The Social Columns: Mrs. Smith Is Visiting Her Parents in New Mexico

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” In this guest blog post, Gena shows how much valuable family history information can be found in newspapers’ social columns.

Newspapers report important events and breaking news on the local, national and international level. They document accidents, crimes, politics, and natural disasters. They also report on the rich and famous, the infamous, and politicians. Many people have an assumption that only “famous” or “important” people are written about in the newspaper. Some people assume that their ancestor’s name would never be found in the newspaper because they were “just farmers”—no one special.

But of course, everyday people’s lives are recorded in newspapers, with many articles documenting births, marriages, and deaths. Ordinary people’s stories can also be found in other parts of the paper. Newspapers document their community, both the good times and the bad. They report everything from who owes back taxes and epidemic victims’ names, to legal notices and school achievements. Many of a town’s small goings-on can be found in the local newspaper’s social columns.

I love the social columns of the newspaper. This is the section that names community members and reports on their everyday lives. Think of it as Twitter for an earlier generation.

According to the online article “Using Newspapers for Genealogical Research” available from the Genealogy Center of the Allen County Public Library in Indiana, one type of newspaper article that is especially helpful to genealogists is the “social items, such as notices of visitors from out of town; visits of local people to other places; birthday parties and their attendees; illnesses; community events, contests, and holiday celebrations and their participants; notices of residents who have moved to other locations; etc.”

There can be great genealogical benefits to searching a social news column, especially around the time of an ancestor’s death. Once as I was researching a death for a client the social column reported the illness of the client’s ancestor, the update on her illness, her death, and then mentioned that the deceased’s son was coming to the funeral. All great family information that was not recorded anywhere else.

Consider the following social news column, which records everything from the names of people visiting, to who won awards and who is ill.

Social News, Plaindealer newspaper article 30 October 1931

Plaindealer (Topeka, Kansas), 30 October 1931, page 6

Some of the details we learn in this historical news article:

  • “Miss Muriel Carney, 1041 Grand avenue, left Sunday for Chicago to visit her uncle and aunt, Mr. and Mrs. T. G. Thompson.”
  • “Mrs. Marvel of Albuquerque, N. Mexico, is visiting with her daughter, Mrs. Curtis Burton and Mr. Burton.”
  • “Miss Marie Hicks and Mrs. Bessie King spent Thursday in Tongonxie, Kansas, visiting their mother, Mrs. Mary Hicks.”

While these social postings typically fill up a column or two in the newspaper, sometimes a newspaper devotes much more space to the social goings-on in its community. Consider the following social column; it takes up a page and a half and includes social news from various nearby communities.

Society, Duluth News-Tribune newspaper article 29 June 1902

Duluth News-Tribune (Duluth, Minnesota), 29 June 1902, section III, page 2

The reporting on several communities in the above social column serves as a good reminder that news of your ancestors may not be limited to just their town’s newspaper. A larger regional newspaper may also carry news from surrounding communities. Genealogically rich information can be gleaned from this Minnesota paper’s large social column, including birth notices, business openings, and out-of-town visitors.

Social news columns provide not only a glimpse of the comings and goings of your ancestors but they can also provide information on genealogical facts. As you search newspapers, don’t limit yourself to obituaries. Check out social columns to learn more about your ancestors and their lives.

Searching Family History: Old School Records in the Newspaper

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” In this guest blog post timed with kids going back to school, Gena shows how valuable school records—in archives and in newspaper articles—can be in tracing your family history.

Once again it’s that time of the year when children’s parents rejoice: the start of a new school year! The beginning of a school year is also a good time for family history researchers to consider how much old school records can help them document their ancestors. Compulsory education has long been a fact of life in America, starting with the first attendance law passed in Massachusetts in 1853. As long as kids have been going to school records have been kept chronicling their school days.

Looking to find information about your ancestors when they were children? Or perhaps you want to find out more about your ancestors who were in the education field, either as teachers or administrators. Consider seeking out local and school histories, school and federal censuses, yearbooks and alumni lists, just to name a few resources. As with any research project, begin by searching your home for sources like attendance records, report cards, rewards of merit, yearbooks, autograph books, and photos. Next, consult the Family History Library Catalog. Conduct a search on the place your ancestor lived and then look for the subject heading “Schools” for microfilmed records that can be viewed at your local FamilySearch Center.

Once you have searched the Family History Library for historical school records, look for collections at a state archive, library or historical society. These school records most likely can be found in a manuscript collection. A look at the Colorado State Archives showed school records that document students as well as teachers. A search using the keyword “School” on the website Online Archive of California, a union catalog of California repositories, found over 6,000 hits including photos, dance cards, report cards, student publications, school district records, and parent association records, just to name a few.

Don’t limit your ancestral school research to just documents. School life is an important part of every community, and local newspapers print many different types of articles about schools, students, teachers and administrators. Searching an online archive of historical newspapers using school-themed keywords can turn up a surprising amount of information on your ancestors. The following examples of school-related news articles are all from GenealogyBank’s online collection.

This listing of Chicago-area schools provides a glimpse at all the students who graduated in 1895. Notice that the list is broken down by school and includes names of students who won awards. These school graduation lists continue even today, especially in small town newspapers.

End of School Year, Daily Inter Ocean newspaper article 29 June 1895

Daily Inter Ocean (Chicago, Illinois), 29 June 1895, page 6

School statistics can give you an idea of the school population for where your ancestor lived. Though they will not provide the names of students, these statistics give you some information about what the area was like in your ancestor’s time.

School Statistics, Jackson Citizen newspaper article 1 January 1889

Jackson Citizen (Jackson, Michigan), 1 January 1889, page 8

Individual students may have been mentioned or even photographed for a newspaper. Such newspaper clippings can provide valuable family keepsakes. Activities such as sports and student clubs are often documented in newspaper articles.

County School Boys Compete in Meet Today, Sun newspaper article 14 June 1913

Sun (Baltimore, Maryland), 14 June 1913, page 7

Did your ancestor work at a school as a teacher or administrator? Don’t forget that they too could be mentioned in an old newspaper article. The following news article provides a list of school personnel and what schools they were assigned to in Dallas.

Assignments Announced for Dallas Public Schools, Dallas Morning News newspaper article 5 August 1962

Dallas Morning News (Dallas, Texas), 5 August 1962, page 6

Was your ancestor a brainiac? One way kids made it into the paper was for their outstanding academic achievements.

School News and Honor Rolls from the Cobb County Schools, Marietta Journal newspaper article, 25 February 1921

Marietta Journal (Marietta, Georgia), 25 February 1921, page 7

Today we are used to hearing about school violence but it’s a mistake to believe that this is a new phenomenon. Consider this story of a 12-year-old boy who died from a school hazing incident back in 1900. While the successes of students are celebrated in the newspaper, there are also reports documenting tragedies.

Hazing Kills Young Student, Jackson Citizen Patriot newspaper article 7 November 1900

Jackson Citizen Patriot (Jackson, Michigan), 7 November 1900, page 3

Remember to include school records of all kinds when filling in details on your family tree, including articles from local newspapers. You’re likely to find information and stories about your ancestors you can’t find anywhere else, especially from their younger days.

 

 

 

Mining for My Italian-American Wife’s Minnesota Hometown History

Introduction: Scott Phillips is a genealogical historian and owner of Onward To Our Past® genealogy services. In this guest blog post, Scott tells about researching his ancestors’ lives and the history of the Mesabi Iron Range in northern Minnesota where they lived.

The most significant blessing in my life was when the young woman who is now my wife of 37 years said “yes” to my proposal of marriage. During our courtship I learned that she and her family were living in a part of the country that I was not particularly familiar with. OK, wait, I will rephrase that and be more honest about it. While the blessing part is 100% accurate, the fact of the matter is that when I met my future wife I did not know a plug nickel’s worth about her hometown area, which is located on the Mesabi Iron Range in northern Minnesota. One of my favorite aspects of genealogy is learning the history of the times that goes along with discovering our ancestors and their information.

Learning the ancestry essentials from my wife was easy. Her family is 100% Italian on both sides, all four of her grandparents emigrated from central Italy to northern Minnesota for economic opportunity, I was going to be the first non-Italian to ever join her family (but that’s a story for a different time), northern Minnesota is far more beautiful than I had ever imagined, and the area owes its prosperity, and future, to the iron ore hiding in the soils of the Mesabi Iron Range.

photo of workers at the Scranton Mine in Minnesota in 1932

Author’s grandfather-in-law, Pasquale, during the Great Depression at the mines of the Mesabi Iron Range. This was the entire annual output of the ore from the Scranton Mine in all of 1932. From the collection of Scott Phillips.

Several years ago, as I was researching deeply into my wife’s Italian ancestry, I realized I had a hankering to learn even more about the history, background, and the life and times of the area in northern Minnesota that her Italian immigrant grandparents chose to call their new home. While I knew a lot from wonderful stories told to me by her grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, and especially her parents, I was looking forward to learning even more.

So naturally I found myself clicking over to GenealogyBank.com to delve deeper into her Italian family’s past!

Utilizing the “Advanced Search” feature on the site, I began by looking up such keyword terms as Mesabi Iron Range, Hibbing, Chisholm, Eveleth, Minnesota, while tossing in a surname and a few other terms periodically. My depth of understanding was growing with every old newspaper article I was reading. As the expression goes, “It’s the next best thing to being there.”

For me, one of the most impressive features of GenealogyBank.com is the geographic reach of their more than 6,100 newspapers, which I was having a blast researching. It was thrilling to be reading a full page story from 1890 in the Chicago Herald titled “Mountains of Riches,” all about the early times on the Mesabi Range.

Mountains of Riches, Chicago Herald newspaper article 14 October 1891

Chicago Herald (Chicago, Illinois), 14 October 1890, page 9

Another interesting historical newspaper article was about the challenges of building the first railroad from Duluth, Minnesota, on the shores of Lake Superior to the towns on the Iron Range, published in the Duluth News-Tribune.

A Road to the Mesabi, Duluth News-Tribune newspaper article 6 June 1891

Duluth News-Tribune (Duluth, Minnesota), 6 June 1891, page 2

Of course, being an avid American baseball fan it was personally thrilling to find an old newspaper article in the Marietta Journal, in Marietta, Georgia, on a story from the movie Field of Dreams that was relating the true story of Doctor Archibald “Moonlight” Graham. This time the story was being told by our family friend and a newspaper editor herself, Ms. Veda Ponikvar, of Minnesota’s Chisholm Free Press.

Real Character in 'Field of Dreams' Has Point of View, Marietta Journal newspaper article, 1 June 1991

Marietta Journal (Marietta, Georgia), 1 June 1991, page 2

Then just for what seemed like good measure, I found myself reading an obituary from the Hibbing Daily Tribune for one of my wife’s uncles. It was an obituary that I didn’t have in my family tree.

Mike D'Aquila Newspaper Obituary, Hibbing Daily Tribune newspaper article, 21 September 1999

Hibbing Daily Tribune (Hibbing, Minnesota), 21 September 1999

This obituary brought back wonderful memories of family times gone by—especially since the article was noting that his funeral was held in The Church of the Immaculate Conception, which I was quickly remembering was known all over the Iron Range simply as “the Italian Church” since daily Mass was still said in Latin and Italian. There I was, all over again, sitting in those church pews surrounded by family.

Now here I sit, smiling and teary-eyed all at the same time.

 

You Find Family in the Most Unexpected Ways

Introduction: Scott Phillips is a genealogical historian and owner of Onward To Our Past® genealogy services. In this guest blog post, Scott tells about doing genealogy research on an author—and finding a surprising, direct link to one of his own ancestors.

Recently I was searching the Internet for genealogy resources relating to the early Czech-American immigrant community. I was looking for information that would assist me with my work on my early Bohemian (Czech) immigrant ancestors who settled in the City of Cleveland, Ohio. In conducting my genealogy search one of my first hits was for an article in the journal MELUS (Volume 6, Number 2) published by the Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States.

This article, written by Professor Clinton Machann of Texas A&M University, is titled “Hugo Chotek and Czech-American Fiction.” Reading this scholarly article on author Hugo Chotek and early Czech fiction writing in America, I was so impressed that I gave Dr. Machann a call. Since that day we have enjoyed staying in touch and I am pleased to say we have now become friends.

One sentence stuck in my head as I read Dr. Machann’s article. It was this one: “Although we have little biographical data on Chotek…” I found this particularly interesting since Dr. Machann also pointed out that Hugo Chotek spent at least some portion of his life in the Czech community in Cleveland. So, always hoping to find a hidden genealogical gem, I began investigating to see what I might discover about this gentleman.

photograph of gravestone of author Hugo Chotek (1851-1911)

Gravestone of Hugo Chotek in Lake View Cemetery, Cleveland, Ohio. © 2012 Scott Phillips

Wondering where to begin, I decided on searching GenealogyBank.com to see what I might discover about Chotek in its online archives. I was especially hopeful that I would find relevant information because I remembered that Machann’s article also mentioned that Chotek spent time living in the Czech communities of New York, Michigan, Texas and Nebraska in addition to the time he spent in Ohio.

It was exciting to see how much data availability and access has improved since 1979 when Dr. Machann’s article was written. Searching on Hugo Chotek with GenealogyBank, my first hit was stellar! It was a 1911 newspaper obituary entitled “Bohemian Editor Stricken by Death.” Opening this article, I was even treated to a portrait of Hugo Chotek himself. If you are like me in your genealogy work, you love getting to “see” someone and there he was—looking quite dapper, I might add.

Bohemian Editor Stricken by Death, Plain Dealer newspaper article 11 May 1911

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 11 May 1911, page 4

My interest in author Chotek was deepening the more I was reading. Here was a fellow who, while not only an author, was also an accomplished newspaperman! As a genealogical historian I believe there is little better than reading work by newspapermen and women as they follow that old adage of the 5 Ws: “Who, What, Where, When and Why,” exactly the kind of information we so wish to find.

I was quickly discovering Hugo Chotek’s family history, connecting with his living descendants, and finding more information about his work in the Cleveland Czech community. For example, this newspaper article announcing the marriage of Hugo Chotek’s daughter Anna was very helpful, containing many excellent genealogical leads, and including her picture.

Cleveland Woman Who Marries Lawyer, Plain Dealer newspaper article 7 July 1913

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 7 July 1913, page 11

Look how much genealogical information is contained in Anna Chotek’s one-paragraph marriage announcement:

Mrs. Edward J. Russick, Plain Dealer newspaper article 7 July 1913

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 7 July 1913, page 11

I was especially interested to learn that Chotek had written about the early Czech community not once but twice, and—for me most exciting of all— finding his one-on-one interview with Frantisek (Frank) Knechtl, my very first Bohemian ancestor who arrived in Cleveland in 1852 and remained there until his death in 1911.

It really is amazing how you can find family in the most unexpected ways!

photograph of a page from "Amerikan Narodni Kalendar" featuring interview with Frantisek (Frank) Knechtl

Page from Amerikan Narodni Kalendar featuring interview with Frantisek (Frank) Knechtl. Scan courtesy of Archives of Czechs and Slovaks Abroad collection, University of Chicago Library. © 2012 Scott Phillips

Now I have my work cut out for me. My company, Onward To Our Past® Genealogy Services (http://www.OnwardToOurPast.com) is undertaking the first-ever translation from Czech to English of the more than 220 pages of both of Hugo Chotek’s works on the Cleveland Bohemian (Czech) community, written in 1894 and 1895. Containing several hundred surnames, these works, once translated, should be a bonanza for many genealogists and family historians for generations to come.

 

 

The Lessons of Daniel Boone’s Obituary: Check and Double Check

Introduction: Mary Harrell-Sesniak is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background. In this guest blog post, Mary points out some lessons learned from an early obituary of the American folk-hero Daniel Boone.

Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens) once said: “The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”

Did you know that another great American character, Daniel Boone, could have said something similar? He died at the age of 85 on 26 September 1820—but his death was widely reported in 1818!

Daniel Boone obituary, Providence Gazette newspaper article, 19 September 1818

Providence Gazette (Providence, Rhode Island), 19 September 1818, page 3

The first correct death notice for Daniel Boone that I found in GenealogyBank was published on 30 September 1820, four days after his death. This was a more factual obituary than the one published in 1818, although the legendary image of Boone lying in a blind, with one eye shut and aiming his gun at a deer when death overcame him, still resonates.

Daniel Boone obituary, St. Louis Enquirer newspaper article, 30 September 1820

St. Louis Enquirer (St. Louis, Missouri), 30 September 1820, page 3

The conclusion of this obituary is fairly close to the truth: Boone remained impressively fit and active well into his later years.

conclusion of Daniel Boone's obituary, St. Louis Enquirer newspaper article, 30 September 1820

Conclusion of Daniel Boone’s obituary, St. Louis Enquirer (St. Louis, Missouri), 30 September 1820, page 3

So the lesson from Daniel Boone’s obituary is this: check and double check. Don’t be satisfied with just the first obituary you find. Keep looking for more, since that first obituary may contain exaggerations or inaccuracies—although hopefully, unlike the case of Daniel, the first obituary of your ancestor wasn’t published two years before he or she died!

Interested in finding out more about Daniel Boone, the quintessential American folk-hero, or his family history?

A search of online family trees reveals that Daniel Boone was one of at least 11 children born to Squire and Sarah (Morgan) Boone. Daniel and Rebecca (Bryan) Boone also had a number of progeny, who in turn had many children. With such a large family, you can find numerous Boone relations in your genealogy searches.

A general search of “Daniel Boone” in GenealogyBank will produce over 52,000 hits, so you may wish to limit your results by using keywords or date ranges.

GenealogyBank search box to refine search for Daniel Boone

GenealogyBank search box to refine search for Daniel Boone

Here are a few examples of Boone descendants:

Philadelphia Inquirer of 25 January 1881:

Ex-Mayor Levi D. Boone, of Chicago, died yesterday, aged seventy-three years. He was a descendant of Daniel Boone.

Dallas Morning News of 20 December 1892:

YOAKUM, Tex., Dec. 19.—Died at his residence on East Hill J. B. Boone, aged 58 years, after a lingering illness. Mr. Boone came to this city about two years ago from Hillsboro, Tex. He was buried in the city cemetery at 4 p.m. to-day. Mr. Boone was a descendant of the illustrious Daniel Boone of Kentucky, was born and lived in Louisville, Ky., until sixteen years ago when he moved to Hillsboro.

Kalamazoo Gazette of 27 January 1903:

New Cambria, Mo., Jan. 26.—Fay Boone, an old time Mississippi river captain and a direct descendant of Daniel Boone, is dead, at the age of 89 years.

Idaho Statesman of 22 May 1903:

PIONEER DEAD.

Kansas City, Mo., May 21.—Linville Hayes, a descendant of Daniel Boone and a well known freighter in early days, when he directed the movement of large wagon trains to Salt Lake, New Mexico and Arizona, died today, aged 82 years.

Facts and fiction about Daniel Boone:

  • Daniel Boone was a Revolutionary War patriot.
  • He probably did not wear a coonskin cap; it’s probable he wore black felt and sported a pigtail.

What is your connection to Daniel Boone?

Are you related to Daniel Boone, or did your ancestors explore the frontier with him? We hope you’ll share your ancestral story by tweeting at http://twitter.com/#!/GenealogyBank or posting on our FaceBook page.

Found on FaceBook:

The Boone Society, Inc. at https://www.facebook.com/BooneSociety.

Found on the Web:

Boone Family History and Descendants: The First 5 Generations of the George Boone Family presented by The Boone Society, Inc. and reprinted at http://www.family-genealogy-online.com/little/boone.html, a family history website maintained by Pat and Jim Geary.

More Obituary Archives Online at GenealogyBank!

Last month we added 31 million more records to our historical newspaper archives—and already this month we are working on putting more newspaper obituaries online to keep adding resources for your family history research.

In the next few weeks we’ll be adding current publications of these titles to GenealogyBank’s online U.S. newspaper obituary archives, adding thousands more obituaries for your genealogy research. Search for these recent obituaries from several U.S. locations including Chicago, Illinois, the surrounding Chicago metro area, and many more. Look for these obits to go live online soon on the New Content page.

State City Publication

Start

End

Florida Pompano Beach Pelican, The

2012

Current

Illinois Aurora Beacon News, The: Web Edition Articles

2012

Current

Illinois Chicago Chicago Sun-Times: Web Edition Articles

2012

Current

Illinois Elgin Courier News: Web Edition Articles

2012

Current

Illinois Naperville Naperville Sun, The: Web Edition Articles

2012

Current

Illinois Tinley Park SouthtownStar: Web Edition Articles

2012

Current

Illinois Waukegan Lake County News-Sun: Web Edition Articles

2012

Current

Iowa Waterloo Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier

2001

Current

Maryland Hollywood Calvert Gazette

2011

Current

Michigan Reed City Herald Review

2012

Current

Missouri St. Joseph Saint Joseph Telegraph, The

2011

Current

Monthly Update: GenealogyBank Just Added 24 Million More Records!

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

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

  • A total of 152 newspaper titles from 42 U.S. states and the District of Columbia
  • Newspaper titles marked with an asterisk (*) are new to our online archive
  • We’ve shown the newspaper issue date ranges so that you can determine if the newly added content is relevant to your personal genealogy research

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

State City Title Date Range

Collection

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

Historical Newspapers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Amazing True Story of Shipwreck Survival

Last week I spotted the unusual story of a man saved from dying in a shipwreck in the middle of the night when he spotted a floating box—it turned out to be his wife’s coffin that he was bringing home for burial!

The newspaper article containing this incredible survival story was printed by the Albany Evening Journal (Albany, New York), 4 December 1855, page 2.

What an amazing newspaper article—and yet it seemed to me something wasn’t quite right about this story:

  • When and where was the shipwreck of the steamer Anthony Wayne?
  • Why no first name for the husband?
  • Why no name for the wife?
  • Did steamers travel from Chicago to Philadelphia?
  • Was there more to this story?

Digging deeper into GenealogyBank’s historical newspaper archives I found this article, printed by the Daily Ohio Statesman (Columbus, Ohio), 1 May 1850, page 2, with this startling headline: “Awful Calamity. Explosion of the Steamboat Anthony Wayne. Forty Lives Lost!!”

 

So, the steamer ship exploded on Saturday, April 27, 1850, while en route from Sandusky, Ohio, to Buffalo, New York. The accident happened on Lake Erie, about six or seven miles offshore of Vermillion, Ohio.

I kept researching and found more details—but no names—in this newspaper article, printed by the Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 30 April 1850, page 2.

Here was a contemporary account of this horrific ship explosion tragedy, but still not all the details

A gentleman “going east to bury his wife and child”:

  • Traveling with “the balance of his family, two small children”
  • Following the explosion, he “launched the coffin” as a makeshift life raft
  • Labored with “a child grasped under each arm with a most desperate struggle”
  • Sadly, he “lost his boy” and was forced to abandon the remains of “his wife and child”

As news reporting improved and more details about the survivors and the deceased were gathered, the

Newport Mercury (Newport, Rhode Island), 11 May 1850, page 2, gave more of the story.

This newspaper article has provided us with more details about the survival story:

  • Archer Brackney was the father trying to rescue his family
  • He was from Lafayette, Iowa
  • The coffin contained both corpses of “his wife and child”
  • We learn of his desperate struggle to save his “two living children”
  • Sadly, “his little boy, two years old, was drowned in his arms”
  • He managed to save his little girl, “who was clinging around his neck, crying ‘Papa! We shall drown!’”

Researching further in GenealogyBank’s newspaper archives, I uncovered more of the real story.

The coroner held an inquest and the results were published in the Sandusky Register (Sandusky, Ohio), 30 April 1850, page 2.

This verified the essentials of the survival story.

Now to dig deeper and see what more details can be found about this shipwreck tragedy and real life story of survival. It’s amazing how much information you can find in historical newspaper archives!

Two bits, four bits, six bits, a dollar …

“Two bits, four bits, six bits, a dollar, all who love obits stand up and holler!”

That is probably not the way you heard that cheer – but genealogists sure do love obituaries.

I came across this obituary for Louise Cloutier (1789-1889). It was published in the 13 November 1889 issue of the Daily Inter-Ocean newspaper.

Born in Canada in 1789, she died 100 years later in Chicago.

Click here to read the entire obituary.

What information and clues do we get from this obituary?

1. Name
2. Place and year of birth
3. Name of the cemetery
4. Date & place of the funeral & burial
5. Names of her 3 living children – where they lived and their position in the birth order of the children
6. Names of the towns where she had lived & how long she lived there
7. Age of husband at his death and how long ago that was
8. Details on the longevity of her father (110 years) and grandfather (90 years)
9. Count of her descendants – by generation
10. Best of all: her picture as rendered in a wood-cut engraving.

GenealogyBank your best source for old newspapers on the planet!
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Elvis Presley: Search 32,000 newspaper articles

Remembering Elvis – (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977). Search over 32,000 newspaper articles about Elvis Presley on GenealogyBank – your best source for old newspapers.

Complete digital copies of thousands of newspapers from across the United States. Read, search the newspapers for any topic that interests you. Title List.

Click here and start searching.
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