Obituaries – Don’t Make This Rookie Genealogy Research Mistake

This is a typical newspaper obituary.
It gives the usual genealogical information, including her name (Ella M. Crofoot), age, & date and place of birth.

obituary for Ella M. Crofoot, Stamford Advocate newspaper article 17 February 1970

Stamford Advocate (Stamford, Connecticut), 17 February 1970, page 6

I could easily transcribe this information and move on to the next relative to research in my family tree – but that would be a mistake.

I have her obituary – isn’t that what I came for?

Historical newspapers often published two items about the deceased: the obituary and the more compact “death notice.”

Death notices come in all shapes and sizes, and vary from newspaper to newspaper – but, you must look for them while doing your genealogy research or you will miss important clues.

For example: on the same page of that newspaper, further down along the far right column, there is Ella’s “death notice.”

death notice for Ella M. Crofoot, Stamford Advocate newspaper article 17 February 1970

Stamford Advocate (Stamford, Connecticut), 17 February 1970, page 6

Comparing both news articles, we quickly see that additional relatives are named in the death notice:

Aunt of Lawrence T. Kemp, Mrs. Olive Skinner, Mrs. Hazel Randall, and Mrs. Ruth Brush.

Good thing we checked or we’d have missed four family members.

Genealogy Tip: Always check for both the Obituary AND the Death Notice. You’ll likely be glad that you did.

Note: FamilySearch International ( and GenealogyBank are partnering to make over a billion records from recent and historical obituaries searchable online. The tremendous undertaking will make a billion records from over 100 million U.S. newspaper obituaries readily searchable online. The newspapers are from all 50 states and cover the period 1730 to the present.  Find out more at:

Related Articles:

Massachusetts Archives: 427 Newspapers for Genealogy Research

Massachusetts has long played a prominent role in American history. It is where the Pilgrims landed from the Mayflower and established Plymouth Colony in 1620. Boston, founded in 1630, was one of the centers of the revolt against Great Britain that led to the American Revolution. Although Massachusetts is the seventh smallest state in the country, it is the 14th most populous.

photo of a sunset on Cape Cod Bay, Brewster, Massachusetts

Photo: sunset on Cape Cod Bay, Brewster, Massachusetts. Credit: PapaDunes; Wikimedia Commons.

If you are researching your ancestry from Massachusetts, you will want to use GenealogyBank’s online MA newspaper archives: 427 titles to help you search your family history in “The Bay State,” providing coverage from 1690 to Today. There are more than 207 million articles and records in our online Massachusetts newspaper archives!

Note that our Massachusetts historical newspaper collection contains The Boston News-Letter which was very first newspaper continuously published in colonial America. This early American newspaper is a fantastic resource to learn about the lives of your colonial ancestors.

masthead for the first issue of the Boston News-Letter newspaper 24 April 1704

Boston News-Letter (Boston, Massachusetts), First Issue: 24 April 1704

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

Search Massachusetts Newspaper Archives (1690 – 1992)

Search Massachusetts Recent Obituaries (1988 – Current)

illustration: state flag of Massachusetts

Illustration: state flag of Massachusetts. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Here is a list of online Massachusetts newspapers in the historical 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 MA newspaper titles are listed alphabetically by city.

City Title Date Range* Collection
Acton Beacon 10/13/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Amesbury Amesbury News 11/11/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Andover Andover Townsman 04/04/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Arlington Arlington Advocate 08/25/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Ashburnham Community Journal 05/11/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Ashland Ashland TAB 12/17/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Attleboro Sun Chronicle 11/14/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Auburn Auburn Daily Voice 04/28/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Ayer Public Spirit 09/18/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Barnstable Barnstable Patriot 10/07/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Barre Barre Patriot 07/26/1844 – 11/30/1855 Newspaper Archives
Barre Farmer’s Gazette 06/13/1834 – 05/15/1835 Newspaper Archives
Barre Wachusett Star 11/23/1847 – 06/20/1848 Newspaper Archives
Barre Barre Gazette 06/05/1835 – 08/29/1862 Newspaper Archives
Bedford Bedford Minuteman 09/29/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Belchertown Hampshire Sentinel and Farmers and Manufacturers Journal 11/29/1826 – 05/04/1831 Newspaper Archives
Bellingham Country Gazette 09/22/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Belmont Belmont Citizen-Herald 08/18/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Beverly Beverly Citizen 04/13/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Beverly Salem News 05/31/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Beverly Beverly Citizen 10/13/1858 – 02/24/1893 Newspaper Archives
Billerica Billerica Minuteman 09/22/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bolton Bolton Common 12/23/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Boston Saturday Morning Transcript 11/19/1831 – 12/28/1839 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Courier 01/04/1830 – 10/27/1864 Newspaper Archives
Boston Daily Atlas 11/08/1832 – 04/11/1857 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Patriot and Daily Chronicle 06/02/1817 – 12/31/1831 Newspaper Archives
Boston Weekly Messenger 10/25/1811 – 12/25/1860 Newspaper Archives
Boston Federal Gazette 01/01/1798 – 03/26/1798 Newspaper Archives
Boston Bay Windows 12/10/1998 – Current Recent Obituaries
Boston Boston Herald 01/01/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Boston Boston Spectator 01/01/1814 – 02/25/1815 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Evening-Post and the General Advertiser 10/20/1781 – 01/10/1784 Newspaper Archives
Boston Flag of Our Union 03/28/1846 – 12/28/1867 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Mirror 10/22/1808 – 07/21/1810 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston American 12/01/1951 – 09/30/1961 Newspaper Archives
Boston Huntington News 09/24/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Boston Repertory 01/25/1804 – 12/30/1820 Newspaper Archives
Boston Saturday Evening Gazette 09/20/1856 – 12/30/1865 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Courier 06/13/1805 – 05/04/1809 Newspaper Archives
Boston Yankee 01/03/1812 – 01/20/1820 Newspaper Archives
Boston Daily Advertiser 06/05/1809 – 07/31/1809 Newspaper Archives
Boston Universalist Magazine 07/03/1819 – 01/12/1828 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Patriot 03/03/1809 – 05/31/1817 Newspaper Archives
Boston New-England Weekly Journal 03/20/1727 – 10/13/1741 Newspaper Archives
Boston Pilot 09/25/1812 – 01/15/1813 Newspaper Archives
Boston Agricultural Intelligencer, and Mechanic Register 01/14/1820 – 07/07/1820 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Recorder 01/03/1816 – 05/03/1872 Newspaper Archives
Boston Independent Chronicle and Boston Patriot 06/04/1817 – 12/31/1825 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Evening-Post 08/18/1735 – 04/24/1775 Newspaper Archives
Boston Exchange Advertiser 12/30/1784 – 12/21/1786 Newspaper Archives
Boston American Apollo 10/05/1792 – 12/25/1794 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Journal 01/01/1866 – 10/06/1917 Newspaper Archives
Boston Emancipator and Republican 02/17/1842 – 12/26/1850 Newspaper Archives
Boston American Traveller 11/14/1846 – 08/19/1876 Newspaper Archives
Boston Repertory 01/02/1821 – 07/29/1826 Newspaper Archives
Boston Fredonian 02/20/1810 – 05/15/1810 Newspaper Archives
Boston Satirist 01/16/1812 – 05/09/1812 Newspaper Archives
Boston Herald of Freedom 09/15/1788 – 07/19/1791 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Courant 01/06/1900 – 01/06/1900 Newspaper Archives
Boston Courier de Boston 04/23/1789 – 10/15/1789 Newspaper Archives
Boston Trumpet and Universalist Magazine 07/05/1828 – 06/28/1834 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston News-Letter 04/24/1704 – 02/29/1776 Newspaper Archives
Boston Columbian Detector 11/07/1808 – 05/19/1809 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Record American 12/02/1951 – 12/31/1972 Newspaper Archives
Boston Independent Chronicle 09/19/1776 – 05/29/1817 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Evening Transcript 01/01/1842 – 12/31/1866 Newspaper Archives
Boston Evening Post and General Advertiser 10/17/1778 – 02/26/1780 Newspaper Archives
Boston Massachusetts Spy 07/17/1770 – 04/06/1775 Newspaper Archives
Boston American Republican 03/20/1809 – 04/03/1809 Newspaper Archives
Boston Censor 11/23/1771 – 05/02/1772 Newspaper Archives
Boston Publick Occurrences 09/25/1690 – 09/25/1690 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Intelligencer 08/20/1814 – 12/27/1828 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Commercial Gazette 10/09/1800 – 01/23/1840 Newspaper Archives
Boston Courier 07/01/1795 – 12/30/1795 Newspaper Archives
Boston Metro – Boston 12/07/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Boston Independent Advertiser 01/04/1748 – 09/25/1749 Newspaper Archives
Boston New-England Palladium 03/11/1803 – 12/29/1820 Newspaper Archives
Boston Bostonian and Mechanics Journal 07/20/1822 – 06/28/1823 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Price-Current 09/07/1795 – 05/31/1798 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Daily Record 12/01/1951 – 09/30/1961 Newspaper Archives
Boston Massachusetts Mercury 01/01/1793 – 03/08/1803 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Herald 05/01/1848 – 04/30/1992 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Chronicle 10/22/1767 – 06/21/1770 Newspaper Archives
Boston Continental Journal, and Weekly Advertiser 05/30/1776 – 06/21/1787 Newspaper Archives
Boston Times, or, the Evening Entertainer 07/28/1794 – 11/08/1794 Newspaper Archives
Boston Massachusetts Journal 09/02/1826 – 12/18/1828 Newspaper Archives
Boston New-England Galaxy 10/10/1817 – 12/29/1820 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Telegraph 01/01/1824 – 12/23/1824 Newspaper Archives
Boston Columbian Centinel 06/16/1790 – 04/25/1840 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Post-Boy 04/21/1735 – 04/10/1775 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Daily Advertiser 03/03/1813 – 12/31/1900 Newspaper Archives
Boston Liberator 01/01/1831 – 12/29/1865 Newspaper Archives
Boston Ladies’ Port Folio 01/01/1820 – 07/08/1820 Newspaper Archives
Boston Constitutional Telegraph 10/02/1799 – 05/22/1802 Newspaper Archives
Boston Weekly Report 05/01/1819 – 05/10/1828 Newspaper Archives
Boston Polar-Star 10/06/1796 – 02/02/1797 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Traveler 07/05/1825 – 10/21/1862 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Advance 02/17/1900 – 02/17/1900 Newspaper Archives
Boston American Herald and the Washington Gazette 07/24/1790 – 12/13/1790 Newspaper Archives
Boston Times 12/12/1807 – 10/15/1808 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Phoenix 08/09/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Boston Masonic Mirror and Mechanic’s Intelligencer 01/22/1825 – 04/15/1826 Newspaper Archives
Boston New-England Courant 08/07/1721 – 06/25/1726 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Daily Bee 01/02/1843 – 12/31/1857 Newspaper Archives
Boston Christian Watchman 05/29/1819 – 12/26/1850 Newspaper Archives
Boston Scourge 08/10/1811 – 12/28/1811 Newspaper Archives
Boston Idiot, or, Invisible Rambler 12/20/1817 – 01/02/1819 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Cultivator 04/07/1866 – 04/07/1866 Newspaper Archives
Boston Argus 07/22/1791 – 06/28/1793 Newspaper Archives
Boston Liberator 09/18/1897 – 04/16/1898 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Post 01/10/1840 – 10/16/1876 Newspaper Archives
Boston Kaleidoscope 12/05/1818 – 11/13/1819 Newspaper Archives
Boston Congregationalist 11/03/1870 – 12/29/1870 Newspaper Archives
Boston Russell’s Gazette 06/07/1798 – 10/06/1800 Newspaper Archives
Boston Right Way 11/18/1865 – 03/02/1867 Newspaper Archives
Boston Weekly Rehearsal 09/27/1731 – 08/11/1735 Newspaper Archives
Boston Massachusetts Gazette 11/28/1785 – 11/11/1788 Newspaper Archives
Boston Federal Orrery 10/20/1794 – 10/31/1796 Newspaper Archives
Boston Compass 06/06/1818 – 08/21/1819 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Herald: Blogs 10/28/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Boston Boston Traveler 12/03/1850 – 07/08/1967 Newspaper Archives
Boston Independent Ledger 06/15/1778 – 10/16/1786 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Gazette 12/21/1719 – 09/17/1798 Newspaper Archives
Boston Democrat 01/04/1804 – 06/02/1809 Newspaper Archives
Boston American Herald 01/19/1784 – 06/30/1788 Newspaper Archives
Boston Republican Gazetteer 05/26/1802 – 03/30/1803 Newspaper Archives
Boston Gazetteer 04/02/1803 – 12/31/1803 Newspaper Archives
Boston South End News 06/07/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Boston New-England Chronicle 04/25/1776 – 09/12/1776 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Daily American Statesman 09/05/1825 – 12/13/1827 Newspaper Archives
Boston Massachusetts Centinel 03/24/1784 – 06/12/1790 Newspaper Archives
Bourne Bourne Courier 03/30/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bourne Upper Cape Codder 01/05/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Braintree Braintree Forum 08/11/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bridgewater Bridgewater Independent 06/06/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Brockton Enterprise 07/14/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Brookfield Moral and Political Telegraphe 05/06/1795 – 08/17/1796 Newspaper Archives
Brookfield Political Repository 08/14/1798 – 05/04/1802 Newspaper Archives
Brookfield Worcester Intelligencer: Or, Brookfield Advertiser 10/07/1794 – 04/28/1795 Newspaper Archives
Brookline Brookline TAB 09/08/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Burlington Burlington Union 10/06/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cambridge New England Chronicle, or Essex Gazette 05/02/1775 – 03/28/1776 Newspaper Archives
Canton Canton Journal 09/09/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cape Ann Cape Ann Beacon 09/28/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Carver Carver Reporter 11/14/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Charlestown American Recorder 12/09/1785 – 05/25/1787 Newspaper Archives
Charlestown Franklin Monitor 01/02/1819 – 06/03/1820 Newspaper Archives
Charlestown Bunker-Hill Sentinel 06/24/1820 – 07/29/1820 Newspaper Archives
Chatham Cape Cod Chronicle 01/18/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chelmsford Chelmsford Independent 08/18/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chicopee Herald 03/13/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Clinton Times & Courier 09/01/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cohasset Cohasset Mariner 01/06/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Concord Middlesex Gazette 04/20/1816 – 10/14/1820 Newspaper Archives
Concord Concord Journal 01/05/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Concord Concord Gazette and Middlesex Yeoman 11/29/1823 – 02/11/1826 Newspaper Archives
Concord, Hanscom AFB Hansconian 02/17/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Danvers Danvers Herald 11/17/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Dartmouth Chronicle 02/18/2015 – Current Recent Obituaries
Dedham Dedham Gazette 08/20/1813 – 06/25/1819 Newspaper Archives
Dedham Columbian Minerva 01/03/1799 – 09/04/1804 Newspaper Archives
Dedham Minerva 10/11/1796 – 12/27/1798 Newspaper Archives
Dedham Dedham Transcript 08/29/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Dedham Village Register 06/09/1820 – 10/29/1829 Newspaper Archives
Dedham Norfolk Repository 05/14/1805 – 12/28/1809 Newspaper Archives
Dedham Norfolk Democrat 02/09/1839 – 09/15/1854 Newspaper Archives
Dedham Norfolk Advertiser 07/13/1832 – 02/02/1839 Newspaper Archives
Dorchester Dorchester Reporter 01/09/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Dover Dover-Sherborn Press 04/13/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Dracut Valley Dispatch 10/22/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Duxbury Duxbury Reporter 11/17/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Duxbury Duxbury Clipper 01/19/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
East Bridgewater Wicked Local: East Bridgewater 08/29/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
East Bridgewater East Bridgewater Star 09/05/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
East Longmeadow Reminder 03/13/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
East Longmeadow Metro West Reminder 03/13/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Easton Easton Journal 01/06/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fall River Herald News 11/15/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fall River O Jornal 02/02/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Falmouth Cape Cod Times 12/08/1998 – Current Recent Obituaries
Falmouth Falmouth Bulletin 07/24/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise 09/14/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Framingham Framingham TAB 06/16/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Framingham Westwood Press 08/25/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Framingham MetroWest Daily News 09/06/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Georgetown Georgetown Record 05/11/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Gloucester Cape Ann Light and Gloucester Telegraph 01/07/1843 – 08/02/1873 Newspaper Archives
Gloucester Gloucester Telegraph 01/01/1827 – 12/31/1851 Newspaper Archives
Gloucester Cape Ann Advertiser 12/05/1857 – 12/28/1877 Newspaper Archives
Gloucester Gloucester Democrat 08/19/1834 – 02/16/1838 Newspaper Archives
Gloucester Gloucester Daily Times 08/13/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Grafton Grafton Daily Voice 06/25/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Greenfield Greenfield Gazette 08/02/1792 – 02/05/1811 Newspaper Archives
Greenfield Traveller 02/12/1811 – 12/31/1811 Newspaper Archives
Greenfield Franklin Herald 01/07/1812 – 12/30/1817 Newspaper Archives
Groton Groton Landmark 09/18/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Halifax Halifax-Plympton Reporter 12/10/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hamilton Hamilton Wenham Chronicle 10/20/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hanover Hanover Mariner 01/04/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hanson Hanson Town Crier 10/04/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hanson Wicked Local: Hanson 08/26/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hanson Whitman-Hanson Express 10/01/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Harvard Harvard Post 01/05/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Harvard Harvard Hillside 09/18/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Harwich Harwich Oracle 01/04/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Haverhill Daily Evening Bulletin 07/11/1871 – 11/14/1894 Newspaper Archives
Haverhill Haverhill Observer 12/05/1800 – 11/27/1804 Newspaper Archives
Haverhill Haverhill Gazette 04/12/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Haverhill Haverhill Federal Gazette 10/26/1798 – 11/27/1799 Newspaper Archives
Haverhill Haverhill Museum 12/11/1804 – 11/22/1806 Newspaper Archives
Haverhill Essex Patriot 05/10/1817 – 01/25/1823 Newspaper Archives
Haverhill Merrimack Intelligencer 07/02/1808 – 02/08/1817 Newspaper Archives
Haverhill Haverhill Gazette 02/01/1823 – 12/25/1841 Newspaper Archives
Haverhill Guardian of Freedom 09/16/1793 – 11/05/1795 Newspaper Archives
Hingham Hingham Journal 03/09/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Holbrook Holbrook Sun 01/06/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Holden Landmark 04/26/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Holden Holden Daily Voice 04/28/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Holliston Holliston TAB 10/06/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hopkinton Hopkinton Independent 05/16/2013 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hopkinton Hopkinton Crier 07/29/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hudson Hudson Sun 07/06/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Ipswich Ipswich Chronicle 09/01/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Jamaica Plain Jamaica Plain Gazette 10/06/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Jamaica Plain Mission Hill Gazette 01/16/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Kingston Kingston Reporter 05/05/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lakeville Lakeville Call 11/19/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lawrence Eagle-Tribune 05/27/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Leicester Leicester Daily Voice 04/28/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lenox Berkshire Star and County Republican 01/10/1828 – 12/25/1828 Newspaper Archives
Lenox Berkshire Journal 09/03/1829 – 08/25/1831 Newspaper Archives
Leominster Rural Repository 10/22/1795 – 04/13/1797 Newspaper Archives
Leominster Telescope 01/02/1800 – 10/14/1802 Newspaper Archives
Leominster Weekly Messenger 02/06/1806 – 12/18/1806 Newspaper Archives
Leominster Leominster Champion 02/17/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lexington Winchester Star 08/11/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lexington Lexington Minuteman 09/08/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lincoln Lincoln Journal 06/01/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Littleton Littleton Independent 10/13/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lowell Lowell Patriot 01/02/1835 – 06/29/1837 Newspaper Archives
Lowell Sun 10/02/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lowell Lowell Mercury 11/14/1829 – 12/27/1833 Newspaper Archives
Lowell Lowell Daily Citizen and News 04/28/1856 – 12/31/1879 Newspaper Archives
Lynn Daily Item 09/23/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lynnfield North Shore Sunday 01/13/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Malden Malden Observer 07/07/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Manomet Manomet Current 04/27/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Mansfield Mansfield News 01/06/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Marblehead Marblehead Reporter 08/04/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Marion Sentinel 07/26/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Marlborough Marlborough Enterprise 12/08/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Marshfield Marshfield Mariner 08/31/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Marshfield Abington Mariner-Rockland Mariner 09/02/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Maynard Beacon Villager 10/13/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Medfield Medfield Press 11/10/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Medford Medford Transcript 08/10/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Melrose Melrose Free Press 08/18/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Middleboro Middleboro Gazette 02/19/2015 – Current Recent Obituaries
Milford Milford Daily News 09/18/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Millbury Millbury-Sutton Chronicle 05/03/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Millbury Millbury Daily Voice 12/15/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Nantucket Nantucket Inquirer 09/20/1821 – 12/31/1849 Newspaper Archives
Nantucket Nantucket Commerce Gazette 05/06/1816 – 03/08/1817 Newspaper Archives
Nantucket Nantucket Independent 03/30/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Natick Natick Bulletin & TAB 06/02/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Needham Wellesley Townsman 02/23/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Needham Allston-Brighton TAB 11/11/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Needham Needham Times 01/05/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Needham Watertown TAB & Press 09/16/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Needham West Roxbury Transcript 07/13/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
New Bedford New Bedford Gazette 09/05/1831 – 01/25/1838 Newspaper Archives
New Bedford Medley or Newbedford Marine Journal 11/27/1792 – 10/18/1799 Newspaper Archives
New Bedford New-Bedford Mercury 08/07/1807 – 03/16/1877 Newspaper Archives
New Bedford New-Bedford Gazette 10/18/1811 – 07/17/1812 Newspaper Archives
New Bedford New-England Gazette 05/13/1823 – 01/27/1824 Newspaper Archives
New Bedford Whaleman’s Shipping List and Merchants’ Transcript 03/17/1843 – 09/13/1864 Newspaper Archives
New Bedford New-Bedford Courier 06/12/1827 – 05/28/1833 Newspaper Archives
New Bedford Old Colony Gazette 10/21/1808 – 10/11/1811 Newspaper Archives
New Bedford Columbian Courier 12/08/1798 – 03/01/1805 Newspaper Archives
New Bedford Standard Times 02/17/2015 – Current Recent Obituaries
New Bedford Morning Mercury 12/04/1895 – 01/02/1919 Newspaper Archives
New Bedford New Bedford Register 01/22/1840 – 01/06/1846 Newspaper Archives
New Bedford Christian Philanthropist 05/14/1822 – 05/13/1823 Newspaper Archives
Newburyport Newburyport Herald 10/31/1797 – 03/19/1847 Newspaper Archives
Newburyport Newburyport Gazette 04/07/1807 – 09/18/1807 Newspaper Archives
Newburyport Political Gazette 04/30/1795 – 10/27/1797 Newspaper Archives
Newburyport New-England Repertory 07/06/1803 – 01/21/1804 Newspaper Archives
Newburyport Political Calendar 03/26/1804 – 06/17/1805 Newspaper Archives
Newburyport Statesman 08/15/1808 – 03/09/1809 Newspaper Archives
Newburyport American Intelligencer 06/04/1801 – 07/30/1801 Newspaper Archives
Newburyport Daily News of Newburyport 05/24/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Newburyport Merrimack Magazine and Ladies’ Literary Cabinet 08/17/1805 – 08/09/1806 Newspaper Archives
Newburyport Newburyport Current 01/13/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Newburyport Impartial Herald 05/18/1793 – 10/27/1797 Newspaper Archives
Newburyport Morning Star 04/08/1794 – 12/03/1794 Newspaper Archives
Newburyport Essex Journal 12/04/1773 – 02/06/1777 Newspaper Archives
Newburyport Independent Whig 04/05/1810 – 05/02/1811 Newspaper Archives
Newburyport Merrimack Gazette 03/21/1803 – 02/18/1804 Newspaper Archives
Newburyport Essex Journal 07/09/1784 – 04/02/1794 Newspaper Archives
Newton Newton TAB 08/10/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
North Adams North Adams Transcript 08/08/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
North Adams Advocate 06/09/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
North Andover North Andover Citizen 04/14/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
North Andover Valley Patriot 04/01/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
North Attleborough North Attleborough Free Press 01/16/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Northampton Anti-Monarchist and Republican Watchman 12/14/1808 – 11/28/1810 Newspaper Archives
Northampton Hampshire Gazette 09/20/1786 – 12/26/1843 Newspaper Archives
Northampton Hive 08/23/1803 – 01/22/1805 Newspaper Archives
Northampton Republican Spy 07/03/1804 – 11/16/1808 Newspaper Archives
Northampton Democrat 03/12/1811 – 08/17/1813 Newspaper Archives
Northborough Northborough Daily Voice 10/28/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Northborough, Southborough Villager 12/02/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Northbridge Northbridge Daily Voice 08/11/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Norton Norton Mirror 08/11/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Norwell Norwell Mariner 04/13/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Norwood Norwood Transcript & Bulletin 05/03/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Orleans Cape Codder 09/02/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Pembroke Pembroke Mariner and Express 01/04/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Pembroke Pembroke Express 03/28/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Pepperell Pepperell Free Press 09/18/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Pittsfield Berkshire Chronicle 05/08/1788 – 09/30/1790 Newspaper Archives
Pittsfield Pittsfield Sun 09/16/1800 – 12/31/1873 Newspaper Archives
Pittsfield Berkshire Reporter 01/03/1807 – 11/16/1815 Newspaper Archives
Pittsfield Berkshire Eagle 01/10/1998 – Current Recent Obituaries
Pittsfield Berkshire Gazette 01/18/1798 – 02/11/1800 Newspaper Archives
Pittsfield Berkshire County Whig 03/11/1841 – 02/22/1849 Newspaper Archives
Plymouth Wicked Local: Plymouth 05/12/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Plymouth Plymouth Bulletin 12/07/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Plymouth Old Colony Memorial 05/04/1822 – 12/29/1827 Newspaper Archives
Plymouth Old Colony Sentinel 12/08/1866 – 12/08/1866 Newspaper Archives
Plymouth Wareham Courier 11/04/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Plymouth Plymouth Journal, and the Massachusetts Advertiser 03/19/1785 – 06/13/1786 Newspaper Archives
Plymouth Old Colony Memorial 11/11/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Provincetown Provincetown Banner 06/15/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Quincy Patriot Ledger 07/17/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Quincy Patriot Ledger 01/01/1916 – 12/29/1922 Newspaper Archives
Randolph Randolph Herald 05/09/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Raynham Raynham Call 04/18/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Reading Reading Advocate 12/22/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Roslindale Roslindale Transcript 08/17/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Salem Salem Gazette 09/23/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Salem American Gazette, or, the Constitutional Journal 06/18/1776 – 07/30/1776 Newspaper Archives
Salem Salem Observer 12/20/1823 – 01/10/1874 Newspaper Archives
Salem Friend 01/03/1807 – 07/18/1807 Newspaper Archives
Salem Essex Gazette 08/02/1768 – 05/02/1775 Newspaper Archives
Salem Salem Mercury 10/14/1786 – 12/29/1789 Newspaper Archives
Salem Salem Gazette 01/05/1790 – 12/29/1849 Newspaper Archives
Salem Essex Register 07/23/1807 – 12/31/1827 Newspaper Archives
Salem Impartial Register 05/12/1800 – 12/31/1801 Newspaper Archives
Salem Salem Gazette 10/18/1781 – 11/22/1785 Newspaper Archives
Salem Weekly Visitant 08/02/1806 – 12/20/1806 Newspaper Archives
Salem Salem Chronicle, and Essex Advertiser 03/30/1786 – 08/03/1786 Newspaper Archives
Salem Salem Register 01/04/1802 – 07/16/1807 Newspaper Archives
Salem Salem Register 01/04/1841 – 01/22/1891 Newspaper Archives
Sandwich Sandwich Broadsider 10/13/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Saugus Saugus Advertiser 09/22/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Scituate Scituate Mariner 01/05/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Sharon Sharon Advocate 10/07/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Shirley Shirley Oracle 09/18/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Shrewsbury Shrewsbury Daily Voice 02/08/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Shrewsbury Shrewsbury Chronicle 09/15/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Somerset Spectator 02/18/2015 – Current Recent Obituaries
Somerville Somerville Times 07/07/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Somerville Cambridge Chronicle 08/11/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Somerville Somerville Journal 08/11/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Springfield Springfield Daily News 01/02/1911 – 07/05/1969 Newspaper Archives
Springfield Hampden Federalist 08/06/1812 – 03/05/1823 Newspaper Archives
Springfield Republican Spy 06/14/1803 – 06/11/1804 Newspaper Archives
Springfield Hampshire Federalist 01/07/1806 – 07/23/1812 Newspaper Archives
Springfield Hampshire Chronicle 03/12/1787 – 09/06/1796 Newspaper Archives
Springfield Springfield Union 01/04/1864 – 01/29/1989 Newspaper Archives
Springfield Hampden Whig 02/24/1830 – 12/20/1837 Newspaper Archives
Springfield Springfield Republican 03/27/1844 – 09/26/1946 Newspaper Archives
Springfield Hampden Patriot 12/31/1818 – 12/25/1822 Newspaper Archives
Springfield Springfield Union-News 06/01/1987 – 01/31/1989 Newspaper Archives
Springfield Massachusetts Gazette 05/14/1782 – 07/20/1784 Newspaper Archives
Springfield Federal Spy 12/19/1792 – 12/31/1805 Newspaper Archives
Springfield Republican, The: Web Edition Articles 11/16/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Springfield Springfield Reminder 03/13/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Springfield Springfield Republican 07/03/1852 – 08/14/1941 Newspaper Archives
Springfield Hampden Journal and Advertiser 03/12/1823 – 11/26/1828 Newspaper Archives
Springfield Republican 06/16/1988 – Current Recent Obituaries
Springfield Hampshire Herald 07/27/1784 – 09/26/1786 Newspaper Archives
Stockbridge Berkshire Star 07/30/1808 – 01/03/1828 Newspaper Archives
Stockbridge Western Star 12/01/1789 – 11/08/1806 Newspaper Archives
Stockbridge Political Atlas 02/14/1807 – 07/22/1808 Newspaper Archives
Stoneham Stoneham Sun 11/02/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Stoughton Stoughton Sentinel 12/05/1863 – 12/23/1876 Newspaper Archives
Stoughton Wicked Local: Avon 12/01/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Stoughton Stoughton Journal 09/30/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Stoughton Avon Messenger 05/23/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Sudbury Sudbury Town Crier 09/22/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Swampscott Swampscott Reporter 02/16/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Taunton Columbian Reporter and Old Colony Journal 04/03/1822 – 09/22/1830 Newspaper Archives
Taunton Taunton Daily Gazette 10/08/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Taunton Taunton Call 04/18/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Tewksbury Tewksbury Advocate 07/06/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Topsfield Tri-Town Transcript 06/02/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Townsend Townsend Times 09/18/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Vineyard Grove Seaside Gazette 07/20/1872 – 08/30/1875 Newspaper Archives
Wakefield Wakefield Observer 09/01/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Walpole Walpole Times 07/17/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Waltham Waltham News Tribune 08/29/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Watertown Boston Gazette, or, Country Journal 06/05/1775 – 10/28/1776 Newspaper Archives
Wayland Wayland Town Crier 09/22/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
West Bridgewater West Bridgewater Times 02/27/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
West Bridgewater Wicked Local: West Bridgewater 08/29/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
West Springfield American Intelligencer 09/29/1795 – 11/28/1797 Newspaper Archives
Westborough Westborough News 10/28/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Westborough Westborough Daily Voice 04/28/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Westborough Community Advocate 06/29/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Westfield Westfield News 12/13/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Westford Westford Eagle 09/15/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Weston Weston Town Crier 12/22/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Weymouth Weymouth News 11/02/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Whitman Wicked Local: Whitman 08/29/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Whitman Whitman Times 05/02/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Wilmington Wilmington Advocate 01/05/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Woburn Woburn Advocate 08/11/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Worcester Worcester Telegram & Gazette 01/16/1989 – Current Recent Obituaries
Worcester Independent Gazetteer 11/27/1799 – 12/29/1801 Newspaper Archives
Worcester National Aegis 12/02/1801 – 12/30/1876 Newspaper Archives
Worcester Massachusetts Spy 05/03/1775 – 12/29/1876 Newspaper Archives
Worcester Worcester Daily Spy 01/01/1878 – 04/30/1904 Newspaper Archives
Worcester American Herald and the Worcester Recorder 08/21/1788 – 10/08/1789 Newspaper Archives
Yarmouthport Register 01/05/2006 – 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 Massachusetts newspaper links will be live.

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William Mercer Married Five Sisters!

This has to be a record.
It’s not uncommon for a young man to marry the girl next door – but in William Mercer’s case he married five of them, all sisters!

[William Mercer] Married Five Sisters, Omaha World-Herald newspaper article 8 October 1899

Omaha World-Herald (Omaha, Nebraska), 8 October 1899, page 28

He married the first of five of the Moffitt sisters, Jennie, when he was 19. After her death, he married in succession her sisters Ada, Catherine, Missouri, and then Anna. The reason for all these marriages? As the article explains:

Each of his wives has died of…consumption.

Nestled in the Raccoon Creek area of West Virginia, the Mercer and Moffitt farms were next to each other.

When he was asked “Why don’t you marry somebody besides a Moffitt, just for a change…?” He responded:

If ye want a reason, it’s kind o’ handy to run over there an’ git a wife. I aint got much time to go chasing round in the mountains for one.

Mercer’s marriages to the first four Moffitt sisters produced eight children. Are you related?

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Victoria Claflin Woodhull – the 1st Woman to Run for U.S. President

Introduction: Mary Harrell-Sesniak is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background. In this blog article, Mary tells the story of Victoria Claflin Woodhull – who in a long, full life replete with many controversies, earned the distinction of being the first woman to run for U.S. president.

Who, you may be wondering, was this lady? And could you be related to her? If so, she may well be one of the “black sheep” in your family history!

photo of Victoria Woodhull, c. 1860s

Photo: Victoria Woodhull, c. 1860s. Source: Harvard Art Museum/Fogg Museum, Historical Photographs and Special Visual Collections Department, Fine Arts Library; Wikimedia Commons.

Victoria Claflin Woodhull was a woman full of gumption and a household name in her own time. As a spiritualist, suffragette, newspaper publisher, the first woman to ever run a stock brokerage – and the first woman to run for U.S. president – she became a very famous and controversial person. Read on to find out why.

memorial for women suffrage submitted by Victoria Claflin Woodhull

Brief Family & Marriage History

Victoria Claflin was born 23 September 1838 in Homer, Ohio, to Reuben Buckman “Buck” Claflin and Roxanna “Annie” Hummel. She was one of ten children and the family struggled financially. Buck was a school teacher who later kept a store, and his wife reportedly did not have much education. Victoria’s father often got into trouble, including the counterfeiting of money.

He even marketed his children as clairvoyants. From the age of 10, Victoria reported receiving psychic messages from the Greek statesman Demosthenes (384–322 B.C.). The family traveled from town to town until, at the age of 14, Victoria married her first husband, Canning H. Woodhull, a native of New York.

article about Victoria Claflin Woodhull and her family, Plain Dealer newspaper article 23 September 1938

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 23 September 1938, page 6

By 1855, they were living with his parents, Byron and Louisa Woodhull. The New York State Census reports a son Byron, and at the time Canning’s occupation was sailor. (See “New York, State Census, 1855,” database with images from FamilySearch at accessed 3 September 2015.)

They later had a daughter named Zulu Maud Woodhull.

The marriage ended in divorce and Canning’s death certificate, displayed on his Findagrave memorial at, reports he succumbed to intemperance in 1872.

Victoria’s second marriage was to James Harvey Blood on 14 July 1866. (See “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images, FamilySearch

He was a veteran of the Civil War who often went by an alias. Several reports indicate that at times, her first husband lived with them. Victoria’s second marriage also ended in a divorce.

A Fortune for a Fortune

As a psychic, Victoria met with millionaire railroad magnate and philanthropist Cornelius Vanderbilt. She told him his fortune which purportedly resulted in a large financial gain for Vanderbilt of $13 million in the gold market – and in exchange, Victoria was reportedly the benefactor of generous financing. She and sister Tennessee “Tennie” Claflin used this money to found the first female-owned bank and brokerage in the United States: Woodhull, Claflin & Company. In 1870, it was located at 44 Broad Street in New York and stayed in business until around 1876. The sisters also founded the first female-owned newspaper, called Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly, which began publication in 1870 in New York.

Newspaper advertisements announced that Woodhull, Claflin & Company bought and sold gold and government bonds, supplied advances, took collections of deposits in all parts of the Union, and paid interest on daily balances. They even provided mail and telegraphic services.

ad for Woodhull, Claflin & Company, Commercial Advertiser newspaper advertisement 24 February 1870

Commercial Advertiser (New York, New York), 24 February 1870, page 3

Legal Entanglements

In 1871, Victoria and Tennessee’s mother filed a petition to have Victoria’s husband arrested, alleging that Mr. Blood (who sometimes used the alias Dr. J. H. Harvey) encouraged Victoria to seek the attention of various married gentlemen for the purpose of blackmail.

article about Victoria Claflin Woodhull and her family, Springfield Republican newspaper article 6 May 1871

Springfield Republican (Springfield, Massachusetts), 6 May 1871, page 4

Several other legal squabbles ensued, the most notable with the Rev. Henry Ward Beecher. One of their first entanglements was when the sisters sued, claiming that they were portrayed in the novel My Wife and I, by his daughter, Harriet Beecher Stowe. Later he retaliated with a lawsuit of his own.

article about Victoria Claflin Woodhull and her sister Tennessee suing Henry Ward Beecher for libel, Houston Daily Union newspaper article 28 June 1871

Houston Daily Union (Houston, Texas), 28 June 1871, page 2

In 1872, the sisters were deterred from sailing to Europe when they were charged by Mr. L. C. Challis with sending defamatory letters through the mail.

Arrest of Woodhull and Claflin, Washington Reporter newspaper article 6 November 1872

Washington Reporter (Washington, Pennsylvania), 6 November 1872, page 4

Female Presidential Candidate Hopeful

Many of these lawsuits were instituted by political enemies because earlier that year, Victoria announced she was running for U.S. president on the Reform ticket. Her running mate was noted abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

article about Victoria Claflin Woodhull running for U.S. president in the 1872 election, Jackson Citizen Patriot newspaper article 4 April 1870

Jackson Citizen Patriot (Jackson, Michigan), 4 April 1870, page 2

They were among good company – U.S. presidential candidates that year included Ulysses S. Grant, Horace Greeley and even Susan B. Anthony, who ran for vice president on the Independent ticket. Several authors report that Victoria’s name never appeared on an official ballot, as she was not yet 35.

list of the candidates in the 1872 U.S. presidential election, Stoughton Sentinel newspaper article 13 July 1872

Stoughton Sentinel (Stoughton, Massachusetts), 13 July 1872, page 5

Victoria lost her bid for the U.S. presidency, but went on to live a long, full life. She died at the age of 88 on 9 June 1927.

Are You Related?

I began this article with the question: Are you related to Victoria Claflin Woodhull? After reading these reports, perhaps you’re hoping you’re not – but as all genealogists know, if you root around your family tree, you’ll undoubtedly uncover some dirt.

Related Articles & Resources:

Legal News & Records in Newspapers & Your Ancestors

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” If your ancestor had trouble with the law or was the victim of a crime – or participated in a civil or criminal trial – law articles in the newspapers of that time might have family history information to help your genealogy. In this blog article, Gena gives several examples of law articles she found while searching old newspapers, and shows what good genealogy information they provide.

One of the reasons I love newspapers for my family history research is that they tell the story of a community, the entire story both good and bad. Legal news and records of all types can be found in the newspaper including arrests, court cases (criminal and civil), as well as investigations into crime. Unlike other types of newspaper topics, those involving the law result in numerous follow-up articles as court cases are heard over days and weeks, or as an offender is arrested multiple times.

Let’s look at a few examples of legal articles to see what you can find out about your ancestors in the pages of old newspapers.

Police Blotters

Have a black sheep ancestor who was up to no good? The first place you may find their misdeeds mentioned is in the newspaper’s police blotter. What I love about these short news articles is they often provide other details, like the victim’s name and address.

This example includes a notice that 13-year-old James Pooler was committed by his father to the House of Refuge. Judging from the mention in this same article of a 14-year-old boy who was similarly committed for the crime of stealing lead from the Bell Telephone Company, my guess is that the House of Refuge was Juvenile Hall.

It seems stealing lead was not that unusual. This same notice reports that the prize fighter “Bull” McCarthy was also arrested for stealing lead.

police blotter, Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper article 2 February 1900

Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), 2 February 1900, page 9

Genealogy Search Tip: it’s easy to get in a rut with your newspaper searches. Make sure you don’t just stick to one keyword or keyword phrase as you search. Case in point: the phrase “police blotter.” Sure that’s the typical wording on the daily or weekly reports regarding police activity and arrests. But in this 1918 Georgia newspaper, the “Town in Tabloid” column reported on police activity such as fines and arrests. In this example, those mentioned received stolen goods, violated traffic laws, or were committed to a state asylum.

police blotter, Macon Telegraph newspaper article 21 May 1918

Macon Telegraph (Macon, Georgia), 21 May 1918, page 11

Court Trials

Some of the best parts of a local newspaper are the articles or even brief mentions of criminal and civil court trials. In this example from a 1921 Washington newspaper, notice that the two young defendants, 21 and 19 years of age, wanted to speak to their mothers before revealing their plea.

article about court hearings, Bellingham Herald newspaper article 29 January 1921

Bellingham Herald (Bellingham, Washington), 29 January 1921, page 5

In the case of one of my ancestors who was murdered in the 1870s, his trial was covered in numerous articles over time and from many areas, as well as newspapers covering the county where he lived.

Genealogy Search Tip: Depending on the details of the crime, don’t forget to enlarge your search to include all newspapers, not just the one for the area where your ancestor lived.

Coroner’s Inquests

One type of newspaper article you may have missed in your previous searches is reports of a coroner’s inquest. These investigations involve coroner personnel and a jury of citizens who try to determine the manner of death. These events can be found in the newspaper and may contain several days of testimony. Although this type of inquiry is for fact finding, afterwards, if the death is determined to be murder, criminal charges may be filed by law enforcement.

In this example from the bilingual newspaper Anunciador (Trinidad, Colorado), two men – Joe Romero and Margarito Diaz – engaged in a fight that resulted in Diaz shooting and killing Romero.

article about Joe Romero's murder, Anunciador newspaper article 4 March 1922

Anunciador (Trinidad, Colorado), 4 March 1922, page 3

From follow-up newspaper articles, we learn that Diaz professed his innocence at his criminal trial by claiming that the dead man, Romero, had first come toward him with a revolver and “made a movement to draw this weapon.” This news article informs the reader that the Diaz and Romero families lived in the same house and there was a witness to the shooting.

article about Margarito Diaz's trial for killing Joe Romero, Anunciador newspaper article 1 April 1922

Anunciador (Trinidad, Colorado), 1 April 1922, page 1

One of the reasons that newspaper articles about legal actions can result in genealogical gold is that they typically involve multiple articles over time. What might start as a notice in the police blotter may then go to a coroner’s inquest or an article reporting an arrest, and then articles on the trial, and so forth. These newspaper articles are great additions to the family history information you can find in court records.

A good example of all the various types of articles that can come out of legal activities is the following case from 1898 involving Lillian Brandes, a teenage California girl. Numerous articles over time were published in newspapers throughout the United States, most likely because it involved the brutal murder of a young girl. Originally reported as a suicide by her adopted parents, the inquest found that the girl was beaten and killed by her father, with her mother being arrested as an accessory.

article about the murder of Lillian Brandes, Tacoma Daily News newspaper article 23 November 1898

Tacoma Daily News (Tacoma, Washington), 23 November 1898, page 1

Not only does the newspaper report the legal events surrounding the murder, it also provides a short obituary for the young girl.

obituary for Lillian Brandes, Evening News newspaper article 28 November 1898

Evening News (San Jose, California), 28 November 1898, page 5

Just as a criminal trial that catches our interest today, each day of the trial resulted in an article updating the public on what was happening. In this old newspaper article we learn that in the preliminary hearing a neighbor recounted the screams and argument right before the murder.

testimony about the murder of Lillian Brandes, Evening News newspaper article 3 December 1898

Evening News (San Jose, California), 3 December 1898, page 1

Like many other cases, the court trial seemed to go on and on. In January 1899, there was a motion for a new trial by the Brandes due to their belief that they could not get a fair trial in the current venue.

Brandes Wants a New Trial, Evening News newspaper article 30 January 1899

Evening News (San Jose, California), 30 January 1899, page 5

Brandes was convicted, but then was tried a second time. In the second trial the testimony included the physician who was summoned to the death scene. Interestingly, at first he thought the girl was still alive and asked for some whiskey to restore her. Mr. Brandes proclaimed the girl was adopted and “this is what a person gets for adopting a stranger into the family.”

article about the trial of W. Brandes for murdering Lillian Brandes, Evening News newspaper article 31 May 1901

Evening News (San Jose, California), 31 May 1901, page 7

Newspaper articles about this crime didn’t stop at the conclusion of the court trial. Later news articles report on the prison escape attempt by Mr. Brandes, his release from prison, his later divorce from his wife and subsequent arrest on other charges.

Did your ancestor have any interactions or altercations with the law? Even if it was a non-criminal act or they were the victim of a crime, you may find that thorough genealogy research in court records and newspapers will provide a wealth of information. This is a good example of not making assumptions about your ancestor’s life, and enlarging your search to include newspapers in other areas of the country. The best thing about black sheep ancestors? They leave the best paper trail!

Related Articles:

Alabama Archives: 81 Newspapers for Genealogy Research

Originally part of the Mississippi Territory, Alabama became the nation’s 22nd state on 14 December 1819. It is the 30th largest state in the country, and the 23rd most populous.

photo of the State Capitol Building, Montgomery, Alabama

Photo: State Capitol Building, Montgomery, Alabama. Credit: the Carol M. Highsmith Archive collection, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

If you are researching your ancestry from Alabama, you will want to use GenealogyBank’s online AL newspaper archives: 81 titles to help you search your family history in “The Yellowhammer State,” providing coverage from 1813 to Today. There are more than 21 million articles and records in our online Alabama newspaper archives!

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

Search Alabama Newspaper Archives (1813 – 2003)

Search Alabama Recent Obituaries (1992 – Current)

illustration: state flag of Alabama

Illustration: state flag of Alabama. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Here is a list of online Alabama newspapers in the historical 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 AL newspaper titles are listed alphabetically by city.

City Title Date Range* Collection
Alabaster Alabaster Reporter 08/10/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Albertville Sand Mountain Reporter 03/22/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Alexander City Alexander City Outlook 01/12/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
Andalusia Andalusia Star-News 07/02/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Anniston Anniston Star 10/01/1998 – Current Recent Obituaries
Anniston Jacksonville News 08/27/1998 – Current Recent Obituaries
Athens News-Courier 02/01/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Atmore Atmore Advance 11/09/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
Birmingham Age-Herald 07/01/1894 – 03/31/1901 Newspaper Archives
Birmingham Birmingham News: Web Edition Articles 08/22/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Birmingham Birmingham News 04/27/1993 – Current Recent Obituaries
Birmingham Labor Advocate 06/29/1895 – 12/20/1902 Newspaper Archives
Birmingham Wide-Awake 01/24/1900 – 01/24/1900 Newspaper Archives
Birmingham Birmingham Courier 08/19/1899 – 09/12/1903 Newspaper Archives
Birmingham Birmingham Times 07/15/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Blakeley Blakeley Sun 12/12/1818 – 06/02/1819 Newspaper Archives
Brewton Brewton Standard 10/08/2014 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cahawba Cahawba Press and Alabama Intelligencer 07/10/1819 – 05/14/1825 Newspaper Archives
Cahawba Alabama Watchman 08/08/1820 – 12/15/1820 Newspaper Archives
Claiborne Alabama Courier 03/19/1819 – 10/15/1819 Newspaper Archives
Clanton Clanton Advertiser 06/24/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Columbiana Shelby County Reporter 03/27/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cullman Cullman Times 12/27/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cullman Nord Alabama Colonist 07/01/1881 – 07/01/1881 Newspaper Archives
Dadeville Dadeville Record 09/08/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Decatur Decatur Daily 08/01/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Demopolis Demopolis Times 04/10/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Dothan Dothan Eagle 08/16/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Eclectic Eclectic Observer 04/04/2013 – Current Recent Obituaries
Enterprise Enterprise Ledger 03/26/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Eufaula Eufaula Tribune 02/08/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fort Deposit Lowndes Signal 03/06/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fort Payne Times-Journal 09/13/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
Gardendale North Jefferson News 06/27/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Greenville Greenville Advocate 01/05/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Grove Hill Grove Hill Herald 03/06/1850 – 12/06/1854 Newspaper Archives
Grove Hill Southern Recorder 02/24/1847 – 11/07/1849 Newspaper Archives
Hartselle Hartselle Enquirer 10/03/2014 – Current Recent Obituaries
Heflin Cleburne News 02/14/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
Huntsville Democrat 10/03/1833 – 10/03/1833 Newspaper Archives
Huntsville Alabama Republican 04/18/1818 – 08/05/1819 Newspaper Archives
Huntsville Huntsville Star 01/26/1900 – 01/26/1900 Newspaper Archives
Huntsville Huntsville Gazette 06/18/1881 – 12/29/1894 Newspaper Archives
Huntsville Huntsville Times, The: Web Edition Articles 09/30/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Huntsville Madison Gazette 10/19/1813 – 04/18/1815 Newspaper Archives
Huntsville Huntsville Gazette 12/21/1816 – 12/21/1816 Newspaper Archives
Huntsville Huntsville Times 01/02/1992 – Current Recent Obituaries
Jasper Daily Mountain Eagle 01/22/1998 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lanett Valley Times-News 03/18/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
Leeds Leeds News 02/04/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Luverne Luverne Journal 06/03/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Madison Madison County Record 04/30/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Mobile Press-Register 11/01/1992 – Current Recent Obituaries
Mobile Mobile Register 10/22/1833 – 02/19/2003 Newspaper Archives
Mobile Mobile Evening Telegraph 11/03/1864 – 11/03/1864 Newspaper Archives
Mobile Alabama Staats-Zeitung 01/10/1900 – 02/08/1917 Newspaper Archives
Mobile Mobile Mercantile Advertiser 10/07/1833 – 10/07/1833 Newspaper Archives
Mobile Mobile Gazette and Commercial Advertiser 01/05/1820 – 12/29/1820 Newspaper Archives
Mobile Press-Register: Web Edition Articles 10/01/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Montgomery Montgomery Enterprise 01/26/1900 – 01/26/1900 Newspaper Archives
Montgomery Montgomery Advertiser 05/11/1901 – 12/31/1922 Newspaper Archives
Montgomery Daily Confederation 05/01/1858 – 07/17/1860 Newspaper Archives
Montgomery Daily Alabama Journal 04/14/1849 – 12/31/1853 Newspaper Archives
Opelika Opelika-Auburn News 01/30/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Pelham Pelham Reporter 07/15/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Pell City St. Clair Times 07/26/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Pell City St. Clair News Aegis 07/09/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Piedmont Piedmont Journal 02/11/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Rainsville Weekly Post 03/15/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Russellville Franklin County Times 10/06/2014 – Current Recent Obituaries
Scottsboro Daily Sentinel 09/28/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Selma Daily Chattanooga Rebel 11/21/1864 – 04/27/1865 Newspaper Archives
Selma Selma Times-Journal 10/02/2014 – Current Recent Obituaries
St. Stephens Halcyon 06/02/1818 – 11/27/1820 Newspaper Archives
Talladega Daily Home 01/20/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
Tallassee Tallassee Tribune 02/27/2013 – Current Recent Obituaries
Troy Messenger 08/01/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
Tuscaloosa Tuscaloosa Chronicle 10/20/1827 – 10/27/1827 Newspaper Archives
Tuscaloosa Alabama Intelligencer and State Rights Expositor 03/02/1833 – 12/05/1835 Newspaper Archives
Tuscumbia North Alabamian 11/17/1865 – 12/07/1866 Newspaper Archives
Wetumpka Wetumpka Herald 10/06/2014 – 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 Alabama newspaper links will be live.

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Hurricane Preparedness: Protect Your Family – & Your Genealogy Records

Every year we read about hurricanes raging toward the U.S. coast and nearby islands.

[Hurricane} Allen Slams into Jamaica, Dallas Morning News newspaper article 6 August 1980

Dallas Morning News (Dallas, Texas), 6 August 1980, page 6

This year’s hurricane season will be no different.

screenshot of the "Ready" logo for hurricane preparedness from the Department of Homeland Security

Take a minute to be prepared in the event a hurricane strikes your area.

You – your family – and your genealogy records are all depending on the steps you take to be prepared for the storm.

The Department of Homeland Security has issued tips for getting ready for a hurricane:

Genealogy Tip:

Save your family history work by getting it online! See the related articles below for details on scanning, saving and preserving your genealogy research.

Related Articles:

3 Genealogy Tips for Family History Month

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” As you may be aware, October is Family History Month. In this blog article, Gena celebrates this special month for family historians by suggesting three genealogy tips for you to try.

First set aside as Family History Month in 2001 via a resolution introduced by Senator Orrin Hatch, October is a time to reflect on our ancestry. Family History Month can be a busy one with genealogy society events and conferences to educate existing family historians – and encourage those who are just starting.

What are you personally doing for Family History Month? It’s the perfect time to set some goals for what you want to do with your family history research. Consider what you want to accomplish and then break those objectives down into smaller goals that can easily be achieved in a short amount of time. What might some month-long genealogy goals look like? Here are a few goals that I’ll be working on to celebrate Family History Month.

1) Catch up on your newspaper research. I’m lucky – I get to research in GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives on a daily basis. But GenealogyBank is updated monthly and I don’t always remember to rerun my searches for new-to-me articles. My plan this month is to search the latest additions to GenealogyBank for newspapers that can help me fill in some of the gaps in my family tree.

Do you have an obituary for all of your great-grandparents? Have you looked for your parent’s wedding announcements? What about notices in the legal section of the newspapers? Take some time this month to find new articles to add to your family history.

I’m starting with my great-great-grandparents’ obituaries. Below is one of my paternal great-great-grandparents. Now, only 31 more to go!

obituary for Joseph Chatham, Sacramento Bee newspaper article 16 January 1940

Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, California), 16 January 1940, page 4

2) Learn one new thing about genealogy. What’s that one thing you wish you knew about family history research? Maybe you want to know how to conduct better searches. Maybe you want to learn how to use a specific genealogy website. Maybe you would just like to better understand the World War I draft. Whatever your interest is, make a pact with yourself that you will take some time this month to enhance your genealogy research skills by learning one new thing. Whether it’s methodology, a new website, how to search a favorite website, or learning about a record set, your research will benefit from continuing education.

GenealogyBank provides many different opportunities to learn more about genealogy, including a YouTube channel, Pinterest boards, and a Learning Center. Ensure you are searching like a family history pro and invest some time in learning how to best use genealogy resources.

3) Share your family history research. How are you sharing your genealogy research? Genealogy is often seen as a solitary pursuit. While the image of someone bent over a microfilm machine in a hushed library is sometimes accurate, the new face of genealogy research is so much more. It’s through sharing that we learn from the knowledge and work of others as we seek to find answers. Sharing your genealogy research doesn’t need to be a big production.

Take some time today to tell a younger member of the family about your grandparents, or a story about a historical event you witnessed (my mom shared with my high school-age sons about the Kennedy assassination and its effect on her as a high school student). Upload some family photos to Facebook and tag your family members. Call a sibling and ask them what they remember about a grandparent or a family event, and then share your research about that person. Sharing doesn’t need to be something planned well in advance or a lot of work – it can simply mean spending a few minutes to pass on what you know about your ancestry.

As you think about sharing your family history, make plans for how you will share or gather information as the holidays approach. Many families take time out of their busy lives to meet for the holidays. Plan now to take advantage of these multigenerational family gatherings.

Family History Month is a great time to accomplish some family history goals. Take a few minutes today to decide what you will accomplish.

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Searching the Archives for Rufus, I Found Little Eugenie

Eugenie Caroline Kemp (1842-1845) was only three years old when she died – and until recently, I didn’t even know she had existed. I discovered her when I was doing a search in GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives about one of my ancestors.

I was searching for information about Rufus Crosby Kemp (1813-1856). My research notes said that he was born in Maine in 1813 and died in 1856 in New York City. So – he lived in at least two U.S. states: Maine and New York.

Looking for him in GenealogyBank’s archives, I knew by experience that typing his full name into the search box probably wouldn’t get me the record results I wanted.

But, let’s try that full name archive search anyway and see what we can find about Rufus.

screenshot of GenealogyBank’s search box showing a search for Rufus Crosby Kemp


Genealogy Search Tip:

Typing in the first name, middle name and surname was just “too much information.” In the early 19th century, newspaper editors rarely referred to individuals in print by their full names – they shortened the name to what fit the character space available in that day’s newspaper.

So – I searched for Rufus in the newspaper archives again, this time typing in his name as Rufus C. Kemp to give a wider scope of possible articles, and I limited the search date range to 1810-1870.

screenshot of GenealogyBank’s search box showing a search for Rufus C. Kemp

OK. That search returned 24 record results.

screenshot of GenealogyBank’s search results page fora search for Rufus C. Kemp

Let’s see what they tell us.

Looking at the first result…
Hmm – that’s not good news.

Business Troubles

It seems that he and his business partners Benjamin L. Mann and Albert Whitney were having a tough go in their business – “Whitney, Kemp & Co.” was insolvent.

article about the insolvency of Whitney, Kemp and Co., Boston Daily Advertiser newspaper article 22 March 1841

Boston Daily Advertiser (Boston, Massachusetts), 22 March 1841, page 3

This newspaper article gave key new information: in 1841 Rufus Kemp was living in Boston, Massachusetts, and operated a business in the area.

What did the next search result, an obituary, show?

Obituary for Rufus Kemp

obituary for Rufus C. Kemp, New York Tribune newspaper article 23 October 1856

New York Tribune (New York City, New York), 23 October 1856, page 7

OK. This is also our target Rufus Kemp.

His obituary tells us that by 1856 he was living in New York City at 259 Fourth Avenue (which is by Union Square) and that he died on Monday, 20 October 1856.

The obituary gives his age (“43d year of his age”) and tells us that he was a member of the Olive Branch Lodge, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, No. 31.

Business Ad

The next newspaper article gives us more information on his business.

ad for Rufus C. Kemp's Clothes Warehouse, Boston Daily Advertiser newspaper advertisement 2 January 1833

Boston Daily Advertiser (Boston, Massachusetts), 2 January 1833, page 1

This advertisement tells us that his business was well located, next to the Eastern Stage House – an important Boston hotel in the early 19th century.

Marriage Announcement

The next search result also gives me key information that I didn’t have: the exact date of his marriage to Ann Maria Moynihan (1815-1907).

wedding notice for Rufus C. Kemp and Ann Moynihan, Columbian Centinel newspaper article 6 September 1834

Columbian Centinel (Boston, Massachusetts), 6 September 1834, page 2

We now know that they were married on Wednesday, 3 September 1834 in Boston.
Great – I can add that information to my family tree.

Obituary of Rufus’s Daughter

I kept opening up each search result – and then I found this: the obituary notice of little Eugenie Caroline Kemp (1842-1845).

obituary for Eugenie Caroline Kemp, Weekly Messenger newspaper article 31 December 1845

Weekly Messenger (Boston, Massachusetts), 31 December 1845, page 3

Who was she?
I had no record of her – but there she was.
She was 3 years and 7 months old when she died on 29 December 1845.

Now I have a new member to add to our family tree!

If I had given up after my first newspaper archive search attempt, I wouldn’t have found her. Also, if I had stopped looking at the articles after finding Rufus Kemp’s obituary and marriage announcement, I wouldn’t have found her. It was by adjusting my ancestor search from her father’s full name, Rufus Crosby Kemp, to Rufus C. Kemp, and by continuing to look at every article, that I found more information – and critically – that I found Eugenie Caroline Kemp.

Genealogy Tip:

Keep searching the historical archives and be flexible in how you search for your ancestors. If you search only using your target ancestor’s full name, you might miss the key articles you need to document your family tree.

Better to search the archives using several variations: with only the surname; the first and last name; or first name, middle initial, and last name.

And – when you get your search results – be sure to open and read each one of them. You just might find a new twig on the Family Tree – like little Eugenie Caroline Kemp (1842-1845).

Related Search Tip Articles:

How to Find Your Ancestors’ Name Abbreviations & More

Introduction: Mary Harrell-Sesniak is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background. In this blog article, Mary tackles a problem many genealogists encounter: how to find newspaper articles about your ancestors when editors often abbreviated or hyphenated your ancestors’ names.

So much has been written on searching newspapers for ancestors whose names have challenging spellings (see the links at the end of this article), but little has been written on dealing with ancestor name abbreviations and hyphenations. With narrow columns, newspaper editors often made adjustments in spacing to make an article fit. A wide variety of name abbreviations, hyphenations and spelling changes were used – as a result, genealogists’ queries often miss their targets.

Ancestor Name Abbreviations

Names are often shortened to accommodate character spacing issues, and this poses a challenge for genealogists searching old newspapers.

Using abbreviations was even seen as a problem in the 19th century.

An Age of Abbreviations, New York Herald newspaper article 13 December 1891

New York Herald (New York, New York), 13 December 1891, page 26

In 1826 there was a proposed New York state amendment that would have disqualified votes if a common abbreviation was used for the name on the ballot. The examples cited were “Alexr.,” “Wm.” and “Jno.” (Alexander, William and Jonathan). If these abbreviations were used on the ballot, then the proposed amendment would require that “it would be imperative to reject all votes.”

One state legislator rose to oppose the amendment, pointing out that use of abbreviations was common on ballots.

article about legislation concerning the use of abbreviations, Albany Argus newspaper article 7 February 1826

Albany Argus (Albany, New York), 7 February 1826, page 1

On a humorous note, the debate on abbreviations fell along geographical lines. Gen. Root was opposed to the proposed amendment based on the orthography and the dilemma of the many “Yankee electors” who “might be puzzled occasionally to write correctly the name of their candidate.”

article about legislation concerning the use of abbreviations, Albany Argus newspaper article 7 February 1826

Albany Argus (Albany, New York), 7 February 1826, page 1

Resources for Finding Name Abbreviations

Several guides can be found on the web for finding name abbreviations. I recommend browsing several, since in one you may find “Abraham” abbreviated as “Ab.,” while another guide might use “Abr.” or “Abram.”

More Abbreviations for Words & Terms

Lastly, don’t forget that other words were commonly abbreviated, and they aren’t always readily apparent.

Ancestor Name Hyphenations

Let’s look at common pitfalls and techniques to overcome hyphenation issues.

  • If a name was split at the edge of the page, one portion may be on one page and the remaining on the next. When this occurs the search engine may return an unwanted result or no results at all.
  • When a word is split in two, it can result in two words which a search engine misses. For example: if the word “carnation” was split, the result would be “car” and “nation.”
  • Search Tip: If your family names (given & surnames) can be broken into two words, such as “Newcomb,” search for the individual parts.
  • Another idea is to add a Boolean wildcard, such as an asterisk (*), to the end of a shortened named. For example: you could search for “New*” instead of “Newcomb.”
obituary for H. D. Newcomb, Evening Post newspaper article 18 August 1874

Evening Post (New York, New York), 18 August 1874, page 4

Customs & Common Expressions

Keep in mind that the customs of the day may have changed.

In the 16th and early 17th centuries, births from common families were rarely published in newspapers.

When they were, sometimes just a parent’s name was recorded. This article from 1800 notes:

It is fashionable in England to announce the Births among the Nobility. As the fashion is creeping into this country, we must of course follow it.

birth announcement for the Augustus family, Impartial Register newspaper article 23 October 1800

Impartial Register (Salem, Massachusetts), 23 October 1800, page 3

Search Tip: If you notice a particular expression, such as “true American blood,” incorporate it in your query along with a date and location. By doing this, I was able to locate other notices celebrating American births.

birth announcement for the Read family, Gazette of the United States newspaper article 28 October 1800

Gazette of the United States (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), 28 October 1800, page 2

Newspaper Scanning Issues

Due to technical limitations, historical newspapers cannot always be scanned flat when they’re being digitized for posting online. Occasionally small portions of the old news articles are truncated, so vary your queries by searching specific:

  • Dates
  • Locations
  • Types of Events

For example, notice that the left-hand edge of this newspaper article was not scanned.

marriage announcements, Richmond Whig newspaper article 19 January 1841

Richmond Whig (Richmond, Virginia), 19 January 1841, page 3

Try some of these genealogy search tips to overcome abbreviation and hyphenation issues, and perhaps you’ll finally find that long-sought newspaper article about your elusive ancestor!

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