Can You Find My Grandfather’s Date of Death?

A reader asked: “I am seeking the date of my grandfather’s death. His name was John L. Gray and died in Missoula, Montana. Can you help?”

I recently received this question—so I reached into GenealogyBank to help her find the answer.

Social Security Death Index record for John L. Gray

Source: SSDI – John L. Gray

She gave me his name and the city and state where he died, with no additional information.

Bang—first search in the Social Security Death Index (SSDI)—and John L. Gray came right up.

Using GenealogyBank, I was able to find an SSDI record that matched the information about her grandfather that she provided me. I will send the SSDI record to her to see if this is the same John L. Gray that she is looking for.

Enter Last Name

Ancestor Search Tip: Look for records created throughout a person’s life. In this case his granddaughter wanted to know his date of death. Since a person’s DOD is recorded in multiple records, target those records first.

I knew that his Date of Death would be included in his SSDI Death record, so I searched this first with the brief information I had—and the record came right up.

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Illinois Archives: 357 Newspapers for Genealogy Research

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

photo of downtown Chicago, Illinois

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

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

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

Search Illinois Newspaper Archives (1818 – 2010)

Search Illinois Recent Obituaries (1985 – Current)

Here is our complete list of online Illinois newspapers in the archives. Each newspaper title in this list is an active link that will take you directly to that paper’s search page, where you can begin searching for your ancestors by surnames, dates, keywords and more. The IL newspaper titles are listed alphabetically by city.

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

*Date Ranges may have selected coverage unavailable.

You can either print or create a PDF version of this Blog post by simply clicking on the green “Print/PDF” button below. The PDF version makes it easy to save this post onto your desktop or portable device for quick reference—all the Illinois newspaper links will be live.

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DNA Shows That Jews Came from the Middle East

This might sound obvious, but this new DNA-driven conclusion is loaded with political impact that will reverberate around the world.

article about DNA tests proving Jews came from the Middle East, Algemeiner, 13 November 2014

Algemeiner, 13 November 2014

FamilyTree DNA’s finding is a clear indicator of the growing sophistication of current DNA technology to predict the ancestral origins and geographic spread of our ancestors. For example, some of this testing showed that one of the largest Jewish ancestral groups—Ashkenazi Jews—“descend from a small group of about 350 individuals who lived between 600 and 800 years ago.” It’s amazing that DNA can be this precise. It will work this way for you too—do it. Sign your family up for DNA testing today.

Enter Last Name

Read the full story about the DNA test findings on Algemeiner, 13 November 2014, here: http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/11/13/family-tree-dna-founder-data-proves-jews-came-from-mideast/

Related Articles about Jewish Ancestry & DNA:

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Ship Records for Genealogy: Newspapers & Passenger Lists

Every family historian wants to know the ship their ancestor came over on and the date that it arrived.

Along with Thanksgiving, tomorrow we’ll be celebrating the arrival of the Mayflower in 1620.

That trip took 66 days. Remarkably, when my ancestor William Kemp came to America 233 years later that trip still took a long time: 56 days.

Genealogists often can find the date and the name of the ship their ancestor came over on—but is there more to the story?
Is there a way to find out more details about our ancestors?

Yes—we can find the rest of the story and, importantly, pass it down in the family. We can find it in GenealogyBank’s 3 centuries of newspaper archives.

Stories from the Mayflower Voyage

In the case of the Pilgrims coming to America, the old newspapers fill in the story, reporting that the Mayflower voyage was very difficult. The Boston Herald tells us that “halfway across the ocean, the point of no return, the Mayflower ran into the first of ‘many fierce storms.’”

article about the Mayflower's cross-Atlantic trip in 1620, Boston Herald newspaper article 25 November 1970

Boston Herald (Boston, Massachusetts), 25 November 1970, page 26

One violent storm at sea cracked and buckled the main beam. The news article reports that the Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower were terrified. Luckily they had brought along nails, screws and other items for building homes in the New World, and were able to use a “great iron scrue” to “force the beam back into place.”

Enter Last Name

What about My Ancestor’s Story?

I have always wanted to know exactly when my ancestor William Kemp came to America, and I finally found that date and the name of the ship on the free Internet site CastleGarden.org.

William arrived in America on 21 October 1853, a passenger on the ship Benjamin Adams.

There it is in the ship passenger list: the name of the ship and the date of his arrival!
Done.

With this information, I did a search on FamilySearch and found confirmation.

screenshot of New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1891

Source: FamilySearch “New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1891” https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/275L-W4Z

screenshot of New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1891, showing the listing for William Kemp

Source: FamilySearch “New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1891” https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/275L-W4Z

But, Was There More to William’s Story?

The name of the ship and the arrival date are good to know, but I wanted to find out more about William’s story—and old newspapers, such as GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives, are a good resource for finding our ancestors’ stories.

Searching GenealogyBank by the name of the ship—not the name of my ancestor—I found this article in the American and Commercial Daily Advertiser reporting that the Benjamin Adams left Friday 26 March 1852 on its maiden voyage from Bath, Maine, to Baltimore, Maryland.

shipping news, American and Commercial Daily Advertiser newspaper article 1 April 1852

American and Commercial Daily Advertiser (Baltimore, Maryland), 1 April 1852, page 3

Advertisements for “the splendid ship Benjamin Adams” highlighted its comfortable accommodations of 6 to 8 cabins above deck and another 75 to 80 accommodations in steerage below deck.

article about the accomodations on the ship "Benjamin Adams," American and Commercial Daily Advertiser newspaper article 28 April 1852

American and Commercial Daily Advertiser (Baltimore, Maryland), 28 April 1852, page 1

Once William Kemp made his decision to emigrate he would have taken a steamship from Ireland to Liverpool, England, arriving at Clarence Dock along the Mersey River in Liverpool.

Liverpool has a series of docks along the banks of the Mersey River. It was one of the major hubs of immigration to America.

According to Liverpool and Emigration in the 19th and 20th Centuries, Information Sheet number 64:

By 1851 it had become the leading emigration port in Europe with 159,840 passengers sailing to North America, as opposed to the second port, Le Havre, [France] with 31,859.

This would have been the scene in mid-19th century Liverpool when William arrived to wait for his ship to America.

painting: “Liverpool Docks from Wapping,” 1870, by John Atkinson Grimshaw

Painting: “Liverpool Docks from Wapping,” 1870, by John Atkinson Grimshaw (1836-1893). Source: original is at the Liverpool City Library, Liverpool, England.

The Preparation and Movement of Ships

Here is a newspaper article reporting that the ship Benjamin Adams had moved from the dock and into the Mersey River ready to head outbound—waiting to move up the river with the aid of a tugboat that will direct it safely to the open ocean.

shipping news, Portland Weekly Advertiser newspaper article 13 September 1853

Portland Weekly Advertiser (Portland, Maine), 13 September 1853, page 3

The big day arrived: the Benjamin Adams set sail on 24 August 1853 bound for New York City.

shipping news, Daily Atlas newspaper article 10 September 1853

Daily Atlas (Boston, Massachusetts), 10 September 1853, page 2

Ship Arrival Times

It was announced in the Weekly Herald newspaper that the Benjamin Adams arrived in New York City on 21 October 1853.
They made it.

shipping news, Weekly Herald newspaper article 22 October 1853

Weekly Herald (New York City, New York), 22 October 1853, page 344

News Stories of Trouble at Sea

Newspapers can tell us just how difficult the cross-Atlantic trip was for our ancestors. That Weekly Herald article gave more details on the trip. The voyage took 56 days with 620 passengers on board. The ship was hit by a storm, suffering major damage:

Sept. 10, while laying to under a close reefed topsail in a heavy gale from the NW, lost all three topgallant masts, closed reefed mizzen topsail, foresail, mainsail, stern boat, and received other damage.

The old news article also reported: “Had 15 deaths on the passage.”

A week later the Weekly Herald told us why so many had died.

Great Mortality in Emigrant Ships, Weekly Herald newspaper article 29 October 1853

Weekly Herald (Albany, New York), 29 October 1853, page 350

Cholera was killing passengers on ship after ship:

…it is pretty certain that the disease which carried them off was cholera, that fatal malady which is making such havoc among the shipping in Europe…The sickness on the Benjamin Adams was decidedly cholera.

Cholera was a major problem in England and Europe in the mid-1800s. In 1853-1854 it killed more than 31,000 people in London alone. It would be another year before the pioneering work of John Snow, M.D. (1813-1858) discovered the cause and cure for the repeated cholera epidemics.

The Albany Evening Journal had this report about the arrival of the Benjamin Adams.

article about the ship "Benjamin Adams," Albany Evening Journal newspaper article 22 October 1853

Albany Evening Journal (Albany, New York), 22 October 1853, page 2

Passenger Ship Routes

Wait—the Benjamin Adams arrived “from Syria” bringing “a Jerusalem plow and other articles from the Holy Land, for the Crystal Palace at New York”? Notice that it stopped in Boston, Massachusetts, before continuing on to New York City.

When was the ship in Syria?

Enter Last Name

Digging deeper into GenealogyBank’s old newspapers—there it is.

The ship was in Beirut on July 25th before going to Liverpool to pick up William Kemp and the other 619 passengers.

shipping news, Daily Atlas newspaper article 1 September 1853

Daily Atlas (Boston, Massachusetts), 1 September 1853, page 2

The Springfield Republican gave more details.

article about the ship "Benjamin Adams," Springfield Republican newspaper article 25 October 1853

Springfield Republican (Springfield, Massachusetts), 25 October 1853, page 2

In addition to the “Arab plough,” the Benjamin Adams brought:

…canes from the banks of the Jordan, branches from the Mount of Olives and cedars of Lebanon, and husks that the “prodigal son” would have eaten if he had had them to eat.

Conclusion

When I began searching for the name of the ship and the date that William Kemp arrived in America, I only knew that William was born in Corradownan, County Cavan, Ireland. I did not know any additional details about William’s cross-Atlantic trip.

Thanks to CastleGarden.org and FamilySearch.org, I learned that he came over on the ship Benjamin Adams and that he arrived in New York City on 21 October 1853.

Those were the basic facts, but it took the old newspapers in GenealogyBank’s deep newspaper archives to fill in the rest of the story. These newspapers gave me the details of how dangerous the trip was, reported that it took an incredible 56 days, provided a description of the ship’s accommodations, and listed the interesting ancient relics it was bringing from Syria to the Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations—the World’s Fair—held in 1853 in New York City.

Old documents give us the names, dates and places, but newspapers have the stories that give life to our ancestors and make their experiences memorable and unforgettable.

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Are You Sure That Is How to Spell Your Ancestor’s Name?

Portraits of my Starbird ancestors hang on our wall on the landing at the top of the staircase. Over the years I have chained the family back from Martha Jane (Starbird) Richmond (1836-1905) to Robert Starbird (1782- ) to Moses Starbird (1743-1815) to John Starbird (1701-1753) to Thomas Starbird (1660-1723).

photo of the Starbird family

Photo: Starbird family. Source: Thomas Jay Kemp.

All of them lived in Dover, New Hampshire, at some time in their lives, and by the 19th century several of the Starbird lines were living in Gray, Maine.

Looking in the deep Historical Newspaper Archives of GenealogyBank, I can quickly find multiple Starbird articles from across centuries of American history.

Enter Last Name

For example, here is a probate notice regarding Catharine Starbird, widow of Moses Starbird, published in 1838.

article about a probate proceeding involving Catharine Starbird, Portland Weekly Advertiser newspaper article 1 May 1838

Portland Weekly Advertiser (Portland, Maine), 1 May 1838, page 1

Here is an article about John Starbird (1742-1802), who served in the Continental Army. Both he and his brother (my ancestor) Moses Starbird (1743-1815) fought at Valley Forge during the Revolutionary War.

article about John Starbird, Massachusetts Spy newspaper article 30 December 1779

Massachusetts Spy (Worcester, Massachusetts), 30 December 1779, page 3

So far so good.

Their name was “Starbird” and I am finding “Starbird” articles in the old newspapers.
Good. This is straightforward.

FamilySearch recently added to their site the “England and Wales, Birth Registration Index, 1837-2008.” Great—an index to all of the births in England. I thought: let me search there to see if I can determine where in England the Starbird family came from.

This should be easy family tree research.

Bang.

screenshot of a search on FamilySearch for the surname "Starbird"

Source: FamilySearch

What? There was only one “Starbird” birth in all of England, going all the way back to 1837?

How could that be?

Looking deeper into GenealogyBank, I found this old obituary notice.

obituary for John Starboard, Weekly Eastern Argus newspaper article 26 April 1805

Weekly Eastern Argus (Portland, Maine), 26 April 1805, page

This is for a son of John “Starboard” from Gray, Maine.
Oh—that’s it.
The name could have been spelled “Starbird” or “Starboard.”

When I think of it—I pronounce both words exactly the same way.

Enter Last Name

So—let’s do a quick double-check in the FamilySearch index to British birth records with this new spelling.

This time the search results were zero.

Zero “Starboard” births and only one “Starbird” birth—what is going on here?

I can find a ton of “Starbird” references in America but none in Britain.
Is there another spelling of the surname?

I have seen where some genealogists have suggested that Thomas Starbird (1660-1723) of Dover, New Hampshire, was the son of Edward Starbuck (1604-1690) who was also from Dover.

Would Thomas really have changed his name from Starbuck to Starbird?

Alfred A. Starbird, author of Genealogy of the Starbird-Starbard Family (Burlington, Vermont: The Lane Press), looked at this—especially since another Starbird historian said that Thomas Starbird had changed his name from Starbuck—but concluded “nothing has been found to support this claim.”

The title of his book gives us another variant spelling of this surname: “Starbard.” So, I tried that spelling in the FamilySearch—again zero references.

So—what about the spelling “Starbuck”?
I repeated the search, and that spelling produced over 5,000 English birth records.

Is it that simple—Thomas simply changed his name from Starbuck to Starbird?
Would that be a logical name change?
Is there another explanation?

Have any of our readers found a record proving who the parents of Thomas Starbird (1660-1723) of Dover, New Hampshire, were? If so, I would like to know.

Do you know any current men named Starbird or Starbuck who are willing to take a DNA test? That might be the only way we find the answer to this question.

What say you?

I’d be interested in your comments.

Related Ancestor Name Research Articles:

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Oklahoma Archives: 55 Newspapers for Genealogy Research

Yesterday was the 107th anniversary of Oklahoma’s statehood: on 16 November 1907 the Union admitted its 46th state when Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory combined to form the new state of Oklahoma. Residents throughout the state celebrated with wild jubilation and a “red letter” campaign.

As explained in an article published by the Hobart Daily Republican (Hobart, Oklahoma) on 16 November 1907:

The commercial bodies and immigration organizations of the state have assisted in making this a “red letter day” in fact as well as in name by printing thousands of red letters announcing the resources and opportunities of the new commonwealth. These have been distributed all over the state and are being mailed by Oklahomans today to their relatives and friends in other states.

photo of the Ouachita Mountains in southeastern Oklahoma

Photo: Ouachita Mountains in southeastern Oklahoma. Credit: Okiefromokla; Wikipedia.

Also, did you know that the name of the state originated from a Muskogean Indian word? “Oklahoma” comes from the Choctaw words “oklah homma,” which means “red people.” Many Indian tribes including Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw and Seminole reside in Oklahoma today because Oklahoma was designated by the U.S. government as “Indian territory” in the Indian Removal Act of 1830.

If you are researching your ancestry from Oklahoma, you will want to use GenealogyBank’s online Oklahoma newspaper archives: 55 titles to help you search your family history in the “Sooner State,” providing coverage from 1871 to Today. There are more than 2.8 million newspaper articles and records in our online OK archives! Oklahoma is particularly rich in Native American newspapers given the state’s history, which resulted in one of our nation’s largest populations of American Indian people.

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

Search Oklahoma Newspaper Archives (1871 – 1923)

Search Oklahoma Recent Obituaries (1982 – Current)

Here is our complete list of online Oklahoma 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 OK newspaper titles are listed alphabetically by city.

City Title Date Range Collection
Ada Ada Evening News 10/29/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Altus Altus Times 1/14/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Alva Alva Review-Courier 9/5/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Antlers Antlers American 10/14/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Ardmore Daily Ardmoreite 12/1/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bartlesville Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise 10/18/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bethany Bethany Tribune 12/7/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chickasha Express Star 3/31/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Claremore Claremore Daily Progress 7/3/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Duncan Duncan Banner 4/26/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Durant Durant Daily Democrat 5/29/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Edmond Edmond Sun 10/24/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Enid Enid News and Eagle 8/1/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fairland American 10/4/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Frederick Frederick Press-Leader 12/3/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Grove Grove Sun 2/25/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Guymon Guymon Daily Herald 5/30/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hobart Hobart Daily Republican 1/4/1907 – 6/30/1920 Newspaper Archives
Hobart Hobart Weekly Chief 7/2/1908 – 12/31/1908 Newspaper Archives
Hobart Hobart Democrat 1/10/1908 – 7/1/1909 Newspaper Archives
Langston Langston City Herald 11/14/1891 – 3/30/1893 Newspaper Archives
Lawton Lawton Constitution 10/1/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
McAlester McAlester News-Capital & Democrat 12/4/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Miami Miami District Daily News 8/19/1917 – 1/31/1923 Newspaper Archives
Miami Miami Record-Herald 7/28/1899 – 10/9/1903 Newspaper Archives
Miami Miami Weekly Herald 9/23/1899 – 11/20/1903 Newspaper Archives
Miami Miami News-Record 12/3/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
Midwest City Midwest City Sun 7/10/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Moore American 1/3/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Muskogee Muskogee Daily Phoenix and Times-Democrat 2/18/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Norman Norman Transcript 9/19/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Nowata Nowata Star 10/3/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Oklahoma City Daily Oklahoman 1/25/1898 – 12/31/1913 Newspaper Archives
Oklahoma City Guide 10/6/1898 – 8/1/1903 Newspaper Archives
Oklahoma City Oklahoman 11/1/1982 – Current Recent Obituaries
Oklahoma City Oklahoman, The: Web Edition Articles 12/14/2013 – Current Recent Obituaries
Pauls Valley Pauls Valley Daily Democrat 9/8/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Pawhuska Pawhuska Journal-Capital 10/17/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Perry Perry Republican 1/1/1914 – 12/28/1922 Newspaper Archives
Perry Noble County Sentinel 10/3/1901 – 9/1/1904 Newspaper Archives
Perry Perry Daily Journal 12/4/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Poteau Poteau Daily News & Sun 7/29/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Pryor Daily Times 12/26/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Shawnee Shawnee News-Star 10/2/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Stillwater Stillwater News Press 9/11/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Tahlequah Cherokee Advocate 4/29/1871 – 7/3/1897 Newspaper Archives
Tahlequah Tahlequah Daily Press 12/29/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Tulsa Tulsa World 1/1/1911 – 12/31/1922 Newspaper Archives
Tulsa Tulsa World 1/1/1989 – Current Recent Obituaries
Tulsa Native American Times 10/27/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Tuttle Tuttle Times 3/29/2006 – 1/27/2010 Recent Obituaries
Vinita Vinita Daily Journal 11/10/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Waurika Waurika News Democrat 2/11/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Weatherford Weatherford Daily News 11/27/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Woodward Woodward News 4/26/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries

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 Oklahoma newspaper links will be live.

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Holiday Genealogy Gift Ideas Pt. 1: Visual Family Timelines

Introduction: Mary Harrell-Sesniak is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background. In this blog post, Mary presents the first in a series of genealogy holiday gift ideas: a project to create a historical visual timeline of one or more of your ancestors’ lives.

The countdown clock to the winter holidays is ticking, and if you want to have time to prepare a genealogy gift for your family, you had better get started.

But if you’re like most people, finishing a family history by a looming deadline is a daunting task. So don’t overwhelm yourself—pick a “doable” genealogy project, one that can be completed in a weekend and long before Christmas, Kwanzaa or Hanukkah.

Places of My Ancestor’s Life Booklet

The first genealogy gift idea I’m presenting (there will be more in upcoming blog articles) is a project to create a historical visual timeline of one or more of your ancestors’ lives. You can do this by taking images, presenting them in chronological order, and making them into a small booklet.

I’m lucky to have an impressive collection of images from my family’s past, but don’t worry if you don’t have the same—let GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives and public images from the National Archives tell your tale by supplementing the story with period images of places your family frequented.

photo of an old house with the caption "If These Four Walls Could Talk, They'd Tell a Thousand Tales"

Source: from the Harrell-Sesniak photo collection

1) Step one is to pick a creative title. If you are stumped, you are welcome to select one of these.

  • Ancestral Home Towns
  • If Walls Could Talk
  • Life in the Past Lane
  • Gleanings from Grandma & Grandpa’s Lives
  • Now and Then: A Look at Where They Lived and Where We Live
  • Old House Tales
  • The Past Is Present Again
  • What Did Our Ancestors’ Home Towns Look Like?

2) Figure out where your ancestors were during specific eras. Create a timeline showing birth, marriage and death dates, but focus on the “dash,” or what occurred between birth – death. (See Linda Ellis’ copyrighted poem at her website www.linda-ellis.com/the-dash-the-dash-poem-by-linda-ellis-.html.)

3) Target hometown hangouts. Did your family get married in a special church or synagogue, or attend special events such as rodeos or the World’s Fair? Did they conduct business at the market, sail from a wharf, or travel cross country in a wagon train? Use these clues to match locations to events that corresponded to their lives.

Enter Last Name

If you can’t find anything pertinent, find something from a person who had a strong influence in their lives. For example, this photo was taken on a family visit to Poland in 1999. Our guide was a history professor who said that Oskar Schindler lived in the apartment building to the left. If your family was affected by the Holocaust, you have my permission to use it in your visual timeline with proper credit.

photo of the Krakow, Poland, apartment building where Oskar Schindler lived

Photo: the Krakow, Poland, apartment building (on left) where Oskar Schindler lived, taken in 1999. Source: from the Harrell-Sesniak photo collection

4) Are any sites still there that would be familiar to your family? Search for un-copyrighted images in public archives and older newspaper archives. You might also try searching HistoryPin to find images and see what these places looked like in the past. Then contrast those images with current photographs that you have taken yourself or have permission to use. Tip: network on social media sites to see if any friends can take out-of-your-area photos for you to use.

5) Add historical maps to pinpoint events and locations during your ancestors’ lives. Everyone loves to walk in the footsteps of their ancestors and you’ll find an interesting selection in GenealogyBank’s Historical Maps section.

map showing President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's trip to the Pacific coast, Heraldo de Brownsville newspaper article 4 October 1937

Heraldo de Brownsville (Brownsville, Texas), 4 October 1937, page 2

6) Compile your image findings into sequential order. Add appropriate captions, and consider keeping them short to inspire the younger set to pursue genealogy.

7) Create a family history scrapbook, or upload this new family heirloom to an online service that creates photo books on demand. Your family will enjoy this special genealogy gift for many years to come.

The following are examples to inspire you.

Massachusetts

If your family came early to America, they probably went through Massachusetts or settled in one of that state’s many historic cities. Perhaps they visited the house shown below, that was built in 1666 and still owned by the Moulton family in 1905. Its style is reminiscent of the John Howland House, built the same year in Plymouth.

article about the Moulton family home, Patriot newspaper article 13 October 1905

Patriot (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania), 13 October 1905, page 12

New Jersey

Because of its delightful history, the Trenton Times ran a series on “Old Landmarks Around Town.” If you have Trenton roots, take time to read them. Example Number 48 below, reprinted in the Philadelphia Inquirer, displays a Quaker meeting house that existed when Washington crossed the Delaware River on Christmas night in 1776.

article about the Quaker meeting house in Trenton, New Jersey, Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper article 29 July 1897

Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), 29 July 1897, page 3

Pennsylvania

There are few states in our country with more history than Pennsylvania, and especially Philadelphia. So pull photos of Philly’s past, along with supplemental articles and advertisements.

Enter Last Name

An example is this advertisement for the Franklin Restaurant and Cafe which opened in 1842 at 105 Chestnut Street. Although no longer there, click the link to see where this address is in relation to the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing.

The Franklin Restaurant and Cafe, Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper article 13 June 1842

Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), 13 June 1842, page 1

By 1897, many of Philadelphia’s early landmarks were disappearing. This old news article mentions a familiar view at the southeast corner of Broad and Chestnut Streets.

The caption notes that there was a railroad ticket office in this building, and that it was the setting for the old Cornucopia Restaurant which fed the populace in large numbers. If your family was in this area during the 19th Century, it is likely they partook of at least one meal in this establishment, or met at the tavern that had been there previously. Taverns were popular meeting places and served as backdrops for many of the meetings of our founding fathers.

Old Landmarks Disappearing, Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper article 29 July 1897

Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), 29 July 1897, page 3

Diaries and Journeys

If you find enough material from your ancestors’ home towns, stop there. However, an interesting addition would be to add images from journeys made across country, or quotes from period diaries such as this one:

13th Oct. (1858). A drive of six miles brought us to Paint Rock, where we pass into Tennessee. Near Paint Rock we pass the chimney rocks, a great curiosity; they are in North Carolina. The Paint Rock is said to be 1000 feet high and appears to lean over the road, in fact looks dangerous, but I presume it was planted there until eternity by our Creator. Day’s travel 18 miles. We take the road to Dewetts Bridge, and camp for the day.

—from the diary of John C. Darr

See: http://www.argenweb.net/pope/wagon.html

If your family journeyed west or elsewhere, get inspired by weaving their travels into your tale. Include memories of the adventure, and if you are not fortunate to have a family diary, quote one from the time period. Add images such as prairies, wagon trains or even locomotives, many of which are found in old newspapers.

article about antique trains, Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper article 9 July 1893

Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), 9 July 1893, page 23

Happy Holidays to one and all, and good luck with your holiday genealogy gift projects!

Related Genealogy Gifts Articles:

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Mayflower Pilgrim Thomas Rogers: Are You a Descendant?

Joseph Atwood Ordway (1852-1904) is a descendant of Mayflower passenger Thomas Rogers—and he thought so much of that genealogical fact, it was included in his obituary.

Death of Joseph A. Ordway, Springfield Republican newspaper article 6 May 1904

Springfield Republican (Springfield, Massachusetts), 6 May 1904, page 12

This is a detailed obituary that gives us a lot of family history information about Joseph:

  • His date and place of birth: 12 May 1852 in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States
  • His date and place of death: 5 May 1904 in Springfield, Hampden, Massachusetts, United States
  • One of his brothers was “the late” General Albert Ordway (1843-1897) who served in the Civil War.
  • He was survived by his wife: Carrie L. Ordway
  • He had two sisters: Mary Emma Ordway (1849- ) and Annie Freeman Ordway (1857- ) who became Mrs. Charles E. Folsom (Charles Edward Folsom, Jr., 1855-1926)
  • He had one surviving brother: Frank Foster Ordway (1862- )

Obituaries give good core research information for genealogists.

Enter Last Name

I particularly like that Joseph’s obituary mentioned he was a Mayflower descendant. I am also a descendant of the Pilgrim Thomas Rogers.

Knowing that enables me to start with Joseph Atwood Ordway and trace his lineage back to his Mayflower ancestor.

This is a quick way to speed up your genealogy research and ensure that all of your cousins are found and documented in the family history.

Related Mayflower Ancestry Articles & Resources:

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Your Top Genealogy Challenges & Frustrations

Introduction: Mary Harrell-Sesniak is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background. In this blog post, Mary shares some of the responses her social media friends gave when she asked the question: “Just what frustrates everyone about genealogy?”

Earlier this year, the GenealogyBank blog published my article “Why Do You Love Genealogy?” The responses were engaging and it was clear that there is a world of genealogy addicts out there. So I decided to query my social media friends again: Just what frustrates everyone about genealogy?

The responses were enlightening and immediate—over 200 responses about the ups and downs of genealogy. Surprisingly, there weren’t as many frustrations about barking up the wrong tree as I imagined. Most were about brick walls, dead-ends, missing information, and how people share or misreport genealogy.

I couldn’t include them all, so have picked some of the more enlightening answers to share. They are grouped by topic and the initials indicate the name of the respondent.

Enter Last Name










Brick Walls & Dead Ends

  • 30+ years of researching and I still have the same 3 brick walls! – G.W.

genealogy comment: "30+ years of researching and I still have the same 3 brick walls!"

  • Both (brick walls and dead-ends). – S.A.
  • Definitely both!!! – K.B.
  • Brick wall! – J.H.S.
  • Brick walls, [ancestors] missing from a census, obituary without parents’ names, no death record, obituary that says so-and-so died yesterday and no more, disappearing from all records…to name a few. But none of it deters the obsession. – D.B.
  • Dead ends. – D.G., J.S., M.M., N.S., T.L.M. & V.S.F.
  • Dead ends! People who seem to have appeared out of nowhere. One in particular is Aldenderfer, a name contrived from German meaning “high” or “small” village. So, people from the altendoerf were from the small village: small villages = altendoerfers. So, how do I find the small village in Germany for someone who arrived in the middle 1700s? – V.G.E.
  • I’d swear [Elizabeth] didn’t exist except that she managed to be on 2 censuses after she married. – L.H.
  • For me it’s dead ends, and the fact that conducting a reasonably exhaustive search just seems never to be done, and with so many zillions of places to look. – B.C.
    (My response) “I think the key word is reasonable, although most of us don’t like to stop until we find what we are looking for!”
  • For me, it is the dead ends. My great grandparents had to have had parents and perhaps siblings. Where are you? I’m looking for you! Sigh. – S.E.

genealogy comment: "Where are you? I'm looking for you!" -- Said by every genealogist to their missing ancestors!

  • I’m frustrated with a dead end, although all of the above answers are good answers, too! My great grandma supposedly came to the U.S. from Ireland in 1890 but didn’t marry ’til 1908. There is no record of her in the U.S. for those 18 years…or before that in Ireland. I am beginning to think she has something to hide. My mother describes her as a secretive woman. This is my brick wall. I’m happy to listen to any other theories! I’ve accused her of just about everything! – S.W.P.
  • Keep looking and the dead ends remain… – H.T.
  • Mom’s Grandfather didn’t leave a paper trail to track him. – J.K.
  • My experience has been one brick wall after another. So frustrating! – A.R.
  • I think that feeling of “I’ll find something…just keep looking for it” has kept me looking…so instead of giving it a rest, I keep hitting my own head into the brick wall. – T.L.M.

Locations & Websites That Stymie Researchers

  • Distance. If I could be in those other courthouses and libraries a few hundred miles [away] or across the ocean. – A.G.
  • KY TN AR – H.H.P.
  • Regarding U.S.A., lack of access to needed files and nationwide lack of ability to visit most states to find answers. – J.E.G.
  • Not being able to find a town of origin. – D.H.
  • Researching in New Jersey. – M.P.C.
  • Sites that claim you can search records for free…but you have to pay to actually see the records. – P. L.
  • The difficulty of obtaining records that I know exist because they’re far away or only available in an archive or library that can’t or won’t digitize or do research. – A.G.
  • Venezuela. – M.M.
  • When I absolutely know someone was born and lived in a place but there is no record at all, that’s so frustrating! – L.B.W.

Ancestors’ Names

  • All the common names used over and over again! – K.L.
  • Common names drive me crazy. Go look for a John White from Indiana who served in the Civil War. Or what should be uncommon names like McFetridge that are spelled 600 different ways and sometimes 3 or 4 [ways] on the same document. – B.N.
  • Dealing with [common] surnames…that have SO many branches that are not connected, at least that can be proven! I could have added just about every comment here ahead of me! So frustrating sometimes, but so fun to search and rewarding when you do find something useful! – D.K.B.

genealogy comment: "My biggest genealogy challenge are the many endless generations with the same names!"

  • 7 or 8 different spellings for one person’s first and last names. I can’t find his records in any immigration site. I think he came over in a rowboat. – E.J.K.
  • My two greatest brick walls: [both] shown in only two census records and then poof! – D.R.
  • Endless gens with the same 3 names: William, Robert, and James. – H.H.P.
  • Family using fake names. – I.R.D.
  • Good common names are my nemesis: John Smith, etc. – N.G.
  • I had 2 [men of the same name] born within a few years of each other in the same area. First cousins. I have 5 [others with the same name], of course they are all related to each other and some with close birthdates. And finally, 13 [with the same exact name] all related to each other. Headache keeping them straight! – G.S.O.
  • I have 5 gens with the same two names and each gen had several sons…ALL with the same 3 names. – H.H.P.
  • Last names. One of them is Son and one of the first names is Abraham. Pop that name in Google and you’ll have enough biblical references to keep you busy sorting through until the Second Coming. – D.H.R.
  • Mine are the brick walls AND the same names within the same branch of family. I know it was [a] tradition to name them after relatives, but my god it is murder trying to figure out which John goes with which Mary or Polly. – C.W.W.
  • My biggest frustration is finding a record with the right name/info that is reasonably and plausibly my ancestor, but not being able to verify it with certainty! – K.F.
  • My frustration is that my last name is [common]! – M.Y.
  • Researching a common name of a brick wall family. – D.L.C.
  • My granddad, great granddad and great great granddad are all named William Smith. – G.W.O.
  • I have Smiths too. – D.R.
  • My line, William, has 5 sons, 1 named William, like him. The 5 sons had boys – each named 1 son William (after their Grandfather). Those boys had sons – each named a son William…and it goes on and on and on. – M.O.S.
  • My nightmare is trying to find my Grandma. She was born in Mexico under one name but used a combination of the 2 here in the states. – S.V.
  • Same here, dead ends, and duplicate names! – L.B.W.
  • The names [are common ones] from Ireland. Do you have any idea how many of them there are? And they all have a father named Patrick and a mother named Mary. Argh. – M.C.
  • The same names in the same era, especially with surnames I once thought were weird or unusual. – A.F.
  • My Dad’s last name [is common]…my Mother’s maiden name is Smith. But then, it does make for interesting research! – M.Y.
  • Try working in the 13th century; all men are William and all wives name their daughters
    after themselves and there aren’t last names yet! – P.J.

Other Genealogy Frustrations

  • Cost of these [genealogy] programs…$119 for data search. – A.P.
  • For me it’s the organizing. I’m so focused on finding and saving items that I have to force myself to stop researching and make some organizing sense of it all. – L.T.
  • Organizing. – J.J.
  • What frustrates me most about genealogy? Unlabeled photos! – I.R.

Records (Census)

  • Lack of info…The missing 1890 census. – I.R.D.
  • Yes, the 1890 census. – G.G.T.
  • Oh yes, the missing 1890 census, I was swearing at it earlier today. Also the destroyed Irish Census and other Irish records. I’m finally “across the pond” and am hitting dead ends because of that fire. – S. C.
  • Illiterate people writing down census info. I’ve got some names from NC I can’t even figure out [because of] how they are spelled. Batrass = Beatrice. – D.R.
  • I have to agree with you there too. I couldn’t locate one branch of my husband’s Perry family. I stumbled across them looking for someone else. The census taker had the name listed as Harry. WOW! – C.W.W.
  • Here’s a fun one: I spent ages pulling my hair out trying to find my Grandmother on the 1930 Census, she was 6 years old, there was the whole rest of the family where was she??? Finally I gave up and ordered a copy of her birth certificate, found out she was born in 1933. (She died in ’92, btw.) – S.C.
  • That sounds like you were there for my most recent search on [my] family in Canada. – B.C.

Records (Deciphering)

  • Illegible handwriting drives me insane. Conflicting information is my other pet peeve. – P.R.C.
  • Inability to read a document is frustrating. – T.K.
  • Records that sort-of match up, but not enough to know whether it’s actually the same person. I’ve got relatives that, through the censuses, have a 5- or 6-year span of birth years. – M.H.
  • I like deciphering the old script, inverting a photostat of an aging parish register. I will not let a challenge defeat my research. – A.D.

genealogy comment: "Genealogists do not like to let challenges defeat their research!"

Records & Family Trees (errors, missing and otherwise)

  • All the “winkie winkie” looks between county clerks when they say records were burned. I really think lots of county courthouses just cleaned house and burned them out back. – N.G.
  • Another whammy is when you hit the mother-load of items (cards with names) inside a box wrapped with the memorial book for your great grandfather. But your great grandmother threw away the envelopes for all those cards. The cards that only have first names or last names, some of which appear to be related. – I.R.
  • As it is, because of a fire in ’73, there isn’t much there, but they say he was born [elsewhere], which is the closest I have gotten to his place of birth. – G.W.O.
  • It’s the dumb errors. – M.F.
  • Just to make things more interesting, my granddad lied about both his age and place of birth. If I [hadn’t] stumbled upon his discharge papers, I would never have been able to find any of his military papers. – G.W.O.
  • Knowing that people have sold photos and family bibles to the highest bidder to be used in a craft project. – H.T.
  • My “worst” brick wall is so bad, largely in part to one person making an error on an online tree and then everyone else copying it. So, I guess poor research is my biggest frustration. – S.C.
  • My Great Grandfather’s sibs; I just want pictures! – D.R.
  • One surname is Bryan. Why oh why does everyone want a T on the end??? – D.R.
  • The assumptions people make with no documentation! – K.C.B.

Relatives & Researchers

  • A small gripe…some folks know I do genealogy, and they call and ask about grandma and great grandma. Two days later they call and I think they want more info, but no: my little bit of info, [plus] the Internet, and they say they have the family tree all done now. They spent about a week on it. I’ve been on this quest years…many, many years. – A.G.
  • All the lies that have been told over the years…there’s a never-ending supply. – K.L.
  • Ignore the “lies” or error in research; do your own research, without any preconceived notions. – A.D.

genealogy comment: "Genealogists: do your own research, without any preconceived notions based on the research of others!"

  • Family members that don’t tell you the truth, but [instead] their version of it. – J.B.
  • For me [it] is when I make a connection and people dispute it. – L.J.S.
  • For me it’s fictitious pedigrees others have made using people with the same name or making up lineage to obtain property. – J.E.
  • It’s the fellow “researchers” who won’t reply when you reach out to them with no more intent than to just say “hello, we may be related and pursuing the same goals.” – D.R.
  • My cousin did the same to me, refused to let me know when my great-grandmother died, and my mother has continued to remind me for 34 years [that] I was at the beach and missed the funeral! – S.S.
  • My frustration button is pushed when I send someone all the info and docs and they publish it without any mention of who actually did the research, and then they get treated like a god and won’t acknowledge any of his mistakes…argh. – R.L.
  • Credit where credit is due. – T.K.
  • When someone with a private tree copies info that you have worked very hard to obtain, and when you try to ask them to share their info you hear nothing from them. – M.D.
  • People that don’t share. – M.M.
  • People who don’t share after you have graciously shared with them. – L.M.
  • Relatives that won’t talk or SHARE!!! – L.N.B.
  • Uncooperative family members that refuse to give you information. – C.R.
  • When newly-discovered family members ask for heritage items but can never seem to share with you. – H.P.M.
  • When people deliberately withhold information from you just because they can. – T.J.

Sources (or lack thereof!)

  • Here’s one: newspapers or other articles that are clipped out and no “source” information attached…no date, no city/state, no publication name. I am happy to go find them again…but man, needle in a haystack! Now, [for] every newspaper article I find, I save the full page from the website. – S.C.
  • Posted trees/pedigrees with no valid documentation. – B.E.

Time & Money (not enough hours in the day)

  • For me it’s two things: finding the time to research, and finding the focus. I start with one person, find others who are interesting and leap around. – C.M.N.
  • For me it is my inability to be able to devote enough time at one sitting. I work full-time and have a family so I rarely get more than a couple hours at a time. – R.T.F.
  • Many years and hoops [to jump through] and, yes, the costs. – D.S.B.
  • Not enough time to get it all done, and money to travel for searches. – B.J.A.

Wishing They’d Asked…

  • Not asking my relatives when they were younger about family history; now they’re all gone. – L.B.W. (My response:) “You are so right about that. If we could only ask a few more questions, we’d all be happy!”
  • Not having asked my relatives questions before they died because I wasn’t interested at the time! – G.G.T.
  • Not having my grandparents and parents around to share it with. – L.C.
  • It makes you question the information that you have. In my case it’s my paternal grandmother and her entire line. All I have is a handwritten piece of paper that my Dad apparently wrote (I was a teenager when he died and I had no idea until after his death that it even existed). – T.L.M.
  • Totally agree, 3 of [my] Grandparents died before I was smart enough to realize I should ask and record the answers. My remaining Grandma gets grilled every visit, tape recorder on! Although, the tall tales some of my relatives passed along are sometimes more frustrating than not having information from them. – S.C.

A Few Last Remarks!

  • What is reasonable to a perfectionist and genealogist? And I would wager that most of us that consider ourselves even amateur genealogists are raging perfectionists. – B.C.

genealogy comment: "I would wager that most genealogists are raging perfectionists!"

  • My greatest gift was my maternal grandmother who lived to 102 and knew everyone’s business in her country neighborhood. We were related to most of them! She loved to tell all about them. I sure miss her. – N.G.
  • The greatest frustration in this, my remaining years, is the disinterest in [our] ancestors of those who share my ancestry. It’s a risk. – T.K.
  • I’ve been hunting for the 20th century death of a family member for almost a year. Got it today – I’m smiling! – A.D.
  • What frustrates me about genealogy? ALL OF THE ABOVE! – D.R.

Got any more genealogy challenges or frustrations to add? Share them with us in the comments.

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How to Standardize Your Geographic Locations

You’ve been working on your family history for years and have gathered a lot of information.

You keep careful notes and are consistent in putting down full bibliographic citations so that others may quickly know where you found each of your facts.

But—how are you adding the places of birth, marriage or death for your ancestors?

Photo showing the view of Elm Street in Manchester, New Hampshire, looking south

Photo: View of Elm Street in Manchester, New Hampshire, looking south. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Here’s a tip: write out the complete geographic location for each event.

Instead of writing:
Manchester, NH

You want to render it as:
Manchester, Hillsborough, New Hampshire, United States

Also acceptable:
Manchester, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, United States

Enter Last Name










What you want to avoid are abbreviations, because they can often be misunderstood.

For example: which state has the abbreviation AR?
Is that Arizona? Arkansas? No, it can’t be Arkansas—isn’t that AK?

Actually, Arizona is AZ, Arkansas is AR and Alaska is AK.

It’s easy to know if you use those geo location abbreviations often, but when we don’t we often have to look the abbreviation up to get it right.

Over the history of the United States, abbreviations have not always been consistent. People used any abbreviation that seemed correct to them. Newspapers often used an unconventional abbreviation, such as Con for Connecticut. We’re not accustomed to that today—but it must have been acceptable over a century ago.

The accepted style for writing geographic locations is to not use abbreviations and to include the name of the county and of the country. Use the corresponding geographical jurisdictions when documenting places in other countries.

You never want to simply enter the name of the town.

For example, don’t just use: Haverhill.

You understand where that is.
Many of your family lived there—but will other relatives know where that is?
What if your relative now lives across the country—will they recognize where Haverhill is?

Is that Haverhill, Essex, Massachusetts, United States—or, not far away, Haverhill, Grafton, New Hampshire, United States?

Why include the name of the country?
Now that genealogy has gone global, it is customary to include the name of the country to make the entries more precise.

When genealogists are less familiar with the geography, having it spelled out is helpful.

For example:
Sydney (or)
Sydney, Cumberland, New South Wales

Most of us would instantly recognize this is in Australia, but could it be misunderstood as somehow being part of Wales?

Enter it as:
Sydney, Cumberland, New South Wales, Australia—then there is no misunderstanding.

Make your family history crystal clear.

Use the town, county, state and country to describe all of the localities in your family history.

Let’s be consistent in all of our records and leave a clear record that everyone will easily understand.

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