14 April 1894

New York Herald (New York, New York), 14 April 1894, page 11

It appears that Thirteen Clubs died out in the early 1920s. Today, there are various mentions online of similar revival clubs meeting in an attempt to thumb their collective nose at superstitions.


* The Story of the World’s Most Popular Superstition by Nathaniel Lachenmeyer. New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press. 2004. Page 3.

** Ibid.

***Ibid, page 7.

****Ibid, page 10.

 


SSDI Quiz: Understanding the U.S. Social Security Death Index

Introduction: Mary Harrell-Sesniak is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background. In this guest blog post, Mary provides a fun quiz to see how well you know the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA)—and the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) it maintains, an important resource for genealogists. Mary uses old newspaper articles to learn more about the SSA and SSDI.

One of the exciting features of GenealogyBank is the ability to search the Social Security Death Index (SSDI). This important genealogical database is updated by the United States Social Security Administration (SSA). GenealogyBank’s SSDI search page provides an easy way to access this data.

screenshot of GenealogyBank's search page for the Social Security Death Index (SSDI)

Not all the fields on the search page have to be filled in, and some of GenealogyBank’s SSDI features are the ability to:

  • specify a specific date or a range for a decedent’s birth and death
  • specify by zip code or last known residence, or non-U.S. location

Data from the U.S. SSDI is frequently misinterpreted. If you think you are well versed in the subject, try this handy Social Security Genealogy Quiz and then check your answers below.

Social Security Genealogy Quiz

When did the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) system start?

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act on 14 August 1935, but taxes for the system were not collected until January of 1937. For more information about the history of the Social Security system in America, see www.ssa.gov/history/hfaq.html.

Roosevelt Signs Security Act as Cameras Grind, San Diego Union newspaper article 15 August 1935

San Diego Union (San Diego, California), 15 August 1935, page 1

Who is covered by the Social Security program?

Many groups are/were exempt, including railroad workers, and certain employees of state and local governments and schools.

The railroad workers are covered by the Railroad Retirement Program, and contribute a portion of their wages to both systems with a calculation adjustment done at retirement. It’s a bit complicated, so please see U.S. Social Security Administration: An Overview of the Railroad Retirement Program.

Prior to 1983, when Congress changed the law, various municipalities and other groups had opted out of the Social Security system. For example, the Texas counties of Galveston, Brazoria, and Matagorda opted out of the system prior to 1983, and are covered under an independent system. After 1984, municipalities who had not previously opted out of the system were required to be covered by the SSA, along with civilian federal employees.

Does that include the President, Senators and Congressmen?

Yes. The SSA’s Frequently Asked Questions website states:

“All members of Congress, the President and Vice President, Federal judges, and most political appointees, were covered under the Social Security program starting in January 1984.”

Here we see the SSDI record for President Richard M. Nixon.

Social Security Death Index (SSDI) record for President Richard M. Nixon

Is the SSDI’s birth and death information reliable?

After 1974, proof was required to obtain a Social Security number (SSN). For persons who entered the system prior to that date, one should cross-reference birth dates with other records. Death dates are more reliable, as proof of death (such as a death certificate) has to be submitted in order to claim a death benefit.

Proof Now Required for Social Security, Chicago Metro News newspaper article 6 July 1974

Chicago Metro News (Chicago, Illinois), 6 July 1974, page 3

Does the SSDI report the location where a person passed away?

No. It reports the last known place of residence, or the final address where Social Security benefits were sent.

What are the three parts of a Social Security number (XXX-XX-XXXX)?

The three parts are, in order:

  1. the 3-digit area number (XXX),
  2. the 2-digit group number (XX)
  3. and the 4-digit serial number (XXXX).

The SSA maintains a table explaining the assignment of the numbers. For instance, Alabama was assigned numbers from 416-424, and Louisiana 433-439. However, the location doesn’t necessarily indicate a residence, and could indicate a variety of locations—ranging from where one applied for a card (not necessarily one’s residence) to an office that processed the application.

According to the document Meaning of the Social Security Number (Nov. 1982, Vol. 45, No. 11): Table 1.–Assignment of area numbers by State:

“Until 1972, the area number indicated the location (state, territory, or possession) of the Social Security office that issued the number. When the numbering system was developed, one or more area numbers were allocated to each State based on the anticipated number of issuances in the State. Because an individual could apply for a SSN at any Social Security office, the area code did not necessarily indicate where the person lived or worked. Since 1972…[the] area code now indicates the person’s State of residence as shown on the SSN application.

“The group number has no special geographic or data significance. It is used to break the numbers into blocks of convenient size for SSA’s processing operations and for controlling the assignments to the States.

“The last four digits, the serial number, represent a numerical series from 0001-9999 within each group…”

Will the SSA run out of Social Security numbers (SSNs)?

It is not known how many Social Security numbers have been issued. However, the nine-digit system allows for nearly one billion SSNs, so the current system has not run out of numbers.

Does the SSA reuse numbers?

No, although some people claim they do.

Does GenealogyBank have the ability to make corrections in the SSDI?

No. The Social Security’s Death Master File Data is supplied to publishers of the SSDI, so corrections have to be addressed with the U.S. SSA. GenealogyBank has no method to process updates to this government-supported system.

Does the SSA have a smart phone app?

Yes, although it does not include the Social Security Death Index.

On 6 May 2013 Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, announced:

“…the agency is offering a new mobile optimized website, specifically aimed at smartphone users across the country. People visiting the agency’s website, www.socialsecurity.gov, via smartphone (Android, Blackberry, iPhone, and Windows devices) will be redirected to the agency’s new mobile-friendly site. Once there, visitors can access a mobile version of Social Security’s Frequently Asked Questions, an interactive Social Security number (SSN) decision tree to help people identify documents needed for a new/replacement SSN card, and mobile publications which they can listen to in both English and Spanish right on their phone.”

For more information, see: http://www.ssa.gov/pressoffice/pr/ssa-mobile-pr.html.

Note: if you experience issues with the SSA app on your smartphone, you can give Social Security a call (1-800-SSA-1213) to get help troubleshooting the issue.

Additional Social Security Resource for Genealogy

Acquiring Records from Social Security for Genealogical Research