Florida Newspaper Archives: 116 Titles for Genealogy Research

When the first European—Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon—arrived in Florida in 1513, he named it “La Florida” (Flowery Land) because of the floral beauty he found everywhere. With its tropical climate, long coastline adorned with many beaches—on both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean—and varied vegetation, Florida is a beautiful place to live and one of America’s most popular vacation destinations.

photo of Bahia Honda Beach, Florida Keys, Florida

Photo: Bahia Honda Beach, Florida Keys, Florida. Credit: Mwanner; Wikimedia Commons.

If you are researching your ancestry from Florida, you will want to use GenealogyBank’s online Florida newspaper archives: 116 titles to help you search your family history in “The Sunshine State,” providing coverage from 1823 to Today. There are more than 15.2 million newspaper articles and records in our online FL archives.

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

Search Florida Newspaper Archives (1823 – 1984)

Search Florida Recent Obituaries (1983 – Current)

Here is our complete list of online Florida 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 FL newspaper titles are listed alphabetically by city.

City Title Date Range Collection
Arcadia Arcadian 12/9/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Arcadia DeSoto Sun 4/14/1996 – 9/2/2010 Recent Obituaries
Bartow Polk County Democrat 7/17/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Belle Glade Sun 5/1/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Boca Grande Boca Beacon 5/31/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Boca Raton Boca Raton News 3/2/2006 – 8/26/2009 Recent Obituaries
Bonita Springs Banner 1/27/1996 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bonita Springs Bonita Daily News 5/23/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bradenton Manatee River Journal 9/5/1889 – 9/20/1923 Newspaper Archives
Bradenton North Manatee Observer 11/24/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bradenton Bradenton Herald 1/19/1991 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bradenton East County Observer 8/17/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Branford Branford News 7/25/2007 – 5/4/2009 Recent Obituaries
Brooksville Hernando Today 10/3/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bushnell Sumter County Times 12/27/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Callahan Nassau County Record 10/4/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chiefland Cedar Key Beacon 11/20/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chiefland Chiefland Citizen 11/19/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Clermont South Lake Press 7/13/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Clewiston Clewiston News 1/4/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Crawfordville Wakulla News 6/24/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Crystal River Citrus County Chronicle 10/14/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Daytona Beach Daytona Beach News-Journal 3/27/1996 – Current Recent Obituaries
DeLand West Volusia Beacon 11/17/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Dunnellon Riverland News 5/1/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Englewood Englewood Sun 3/5/1996 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fernandina Beach News Leader 3/15/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel 1/1/1986 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fort Meade Fort Meade Leader 12/31/2002 – 8/14/2013 Recent Obituaries
Fort Myers Fort Myers Florida Weekly 5/31/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fort Myers Beach Island Sand Paper 5/14/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fort Pierce St. Lucie News Tribune 8/13/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fort Pierce Hometown News 2/9/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fort Pierce Fort Pierce News 5/2/1997 – 6/16/2000 Recent Obituaries
Frostproof Frostproof News 3/23/2011 – 8/14/2013 Recent Obituaries
Ft. Lauderdale South Florida Times 12/31/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Gainesville Gainesville Sun 2/18/1995 – Current Recent Obituaries
Immokalee Immokalee Bulletin 1/4/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Jacksonville Florida Tattler 12/1/1934 – 9/29/1945 Newspaper Archives
Jacksonville Florida Sentinel 1/26/1900 – 1/26/1900 Newspaper Archives
Jacksonville Florida Times-Union 1/12/1996 – Current Recent Obituaries
Jacksonville Florida Times-Union, The: Web Edition Articles 11/28/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Jacksonville Beach Beaches Leader 1/2/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Jasper Jasper News 1/2/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Jupiter Jupiter Courier 9/3/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Key West Key West Citizen 10/31/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
LaBelle Caloosa Belle 1/4/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lake City Lake City Reporter 11/1/2013 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lake Placid Lake Placid Journal 6/15/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lake Wales Lake Wales News 7/31/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lakeland Ledger 12/19/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lakeland Ledger, The: Blogs 7/17/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Leesburg Daily Commercial 12/1/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Live Oak Suwannee Democrat 11/21/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Longboat Key Longboat Observer 11/2/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Marathon Florida Keys Keynoter 11/6/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Marco Island Marco Island Eagle 6/7/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Marianna Jackson County Floridan 4/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Mayo Mayo Free Press 1/19/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Miami Miami Herald 1/1/1911 – 3/31/1926 Newspaper Archives
Miami Nuevo Herald 3/29/1976 – 4/30/1984 Newspaper Archives
Miami Miami Herald 1/1/1983 – Current Recent Obituaries
Miami Miami Herald, The: Blogs 3/10/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Miami El Nuevo Herald 1/1/1983 – Current Recent Obituaries
Miami Shores Biscayne Boulevard Times 8/1/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Moore Haven Glades County Democrat 4/26/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Naples Naples Florida Weekly 10/16/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Naples Naples Daily News 1/3/1998 – Current Recent Obituaries
Naples Collier Citizen 7/6/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
North Port North Port Sun 5/3/1996 – Current Recent Obituaries
Ocala Ocala Star-Banner 1/1/1991 – Current Recent Obituaries
Ocala West Marion Messenger 8/2/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Ocala South Marion Citizen 11/21/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Okeechobee Okeechobee News 3/1/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Orlando Orlando Weekly 1/5/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Orlando Orlando Sentinel 4/1/1985 – Current Recent Obituaries
Orlando Valencia Voice: Valencia Community College 11/9/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Palatka Palatka Daily News 1/1/2014 – Current Recent Obituaries
Palm Beach Palm Beach Daily News 1/2/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Palm Coast Palm Coast Observer 7/15/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Pensacola Pensacola Gazette 5/15/1824 – 3/29/1856 Newspaper Archives
Pinecrest Pinecrest Tribune 10/22/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Plant City Plant City Times & Observer 7/12/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Pompano Beach Pelican 3/23/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Port Charlotte Charlotte Sun 8/3/1996 – Current Recent Obituaries
Quincy Gadsden County Times 1/15/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Sarasota Pelican Press 8/12/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Sarasota Sarasota Herald-Tribune 1/1/1996 – Current Recent Obituaries
Sebastian Sebastian Sun 3/19/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
Sebring News-Sun 4/14/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Sebring Highlands Today 3/21/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
St. Augustine Florida Herald and Southern Democrat 1/4/1823 – 12/20/1842 Newspaper Archives
St. Augustine St. Augustine Record 2/16/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
St. Petersburg Tampa Bay Times 1/1/1987 – Current Recent Obituaries
Stuart Stuart News/Port St. Lucie News 9/2/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Stuart YourNews.com 7/18/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Tallahassee Floridian and Journal 1/6/1849 – 12/22/1860 Newspaper Archives
Tallahassee Floridian and Advocate 10/24/1831 – 4/2/1842 Newspaper Archives
Tampa Tampa Tribune 1/2/1895 – 7/20/1936 Newspaper Archives
Tampa Traduccion Prensa 4/9/1941 – 9/4/1956 Newspaper Archives
Tampa Internacional 6/30/1939 – 8/7/1942 Newspaper Archives
Tampa Revista de Cuba Libre 12/25/1897 – 8/27/1898 Newspaper Archives
Tampa Nueva Republica 5/29/1897 – 5/28/1898 Newspaper Archives
Tampa Ecos 7/21/1959 – 7/21/1959 Newspaper Archives
Tampa Ybor City Sunday News 11/18/1951 – 11/18/1951 Newspaper Archives
Tampa Informacion 10/31/1958 – 10/31/1958 Newspaper Archives
Tampa Comite Consulto Conjuto 4/30/1941 – 4/30/1941 Newspaper Archives
Tampa Boletin 3/12/1941 – 3/12/1941 Newspaper Archives
Tampa Tampa Tribune 8/13/1990 – Current Recent Obituaries
Tavernier Reporter 2/27/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Venice Venice Gondolier Sun 7/1/1996 – Current Recent Obituaries
Vero Beach Vero Beach Press Journal 12/2/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
West Palm Beach Palm Beach Post 1/1/1989 – Current Recent Obituaries
West Tampa West Tampa Leader 12/8/1940 – 12/8/1940 Newspaper Archives
Williston Williston Pioneer Sun News 12/11/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Ybor City Diario de Tampa 6/6/1908 – 7/14/1911 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 onto your desktop or portable device for quick reference—all the Florida newspaper links will be live.

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Who Really Invented the Steamboat? Fitch, Rumsey or Fulton?

Introduction: Mary Harrell-Sesniak is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background. In this guest blog post, Mary uses old newspapers to research the invention of the steamboat—and describes how much steamboats changed our ancestors’ world.

The invention of the steamboat radically changed our ancestors’ world. While researching your ancestors’ lives in historical newspapers, you will run across many mentions of steamboats. This blog article, including a fun quiz, will test your knowledge of the history of steamboats and help fill in some of the gaps for you.

Who Invented the Steamboat?

Although many, including the writer of this 1815 obituary, credit Robert Fulton (1765-1815) with the invention of the steamboat, it simply isn’t true.

obituary for Robert Fulton, American Beacon newspaper article 7 November 1815

American Beacon (Norfolk, Virginia), 7 November 1815, page 3

Perhaps you are an expert in steamboats; test your knowledge with this handy steamboat quiz and check your answers below.

a quiz about the history of steamboats

John Fitch

Most historians attribute the honor for the invention of the steamboat to John Fitch (1743-1798), who constructed the first steamboat in the United States.

As you can see from this 1786 announcement addressed “To the ENCOURAGERS of USEFUL ARTS,” Fitch “proposed a Machine for the improvement of Navigation” which was endorsed by a number of subscribers who thought that “it might be beneficial to the public.”

a proposal by John Fitch for a steamboat, Pennsylvania Journal newspaper article 4 January 1786

Pennsylvania Journal (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), 4 January 1786, page 1

Several state legislatures granted Fitch a 14-year monopoly on all steamboat travel on the inland waterways within their borders. This steamboat monopoly in turn helped him attract investors. His invention used steam to power oars, and in 1788 his commercial steamboat could carry up to 30 paying passengers per trip on the Delaware River. (See Wikipedia’s image of a woodcut by James Trenchard showing Fitch’s steamboat.)

James Rumsey (or Rumsy), Fitch’s Rival

As is the case with many inventions, other inventors worked on the concept of steam navigation simultaneously, including James Rumsey (1743-1792). His steamboat incorporated steam propulsion and was patented by several southern states.

After Rumsey went to Philadelphia in 1788 a pamphlet war arose with Fitch, with each claiming the right to make steamboats. This 1910 newspaper article reported that:

“George Washington had written a letter certifying that he had witnessed trials of the Rumsey boat, and that although he formerly had but little faith in it, he was then convinced that Rumsey had discovered the art of working boats by mechanism.”

history of the invention of the steamboat, Watertown Daily Times newspaper article 18 November 1910

Watertown Daily Times (Watertown, New York), 18 November 1910, page 5

This article also reported that Rumsey “had a controversy before his death with Fitch, whom he accused of ‘coming pottering around’ his shop.”

Several people tried in vain to get the two inventors to work together. It is reported that Fitch tried to secure a patent in England based upon Rumsey’s water-tube boiler. There was even a Rumseian Society formed in 1788 to assist Rumsey, but it was disbanded in 1792 after his death. I recommend you read about it on the Web and at http://jamesrumsey.org/. It is a very interesting story.

Robert Fulton

Although Fitch and Rumsey preceded Robert Fulton with their steamboat inventions, Fulton’s contributions to commercial steamboat operations should not be overlooked.

In 1801, he and partner Chancellor Robert Livingston (1746-1813) built the North River Steamboat, which was later named the Clermont.

Livingston was one of our nation’s Founding Fathers and, among other accomplishments, became the first United States Secretary for Foreign Affairs (1781-1783). As you can see from this early advertisement, Livingston and Fulton charged $7 for passage from New York City to Albany on the North River Steamboat.

ad for travel fares on the North River Steamboat, American Citizen newspaper advertisement 5 September 1807

American Citizen (New York, New York), 5 September 1807, page 2

This next historical newspaper account describes, in Fulton’s own words, how he traveled from New York to Clermont, and arrived at the seat (home) of Chancellor Livingston in 24 hours and also includes a nice portrait illustration of him. Clermont would later become the famous name of Fulton’s steamboat, and of course we should note that Chancellor Livingston was the uncle of Fulton’s wife, Harriet Livingston.

letter from Robert Fulton, Columbian Gazette newspaper article 1 September 1807

Columbian Gazette (Utica, New York), 1 September 1807, page 3

There is so much written about Fulton, I’ll leave more in-depth research to you. However, I would recommend reading the many charming accounts of how Robert Fulton wooed and won the hand of his bride Harriet. Some report that she was present at the trial run of his first steamboat. The following account, reported by Fulton’s grandson Robert Fulton Blight, states:

“‘Is it too presumptuous in me to aspire to the hand of your niece, Harriet Livingston?’ young Robert Fulton one day asked her uncle, Chancellor Robert L. Livingston.

“‘By no means,’ replied the distinguished Chancellor. ‘Her father may object because you are a humble and poor inventor and the family may object, but if Harriet doesn’t object, and she seems to have a world of good sense, go ahead and my best wishes and blessings go with you.’”

article about Robert Fulton and his wife Harriet, New York Herald newspaper article 25 October 1891

New York Herald (New York, New York), 25 October 1891, page 32

Genealogical Challenge

I was not able to locate Robert Fulton and Harriet Livingston’s marriage announcement in the newspapers. If any of our readers find it, please let us know and we will update this post to include it.

Update

A sharp-eyed reader, J. Hansen, found the following marriage announcement for Robert Fulton and Harriet Livingston; we are now able to update this Blog article with that newspaper article. Thank you, J. Hansen!

marriage announcement for Robert Fulton and Harriet Livingston, American Citizen newspaper article 9 January 1808

American Citizen (New York, New York), 9 January 1808, page 3

How Steamboats Changed the World

So how did steamboats change the world?

You may be surprised at some of the answers. The emergence of mechanical navigation meant that:

  • Commercial boating was no longer dependent upon the wind.
  • Boats could navigate in a straightforward manner, eliminating the need to tack with the wind. This made navigation in narrower waterways feasible.
  • Travel times were shortened by the steamboat, as seen in this 1808 newspaper article reporting that one could travel from Albany to New York in 35 hours.
notice about the arrival of the steamboat from Albany, New York, Columbian Centinel newspaper article 14 September 1808

Columbian Centinel (Boston, Massachusetts), 14 September 1808, page 2

In addition to the above improvements, there was another astounding way that steamboats changed our ancestors’ lives.

The bitter dispute between Fitch and Rumsey actually led to the formation of the Federal U.S. Patent Office. Starting on 10 April 1790, patents were no longer granted by individual states—they had to be issued on a national level.

Congress named the Patent Office legislation “An Act to Promote the Progress of Useful Arts.”

legislation to create the U.S. Patent Office, Daily Advertiser newspaper article 13 April 1790

Daily Advertiser (New York, New York), 13 April 1790, page 2

Dig into historical newspapers yourself to find out more about Fitch, Rumsey and Fulton, and learn how steamboats dramatically changed your American ancestors’ lives.

See related Blog article:

In Search of Our Early American Ancestors’ Patents on Inventions