Extreme Weather in History: Stories That Affected Our Ancestors

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” In this guest blog post, Gena researches old newspaper articles to show how severe weather deeply affected our ancestors’ lives.

Last week I went to pick up my son from a pool party and the outside temperature was 100 degrees at 9:00 p.m. While I expect it to be hot in the summer during the daytime, when it’s 100 degrees at night I know we’re in store for a heat wave.

There can be no doubt that the weather significantly affected our ancestors’ lives, even that of more recent generations. In my own family, my grandparents moved from the Los Angeles area to Indio, California, a desert community near Palm Springs, in the 1950s. The average daily high in the summer months is well over 100 degrees. Because my grandfather worked for the railroad, when he wasn’t sitting in a train in the heat he was working outside. Having traveled to that area many times I can’t imagine living there without air conditioning.

How did the weather affect your ancestors? Did they or a family member suffer an injury or die due to extreme cold or heat? Do you ever consider how the weather affected your ancestors’ everyday lives?

collage of scenes from the Blizzard of 1888 in Keene, New Hampshire

Collage: scenes of the Blizzard of 1888 in Keene, New Hampshire. Credit: Keene Public Library and the Historical Society of Cheshire County.

The Children’s Blizzard of 1888

Stories of the deadly consequences of severe weather filled our ancestors’ hometown newspapers. For those with Great Plains ancestors, the 12 January 1888 blizzard known as “The Children’s Blizzard” has great historical significance. This tremendously strong storm, which spread all the way to New England, caught everyone by surprise—including children at school, some of whom died because they couldn’t get home and the schools lacked provisions. This blizzard is chronicled in the book The Children’s Blizzard by David Laskin. Those who have read the “Little House on the Prairie” series by Laura Ingalls Wilder are familiar with this extreme blizzard because it’s depicted in the book The Long Winter.

This 1888 Missouri newspaper article reported the “awful list” of victims from the severe blizzard.

An Awful List: Victims of the Deadly Blizzard, Kansas City Times newspaper article 17 January 1888

Kansas City Times (Kansas City, Missouri), 17 January 1888, page 1

Newspapers are filled with articles reporting severe blizzards in history.

Extreme Heat Wave Hit New England

Sudden weather anomalies like blizzards weren’t the only type of weather that had dire consequences for our ancestors. Extreme heat—especially the inability to escape it—was also something that took its toll on our ancestors. This article from a 1911 Massachusetts newspaper reports on those who died from a heat wave blasting New England, including a man who was run over by his horse-drawn cart when the horses went crazy from the heat.

Second Heat Wave Calls Toll of Ten, Boston Journal newspaper article 11 July 1911

Boston Journal (Boston, Massachusetts), 11 July 1911, page 1

Newspapers provide information on the day-to-day weather in your ancestors’ communities. Explore them to find stories of extreme storms and severe weather throughout history. Newspapers also printed old daily almanac weather reports and bulletins that can give you insight into the weather conditions that affected your ancestors’ lives.

Once you’ve researched these articles to identify extreme weather stories and weather records, consider searching a manuscript collection for a diary or journal in which someone describes how the weather on a particular day affected the city or town.

Another good source of historical weather information is Google Books. Titles such as The Weather and Climate of Chicago by Henry Joseph Cox and John Howard Armington, and Maryland Weather Service by Maryland Weather Service, Forrest Shreve and Oliver Lanard Fassig, provide weather data back to the beginning of the 19th century.

The weather affected all aspects of our ancestors’ lives from their work to their everyday living circumstances. Take a look at their area’s newspapers for the story behind the weather—one more way historical newspapers help you flesh out the names and dates on your family tree to get to know your ancestors better, the lives they led, and the times they lived in.

Marriage by Proxy & More Stories of Attendance from Afar

Every now and then you run across an interesting marriage announcement in old newspapers about someone who couldn’t travel to a wedding—so they attended by proxy.

Attendance Married by Proxy

I once read about Mark Twain and his wife attending the funeral of his mother in law—by listening to it over the telephone 450 miles away!

Mark Twain Funeral by Proxy Newspaper Clip Daily Inter Ocean

Daily Inter Ocean (Chicago, Illinois), 12 January 1891, page 2.

It seems that proxy weddings were common on the island of Curacao—at least for Luis O. Negron. Although not married himself, Negron participated in five proxy weddings there on the island.

In one instance, a Mr. Lieder in New York needed to return to Curacao to marry his bride-to-be, Miss Armajo, who was also from his native Curacao. However, Mr. Lieder could not leave New York at the time of the wedding. So on 25 June 1902 they were married—using a proxy stand-in husband. Apparently the bride’s brother-in-law, Luis O. Negron, had plenty of experience with proxy marriages!

Married By Proxy Charlotte Observer July 2, 1902

Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, North Carolina), 7 July 1902, page 1.

1000s of Recent Illinois Obituaries & More Going Online!

GenealogyBank is pleased to announce that obituaries from the newspapers in the following list are being added to our Recent Obituaries Collection. Note that we are adding thousands of recent Illinois obituaries from 58 newspapers so you are more likely to find your recently deceased Illinoisan relatives in GenealogyBank. These new obituaries provide fantastic coverage for the Chicago metro area.

Helen L. Pierce obituary, Landmark newspaper article 15 November 2012

Landmark (Holden, Massachusetts), 15 November 2012

Find and document your family—today.

Anniston Star (Anniston, AL)

  • Death Notices:  1/2/2008 – Current

Hunterdon County Democrat: Web Edition Articles (Flemington, NJ)

  • Obituaries:  08/07/2008 – Current

Messenger-Gazette: Web Edition Articles (Somerville, NJ)

  • Obituaries:  01/24/2010 – Current

Midland Daily News (Midland, MI)

  • Death Notices:  12/21/2004 – Current
  • Note:  Scattered earlier data also available; missing death notices 10/1/2008 through 7/5/2010

Post and Courier (Charleston, SC)

  • Death Notices:  12/02/2004 – Current

The following 58 titles are from the “My Suburban Life” group:

Addison Press (Addison, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Bartlett Press (Bartlett, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Batavia Republican (Batavia, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Bensenville Press (Bensenville, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Berkeley Suburban Life (Berkeley, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Berwyn Life (Berwyn, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Bloomingdale Press (Bloomingdale, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Broadview Suburban Life (Broadview, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Brookfield Suburban Life (Brookfield, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Burr Ridge Suburban Life (Burr Ridge, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Carol Stream Press (Carol Stream, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Cicero Life (Cicero, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Clarendon Hills Suburban Life (Clarendon Hills, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Countryside Suburban Life (Oak Brook, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Darien Suburban Life (Darien, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Downers Grove Reporter, The (Downers Grove, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Elmhurst Press (Elmhurst, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Farmside (Huntley, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Forest View Life (Forest View, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Geneva Republican (Geneva, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Glen Ellyn News (Glen Ellyn, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Glendale Heights Press (Glendale Heights, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Hanover Park Press (Hanover Park, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Hillside Suburban Life (Hillside, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Hinsdale Suburban Life (Hinsdale, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Hodgkins Suburban Life (Hodgkins, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Indian Head Park Suburban Life (Indian Head Park, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Itasca Press (Itasca, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

La Grange Park Suburban Life (La Grange Park, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Lemont Reporter Metropolitan (Lemont, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Lisle Reporter (Lisle, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Lombard Spectator, The (Lombard, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Lyons Suburban Life (Lyons, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

McCook Suburban Life (McCook, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Naperville Reporter (Naperville, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

North Riverside Suburban Life (North Riverside, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Oak Brook Suburban Life (Oak Brook, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Oakbrook Terrace Press (Oakbrook Terrace, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Reporter (Bolingbrook, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Riverside Suburban Life (Riverside, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Romeoville Reporter (Romeoville, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Roselle Press (Roselle, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

St. Charles Republican (St. Charles, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Stickney Life (Stickney, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Streamwood Press (Streamwood, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Villa Park Argus, The (Villa Park, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Warrenville Press (Warrenville, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Wayne Republican (Wayne, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

West Chicago Press (West Chicago, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Westchester Suburban Life (Westchester, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Western Springs Suburban Life (Western Springs, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Westmont Progress (Westmont, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Wheaton Leader (Wheaton, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Willow Springs Suburban Life (Willow Springs, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Willowbrook Suburban Life (Willowbrook, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Winfield Press, The (Saint Charles, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Wood Dale Press (Wood Dale, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Woodridge Reporter (Woodridge, IL)

  • Death Notices:  01/22/2008 – Current

Duluth, Minnesota, Newspapers Online

GenealogyBank has the city of Duluth covered, providing newspapers from 1869 to 1922 to help with your family searches in the “North Star State.”

This was how the town looked during that period in history.

photo of Duluth, Minnesota, 1898

Photo: Duluth, Minnesota, 1898. Credit: Wikipedia.

These were exciting days for the growing Minnesota city. Duluth, situated in the heart of the country, is actually a port city because of its location on Lake Superior. Its port handled large amounts of cargo, and routinely received incoming ships from Europe and coastal American cities that travelled up the Saint Lawrence Seaway and through the Great Lakes. Duluth’s bustling port surpassed both New York and Chicago in gross tonnage handled around the beginning of the 20th century. As a result of the city’s shipping success, Duluth became home to more millionaires per capita than any other U.S. city during that time, and featured ten local city newspapers.

Did your ancestors pass through Duluth, MN, on their way to the Midwest? Did they settle and stay in the popular port city?

Dig into our online Duluth, MN, newspaper archives and see what you can find out about your family tree online now:

Budgeteer News 6/9/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Duluth Daily News 7/2/1887 – 9/4/1892 Newspaper Archives
Duluth Minnesotian 4/24/1869 – 9/4/1875 Newspaper Archives
Duluth Minnesotian-Herald 9/11/1875 – 5/11/1878 Newspaper Archives
Duluth News Tribune 1/1/1995 – Current Recent Obituaries
Duluth News-Tribune 5/16/1881 – 12/31/1922 Newspaper Archives
Duluth Weekly News-Tribune 1/2/1897 – 6/26/1897 Newspaper Archives
Duluth Weekly Tribune 1/6/1876 – 7/15/1887 Newspaper Archives
Lake Superior News 7/4/1878 – 1/27/1881 Newspaper Archives

23 Million Newspaper Records for all 50 U.S. States Just Added!

Did you realize that every day GenealogyBank adds more records from over 3,000 newspapers from all 50 states? Our archivists and digital experts are gathering and digitizing more of America’s newspapers and putting them online continuously.

In the past month alone we added over 23 million newspaper records—that is more than 5 million records every week!

Here is a glimpse of just some of the new newspaper content that has recently been added to GenealogyBank. Since we can’t list all 3,000 newspapers here, we have selected a representative sample to give you a sense of GenealogyBank’s dynamic growth. Dig into our rapidly expanding newspaper archives and uncover your family history now!

Newspapers marked with an asterisk (*) are new to GenealogyBank.

State City Newspapers

Date Range

Collection

Alaska Anchorage Anchorage Daily News

1/2/1971–12/30/1972

Newspaper Archives

California San Diego Evening Tribune

9/2/1912–9/29/1936

Newspaper Archives

California San Diego San Diego Union

4/20/1881–12/23/1930

Newspaper Archives

California San Francisco Bay Citizen, The*

06/01/2010–Current

Recent Obituaries

Colorado Denver Denver Post

7/4/1903–5/22/1917

Newspaper Archives

Colorado Denver Denver Rocky Mountain News

11/30/1890–10/1/1898

Newspaper Archives

Colorado Golden Arvada Press*

08/30/2012–Current

Recent Obituaries

Colorado Golden Golden Transcript*

06/07/2012–Current

Recent Obituaries

Colorado Golden Wheat Ridge Transcript*

05/12/2012–Current

Recent Obituaries

Colorado Lakewood Lakewood Sentinel*

05/18/2012–Current

Recent Obituaries

Colorado Thornton Northglenn-Thornton Sentinel*

05/18/2012–Current

Recent Obituaries

Colorado Westminster Westminster Window*

05/18/2012–Current

Recent Obituaries

District of Columbia Washington Daily Union

05/01/1845–12/31/1853

Newspaper Archives

District of Columbia Washington (DC) Evening Star

4/11/1877–12/31/1922

Newspaper Archives

Georgia Marietta Marietta Journal

1/15/1961–12/8/1978

Newspaper Archives

Idaho Idaho Falls Post Register*

01/24/2013–Current

Recent Obituaries

Illinois Belleville Belleville News-Democrat: Blogs*

05/22/2009–Current

Recent Obituaries

Illinois Chicago Chicago Sun-Times: Blogs*

02/20/2008–Current

Recent Obituaries

Illinois Elburn Elburn Herald*

10/09/2008–Current

Recent Obituaries

Illinois Springfield Daily Illinois State Register

1/1/1856–1/14/1892

Newspaper Archives

Louisiana Baton Rouge Advocate

10/1/1943–5/15/1958

Newspaper Archives

Louisiana Baton Rouge State Times Advocate

3/3/1933–9/15/1969

Newspaper Archives

Louisiana New Orleans NOLA Defender*

03/13/2010–Current

Recent Obituaries

Maryland Baltimore Sun

8/9/1922–9/3/1922

Newspaper Archives

Massachusetts Boston Boston Herald

7/2/1855–9/19/1972

Newspaper Archives

Massachusetts Boston Boston Herald: Blogs*

10/28/2006–Current

Recent Obituaries

Massachusetts Boston Boston Traveler

9/1/1855–8/7/1951

Newspaper Archives

Massachusetts Springfield Republican, The: Web Edition Articles*

11/16/2012–Current

Recent Obituaries

Massachusetts Springfield Springfield Daily News

1/24/1914–11/6/1919

Newspaper Archives

Massachusetts Springfield Springfield Republican

01/18/1920–01/18/1920

Newspaper Archives

Massachusetts Westfield Westfield News, The*

12/13/2011–Current

Recent Obituaries

Michigan Ann Arbor Ann Arbor Daily Argus

11/17/1898–12/31/1906

Newspaper Archives

Michigan Ann Arbor Ann Arbor Daily Times

10/5/1907–4/7/1908

Newspaper Archives

Michigan Ann Arbor Michigan Argus

10/31/1879–12/20/1907

Newspaper Archives

Michigan Ypsilanti Ypsilanti Commercial

3/11/1864–8/18/1898

Newspaper Archives

Mississippi Hattiesburg Petal News, The*

04/21/2011–Current

Recent Obituaries

Nebraska Omaha Omaha Star*

01/07/2011–Current

Recent Obituaries

Nebraska Omaha Omaha World Herald

11/1/1981–11/30/1983

Newspaper Archives

Nevada Boulder City Boulder City Review*

11/05/2009–Current

Recent Obituaries

New Jersey Leonia Leonia Life*

01/22/2010–Current

Recent Obituaries

New York Hastings-on-Hudson, Dobbs Ferry Rivertowns Daily Voice*

08/02/2011–Current

Recent Obituaries

New York New York Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper

04/01/1871–10/21/1871

Newspaper Archives

New York New York New Yorker Volkszeitung

02/18/1894–02/28/1900

Newspaper Archives

New York Westchester County Newsday: Westchester County Edition*

05/02/2012–Current

Recent Obituaries

North Carolina Charlotte Charlotte Observer, The: Blogs*

11/09/2006–Current

Recent Obituaries

North Carolina Greensboro Greensboro Daily News

4/14/1945–9/30/1977

Newspaper Archives

North Carolina Greensboro Greensboro Record

2/22/1950–4/10/1981

Newspaper Archives

North Carolina Reidsville Eden Daily News, The*

02/13/2013–Current

Recent Obituaries

Ohio Cincinnati Cincinnati Post

1/7/1886–6/4/1920

Newspaper Archives

Oregon Hood River Hood River News*

08/09/2001–Current

Recent Obituaries

Pennsylvania Philadelphia Philadelphia City Paper*

06/29/2006–Current

Recent Obituaries

South Carolina Charleston Charleston Courier*

8/14/1860–2/15/1861

Newspaper Archives

South Carolina Charleston Charleston News and Courier

11/04/1897–07/16/1913

Newspaper Archives

South Carolina Charleston Evening Post

9/29/1914–8/29/1921

Newspaper Archives

Texas Fredericksburg Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post*

08/07/2002–Current

Recent Obituaries

Vermont Middlebury Addison County Independent*

12/27/2006–Current

Recent Obituaries

Vermont St. Johnsbury Caledonian

8/12/1854–6/25/1897

Newspaper Archives

Vermont St. Johnsbury Caledonian-Record

11/25/1908–1/14/1925

Newspaper Archives

Virginia Richmond Richmond Times Dispatch

2/1/1948–12/31/1986

Newspaper Archives

Washington Bellingham Bellingham Herald, The: Blogs*

01/15/2008–Current

Recent Obituaries

Washington Forks Forks Forum*

12/15/2010–Current

Recent Obituaries

Wisconsin Chippewa Falls Chippewa Herald, The: Blogs*

06/21/2012–Current

Recent Obituaries

Wisconsin Milwaukee Wahrheit

09/05/1896–09/05/1896

Newspaper Archives

Thousands More Recent Obituaries from 13 States Coming Soon!

GenealogyBank is adding 21 new newspapers with thousands more obituaries to its Recent Obituaries archives to help with your family history research.

GenealogyBank's search form for Recent Newspaper Obituaries

GenealogyBank’s search form for Recent Newspaper Obituaries

These newspapers are from 13 states: California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.

You can view our entire Recent Obituaries archives here: http://www.genealogybank.com/gbnk/obituaries/

These newspapers will be added in the next few weeks.

Bay Citizen (San Francisco, CA)

  • Obituaries:  06/01/2010 – Current

Arvada Press (Golden, CO)

  • Obituaries:  08/30/2012 – Current

Golden Transcript (Golden, CO)

  • Obituaries:  06/07/2012 – Current

Lakewood Sentinel (Lakewood, CO)

  • Obituaries:  05/18/2012 – Current

Northglenn-Thornton Sentinel (Thornton, CO)

  • Obituaries:  05/18/2012 – Current

Westminster Window (Westminster, CO)

  • Obituaries:  05/18/2012 – Current

Wheat Ridge Transcript (Golden, CO)

  • Obituaries:  05/12/2012 – Current

Post Register (Idaho Falls, ID)

  • Obituaries:  01/24/2013 – Current

Belleville News-Democrat: Blogs (Belleville, IL)

  • Obituaries:  05/22/2009 – Current

Chicago Sun-Times: Blogs (Chicago, IL)

  • Obituaries:  02/20/2008 – Current

Elburn Herald (Elburn, IL)

  • Obituaries:  10/09/2008 – Current

Boston Herald: Blogs (Boston, MA)

  • Obituaries:  10/28/2006 – Current

Boulder City Review (Boulder City, NV)

  • Obituaries:  11/26/2009 – Current

Newsday: Westchester County Edition (NY)

  • Obituaries:  05/02/2012 – Current

Charlotte Observer: Blogs (Charlotte, NC)

  • Obituaries:  11/09/2006 – Current

Eden Daily News (Reidsville, NC)

  • Obituaries:  02/13/2013 – Current

Hood River News (Hood River, OR)

  • Obituaries:  08/09/2001 – Current

Philadelphia City Paper (Philadelphia, PA)

  • Obituaries:  06/29/2006 – Current

Addison County Independent (Middlebury, VT)

  • Obituaries:  12/27/2006 – Current

Bellingham Herald: Blogs (Bellingham, WA)

  • Obituaries:  01/15/2008 – Current

Chippewa Herald: Blogs (Chippewa Falls, WI)

  • Obituaries:  06/21/2012 – Current

Valentine’s Day History Facts & My Sweet Genealogy Karma

Introduction: Scott Phillips is a genealogical historian and owner of Onward To Our Past® genealogy services. In this guest blog post, Scott turns to old newspapers to research the history of St. Valentine’s Day—and shares a personal Valentine’s Day story.

Nothing much beats holidays as a way to get everyone talking about family, memories, stories, and family history. Certainly Valentine’s Day is no exception! I’ve been blessed to have my “Valentine” with me now for over 38 years and I sure am glad she said that she would be my valentine all those years ago.

In the case of my wonderful wife, each year about this time I would go out to find one of those fancy satin hearts filled with chocolates. Why? Well, when we were dating she told me, very early in our relationship, “I’ll know the man who really loves me because he will buy me one of those fancy hearts filled with chocolates for Valentine’s Day.” Needless to say I bought one for her every year after that.

Every year, that is, until recently when she said to me: “OK honey, I know you love me so you can stop now.” So now I have to be creative and come up with something new and different each Valentine’s Day. That got me to thinking this year about what the history of Valentine’s Day was, what gifts might have been like in the past, etc. I admit I never really knew much about this holiday, so I gave GenealogyBank.com a look for some information about this romantic day and maybe even find some potential ideas for my wife’s gift.

Historical Origins of Valentine’s Day

My first hit helped explain the history of the Valentine’s Day holiday. There in a 1925 newspaper was an intriguing, full-page article describing the origins of Valentine’s Day. The first thing I learned was that it is actually St. Valentine’s Day, named after the long-ago martyred Saint Valentine.

Why We Call It St. Valentine's Day, Dallas Morning News newspaper article 8 February 1925

Dallas Morning News (Dallas, Texas), 8 February 1925, page 1

I certainly appreciated one of the cartoons that accompanied the old news article, even if I have been lucky enough to never have to visit a pawnshop prior to my shopping trips for chocolate-filled hearts.

Valentine's Day cartoon, Dallas Morning News newspaper 8 February 1925

Dallas Morning News (Dallas, Texas), 8 February 1925, page 1

The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre

My next hit was closer to my adopted hometown when I saw the byline of Chicago, but alas this 1929 newspaper article was about the infamous St. Valentine’s Day gangster massacre.

Link Capone with Chicago Massacre, Boston Herald newspaper article 15 February 1929

Boston Herald (Boston, Massachusetts), 15 February 1929, page 1

Ugh…not romantic in the least, although it is a very interesting event in our national history. So I was off in search of more newspaper articles about Valentine’s Day.

My Sweet Genealogy Karma

Then I found it! At least, to me as a genealogist, I found it. It was in a 1910 newspaper: there was an advertisement entitled “For Your Valentine: Candy Hearts and Heart Shaped Boxes.”

Valentine's Day candy ad, Plain Dealer newspaper 11 February 1910

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 11 February 1910, page 14

I smiled when I saw that the price of satin heart boxes ran from 20 cents to $4, but it was the name of the company that ran the advertisement, The Chandler & Rudd Company, that actually caught my eye. You see back in 1910 my great grandfather, Frederick George Evenden, was a Master Tea Blender for none other than The Chandler & Rudd Company. Yep, the very same company as the one in the advertisement—and during the time that he worked there.

So for all these years my buying chocolate-filled hearts was simply karma! Karma sent from my great grandfather to my wife, giving her vibes to instruct me to go for what he personally knew was the really good stuff for Valentine’s Day! Sadly, Chandler & Rudd closed just two years ago, but if they were still open I’d be on the phone with them right now to buy her a sweet bit of the past.

So with a tip o’ my hat to my great grandfather Evenden, this year I am going back to getting my Sweetie some of those fancy chocolate candies in a heart-shaped box this Valentine’s Day for sure.

Happy St. Valentine’s Day to you and your family!

3,000+ U.S. Newspaper Archives Just Got More Content!

It is another busy year for the GenealogyBank team as we continue to rapidly grow our online archives to offer you the best U.S. newspaper coverage for your genealogy research. We are pleased to announce that we recently added more back issues and articles to more than 3,000 newspapers from all 50 U.S. states! Now you can enjoy even more content to investigate your family history with our expanded newspaper coverage across the entire United States.

It would be too lengthy to list them all, but here is a partial list of the new newspapers we added, and the expansion to some of our existing titles: over 60 newspapers from 11 states. This gives you just a taste of the rapid growth of GenealogyBank’s online U.S. newspaper archives!

In fact, we are adding more newspapers right now, as we do each and every day to help you do better genealogy research.

Dig in and tell us what you find.

State City Newspaper

Coverae

Collection

Alabama Mobile Alabama Staats-Zeitung

02/08/1917–02/08/1917

Newspaper Archives

California Martinez Martinez News-Gazette*

01/06/2009–Current

Recent Obituaries

California San Diego Evening Tribune

9/29/1908–12/31/1914

Newspaper Archives

California San Diego San Diego Union

05/12/1871–07/17/1905

Newspaper Archives

District of Columbia Washington Daily Union

01/02/1846–12/31/1850

Newspaper Archives

District of Columbia Washington Evening Star

3/7/1913–2/9/1921

Newspaper Archives

Illinois Chicago Chicago Crusader*

11/26/2011–Current

Recent Obituaries

Illinois Peoria Journal Star

4/1/1951–3/31/1953

Newspaper Archives

Illinois Springfield Daily Illinois State Journal

1/9/1907–3/23/1913

Newspaper Archives

Illinois Springfield Daily Illinois State Register

4/1/1915–12/3/1922

Newspaper Archives

Indiana Gary Gary Crusader*

12/03/2011–Current

Recent Obituaries

Louisiana Baton Rouge State Times Advocate

3/1/1933–7/30/1975

Newspaper Archives

Louisiana New Orleans Advocate, The: New Orleans Edition*

10/22/2012–Current

Recent Obituaries

Maine Biddeford Justice de Biddeford

09/16/1897–03/02/1950

Newspaper Archives

Maine Sanford Justice de Sanford

04/29/1926–12/06/1928

Newspaper Archives

Maryland Baltimore American and Commercial Daily Advertiser

12/28/1850–06/30/1853

Newspaper Archives

Massachusetts Boston American Traveller*

05/02/1862–10/21/1862

Newspaper Archives

Massachusetts Boston Boston Herald

1/1/1851–12/30/1972

Newspaper Archives

Massachusetts Boston Boston Traveller

10/1/1945–12/31/1951

Newspaper Archives

Massachusetts Boston Boston Traveller*

10/02/1854–03/31/1864

Newspaper Archives

Michigan Ann Arbor Ann Arbor Daily Argus*

11/16/1898–6/24/1907

Newspaper Archives

Michigan Ann Arbor Ann Arbor Daily Times

10/15/1903–5/2/1908

Newspaper Archives

Michigan Ann Arbor Ann Arbor Daily Times*

9/1/1903–12/29/1906

Newspaper Archives

Michigan Ann Arbor Ann Arbor News-Argus*

6/25/1907–5/2/1908

Newspaper Archives

Michigan Ann Arbor Michigan Argus*

10/17/1879–12/27/1907

Newspaper Archives

Michigan Ann Arbor True Democrat*

12/19/1845–3/8/1849

Newspaper Archives

Michigan Ypsilanti Ypsilanti Commercial*

4/17/1869–8/25/1898

Newspaper Archives

New Jersey Collingswood Retrospect, The*

01/06/2012–Current

Recent Obituaries

New Jersey Egg Harbor City Egg Harbor Pilot

10/17/1908–02/20/1915

Newspaper Archives

New Jersey Newark Newark Daily Advertiser

12/28/1864–12/29/1866

Newspaper Archives

New York New York Courrier des Etats-Unis

11/17/1859–01/26/1885

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New York New York Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper

06/04/1870–10/28/1871

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New York New York New Yorker Volkszeitung*

01/14/1894–02/27/1898

Newspaper Archives

New York Plattsburgh Burgh, The*

08/05/2011–Current

Recent Obituaries

New York Skaneateles Skaneateles Press*

08/04/2011–Current

Recent Obituaries

North Carolina Greensboro Greensboro Daily News

7/30/1939–2/12/1973

Newspaper Archives

North Carolina Greensboro Greensboro Record

9/13/1946–7/14/1964

Newspaper Archives

Ohio Cincinnati Cincinnati Post

6/17/1885–6/26/1897

Newspaper Archives

Oklahoma Bethany Bethany Tribune*

12/07/2012–Current

Recent Obituaries

Oklahoma Fairland American, The*

10/04/2012–Current

Recent Obituaries

Oklahoma Nowata Nowata Star*

10/03/2012–Current

Recent Obituaries

Oklahoma Perry Perry Daily Journal*

12/04/2012–Current

Recent Obituaries

Oklahoma Vinita Vinita Daily Journal, The*

11/10/2012–Current

Recent Obituaries

Oklahoma Weatherford Weatherford Daily News*

11/27/2012–Current

Recent Obituaries

Pennsylvania Erie Erie Tageblatt

03/07/1899–04/20/1903

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Pennsylvania Harrisburg Unparteyische Harrisburg Morgenroethe Zeitung

02/03/1831–02/03/1831

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Pennsylvania Jeannette Jeannette Spirit, The*

11/15/2012–Current

Recent Obituaries

Pennsylvania Ligonier Ligonier Echo, The*

04/21/2011–Current

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Pennsylvania Monroeville North Journal*

04/12/2012–Current

Recent Obituaries

Pennsylvania Monroeville Times Express, The*

04/14/2011–Current

Recent Obituaries

Pennsylvania Penn Hills Plum Advance Leader*

11/08/2012–Current

Recent Obituaries

Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Druid

01/15/1929–03/01/1929

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Pennsylvania Pittsburgh National Labor Tribune

01/11/1941–08/18/1945

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Pennsylvania Scottdale Independent-Observer, The*

04/21/2011–Current

Recent Obituaries

Pennsylvania South Hills South Hills Record*

11/07/2012–Current

Recent Obituaries

South Carolina Charleston Charleston News and Courier

2/21/1895–4/13/1910

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South Carolina Charleston Evening Post

5/26/1899–6/20/1922

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Tennessee Spring Hill Advertiser News, The*

05/14/2007–Current

Recent Obituaries

Texas Jasper Jasper Newsboy, The*

12/28/2005–Current

Recent Obituaries

Virginia Richmond Richmond Times Dispatch

6/11/1944–9/15/1986

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Washington Ocean Shores North Coast News, The*

03/24/2009–03/23/2012

Recent Obituaries

Wisconsin Milwaukee Wahrheit

12/22/1906–06/25/1910

Newspaper Archives

Current Obituary Archives from 16 U.S. Newspapers Just Added!

GenealogyBank is pleased to announce that it is adding 16 current U.S. newspapers this month to our collection of recent obituaries, with titles from Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania.

This addition of thousands more current obituaries and death notices will help you with your family history research, providing information on family members who have passed away recently.

Here is the list of current obits just added, expanding our coverage for 16 more U.S. states:

Chicago Crusader (Chicago, IL)

  • Obituaries:  11/26/2011 – Current

Gary Crusader (Gary, IN)

  • Obituaries:  12/03/2011 – Current

Advocate, The: New Orleans Edition (New Orleans, LA)

  • Obituaries:  10/22/2012 – Current

Retrospect (Collingswood, NJ)

  • Obituaries:  01/06/2012 – Current

American (Fairland, OK)

  • Death Notices:  10/04/2012 – Current

Bethany Tribune (Bethany, OK)

  • Death Notices:  12/07/2012 – Current

Nowata Star (Nowata, OK)

  • Death Notices:  10/03/2012 – Current

Perry Daily Journal (Perry, OK)

  • Obituaries:  12/04/2012 – Current

Vinita Daily Journal (Vinita, OK)

  • Obituaries:  11/10/2012 – Current

Weatherford Daily News (Weatherford, OK)

  • Obituaries:  11/27/2012 – Current

Independent-Observer (Scottdale, PA)

  • Obituaries: 4/21/2011 – Current

Ligonier Echo (Ligonier, PA)

  • Obituaries:  4/21/2011 – Current

North Journal (Monroeville, PA)

  • Obituaries:  04/12/2012 – Current

Plum Advance Leader (Penn Hills, PA)

  • Obituaries:  4/14/2011 – Current

South Hills Record (South Hills, PA)

  • Obituaries:  4/21/2011 – Current

Times Express (Monroeville, PA)

  • Obituaries:  4/14/2011 – Current

In addition to these 16 new obituary collections, we have also expanded the coverage of several of the other current obits collections already in our recent obituary archives:

New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)

  • Death Notices:  added 09/28/2010 – Current

Burlington County Times (Willingboro, Burlington, NJ)

  • Death Notices:  added 12/27/2010 – 11/15/2011

Eastern Wake News (Zebulon, NC)

  • Death Notices:  added 11/12/2009 – Current

Garner-Cleveland Record (Garner, Cleveland, NC)

  • Death Notices: added 01/19/2011 – Current

Midtown Raleigh News (Raleigh, NC)

  • Death Notices:  added 04/13/2011 – Current

Smithfield Herald (Smithfield, NC)

  • Obituaries:  added 1/11/2012 – Current

Southwest Wake News (Apex, Holly Springs, NC)

  • Death Notices:  added 04/15/2012 – Current

Blairsville Dispatch (Blairsville, PA)

  • Death Notices:  added 09/26/2001 – 11/04/2011

Bucks County Courier Times (Levittown, Bristol, Langhorne, PA)

  • Death Notices:  added 06/02/2011 – 11/11/2011

Daily Courier (Connellsville, PA)

  • Death Notices: added 10/17/2001 – 11/7/2011

Herald (Fox Chapel, PA)

  • Death Notices:  added 4/21/2011 – Current

Intelligencer (Doylestown, PA)

  • Death Notices:  added 04/13/2011 – 11/10/2011

Leader Times (Kittanning, PA)

  • Death Notices:  added 10/12/2001 – 11/18/2011

Mount Pleasant Journal, The (Mount Pleasant, PA)

  • Death Notices:  added 04/21/2011 – Current

Valley Independent (Monessen, PA)

  • Death Notices:  added 10/16/2001 – 11/18/2011

Valley News Dispatch (New Kensington, PA)

  • Death Notices:  added 10/17/2001 – 11/18/2011

How to Use Old Newspapers to Research Family Stories & Photos

Introduction: Scott Phillips is a genealogical historian and owner of Onward To Our Past® genealogy services. In this guest blog post, Scott searches online newspapers to figure out who the companions are that appear with his grandmother in an old family photograph.

Recently my awesome Mom (God bless her as she is 92, still going strong, and loves to help me with our family history) gave me a couple of old family photographs. One was a photo of my paternal grandmother, Ina Cottle Phillips, with the notation on the back “On the Boardwalk with the Wades.” As you can guess, as a genealogist I was off and running trying to discover the “Wade” portion of that note. Who were these companions of my grandmother?

Photo of Ina Cottle Phillips on the Boardwalk with the Wades

Ina Cottle Phillips, seated in the rear, “On the Boardwalk with the Wades.” Photo from the author’s collection.

First, I did what every genealogist should do: ask the elders! I asked my mom, who had a recollection that when my grandmother first arrived as an immigrant in Cleveland, Ohio, she got a job with a Wade family. Ah ha! Next, I reviewed my family tree notes and found that I had a reference, long forgotten, that said my grandmother was the “traveling companion” of one Mrs. Wade of Cleveland. Now this story was getting interesting! I wondered who might, in the early 1900s, have had a “traveling companion.”

Next stop was searching the old newspapers at GenealogyBank.com. It wasn’t long before a fun story began to unveil itself. First I happened across a vast number of references to Wade families in Cleveland, but one in particular stood out. An old newspaper article published in the Cleveland Leader explained that one Wade family gave substantial donations around Cleveland, including a large piece of land for what, still to this day, is known as Wade Park.

The Gifts of the Wades, Cleveland Leader newspaper article 10 May 1902

Cleveland Leader (Cleveland, Ohio), 10 May 1902, page 6

I dug deeper into the historical newspaper archives and soon found a beautiful drawing from the Plain Dealer showing the Wade Memorial Chapel in Cleveland’s Lake View Cemetery.

illustration of the Wade Memorial Chapel, Plain Dealer newspaper article 25 December 1898

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 25 December 1898, page 1

Sensing that I might be on to something I started looking for obituaries, and sure enough found an exceptionally informative one in the Chicago Herald that gave quite a biography of Jeptha Wade. The old obituary’s lead was that Mr. Wade was the man who saw the true value in a newfangled device called the telegraph, and started a company known to this day: Western Union. This obituary also tied in Cleveland and Wade Park.

Demise of Jeptha E. Wade, Chicago Herald newspaper article 10 August 1890

Chicago Herald (Chicago, Illinois), 10 August 1890, page 11

Next I sharpened the focus of my genealogy research to include both the Wade and Cottle names and got a hit, but when I opened the newspaper article I was surprised to find that the Cottle was not my grandmother: it was an obituary for her brother George. I learned that he, too, had a connection to the Wade family. The obituary stated that my great uncle George worked for the Wade family in their Wade Realty Company for 35 years. A fun aside was discovering that he was also a gardener for John D. Rockefeller, but that will have to be a different story for a later time!

George B. Cottle, Plain Dealer newspaper article 27 January 1966

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 27 January 1966, page 61

Now the pieces were beginning to fit. Brother George immigrated first and got a job with the Wade family. Could he possibly then have vouched for my grandmother and helped her get a job as traveling companion for Mrs. Wade? Perhaps on one of their trips someone took the old photos of her that I now hold in my hands.

It has been tremendous fun learning about this aspect of my Cottle ancestors and beginning to understand the possible history of those photographs my Mom gave me. Now to finish the task! Thanks to some more genealogy detective work I have located the living descendants of the Wade family and have reached out and asked them if they might review the old photographs. Hopefully, they can identify my grandmother’s companions in the photos—and if I am really, really lucky, they just might.

Now…I wonder if anyone out there needs a “traveling companion” today. I’d sure be happy to apply for the job!