Memorable Aging & Birthday Quotes from Famous People

Introduction: Mary Harrell-Sesniak is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background. In this blog article, Mary shares some of the interesting and/or funny quotes about birthdays and aging that she found in old newspapers.

While researching birthdays and aging in GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives, I came across some delightful quotes from famous people. Some are modern, some are historical and others are just plain hysterical!

cartoon about birthdays, Omaha World-Herald newspaper cartoon 6 February 1898

Omaha World-Herald (Omaha, Nebraska), 6 February 1898, section 3, page 23

Have fun using these quotes in blogs or while making “Happy Birthday” cards. If you have some of your own birthday quotes to share, please post them in the comments section of this blog.

Famous People Birthday & Gift Quotes

  • “I love a card. You know, cards? At birthdays? I collect them.” –Adele
  • “I binge when I’m happy. When everything is going really well, every day is like I’m at a birthday party.” –Kirstie Alley
  • “I like to go to anybody else’s birthday, and if I’m invited I’m a good guest. But I never celebrate my birthdays. I really don’t care.” –Mikhail Baryshnikov
  • “A friend never defends a husband who gets his wife an electric skillet for her birthday.” –Erma Bombeck
cartoon about birthday gifts, Plain Dealer newspaper cartoon 19 April 1896

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 19 April 1896, page 26

  • “There are 364 days when you might get unbirthday presents…and only one for birthday presents, you know.”–Lewis Carroll (AKA Charlie Lutwidge Dodgson)
  • “I don’t pay attention to the number of birthdays. It’s weird when I say I’m 53. It just is crazy that I’m 53. I think I’m very immature. I feel like a kid. That’s why my back goes out all the time, because I completely forget I can’t do certain things anymore – like doing the plank for 10 minutes.” –Ellen DeGeneres who was born 26 January 1958
  • “A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman’s birthday but never remembers her age.” –Robert Frost
birthday cartoon, Omaha World-Herald birthday cartoon 20 April 1902

Omaha World-Herald (Omaha, Nebraska), 20 April 1902, page 31

  • “In 1993 my birthday present was a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.” –Annette Funicello
  • “There is still no cure for the common birthday.” –John Glenn
  • “All the world is birthday cake, so take a piece, but not too much.” –George Harrison
article about birthdays in Hollywood, Evening Star newspaper article 26 August 1934

Evening Star (Washington, D.C.), 26 August 1934, page 49

  • “Money is appropriate, and one size fits all.” –William Randolph Hearst on suggestions for gifts
  • “The way I see it, you should live every day like it’s your birthday.” –Paris Hilton
  • “You know you’re getting older when the candles cost more than the cake.” –Bob Hope
  • “Your children need your presence more than your presents.” –Jesse Jackson
  • “My biggest hero, Gregory Peck, was my birthday present on April 14, 1973. I just sat and stared at him.” –Loretta Lynn
  • “Any time women come together with a collective intention, it’s a powerful thing. Whether it’s sitting down making a quilt, in a kitchen preparing a meal, in a club reading the same book, or around the table playing cards, or planning a birthday party, when women come together with a collective intention, magic happens.” –Phylicia Rashad
  • “I’m not going to be caught around here for any fool celebration. To hell with birthdays!” –Norman Rockwell
  • “I wish people would stop talking about my birthday.” –George Bernard Shaw
article about birthdays, Evansville Courier and Press newspaper article 31 July 1938

Evansville Courier and Press (Evansville, Indiana), 31 July 1938, page 18

  • “Love the giver more than the gift.” –Brigham Young
  • “I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity.” –Eleanor Roosevelt
  • “You know you’re getting old when you get that one candle on the cake. It’s like, ‘see if you can blow this out.’” –Jerry Seinfeld
  • “The last birthday that’s any good is 23.” –Andy Rooney
Enter Last Name

Famous People Quotes on Aging

  • “It’s sad to grow old, but nice to ripen.” –Brigitte Bardot
  • “A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.” –John Barrymore
  • “Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be!” –Robert Browning
  • “Life is a moderately good play with a badly written third act.” –Truman Capote
  • “Old age is like everything else. To make a success of it, you’ve got to start young.” –Fred Astaire

quote about aging from Fred Astaire

  • “I can’t go back to yesterday – because I was a different person then.” –Lewis Carroll (AKA Charlie Lutwidge Dodgson) from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
  • “Old age isn’t so bad when you consider the alternative.” –Maurice Chevalier
  • “We turn not older with years, but newer every day.” –Emily Dickinson
  • “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” –George Eliot
  • “I’ll keep singing ’till I die.” –Bing Crosby
quote about aging from Bing Crosby, Evening Star newspaper article 28 June 1933

Evening Star (Washington, D.C.), 28 June 1933, page 10

  • “All my possessions for one moment of time.” –Queen Elizabeth
  • “The years teach much which the days never knew.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “An old young man will be a young old man.” –Benjamin Franklin (AKA Poor Richard)
  • “At twenty years of age, the will reigns; at thirty, the wit; and at forty, the judgment.” –Benjamin Franklin (AKA Poor Richard)
  • “Youth is pert and positive, Age modest and doubting; So ears of corn when young and bright, stand bold upright, But hang their heads when weighty, full and ripe.” –Benjamin Franklin (AKA Poor Richard)
article about Benjamin Franklin, Daily Inter Ocean newspaper article 20 October 1895

Daily Inter Ocean (Chicago, Illinois), 20 October 1895, page 25

  • “Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing.” –Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • “Old age is fifteen years older than I am.” –Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • “Middle age is when your age starts to show around your middle.” –Bob Hope
  • “Forty is the old age of youth; fifty the youth of old age.” –Victor Hugo
  • “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” –Abraham Lincoln
  • “Whatever poet, orator, or sage may say of it, old age is still old age.” –Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  • “The older you get the stronger the wind gets – and it’s always in your face.” –Jack Nicklaus
  • “Age is a case of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it don’t matter.” –Satchel Paige
  • “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?” –Satchel Paige
  • “It takes a long time to become young.” –Pablo Picasso
  • “I was forced to live far beyond my years when just a child, now I have reversed the order and I intend to remain young indefinitely.” –Mary Pickford
  • “Youth is just wasted on young people.” –George Bernard Shaw
  • “To me, fair friend, you never can be old, For as you were when first your eye I eye’d, Such seems your beauty still.” –William Shakespeare
  • “In childhood be modest, in youth temperate, in manhood just, in old age prudent.” –Socrates
article about Socrates, Camden Mail and General Advertiser newspaper article 21 May 1834

Camden Mail and General Advertiser (Camden, New Jersey), 21 May 1834, page 4

  • “May you live all the days of your life.” –Jonathan Swift
  • “Too bad that youth is wasted on the young.” –Mark Twain.
  • “The first half of life consists of the capacity to enjoy without the chance; the last half consists of the chance without the capacity.” –Mark Twain
  • “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” –Mae West
  • “Those whom the gods love grow young.” –Oscar Wilde
  • “My happiest memory of childhood was my first birthday in reform school. This teacher took an interest in me. In fact, he gave me the first birthday presents I ever got: a box of Cracker Jacks and a can of ABC shoe polish.” –Flip Wilson
  • “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” –Oprah Winfrey
  • “From our birthday, until we die, is but the winking of an eye.” –William Butler Yeats

Memorable Songs & Books

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

–Bob Dylan from the song “May You Stay Forever Young”

They say it’s your birthday
It’s my birthday too, yeah
They say it’s your birthday
We’re gonna have a good time
I’m glad it’s your birthday
Happy birthday to you

–John Lennon & Paul McCartney from the song “Birthday”

Time is on my side, yes it is
Time is on my side, yes it is

–Jerry Ragovoy (AKA Jimmy Norman) from the Rolling Stones’ song “Time Is on My Side”

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

–Dr. Seuss (AKA Theodor Seuss Geisel) from the book “Happy Birthday to You!”

Related Articles:

ad for gift subscriptions to GenealogyBank

Curious & Funny Epitaphs of Famous People & the Not-So-Famous

Introduction: Mary Harrell-Sesniak is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background. In this guest blog post, Mary presents some of the hilarious or unusual—and, in some cases, quite touching—epitaphs she has discovered.

Are you an expert on some of the more famous epitaphs found on tombstones?

To see if you are, take this handy Famous People’s Tombstone Epitaphs quiz—which you are welcome to share with your genealogy-loving and cemetery-sleuthing friends—and then check your answers below.

a quiz of epitaphs found on famous people's tombstones

Authors of Their Own Epitaphs

If you want to be certain you’ll be remembered in a unique way, then write your own epitaph. Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) and Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) did it, so why not you? Besides, it’s a great way to make sure you get in the last words you want!

Thomas Jefferson’s Epitaph

Of the two, Thomas Jefferson’s epitaph is the more serious. Prior to his death on 4 July 1826, he wrote:

“Here lies Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, and of the Statutes establishing religious toleration in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

Thomas Jefferson's epitaph, Macon Weekly Telegraph newspaper article 2 January 1855

Macon Weekly Telegraph (Macon, Georgia), 2 January 1855, page 2

Benjamin Franklin’s Epitaph

I prefer Dr. Franklin’s epitaph; he humorously described himself as “food for worms” prior to his passing on 17 April 1790.

Benjamin Franklin's epitaph, Massachusetts Centinel newspaper article 5 May 1790

Massachusetts Centinel (Boston, Massachusetts), 5 May 1790, page 58

William Shakespeare’s Epitaph

Another famous historical figure who wrote his own epitaph was William Shakespeare (1564-1616). Shakespeare’s tombstone inscription, which has been widely debated, suggests that a visitor might be cursed if he moved Shakespeare’s bones. One theory is that Shakespeare wished to scare away grave robbers; another is that as cemeteries filled, he wished to deter the custom of moving existing interments to make room for others. (See his grave from Holy Trinity Churchyard in Stratford-upon-Avon, England at www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=1450.)

Shakespeare wrote:

“Good friends, for Jesus’ sake, forbear
To dig the dirt inclosed here.
Blest be the man that spares these stones,
But curst be he that moves my bones.”

William Shakespeare's epitaph, Providence Gazette newspaper article 23-30 December 1769

Providence Gazette (Providence, Rhode Island), 23-30 December 1769, page 2

Sam Houston’s Epitaph

Then there is that famous Texan, Sam Houston (1793-1863). As a senator from Texas, he delivered a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate defending the Compromise of 1850. Worried that slavery would split the Union, he declared: “I wish, if this Union must be dissolved, that its ruins may be the monuments of my grave, and the graves of my family. I wish no epitaph to be written to tell that I survived the ruin of this glorious Union.”

Enter Last Name

He died in the middle of the Civil War, and no epitaph was written for him. However, his gravesite memorial features a quote by Andrew Jackson: “The world will take care of Houston’s fame.”

a photo of Sam Houston’s gravesite memorial in Huntsville, Texas

Photo: Sam Houston’s gravesite memorial in Huntsville, Texas. Credit: Wikipedia.

Curious & Memorable Epitaphs of the Famous and Not-So-Famous

Some epitaphs are noteworthy because they were written for famous people—and others are memorable for their uniqueness. While researching this topic, I discovered that many epitaphs are simply urban legends and don’t exist in reality—but the epitaph examples below are real. Just follow the links to check the inscriptions with photographs of the tombstones at findagrave.com.

Lucille Ball’s Epitaph

“You’ve Come Home”

(Lake View Cemetery, Jamestown, New York:
www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=7003071)

Deborah Marie Bennett’s Epitaph

“Life is short,
Eat dessert first”

(Mount Hope Cemetery, Pescadero, California:
www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=99693195)

Jonathan Blake’s Epitaph

“Here lies the body of
Jonathan Blake
Stepped on the gas
Instead of the brake”

(Uniontown Cemetery, Uniontown, Pennsylvania:
www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=39158322)

Mel Blanc’s Epitaph

“That’s All Folks”

(Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Hollywood, California:
www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=100)

Rodney Dangerfield’s Epitaph

“There Goes the Neighborhood”

(Westwood Memorial Park, Los Angeles, California:
www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=9556754)

Marguerite Dewey Daniels’s Epitaph

“She always said her
Feet were killing her,
But no one believed her.”

(Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia:
www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=28457972)

Enter Last Name

Bette Davis’s Epitaph

“She Did It the Hard Way”

(Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Los Angeles, California:
www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=258)

Jack Dempsey’s Epitaph

“Heavyweight Champion of the World
A gentle man and a gentleman”

(Southampton Cemetery, Southampton, New York:
www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=275)

Murphy A. Dreher Jr.’s Epitaph

“This ain’t bad
Once you get used to it.”

(Star Hill Cemetery, Saint Francisville, Louisiana:
www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pv&GRid=95370531&PIpi=65389055)

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Epitaph

“So we beat our boats against
The current, borne back
Ceaselessly into the past”
The Great Gatsby

(Old Saint Mary’s Catholic Church Cemetery, Rockville, Maryland:
www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=344)

Robert Frost’s Epitaph

“I Had a Lover’s Quarrel with the World”

(Old Bennington Cemetery, Bennington, Vermont:
www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=371)

Sal Giardino’s Epitaph

“World’s Greatest Electrician”

[This tombstone looks like a light bulb.]
(Laurel Grove Memorial Park, Totowa, New Jersey:
www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=5103)

Merv Griffin’s Epitaph

“I will not be right back
After this message”

(Westwood Memorial Park, Los Angeles, California:
www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=20909851)

Joan Hackett’s Epitaph

“Go Away—I’m Asleep”

(Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Hollywood, California:
www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=1447)

William H. Hahn Jr.’s Epitaph

“I Told You I Was Sick”

(Princeton Cemetery, Princeton, New Jersey:
www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=7968130)

Rita Hayworth’s Epitaph

“To yesterday’s companionship
And tomorrow’s reunion”

(Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, California:
www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=1253)

Coretta Scott King’s Epitaph

“And now abide faith, hope,
Love, these three; but the
Greatest of these is love.”
I Cor. 13:13

(Martin Luther King, Jr. Center, Atlanta, Georgia:
www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=582)

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Epitaph

“Free at last, free at last,
Thank God Almighty
I’m free at last.”

(Martin Luther King, Jr. Center, Atlanta, Georgia:
www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=582)

Harvey Korman’s Epitaph

“You’re Born, You Suffer, and You Die”

(Woodlawn Cemetery, Santa Monica, California:
www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=27185449)

Jack Lemmon’s Epitaph

“Jack Lemmon in”

(Westwood Memorial Park, Los Angeles, California:
www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=22822)

Paul G. Lind’s Epitaph

“WEMISSU”

[This tombstone looks like a scrabble board.]
(Lone Fir Pioneer Cemetery, Portland, Oregon:
www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=27240724)

Sylvester B. McCracken’s Epitaph

“School is out
Teacher has gone home”

(Grace Lawn Cemetery, Elkhart, Indiana:
www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=43210077)

Lester Moore’s Epitaph

“Here lies Lester Moore
Four slugs from a .44
No les [sic], no more”

(Boothill Graveyard, Tombstone, Arizona:
www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=19899)

Leslie Nielsen’s Epitaph

“Let ’Er Rip”

[And on the bench:]
“Sit Down Whenever You Can”

(Evergreen Cemetery, Fort Lauderdale, Florida:
www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=62278982)

Dr. William P. Rothwell’s Epitaph

“This Is on Me”
—Rx

(Oak Grove Cemetery, Pawtucket, Rhode Island:
www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=11588247)

Billy Wilder’s Epitaph

“I’m a writer
But then
Nobody’s perfect”

(Westwood Memorial Park, Los Angeles, California:
www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=6295551)

Here is a collage of some more curious epitaphs, all found in historical newspapers.

a collage of epitaphs found in historical newspapers

If you know of some curious or funny epitaphs from cemeteries near you, please share them with us in the comments!

ad for gift subscriptions to GenealogyBank

Irish American Genealogy & Family History Facts Infographic

Irish American Genealogy & Family History Facts Infographic

In celebration of Irish Heritage Month, here are some interesting facts about Irish ancestry in America.

Irish American Population Statistics

  • There are 34.5 million people who claim Irish ancestry in America
  • Approximately 11% of the total United States population is Irish American
  • There are over 7 times more people of Irish descent in the United States than the entire population of Ireland

History of Irish Immigration to America

There were 2 major waves of Irish immigration to America.

  1. The first immigration period was in the Colonial era of the 18th century. These people set sail from the northern provinces of Ireland looking for new lives as American pioneers. The migration consisted of approximately 250,000 Scots-Irish who were predominately Protestant. The major ports of entry for these incoming Irish immigrants were in New York and Philadelphia.
  1. The second wave of immigration was between 1846 and 1900. During this period approximately 2,873,000 people fled to America from the southern provinces of Ireland. This was primarily due to the Great Irish Potato Famine, which caused poverty and starvation throughout Ireland. These new arrivals were predominately of Catholic denomination. The major American ports of entry were in New York and Boston. The Irish also arrived on trains and ships from Canada, which was then called British North America.

Origins of the Saying “Luck of the Irish”

During the 1848-1855 California Gold Rush many Irish immigrants headed out West to mine silver & gold. Many Americans said the immigrants’ mining success was due to luck, not skill—hence the saying “Luck of the Irish.”

Common Irish Surnames

Here is a list of the top 10 most common Irish last names and their meanings:

  • Murphy – Sea Battlers
  • Kelly – Bright-headed Ones
  • O’Sullivan – Hawkeyed Ones
  • Walsh – Welshmen
  • O’Brien – Noblemen
  • Byrne – Ravens
  • Ryan – Little Kings
  • O’Connor – Patrons of Warriors
  • O’Neill – From a Champion, Niall of the Nine Hostages
  • O’Reilly – Outgoing People, Descendants of Reilly

Percentage of Irish Americans by State

The Northeastern United States has the highest concentration of Irish Americans. The following 9 states all have more than 15% Irish ancestry in their total populations. The states are listed in descending order from highest to lowest total Irish population percentages. Massachusetts has the highest percentage in the United States with 22.5% of its residents claiming Irish ancestry.

  1. Massachusetts
  2. New Hampshire
  3. Rhode Island
  4. Delaware
  5. Connecticut
  6. Vermont
  7. Pennsylvania
  8. New Jersey
  9. Maine

The following 9 U.S. states also have high Irish American populations of 12-14%. Montana has the highest in this range with 14.8% of its population claiming Irish ancestry.

  1. Montana
  2. Iowa
  3. Nebraska
  4. Wyoming
  5. New York
  6. Missouri
  7. Ohio
  8. Colorado
  9. Illinois

11% to 11.9% of the residents in the following 7 states claim Irish ancestry.

  1. Oregon
  2. Maryland
  3. Kansas
  4. Washington
  5. Minnesota
  6. Nevada
  7. West Virginia

The remaining states have less than 11% Irish ancestry in their total populations.

Famous Americans Who Are a Wee Bit Irish

From presidents to outlaws, there have been many famous Irish Americans throughout U.S. history. Here are a few of them:

  • John F. Kennedy a.k.a. JFK: 35th President of the United States
  • Henry Ford: Founder of Ford Motor Company
  • Barack Obama: 44th President of the United States
  • William Henry McCarty Jr. a.k.a. Billy the Kid: Outlaw
  • Judy Garland: Actress & Singer
  • Bill O’Reilly: TV Host & Political Commentator
  • Conan O’Brien: TV Host & Comedian
  • Grace Kelly: Actress & Princess of Monaco
  • Walter Elias Disney a.k.a. Walt Disney: Film Producer & Co-founder of the Walt Disney Company
  • Danica Patrick: NASCAR Driver
  • Eddie Murphy: Actor & Comedian
  • Mel Gibson: Actor & Film Producer

Top Irish Genealogy Records

The top genealogy records to trace your Irish roots are:

Did You Know?

Civil registration in Ireland didn’t begin until 1864, although some non-Catholic marriages were recorded as early as 1845. Fortunately for genealogists, Irish American newspapers routinely published the news of Irish births, marriages and deaths for more than half a century before Ireland started recording them.

Got a little Irish in you? Discover your Irish American ancestry at http://www.genealogybank.com/gbnk/ethnic/irish_american/

Follow GenealogyBank on social media with hashtag #IrishHeritage for more Irish American genealogy facts throughout Irish Heritage Month.

Sources:

http://www.biography.com/people/groups/famous-irish-americans

http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/facts_for_features_special_editions/cb13-ff03.html

http://www.edwardtodonnell.com/

http://www.energyofanation.org/waves_of_irish_immigration.html

http://www.irishcentral.com/roots/The-10-most-popular-Irish-last-names-2-133737553.html?page=3

http://names.mongabay.com/ancestry/st-Irish.html

http://www.udel.edu/soe/deal/IrishImmigrationFacts.html

http://www.wikipedia.org/

Celebrating the 200th Anniversary of Charles Dickens’s Birthday

This week marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles John Huffam Dickens, the famous English novelist who created such memorable characters as David Copperfield, Oliver Twist, Ebenezer Scrooge, and Tiny Tim.

Born on Feb. 7, 1812, Charles Dickens remains one of the most popular and beloved writers in the world—in fact, his stories have never gone out of print!

One of the pleasures of doing family history research in a large collection of historical newspapers like GenealogyBank’s is that you can also find material about famous people. Not only can you explore their lives and trace their family trees in newspapers—you can get priceless information about famous people that isn’t available from other genealogical resources.

For example, two days after the famous author’s death these impressive words were written about Charles Dickens in a newspaper obituary published by the Cincinnati Daily Enquirer (Cincinnati, Ohio), 11 June 1870, page 4:

“Without the slightest tinge of exaggeration it may be said with solemn meaning that no announcement could have created a profounder feeling of sorrow and regret than that which conveys the intelligence of the death of Charles Dickens, the eminent novelist—the friend of humanity.

“The event, while it was not altogether unexpected—for Dickens was a man of years, of full habit and many ailments—yet it came like an electric shock which deadens for an instant and is followed by a somber gloom.

“A potentate of Europe might have passed away and created no ripple, save in his own immediate circle; but the death of one so great and good as Dickens is a world-wide calamity, and it will be felt wherever the English language is spoken—wherever human impulses are felt.”

On the 100th anniversary of Dickens’s birth the Oregonian (Portland, Oregon) ran this page-long chronology of the life of the beloved author, published 28 January 1912, page 4.

Charles Dickens 100th Birthday Anniversary Newspaper Collage

Oregonian | January 28, 1912

You can discover the facts about Charles Dickens at GenealogyBank. Visit our historical newspaper archives today to explore the life and death of the world-renowned author Charles Dickens: http://bit.ly/AobNT9

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to read the entire obituary.

What information and clues do we get from this obituary?

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

GenealogyBank your best source for old newspapers on the planet!
.

Finding Your “Roots” at Alex Haley Museum Opening

Alex Haley home dedicated as a genealogy library and museum.

When 17-year-old violinist Joseph Matthews performed at the dedication of the Alex Haley Museum and Interpretive Center, he had no idea he would discover his family roots. Joseph, a high school senior from Memphis, Tennessee, was among hundreds who participated in two days of festivities at the Interpretive Center located behind Mr. Haley’s boyhood home in Henning, Tennessee. The center was dedicated on Friday, 13 August, 2010.

Mr. Haley, who passed away in 1992, received a Pulitzer Prize for his 1976 novel Roots: The Saga of an American Family. The book tells of his ancestors being sold into slavery in West Africa and their migration from North Carolina to Tennessee. The following year a TV series of Roots, described as “eight straight days of the Super Bowl,” aired and remains the highest rated TV miniseries in television history. Among the significant impact of Roots was a surge in interest throughout the world in family history research.

TIP: Search the Largest Collection of African American newspapers is in GenealogyBank.

Inside the museum Joseph and his family visited a FamilySearch center sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Through the free online program FamilySearch.org, Joseph explored his ancestral lines. “Basically we were able to type in my grandmother’s mother’s and father’s name, and from there we searched their records and we were able to find information about their parents as well as their siblings, birthdates, wedding dates, things of that nature,” said Matthews. “We made a couple of steps to where we can make some pretty good discoveries in the future as to our family lineage. We’re going to find out a lot more about our family and where we came from.”

According to Art Johnson, FamilySearch area manager, the placement of the FamilySearch center within the Alex Haley Museum is a perfect fit, “I think it’s a great opportunity to simply share the message of family history and genealogy to individuals that come in and commemorate the accomplishments and successes of Mr. Haley’s life. It’s an opportunity to simply bring people in and help them understand their heritage the way that Mr. Haley did.”
William Haley, Alex’s son, said that resources available through
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are very valuable in searching African-American ancestry. “I always send them to the LDS Church. I say, ‘Well find an LDS Church with a history portion and go in there and they will help you find out who you are and it doesn’t matter what country or anything, they will help you.’ Folks are very surprised at that, but it’s true.”

This is one of several related projects supported by the Church. In 2001, FamilySearch released the Freedman’s Bank records on CD, a unique searchable database documenting several generations of African-Americans immediately following the Civil War. In 2006, FamilySearch participated in the
Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society’s (AAHGS) national conference in Salt Lake City. An African-American family history conference is held in Salt Lake City each year.

The Alex Haley Museum and Interpretive Center and FamilySearch center are located in Henning, Tennessee, about 45 miles northeast of Memphis.

.