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

50 Tennessee Newspapers Online for Your Genealogy Research

GenealogyBank has put more than 50 Tennessee newspapers online making it even easier for genealogists to find their old family stories and detailed information for their family tree.

Search millions of Tennessee newspaper articles in our online TN newspaper archives, including birth announcements, marriage notices, obituaries, and local news stories, to find out more about your ancestors from “The Volunteer State.”

collage of the Tennessee state seal and the Tennessee Herald masthead

Collage of the Tennessee state seal and the Tennessee Herald masthead

Click and start researching your ancestry now (each title is a link that will take you directly to that newspaper’s search page):

City Newspaper Date Range Collection
Athens Daily Post-Athenian 1/11/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
Carthage Carthage Gazette 8/13/1808 – 7/1/1817 Newspaper Archives
Carthage Western Express 11/21/1808 – 11/21/1808 Newspaper Archives
Chattanooga Chattanooga Courier 2/10/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chattanooga Chattanooga Daily Rebel 8/9/1862 – 4/27/1865 Newspaper Archives
Chattanooga Chattanooga Times Free Press 4/1/1995 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chattanooga Justice 12/24/1887 – 12/24/1887 Newspaper Archives
Clarksville Clarksville Gazette 11/21/1819 – 12/23/1820 Newspaper Archives
Clarksville Tennessee Weekly Chronicle 1/27/1819 – 6/7/1819 Newspaper Archives
Clarksville Town Gazette 7/5/1819 – 11/8/1819 Newspaper Archives
Clarksville Weekly Chronicle 2/18/1818 – 9/16/1818 Newspaper Archives
Cleveland Cleveland Daily Banner 10/2/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Columbia Daily Herald 1/8/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cookeville Herald-Citizen 4/12/1998 – Current Recent Obituaries
Crossville Crossville Chronicle 9/1/1996 – Current Recent Obituaries
Crossville Glade Sun 6/2/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Dayton Herald-News 1/6/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Greeneville Greeneville Sun 9/14/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
Jackson Jackson Headlight 1/27/1900 – 1/27/1900 Newspaper Archives
Kingston Roane County News 1/14/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Knoxville Daily Journal and Journal and Tribune 4/1/1888 – 12/31/1896 Newspaper Archives
Knoxville Knoxville Enlightener 1/31/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Knoxville Knoxville Gazette 12/7/1793 – 10/29/1806 Newspaper Archives
Knoxville Knoxville News Sentinel 1/4/1991 – Current Recent Obituaries
Knoxville Negro World 10/15/1887 – 11/26/1887 Newspaper Archives
Knoxville Wilson’s Knoxville Gazette 9/1/1818 – 9/1/1818 Newspaper Archives
Lafayette Macon County Times 10/2/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
LaFollette LaFollette Press 11/21/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lenoir City News-Herald 9/27/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
Maryville Blount Today 2/1/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Maryville Daily Times 1/1/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Memphis Commercial Appeal 1/1/1968 – 12/31/1969 Newspaper Archives
Memphis Commercial Appeal 6/27/1990 – Current Recent Obituaries
Memphis Memphis Daily Avalanche 1/1/1866 – 4/30/1869 Newspaper Archives
Memphis Memphis Triangle 11/17/1928 – 7/27/1929 Newspaper Archives
Memphis Tri-State Defender 2/3/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Murfreesboro Murfreesboro Union 6/6/1939 – 6/6/1939 Newspaper Archives
Nashville Colored Tennessean 8/12/1865 – 7/18/1866 Newspaper Archives
Nashville Impartial Review 1/18/1806 – 8/16/1806 Newspaper Archives
Nashville Nashville Gazette 5/26/1819 – 2/14/1827 Newspaper Archives
Nashville Nashville Post 1/21/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Nashville Nashville Scene 11/23/1995 – Current Recent Obituaries
Nashville National Banner and Nashville Whig 1/1/1834 – 12/30/1836 Newspaper Archives
Nashville Review 11/10/1809 – 5/3/1811 Newspaper Archives
Nashville Tennessee Gazette 2/25/1800 – 5/30/1807 Newspaper Archives
Newport Newport Plain Talk 7/1/1998 – Current Recent Obituaries
Oak Ridge Oak Ridger 2/17/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Paris Paris Post-Intelligencer 7/5/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Rogersville Rogersville Review 12/16/1998 – Current Recent Obituaries
Rogersville Western Pilot 8/19/1815 – 8/19/1815 Newspaper Archives
Sevierville Mountain Press 10/2/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Shelbyville Tennessee Herald 12/19/1817 – 3/8/1820 Newspaper Archives
Sweetwater Advocate and Democrat 6/12/1998 – Current Recent Obituaries
Tazewell Claiborne Progress 10/2/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Wartburg Morgan County News 12/19/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries

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!

Want to Get the Younger Generation into Genealogy? Pass Down Your Old Family Stories

Introduction: Scott Phillips is a genealogical historian and owner of Onward To Our Past® genealogy services. In this guest blog post, Scott tells how he got his grandsons interested in genealogy by enhancing his family stories with articles from old newspapers.

When I was growing up, I was blessed to be in a family that told lots of stories. Looking back, I believe that this storytelling is one of the key reasons I became intrigued with genealogy later in my life. As a young boy, I was frequently being regaled with stories by one family member or another. The stories often involved growing up in “the old country,” sometimes about how much life had changed. Many were family stories that, while based in truth, were often embellished with more than a bit of exaggeration.

I recall very well my Aunt Gladys telling stories of the trouble she constantly found herself in due to the schemes hatched by my mother, and the story of the eye in the back of her head. There was my grandfather telling stories about being a “lad” in Cornwall.  Then there was my Uncle Jim—family storyteller extraordinaire! He was always willing to tell his stories about his time fighting in three wars as a member of the United States Navy, getting marooned on a deserted South Seas island, his various tattoos, or how he was chosen to accompany the giant telescope mirrors manufactured by Warner and Swasey Company from Cleveland all across America on the railroads.

Years later it came as no surprise to me that, as my children were growing up, I took on the role of family storyteller.

Just a week ago, I found myself sitting with my grandchildren and wondering how I could “talk some genealogy” with them. They were visiting us from their home that happens to be practically in the shadow of Disney World, Epcot, etc. It now seems so simple, but at the time it struck me like a bolt of lightning: I should be telling them our family stories! So I began by telling my grandsons all about my favorite amusement park. It was named Euclid Beach Park, located in Cleveland, Ohio, and as a kid it was heaven-on-earth to me.

photo of the author's grandmother and family having a picnic at Euclid Beach Park in Cleveland, Ohio

Scott Phillips’s grandmother Ina and some of her family having a picnic at Euclid Beach Park, date uncertain. Family photo is from the author’s collection.

Going to Euclid Beach Park for family gatherings was clearly the most special event of my year! We’d make a day of it from opening to well after dark, complete with a picnic lunch of my Cornish grandmother’s famous pasty and sausage rolls. As I wove the story, I could tell my grandsons were having a hard time buying into my excitement about what a special place Euclid Beach was. So what could I do?

I grabbed my iPad and off we clicked to GenealogyBank.com to see what I could show the boys about Euclid Beach Park. By the time I was done, everyone in the house was clustered around my grandsons and me. They were all rapt and enjoying the journey back in time, complete with my family stories to enhance them. Yep, the newspaper articles I found were that good.

I was overjoyed to see three generations enjoying what got me excited about genealogy so many decades before: family stories, but this time vastly improved through technology and GenealogyBank.com.

As I clicked, the first story—in a cache of hundreds—was about the season opener of the park in 1905, the crowds that attended, and what a significant event this was.

Euclid Beach Park Opened, Plain Dealer newspaper article 28 May 1905

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 28 May 1905, page 6

Plus, since it is true that “boys will be boys,” my grandsons were especially enjoying the “action” stories I soon found and read to them about famed naval aviation pioneer Glenn H. Curtiss’s attempt to set a naval aviation record from Euclid Beach Park, a trapeze artist falling to his death from an aerial balloon, and ferry boats smashing into one another.

Steamers Crash Together in River, Plain Dealer newspaper article 17 June 1901

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 17 June 1901, page 1

Then even I got excited! I found an old article that showed, nice and close up, my very favorite (still to this day) amusement park ride in the world, “The Flying Turns.” The historical newspaper article was complete, showing younger riders in all stages of happiness as they rode this amazing ride, which was a rollercoaster set inside 2/3s of a wooden tube with no rails! Centrifugal force took care of keeping you inside and it was quite the ride.

Crazy Days of Summer, Plain Dealer newspaper article 26 July 1964

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 26 July 1964, page 107

I was so happy! With just a few easy clicks there we were and Euclid Beach was staying alive for another generation of the Phillips family. Even better, my grandsons were enjoying genealogy without even realizing it. Sometimes stories passed down from generation to generation can be the best!

Sinking of the ‘Athenia’: Mythical Family Survival Story Proves to Be Reality

Introduction: Scott Phillips is a genealogical historian and owner of Onward To Our Past® genealogy services. In this guest blog post, Scott tells how old newspaper articles confirmed his uncle’s incredible WWII survival story—a tale that Scott, as a boy, used to question.

One of the first precepts of genealogy that my mentor (Ginger Simek, president of the Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International) taught me, was to always work hard to find out if the family stories I had heard over the years were mythology or, in fact, reality. Mythology may be fun and exciting, but genealogy is all about reality and the truth as we can document it. Recently, I found myself employing this rule.

I have to say that I was basically blessed with a great childhood. However, I have always found myself harboring a serious regret—one that, as a genealogist and our family’s historian, continues to haunt me to this day. This regret is that I never listened closely enough to far too many family stories when they were proffered to me by my elder family members.

However, just a short time ago I found hope for abolishing, at least in part, this regrettable behavior of my youth. Here’s the story.

photo of the Edwin and Margaret Cottle family taken in Launceston, Cornwall

Only known photograph of the whole Edwin and Margaret Cottle family, taken in Launceston, Cornwall, on a date unknown. The author’s Uncle George Bellemy Cottle, the subject of this blog post, is the fourth from the left in back, sporting the black tie. Family photo from the author’s collection.

As a child, I found that by pleading with my Uncle George Cottle using my best smile, my saddest eyes, and/or my finest “please,” he could be coaxed into telling the story of when he and his wife were on a ship that was torpedoed by a German U-Boat in the Atlantic Ocean, and how they barely escaped with their lives. The trouble is I was always focusing on the submarine part (to this day I still love submarines) and not listening closely for the details of this amazing survival story, such as which ship they were on, when they sailed, where they were going, why, etc.

When I began researching the life and times of my Uncle George for our family tree, I decided I needed to find out if “the torpedo story,” as we all called it, was true or simply a family myth. Naturally, I found myself searching GenealogyBank.com for help.

Using the search terms Cottle, torpedo, ship, and a few others I found that good old Uncle George was indeed telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth! I found the ship’s name was the Athenia. Upon adding this name to the search terms, BINGO, I found myself reading about the sinking of the Athenia in over 300 newspapers from the Heraldo de Brownsville published in Spanish in Brownsville, Texas, to the Oregonian published in Portland, Oregon, and from the San Diego Union published in San Diego, California, to the Greensboro Record, published in Greensboro, North Carolina. I was also learning that the 1,347 passengers and crew were bound from the United Kingdom to New York in September 1939.

I found myself being entranced by the newspaper articles about the sinking of the S.S. Athenia in WWII, such as one in the Richmond Times Dispatch that reported the attempts by Nazi propaganda minister, Paul Josef Goebbels, to smear British Prime Minister Winston Churchill over the event.

Goebbels Charges Churchill Sank Athenia, Challenges Britisher to Reveal the Truth, Richmond Times Dispatch newspaper article 23 October 1939

Richmond Times Dispatch (Richmond, Virginia), 23 October 1939, page 8

As I began honing in on Cleveland, Ohio, George’s home, I found a truly fantastic set of newspaper articles in the Plain Dealer from that city.

There I was looking at an old photo showing Uncle George and his wife Laura in a lifeboat on their rescue vessel, the Knute Nelson.

photo of George and Laura Cottle being rescued after the sinking of the Athenia, Plain Dealer newspaper article 11 September 1939

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 11 September 1939, page 20

This old photo brought a flood of family memories, and suddenly I was hearing my Uncle’s voice again as he related how he and Aunt Laura, after donning their lifejackets several decks below, headed up to their assigned lifeboat—where they were shoved out of the way by others clambering to get into any lifeboat they could to survive the attack. My Aunt and Uncle moved on to luckily find another lifeboat, the last one to leave the Athenia. They then spent more than seven hours at sea in their leaking lifeboat before their ordeal ended. As they were being rescued, they were horrified to see their originally-assigned lifeboat pulled into the propellers of the Knute Nelson and destroyed with a significant loss of life.

Here is Uncle George’s obituary. Notice that it mentions the sinking of the Athenia.

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

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

In my memory, I can still hear my Uncle George telling his survival story of the sinking of the Athenia, and it makes me smile. He would always end this story by remarking “it was the first time in 28 years I went on the ocean, and I am not going again”—although he actually used a bit more colorful language!

She’s Been Workin’ on the Railroad! Researching Railway Records

Introduction: Scott Phillips is a genealogical historian and owner of Onward To Our Past® genealogy services. In this guest blog post, Scott discovers his centenarian cousin once worked for the U.S. Railway Mail Service—and delves into some railroad history.

As a genealogical historian, one of the aspects of family history I love the most is discovering something new about an ancestor. Then I can take some time off from working on my family tree and spend it learning about this new aspect, or area, that I have uncovered. So it was recently as I found myself once again working on my Bohemian (Czech) ancestors in Ohio.

This time I was delving into one of my first cousins, twice removed, Theresa (Sluka) Armstrong. I was reading her obituary in GenealogyBank.com and among all the other tidbits of great information I was finding, I came upon the statement that she was a retiree of the United States Railway Mail Service.

As you can see by reading my cousin’s obituary, Theresa was 100 years old when she passed away. She must have loved the city as she was the wife of a Cleveland policeman and the sister of Frank and Albert Sluka, who were also both Cleveland policemen. (You can read about the tragic murder of Albert Sluka in my previous GenealogyBank.com blog article found at http://blog.genealogybank.com/author/scottphillips.)

obituary for Theresa Sluka Armstrong, Plain Dealer newspaper 19 February 1991

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 19 February 1991, page 11

The more I thought about it, the more intriguing this organization called the United States Railway Mail Service became to me. Additionally, I found it quite interesting that my female cousin worked for them. Having never heard of it before, I began investigating her occupational history with the railroad almost before I realized it.

Still on GenealogyBank.com, I began searching on “U.S. Railway Mail Service” and was instantly treated to amazing railroad background and historical information.

Unbeknownst to me, in about 1863, the United States Postal Service began outfitting and utilizing specially-designed railway cars to accommodate the collecting, sorting, and distributing of mail aboard railroad trains as they traversed across the United States as an integral part of the early postal system. This efficient railway system was even designed so that at many locations, usually smaller, rural towns where the train did not stop, mail pouches were hung by the railroad tracks where a special “arm” attached to the train would snag the bag while moving. Then the postal clerks on board would retrieve the pouches, open their locks, and sort and process the mail as the train roared along. The train never slowed down or missed a beat!

Quickly I was treating myself to multiple stories about the development, history, and operations of the United States Railway Mail Service. One of my early favorite stories was from an 1891 newspaper article that not only explained the functioning and design of this delivery service, but even contained a drawing of what the mail pouch pick-up looked like.

Mail on the Rail, Plain Dealer newspaper article 25 October 1891

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 25 October 1891, page 13

Then I really found myself hitting pay dirt with a 1909 newspaper article from North Dakota. This historical article is an entire page of the newspaper explaining in detail the U.S. Railway Mail Service and containing six extraordinary photographs of the working areas of these specialized train cars. It even contains the names of the postal clerks working that run. Lists of employee names are always a treat for genealogists and family historians!

U.S. Railway Mail Service in North Dakota, Grand Forks Herald newspaper article 24 January 1909

Grand Forks Herald (Grand Forks, North Dakota), 24 January 1909, page 16

I am now engaging in a full pursuit of finding the employment and pension records for my cousin, which for the U.S. Railway Mail Service are held at the Civilian Personnel Records Department of the National Personnel Records Center, housed at the National Archives and Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri.

I am keen on discovering more about the employment history of my centenarian cousin and finding out if her working career involved actually “riding the rails” or staying on the solid ground at the station in Cleveland.

 

 

More Newspapers Online for Genealogists from GenealogyBank

GenealogyBank has added the backfiles of more than 100 newspapers from 28 U.S. states! This is great news for genealogists—so start searching now.

Every day we work to fill in missing issues in our newspaper archives of more than 6,100 titles so that you can do deeper genealogy research. Thousands of newspaper pages were added in this latest addition, totaling more than 25 million articles to help you fill in the gaps on your family tree.

Five newspapers (marked with an asterisk in the table below) are titles new to GenealogyBank.

These new titles include one newspaper from Florida and four from Georgia:

  • Plant City Observer (Plant City, Florida)
  • Fayette Chronicle (Fayetteville, Georgia)
  • Fayette County News (Fayette, Georgia)
  • Today in Peachtree City (Fayetteville, Georgia)
  • East Coweta Journal (Senoia, Georgia)

Here is the complete list of our latest newspaper additions. Each title is an interactive link taking you directly to that newspaper’s search form.

State City Title Date Range Collection
Arkansas Little Rock Arkansas Gazette 01/29/1878–11/05/1898 Historical Newspapers
Arkansas Little Rock Arkansas Weekly Gazette 08/01/1824–11/27/1866 Historical Newspapers
Arkansas Little Rock Morning Republican 03/20/1868–03/20/1868 Historical Newspapers
California Sacramento Weekly Rescue 02/01/1864–09/20/1877 Historical Newspapers
California San Francisco San Francisco Abend Post 01/12/1871–12/30/1876 Historical Newspapers
Connecticut Hartford Connecticut Courant 01/03/1852–12/26/1874 Historical Newspapers
Connecticut New Haven Columbian Register 11/26/1859–11/26/1859 Historical Newspapers
Connecticut New Haven Connecticut Journal 09/27/1825–02/24/1835 Historical Newspapers
Connecticut New Haven Daily Herald 05/18/1839–12/15/1843 Historical Newspapers
Connecticut New Haven New Haven Palladium 09/19/1863–09/19/1863 Historical Newspapers
Connecticut New London New London Daily Chronicle 08/02/1852–07/15/1861 Historical Newspapers
Connecticut Norwich Norwich Aurora 06/11/1864–07/29/1868 Historical Newspapers
Florida Pensacola Pensacola Gazette 06/12/1830–04/08/1848 Historical Newspapers
Florida Plant City Plant City Observer* 07/12/2012–Current Newspaper Obituaries
Georgia Augusta Augusta Chronicle 05/04/1799–03/26/1882 Historical Newspapers
Georgia Augusta Daily Constitutionalist 10/31/1861–11/07/1869 Historical Newspapers
Georgia Fayetteville Fayette Chronicle* 08/25/2011–Current Newspaper Obituaries
Georgia Fayetteville Fayette County News* 12/02/2010–Current Newspaper Obituaries
Georgia Fayetteville Today in Peachtree City* 05/02/2012–Current Newspaper Obituaries
Georgia Savannah Georgian 01/09/1830–05/10/1830 Historical Newspapers
Georgia Savannah Savannah Republican 12/08/1807–03/04/1825 Historical Newspapers
Georgia Senoia East Coweta Journal* 11/11/2010–Current Newspaper Obituaries
Kentucky Lexington Kentucky Gazette 08/07/1823–12/22/1826 Historical Newspapers
Louisiana New Orleans Times-Picayune 01/01/1906–01/01/1906 Historical Newspapers
Maine Portland Daily Eastern Argus 08/18/1863–03/17/1888 Historical Newspapers
Maryland Baltimore Baltimore American 04/30/1903–06/04/1911 Historical Newspapers
Maryland Easton Easton Star 04/30/1844–04/15/1856 Historical Newspapers
Massachusetts Boston American Traveller 01/20/1826–09/30/1834 Historical Newspapers
Massachusetts Boston Boston Commercial Gazette 01/02/1823–06/25/1829 Historical Newspapers
Massachusetts Boston Boston Evening Transcript 07/01/1857–05/31/1862 Historical Newspapers
Massachusetts Boston Boston Herald 11/07/1920–11/14/1920 Historical Newspapers
Massachusetts Boston Boston Post 02/06/1862–10/08/1866 Historical Newspapers
Massachusetts Boston Boston Recorder 01/01/1821–05/03/1872 Historical Newspapers
Massachusetts Boston Saturday Morning Transcript 11/19/1831–11/21/1835 Historical Newspapers
Massachusetts Boston Trumpet and Universalist Magazine 06/07/1834–06/07/1834 Historical Newspapers
Massachusetts Lowell Lowell Patriot 01/02/1835–04/06/1837 Historical Newspapers
Massachusetts Nantucket Nantucket Inquirer 08/08/1825–07/24/1840 Historical Newspapers
Massachusetts New Bedford New-Bedford Mercury 05/14/1869–05/14/1869 Historical Newspapers
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Ohio Cincinnati Cincinnati Daily Gazette 6/21/1867–5/26/1881 Historical Newspapers
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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.

 

 

A Murder in the Family Tree: Policeman Stabbed to Death

Introduction: Scott Phillips is a genealogical historian and owner of Onward To Our Past® genealogy services. In this guest blog post, Scott reports a sad discovery when doing his family history research—finding a murder in his family tree.

Ever have one of those eerie experiences that make you just a little bit scared in your family history work? I did and it happened early in my genealogy research when I decided to visit the Woodland Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio. I had been wanting to visit this cemetery for some time as I have faint memories of visiting there with my family when I was a very young boy. Additionally, in my genealogy research, I have discovered that our family has more than 160 deceased family members resting eternally in Woodland Cemetery.

On this particular cemetery visit I was planning on paying my respects to my great grandfather’s sister, Theresa Sluka. As I arrived at her grave I not only found her gravestone, but I found a substantial family burial plot. I was madly clicking photos and writing down notes as to location, directions, etc., when one of the Sluka family gravestones caught my attention.

Up until that visit, I had never seen a gravestone that held portraits captured in porcelain. The small obelisk in front of me held not one portrait, but two. As I came closer, I realized that for the first time I was gazing at the likenesses of my cousins, Albert and Frank Sluka. Both looked remarkably young and then I noticed that Albert died at just 29 (1877-1907) and his brother, Frank, wearing a uniform of some sort in his portrait, died at only 33 (1878-1912).

gravestone portrait of Albert Sluka (1877-1907)

Gravestone portrait of Albert Sluka (1877-1907)

It wasn’t an hour later that I was booting up my computer and digging into these two family members. Beginning with Albert, my first stop was at GenealogyBank.com and I was not disappointed. On the first page of search results there was an article from the front page of the Plain Dealer:

Policeman Dies in Street Fight, Plain Dealer newspaper article, 28 March 1907

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 28 March 1907, page 1

I felt as if the headline was screaming at me. I couldn’t believe what I was reading: “Policeman Dies in Street Fight. Is Stabbed Just Once, but Life Ebbs Away in Short Time.”

Only three blocks from the very cemetery where I had been standing only an hour earlier, my cousin, wearing his badge and working as a “Special Policeman,” was stabbed to death by a man he had bounced from a dancehall! The old newspaper article explained the crime scene and reported that his brother was a member of the Cleveland Police Department. My curiosity, being fully piqued at this point, kept me looking further.

Amidst the tragedy of this police murder story, I discovered in another newspaper article that the Cleveland Police did indeed get their man, who was a fellow by the name of Harry Fertel:

Murder Charge Rests Lightly, Plain Dealer newspaper article, 29 March 1907

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 29 March 1907, page 2

The news of Albert Sluka’s murder was carried in other newspapers in other states, such as this historical news article which appeared on the front page of an Indiana paper:

Policeman Stabbed to Death, Elkhart Truth newspaper article, 28 March 1907

Elkhart Truth (Elkhart, Indiana), 28 March 1907, page 1

GenealogyBank.com was finding, and I was reading, news stories that covered the initial reports of the assault and crime, and explanations of the impact of the murder on my ancestors including this: “The aged father and mother of the dead policeman are brokenhearted. All day long they sat sobbing beside the casket in the little front room of their home at 5311 McBride Av., S.E…”

I was even learning about my great aunt trying to get her son’s killer sentenced to serve his time in the Penitentiary rather than the Ohio State Reformatory—which itself was none too nice, as revealed in the 1994 film The Shawshank Redemption (the movie was filmed at the Ohio State Reformatory).

Mother Seeks Revenge, Plain Dealer newspaper article, 15 May 1907

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 15 May 1907, page 3

Ever since that first day of those discoveries about my cousin Albert and his murder, I have been further augmenting my knowledge of this family tragedy with information available from the coroner’s autopsy report, trial transcripts, jail records, and more.

The one thing I can tell you for certain is that reading those early newspaper articles sure beats any TV courtroom drama I have ever seen, because, as they say, “This Is Family.”

 

Genealogist Chips Away at His Family History ‘Brick Wall’

Introduction: Scott Phillips is a genealogical historian and owner of Onward To Our Past® genealogy services. In this guest blog post, Scott tells how the discovery of a faded news clipping in the drawer of an old desk provided an important clue about his family history.

The most impenetrable brick wall in my personal genealogy quest began as, and continues to be, my maternal great grandfather, Joseph K. Vicha.

When I was starting my genealogy the sum total of our family’s knowledge about my great grandfather Vicha was his name, his wife’s name (Anna Knechtl), and a penciled note of unknown date and author that simply stated “Joseph K. Vicha – Pisec (sic).” Nothing more.

Over the years of my searching, I can happily report that I have been successful in finding my great grandfather’s birth family, home village in Bohemia (Czech Republic now) of Milevsko, and have traced this family line back to the mid-1600s in Bohemia. However, he still disappears from view in 1911. But what wonderful things I am finding in the years between his birth in 1862 and his disappearance in 1911!

What I am discovering to be an extraordinarily useful method in my work is to expand the search terms I am using in GenealogyBank.com and other places.

A couple of examples might help me explain this best.

Quite by chance, my cousin was rummaging through an old family desk when he came across an envelope. It held a barely legible, torn, and undated newspaper clipping. This article showed me that my great grandfather was a labor union activist with something called the C.L.U. in Cleveland, Ohio.

old, faded newspaper clipping about J. K. Vicha, the author's ancestor

Old, faded newspaper clipping that provided the author his first clue in tracing his ancestor J. K. Vicha

Upon learning this I immediately started searching anew on GenalogyBank.com. I searched using terms such as C.L.U., Central Labor Union, and Joseph K. Vicha in the search boxes and I struck gold!

My first hit was an article from the Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio, dated 28 November 1896 and headlined “Vicha Will Resign. Will Retire From the Presidency of the C.L.U.” I still feel pleased when I think back on that discovery, and am thankful the newspaper articles in GenealogyBank.com are very carefully digitized and come complete with attribution of newspaper and date.

Vicha Will Resign, Plain Dealer newspaper clipping 28 November 1896

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 28 November 1896, page 2

This early article held the new clue that my great grandfather was seeking an appointment from Ohio’s governor, Asa S. Bushnell, to become the superintendent of the Free Employment Bureau. On I went with new searches looking into the Free Employment Bureau in Cleveland and sure enough there was more to be learned! Soon I was discovering that my great grandfather was also a close political advisor to Robert E. McKisson, a two-term mayor of the City of Cleveland from 1895 to 1898.

Mayor McKisson Had His Picture Taken at a Bohemian Reunion, Plain Dealer newspaper article 27 June 1898

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 27 June 1898, page 5

I was fast learning to follow each seemingly unrelated, but actually related, clue in article after article. For instance, moving from Vicha I found myself searching on Central Labor Union, then moving to C.L.U., Mayor Robert McKisson, Labor Unrest, Cloakmakers’ Strike, Lumbermen’s Strike, Czech, Bohemian, and the name of each company where my great grandfather was reported to have been working. One especially nice aspect of GenealogyBank.com is that it not only contains papers from the major Cleveland daily, the Plain Dealer, but it also has issues from the Cleveland Gazette and the Cleveland Leader.

Real Condition Given by Superintendent Vicha of the Cleveland Free Employment Office, Cleveland Gazette newspaper article 15 December 1900

Cleveland Gazette (Cleveland, Ohio), 15 December 1900, page 1

While searching each new term, it was exciting to find that while my great grandfather did start out as a tailor just like his father, he:

  • became a Union organizer
  • was active in some of the most contentious labor strikes in the history of Cleveland
  • was elected the president of the Central Labor Union
  • received a gubernatorial appointment as the superintendent of the State of Ohio Free Employment Bureau in Cleveland
  • fought against sweatshops and child labor in Cleveland
  • authored a bill for the Ohio State Legislature to provide for the teaching of Bohemian (Czech) in the public schools
  • worked as a political advisor to Mayor McKisson
  • was instrumental in the mayor’s campaigning in the Bohemian community of Cleveland
  • and, while making some of the most powerful enemies one could have (such as Mark Hanna, Max Hayes, and United States President William McKinley), great grandfather Vicha was also recognized as one of the most influential Bohemians in Cleveland at that time

Unfortunately, my great grandfather does simply disappear in 1911. Family legend has it that he was branded “persona non grata” by his political and business-community enemies in Cleveland and was forced to leave in order to find work and survive.

Undeterred, I am continuing my hunt—chipping away at the brick wall that is Joseph K. Vicha after 1911. I just have this feeling that the resources of GenealogyBank.com are going to hold the key for me!