Tell us your success story.

We hear from GenealogyBank researchers all the time about their success in finding their family in historical newspapers and documents.

Do you have an interesting story to tell?
Would you be willing to be interviewed about it?

If so, please contact me directly at: TKemp@NewsBank.com

We want to hear from you.

Here is what others have told us:

Genealogy is my #1 hobby and profession. After hearing about your site, I signed up for a year. I have spent hours at libraries finding and copying obituaries and now some of them I can find just by typing in a name! I’m also finding the less common marriage notices and newspaper articles that I did not even think to search for because I did not know they existed until they came up on my screen!
Michael W. McCormick Adams County, PA, Enduring Legacy Genealogy, LLC

I have never heard of this site before, just saw it on Facebook and decided to check it out. This is my dream come true! In 5 minutes I’ve found more articles about my g-g-g grandfather than I ever thought possible! I’m sold….
Joan Morrison

[….] I found something very valuable on your site, […] the story of my ggrandparents getting back together after 20 years being apart back in 1901-2 time. I believe it was in one of the TX papers, don’t know why it was in it, because my ggrandfather went out to Wisconsin to seek his fortune after marrying my ggrandmother in Nova Scotia. He left after 2 weeks marriage (she was already pregnant but didn’t know it, with my grandmother) and her parents did not like him, so they kept all his letters from her. He went to Massachusetts to see a friend and he asked about her and was told she lived not too far away, never married. He went to her house, and the rest is history as they say.
Margaret Sessions, Florida

I have been a subscriber since February 2008. I really like your site. I have been able to locate news articles about my ancestors in a matter of minutes. I had been looking for an article on my great grandfather’s death in a train accident for at least twenty years without any luck. I found it in about ten minutes searching GenealogyBank. THANK YOU!
Keith Parrish

Your site…I am delighted I found it. Such a wide variety from major city newspapers I’ve never found anywhere, especially with regard to the period of history in which I am most interested. Keep adding, and thank you, from a very much pleased subscriber.
George B. Parous, Pittsburgh, PA

I am a multi-state licensed private investigator that specializes in historical and genealogical research. THIS IS MY FAVORITE WEBSITE! Thanks so much!
DeeDee, Baton Rouge, LA

I subscribed to your site yesterday and forthwith found a very interesting 4th of July article concerning my Revolutionary War patriot ancestor. What a great find!
Nancie Brunk

I’ve been having a ball finding articles about my family. The biggest find for me…was discovering my gr-grandfather’s uncle in Congressional records as well as in newspapers. He had left home as a child and didn’t return home again until after his father died. It was reported in the newspapers that his elderly mother (my gr-gr-gr-grandmother!) almost went into shock after not seeing him for nearly 37 years. GenealogyBank gave me great insight into his life as a fisherman turned world traveler and the names of his children that he had with his Russian wife and his locations in Russia and Japan back in the 1800s! How cool is that??? :) I can’t wait to see what papers you will put up next. Keep up the great work!
Catherine “Casey” Zahn

Genealogybank is a fantastic resource. I literally have pulled 100s of newspaper articles in the past year from the 1780s to the 1920s that have helped me reconstruct families, and much eye opening information. Over this holiday I reconstructed another family using it and am now matching old photos back to these folks from over 100 years ago. Whereas most databases give you the vital records, GenealogyBank fills in the life stories. I have been getting a kick out of the horse trader and express man brothers and their stories that made the paper. They amused (and not so amused) the folks of Springfield, Mass, for several years in the Springfield Republican. Although I have not found photos of them yet, I have now correctly identified their sisters and some nieces and nephews after decades of not knowing for sure who the people were.
Ken Piper, Facebook

I recently learned my early ancestors traveled with a French group called The Ravel Family. They were a circus family but performed in theatres in New York City, Boston, Havana, New Orleans and other U.S. cities and countries. It turns out, The Ravel Family were world famous and had a great reputation. My 2nd great-grandfather, Leon Giavelli (stage name of Javelli) performed high wire acts that no others dared try…I found all of this out just from typing ‘Giavelli’ in your search engine; I have been very busy downloading newspaper articles and advertisements of my family and I owe it all to you!
Jane Laughon

I have never believed in paying for websites, but I finally broke down and subscribed to Genealogybank.com. I was thrilled to have found numerous articles on my family in the Philadelphia Inquirer (PA). Thanks for your great website.
Barbara Turner, Woodbury, NJ

I’m going for a two-year subscription, for the price may never be this good again – and with all the new resources being added, who knows how much more genealogy I will be able to access 18 months from now. Look how much new content went up in just six weeks!

I subscribed immediately. Within a short space of time I found an obit for great uncle John P. McCANNEY. My father’s namesake, he hid from me for years! I also found a news article for Aveline KUNTZMANN, my beloved’s 2nd great grandmother. It always puzzled me because she is not interred with KUNTZMANN family. Wow! She was lost when the LA BOURGOGNE sank in July 1898. I am going to be sleep deprived!
-Mary McCanney Finley

I found a letter written by my third great grandfather – the first thing I’ve ever seen written by the man. This letter was published in the Albany (New York) Argus in February of 1819. Wonderful!
Most of the content found at GenealogyBank is unique, not found on other sites. You may search it for free to see how many records there are for your family. If it looks good, sign-up to see the full records.
Honestly, if you have colonial ancestry, you can’t afford not to use this new resource. For the first time ever, you will be able to access newspapers and documents not previously indexed or in many cases, accessible at all. What makes this collection unique is that much of the data is from the American Antiquarian Society in Worchester, Massachusetts. This organization holds the earliest American printed materials, including newspapers – and now, for the first time, much of this material is accessible to you and I – all in digital format.
-Leland MeitzlerGenealogyBlog.com

Congratulations on a terrific website! I can’t leave it – I found several newspaper items I’ve not before seen and I still have more on the list to view. I’m one of your first subscribers.
Thank you so much for your dedication. It paid off tremendously. I’m going back now.
-Stefani Evans, CG

…they are the kind of resources that help you to not only use source documents to learn more about your ancestry, but they also help you to put ‘meat on the bones’ of your genealogy as you work to create a family history. Now, individuals have access to a wide array of great resources, which are centralized and available through a single subscription service. GenealogyBank is quickly becoming a major player in the field.
Internet Genealogy, January 2007

Your GenealogyBank is WONDERFUL. It’s a must for researching genealogists. I ran into info that I had searched and searched for years ago in libraries. And here it is now right at my fingertips! Amazing. It is well worth the price. Thank you for giving us all this information.
-Diana K. Bennett

I had a chance to ‘test drive’ the new individual GenealogyBank and was much impressed…. My best finds were in the Historical Documents collection – the American State Papers and the U.S. Serial Set. They yielded the most interesting and amazing information. I learned my 3rd great-grandfather, Solomon Dunagan was a constable, and testified at a voter fraud trial at Wayne County, Ky. Feb. 9, 1860. Solomon’s son, Thomas J. Dunagan testified at the same trial as a witness for the prosecution.
-Carllene Marek AncestreeSeekers, Chico (CA) Enterprise-Record

I almost fell off my chair last week, and not because I’m naturally clumsy. I was trying out the new GenealogyBank database … and saw a headline ‘Boy From Holy Land Working Way Through University of Texas.’ I clicked, and there was a picture of my grandfather. The slightly melodramatic 1924 Dallas Morning News article told how my Lebanese ancestor – who lived in an orphanage – respected his elders, studied into the wee hours and worked in a dairy all summer to earn money for college. Despite ‘lacking in dash and brilliance’ (in the reporter’s opinion), he was in the band, played football and won a debate contest.
I never met my grandfather, but he sounds a lot like my dad (except my dad is brilliant). It was a totally unexpected discovery, and just goes to show you can find information in surprising places.
-Diane Haddad, Newsletter Editor

Right off the bat, you’ll notice the servers respond quickly to return hits. In my first two searches I found 2 relevant entries for my ancestors. I expect this new website will be on my ‘must visit regularly’ lists.
-MyrtleDearMYRTLE.com

I subscribed today and have only stopped twice – once to eat a quick dinner and now for this note to thank you for this wonderful site. Already I have found 30 newspaper references in 1700-1800 for my ancestor in New York. I can’t thank you enough for putting this out there for us. What an accomplishment! I’m so glad it came along while I’m still here. I turned 87 this September. The program sent me hurrying along to finish my family history!
-Alice H. Williams

It has a lot more and to me it has been worth the money. You can take it a month at a time. I have already found so much info on one of my surnames and it will take me days to go through it all. I love the site.
-Barbara Nichols

GenealogyBank is the most customer-oriented genealogy website I’ve ever had the pleasure to use. Its constantly-expanding content is remarkably varied, immensely useful, and delightfully out-of-the-ordinary. A vast number of the documents included in ‘America’s Government Documents’ and ‘America’s Historical Books’ are not found in the genealogy databases I’ve seen. GenealogyBank’s features are easy to understand and use. The Help section is comprehensive and well-written. GenealogyBank clearly was created and structured with the needs of genealogists at all levels of research in mind.
-Joy Rich, M.L.S., Editor, Dorot: The Journal of the Jewish Genealogical Society (New York)

I have never believed in paying for websites, but I finally broke down and subscribed to Genealogybank.com. I was thrilled to have found numerous articles on my family in the Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer. Thanks for your great website.
-Barbara Turner Woodbury, NJ

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Ship Passenger Lists

Newspapers routinely published passenger lists of passengers coming to and leaving from America.

Here are just a few examples of the thousands of passenger lists published in newspapers that can be found in GenealogyBank.

Newspapers routinely published not just lists of immigrants coming to America but also regularly published passenger lists of American’s going overseas; American’s returning home to the US and American’s traveling within the United States by ship.

Notice in this example from the Irish-American newspaper, The Shamrock (17 Aug 1816) – published in New York City – that these passengers left from the port of Sligo, Ireland on board the brig Juno and landed in New London, CT. There they boarded the “sloop MacDonough” which in turn set sail for New York City – where they arrived on 16 August 1816.

This pre-1820 passenger list tells us that these immigrants landed twice on their trip to America, that they took two ships to finally reach their destination – an alert that their names will appear on two different passenger lists. Once on the passenger list for the brig Juno that landed in New London, CT and again on the passenger list for the sloop MacDonough that landed in New York City.

Notice also that this passenger list gives the hometown or county of origin of each passenger. Critical information that is almost never given in the Federal post-1820 passenger lists.

Tip: Passenger lists were not collected by the government until 1820 – these early lists can be difficult if not impossible to find. Newspapers are a terrific source for Colonial passenger lists.

Click on these links to see a few examples of the thousands of passenger lists, published in newspapers that can be found in
GenealogyBank.

Passenger Lists of Columbus, GA
3 April 1894. Steamer Queen City.
Columbus (GA) Daily Inquirer. 3 April 1894.

Passenger Lists New Orleans, LA
20 February 1869.
Steamship Crescent City. From New York City.
Times Picayune. 20 February 1869.

23 October 1872. Steamship Saxonia.
Left New Orleans for Hamburg (Germany) by way of Havana (Cuba), Santander (Spain) and Havre (France).
Times Picayune. 23 October 1872. p. 1

29 April 1873. Steamship John G. Meiggs.
Left New Orleans for Aspinwall (Panama); Port Limon (Costa Rica); and Havanna (Cuba). Times Picayune. 29 April 1873. p. 8

25 August 1875. Steamship City of Merida.
Arrived in New Orleans from Vera Cruz, Tuxpan, and Tampico – all ports in Mexico. Times Picayune. 25 August 1875. p. 1

12 June 1848. Steamship Washington. From Southampton (England), by way of Halifax (Nova Scotia).
New York Herald. 16 Jan 1848. p. 2

Passenger Lists Philadelphia, PA
5 Nov 1881. Steamship City of Savannah. Departed for Savannah (Georgia).
Philadelphia Inquirer. 7 Nov 1881. p. 2

13 July 1883. Steamship Niagara. Marine Disaster. Burned off the coast of Florida.
Philadelphia Inquirer. 14 July 1883. p. 1

23 June 1891. Steamship Polynesia. Enroute from Hamburg, Germany.
Philadelphia Inquirer. 23 June 1891. p. 4

10 September 1901. Steamship Alleghany. Enroute from the South.
Philadelphia Inquirer. 10 September 1901. p. 16

Passenger Lists San Francisco, CA
6 September 1871. San Francisco Bulletin. 6 September 1871. p. 3

Click here to download and search the complete 1819/1820 Passenger List for all US ports.
This free resource is a good example of the genealogical content in the historical newspapers, books and documents that can be found in GenealogyBank.

GenealogyBank doubles in size

GenealogyBank has added more than 306 million newspaper articles!

One year ago we had 174 million articles. Today we have 480 million newspaper articles – in 4,300 newspapers — in all GenealogyBank has over 566 million books, documents and records on the entire site!!

We have more than doubled in size in one year!!

If you haven’t searched GenealogyBank in awhile – it is time to sign-up and discover your ancestors. Do it now!

We make it easy – you can even search all of GenealogyBank for free.
Do it now.

GenealogyBank has more obituaries, more of what you’re searching for.
GenealogyBank is the best old newspaper site on the planet. Period!

Here is a partial list of the titles – more is being added every day!
Alaska. Anchorage. Anchorage Gazette*. 1992-12-01 to 1993-01-01
Arkansas. Arkansas Post. Arkansas Gazette. 1821-09-01 to 1900-07-12
Jonesboro, AR. Jonesboro Evening Sun. 1905-01-05 to 1922-12-29
California. Los Angeles. Los Angeles Tribune. 1959-01-02 to 1959-05-15
Colorado. Colorado Springs. Gazette-Telegraph. 1914-01-05 to 1921-04-23
Connecticut. Bridgeport. Spirit of the Times*. 1830-10-06 to 1832-09-26
Danbury, CT. Republican Journal*. 1793-07-01 to 1800-01-06
Danielson, CT. Windham County Transcript. 1876-09-21
CT Litchfield, CT. Sun*. 1835-04-25 to 1839-04-13
Middletown, CT. Constitution. 1856-01-01 to 1856-12-03
Middletown, CT. Middlesex Gazette*. 1829-01-07 to 1830-12-29
Mystic, CT. Mystic Journal*. 1863-01-03 to 1867-03-02
New Haven. Black Coalition Weekly*. 1972-03-06 to 1972-09-14
New London, CT. New London Daily Chronicle. 1848-04-26 to 1848-10-12
New London, CT. New London Democrat. 1847-04-24
Norwich, CT. Norwich Republican. 1828-12-02 to 1830-06-19
Stamford, CT. Stamford Sentinel*. 1832-03-13 to 1835-03-16 DC.
Washington. Daily National Intelligencer. 1842-01-03 to 1869-06-23
Delaware. Georgetown, CT. Sussex Countian. 2009-10-02 to Current
Smyrna, DE. Smyrna-Clayton Sun-Times. 2009-10-02 to Current
Florida. Boca Grande. Boca Beacon, The. 2009-10-02 to Current
Chiefland, FL. Chiefland Citizen. 2009-10-02 to Current
Georgia. Jonesboro. Clayton News Daily. 2009-10-02 to Current
McDonough. Henry Daily Herald. 2009-10-02 to Current
Tifton, GA. Tifton Gazette. 2009-10-02 to Current
Idaho. Idaho City. Idaho Register. 1907-11-22 to 1915-03-09
ID. Twin Falls, ID. Twin Falls News. 1918-05-24 to 1921-10-20
Illinois. Centralia. Centralia Sentinel. 1863-09-03 to 1863-11-12
Chicago, IL. Second Ward News*. 1935-12-14 to 1938-04-02
Chicago, IL. Spokesman*. 1933-01-07 to 1933-03-18
Chicago, IL. Vorbote. 1875-07-17 to 1876-12-23
Dixon, IL. Sauk Valley Newspapers. 2009-10-02 to Current
Macomb, IL. Macomb Eagle. 2009-10-02 to Current
Macomb, IL. Macomb Journal. 2009-10-02 to 2009-10-03
Macomb, IL. Voice, The. 2009-10-08 to Current
Marion, IL. Marion Daily Republican, The. 2009-10-02 to Current
Quincy, IL. Quincy Whig. 1868-07-25 to 1876-11-29
Indiana. Boonville, Newburgh, IN. Boonville Standard & Newburgh-Chandler Register. 2009-10-14 to Current
Indianapolis, IN. Indiana Democrat. 1830-08-14 to 1841-06-09
Terre Haute, IN. Wabash Courier. 1837-05-25 to 1850-08-24
Iowa. Hamburg. Hamburg Reporter. 2009-10-02 to Current
Osceola, IA. Osceola Sentinel-Tribune. 2009-10-02 to Current
Kansas. Girard. Girard City Press, The. 2009-10-02 to Current
KS. Kansas City. Plaindealer*. 1932-05-20 to 1958-11-07
KS. Topeka. Plaindealer. 1899-01-06 to 1912-06-28
KS. Wichita. Negro Star. 1920-05-07 to 1950-12-29
Louisiana. Covington. St. Tammany News. 2009-10-02 to Current
LA. New Orleans. Times-Picayune. 1893-06-25 to 1893-06-25
Massachusetts. Boston. Boston Daily Advertiser*. 1860-01-03 to 1900-12-31
MA. Boston. Boston Journal. 1893-05-02 to 1893-08-31
MA. Gloucester. Gloucester Telegraph. 1834-02-05 to 1847-12-29
MA. Salem. Salem Observer. 1830-09-18
MA. Springfield. Springfield Republican*. 1923-12-30 to 1946-09-26
MA. Stoughton. Stoughton Sentinel. 1865-08-19 to 1876-07-29
MA. Taunton. Taunton Daily Gazette. 2009-10-02 to Current
Maryland. Baltimore. Baltimore Bulletin. 1875-01-02 to 1875-07-31
MD. Baltimore. Maryland Journal. 1773-08-20 to 1795-02-14
MD. Bel Air. Southern Aegis. 1857-07-11 to 1857-12-26
MD. Cumberland. Phoenix Civilian. 1837-04-01 to 1840-01-04
MD. Easton. Maryland Herald. 1794-07-01 to 1797-05-30
MD. Frederick. Reservoir and Public Reflector*. 1828-09-23 to 1829-07-28
Michigan. Grand Rapids. Afro-American Gazette*. 1991-01-01 to 1995-08-07
MI. Grand Rapids. Grand Rapids Press. 1915-11-22
MI. Jackson. Jackson Citizen Patriot. 1903-10-20 to 1922-12-31
MI. Jackson. Jackson Citizen*. 1837-01-23 to 1918-12-22
Missouri. Kansas City. Kansas City Times. 1886-05-07 to 1893-11-12
MS. Vicksburg. Daily Commercial. 1879-10-09 to 1882-07-10
Montana. Helena. Independent Record. 2009-10-02 to Current
North Carolina. Burgaw. Pender Post, The. 2009-10-08 to Current
NC. Fuquay-Varina. Fuquay-Varina Independent. 2009-10-02 to Current
NC. Garner. Garner News. 2009-10-02 to Current
NC. Laurinburg. Laurinburg Exchange, The. 2009-10-02 to Current
NC. Lousiburg. Franklin Times, The. 2009-10-03 to Current
NC. Lumberton. Robesonian, The. 2009-10-02 to Current
NC. Mt. Airy. Mt. Airy News, The. 2009-10-02 to Current
NC. New Bern. Newbern Sentinel*. 1824-01-24 to 1825-12-31
NC. Sylva. Sylva Herald & Ruralite, The. 2009-10-02 to Current
NC. Walnut Cove. Stokes News, The. 2009-10-02 to Current
North Dakota. Grand Forks. Evening Times*. 1906-01-03 to 1914-03-28
ND. Williston. Williston Daily Herald. 2009-10-02 to Current
Nebraska. Broken Bow. Custer County Chief. 2009-10-02 to Current
New Hampshire. Dover. New Hampshire Republican*. 1825-10-04 to 1829-10-30
New Jersey. Edgewater. Edgewater View. 2009-10-02 to Current
NJ. Newton. AIM Sussex County. 2009-10-02 to Current
NJ. Ramsey. Ramsey Suburban News. 2009-10-02 to Current
NJ. Ridgewood. Ridgewood News, The. 2009-10-02 to Current
NJ. Rockaway. AIM Jefferson. 2009-10-02 to Current
NJ. Salem. Today’s Sunbeam. 2009-10-02 to Current
NJ. Trenton. Trenton Evening Times. 1909-10-311921-10-07; 1972-12-30 to 1993-03-15 NJ. Trenton. New Jersey State Gazette*. 1792-09-19 to 1799-12-31
NJ. West Milford. AIM West Milford. 2009-10-02 to Current
New York. Albany. Sojourner-Herald*. 1995-04-01 to 1998-11-01
NY. Albany. Temperance Recorder*. 1833-05-07 to 1833-11-05
NY. Corning. Leader, The. 2009-10-02 to Current NY. Goshen. Orange County Gazette*. 1815-05-02
NY. Herkimer. Evening Telegram, The. 2009-10-02 to Current
NY. Hornell. Evening Tribune, The. 2009-10-02 to Current
NY. Kingston. Ulster Gazette. 1803-12-17 to 1821-05-30
NY. Kingston. Rising Sun*. 1793-12-28 to 1798-01-13
NY. Little Falls. Evening Times, The. 2009-10-02 to Current
NY. New York. Morning Telegraph. 1870-01-02
NY. New York. New York Herald. 1875-04-20 to 1898-12-31
NY. New York. New York Herald-Tribune. 1856-01-01 to 1876-12-30
NY. New York. New Yorker Volkszeitung. 1889-05-05 to 1898-08-18
NY. New York. Weekly Visitor*. 1818-05-02 to 1823-10-25
NY. Norwich. Evening Sun, The. 2009-10-03 to Current
NY. Poughkeepsie. Political Barometer*. 1802-06-08 to 1809-12-27
NY. Poughkeepsie. Ulster Republican*. 1836-01-06 to 1836-11-18
NY. Rochester. Frederick Douglass’ Paper*. 1852-06-24 to 1859-07-22
NY. Rondout. Rondout Freeman*. 1845-07-19 to 1847-09-18
NY. Wellsville. Wellsville Daily Reporter. 2009-10-02 to Current
Ohio. Chillicothe. Scioto Gazette*. 1808-01-04 to 1821-02-15
OH. Cincinnati. Cincinnati Daily Enquirer. 1866-01-02 to 1866-06-30
OH. Cincinnati. Cincinnati Volksfreund. 1864-10-18
OH. Cincinnati. Cincinnati Chronicle and Literary Gazette*. 1827-02-17 to 1829-10-24
OH. Cincinnati. Cincinnati Times-Star*. 1871-07-01 to 1875-06-30
OH. McArthur. Vinton County Courier. 2009-10-02 to Current
OH. Portsmouth. Community Common, The. 2009-10-02 to Current
OH. Sandusky. Sandusky Register. 1851-11-27 to 1856-05-26
OH. St. Clairsville. Ohio Federalist*. 1817-12-11
OH. Steubenville. Steubenville Herald*. 1825-02-26 to 1825-03-05
OH. Wooster. Wooster Republican. 1858-01-07 to 1862-10-23

Look for the rest of the list in the days ahead!

It’s a great day for genealogy!

Sign up for GenealogyBank now and see what you’ll find about your family!
Wow!

African American newspapers going up on GenealogyBank

GenealogyBank is adding over 280 fully-searchable African American newspapers with coverage from 1827 to 1999. GenealogyBank released the first 50+ newspapers this month.

This is an exciting new addition to GenealogyBank – we are pleased to make these resources available -opening up family history information just not found anywhere else.”

Alaska Spotlight (AK). 1956-1968

Homeland (AR). 1991-1999

Southern Mediator Journal (AR). 1962-1966

Inter-Faith Churchman (CA). 1941

Los Angeles Tribune (CA) 1943-1960

Teller (CA). 1946

Black Networking News (DC). 1989-1990

National Chronicle (DC). 1990-1991

Washington Bee (DC). 1914-1915

Florida Tattler (FL). 1934-1945

Savannah Tribune (GA). 1875-1922

Bags and Baggage (IL). 1937-1943

Bulletin (IL). 1968-1969

Central South Sider (IL). 1929

Chicago Courier (IL). 1974-1975

Chicago Metro News (IL). 1973-1990

Chicago World (IL). 1925-1935

Illinois Sentinel (IL). 1937

Metropolitan Post (IL). 1938-1939

Olivet Baptist Church Herald (IL) 1936

Freeman (IN) 1897-1899

Indianapolis Ledger (IN). 1918-1922

Advocate (KS). 1904-1926

People’s Elevator (KS). 1937-1940

Wyandotte Echo (KS). 1936-1937

Freeman’s Lance (KS) 1891

Plaindealer (KS). 1912-1921

Negro Star (KS). 1939-1952

Community Leader (LA). 1985

Inside New Orleans (LA) 1965

New Orleans Daily Creole (LA) 1856-1857

St. Louis Clarion (MO). 1920-1921

Mississippi Free Press (MS) 1961-1964

Mississippi Weekly (MS) 1935

Mound Bayou News-Digest(MS) 1950

People’s Community News (NY). 1970

Rights of All (NY) 1829

Minority Report (OH). 1969-1970

North Philly Free Press (PA) 1982-1983

Political Digest (PA) 1937

Memphis Triangle (TN). 1928-1929

Brotherhood Eyes (TX). 1936

Fort Worth Mind (TX) 1943-1947

USA Monitor (TX) 1992-1993

Soul City Courier (WI) 1976-1977

Wisconsin Labor Advocate (WI) 1886-1887

Milwaukee Defender (WI) 1957-1958

Milwaukee Star (WI) 1968-1977

Soul City Times (WI) 1968-1971

Racine Courier (WI) 1988-1992

Advocate (WV). 1904-1926

GenealogyBank adds 190 newspapers this month

GenealogyBank. adds more newspapers – we’re up to 190 titles added this month – that’s over 4,100 newspapers online right now.

And, the month’s not over yet – there are still more newspapers going online before the year is over.

Sign up now and see what you’ll find about your family!

AK. Anchorage. Alaska Spotlight. 7/28/1956 to 11/30/1968
AR. Forrest City. Homeland. 6/1/1998 to 7/1/1999
AR. Little Rock. Southern Mediator Journal. 6/22/1962 to 2/25/1966
CA. Los Angeles. Heraldo de Mexico. 5/12/1925

CA. Los Angeles. Inter-Faith Churchman. 4/20/1941
CA. Los Angeles. Los Angeles Tribune. 1/3/1958 to 4/22/1960
CA. Los Angeles. Teller. 3/20/1946
CT. New London. New London Gazette. 1827-01-03 to 1837-12-13
DC. Washington. Black Networking News. 1/1/1989 to 8/1/1990
DC. Washington. National Chronicle. 7/6/1990 to 9/20/1991
DC. Washington. Washington Bee. 1/3/1914 to 9/25/1915
FL. Jacksonville. Florida Tattler. 12/1/1934 to 9/29/1945
GA. Augusta. Augusta Chronicle. 1/1/1982 to 12/31/1996
GA. Savannah. Savannah Tribune. 1875-12-04 to 12/28/1922
IL. Chicago. Bulletin. 9/11/1968 to 12/3/1969
IL. Chicago. Central South Sider. 7/6/1929
IL. Chicago. Chicago Courier. 4/13/1974 to 11/15/1975
IL. Chicago. Chicago Metro News. 11/3/1973 to 12/26/1987
IL. Chicago. Chicago World. 10/29/1925 to 6/15/1935
IL. Chicago. Illinois Sentinel. 11/20/1937
IL. Chicago. Metropolitan Post. 9/10/1938 to 6/3/1939
IL. Chicago. Olivet Baptist Church Herald. 11/29/1936
IN. Indianapolis. Freeman. 1897-06-12 to 1899-02-04
IN. Indianapolis. Indianapolis Ledger. 4/13/1918 to 10/28/1922
KS. Kansas City. Advocate. 1/6/1922 to 4/23/1926
KS. Kansas City. People’s Elevator. 8/19/1937 to 9/19/1940
KS. Kansas City. Wyandotte Echo. 1/3/1936 to 12/24/1937
KS. Peru. Freeman’s Lance. 1891-02-20 to 1891-12-25
KS. Topeka. Plaindealer. 7/5/1912 to 4/29/1921
KS. Wichita. Negro Star. 1/5/1939 to 12/26/1952
LA. Baton Rouge. Community Leader. 6/13/1985
LA. New Orleans. Inside New Orleans. 5/1/1965
LA. New Orleans. Times Picayune. 12/7/1942 to 4/4/1950
LA. New Orleans. Times-Picayune. 1870-04-09 to 1899-02-06
MA. Boston. Boston Journal. 1870-07-01 to 1871-06-30
MI. Kalamazoo. Kalamazoo Gazette. 1876-06-07 to 8/31/1907
MO. St. Louis. St. Louis Clarion. 12/18/1920 to 4/2/1921
MS. Jackson. Mississippi Free Press. 12/16/1961 to 8/1/1964
MS. Jackson. Mississippi Weekly. 5/18/1935
MS. Mound Bayou. Mound Bayou News-Digest. 5/13/1950
NY. Harlem. People’s Community News. 5/10/1970
NY. New York. New York Herald. 1879-02-1 to 1895-01-26
NY. New York. New York Herald-Tribune. 1856-07-14 to 1875-06-30
NY. New York. Nueva Democracia. 1/1/1947 to 10/1/1948
NY. New York. Prensa. 10/9/1923 to 9/16/1927
NY. New York. Rights of All. 1829-05-29 to 1829-10-09
OH. Dayton. Minority Report. 1/1/1969 to 12/18/1970
OH. Sandusky. Sandusky Register. 1848-04-24 to 1867-04-24
PA. Philadelphia. North Philly Free Press. 3/23/1982 to 1/18/1983
PA. Philadelphia. Political Digest. 10/31/1937
SC. Charleston. City Gazette. 1825-01-01 to 1826-08-31
TN. Memphis. Memphis Triangle. 11/17/1928 to 7/27/1929
TN. Murfreesboro. Murfreesboro Union. 6/6/1939
TX. Brownsville. Cronista del Valle. 10/12/1928
TX. Dallas. Brotherhood Eyes. 10/31/1936
TX. Dallas. Dallas Morning News. 7/31/1978 to 12/28/1978
TX. El Paso. ontinental. 11/17/1936 to 1/2/1938
TX. Fort Worth. Fort Worth Mind. 11/13/1943 to 9/13/1947
TX. Fort Worth. USA Monitor. 8/1/1992 to 3/1/1993
WA. Seattle. Seattle Daily Times. 12/1/1938 to 12/31/1952
WI. Beloit. Soul City Courier. 10/12/1976 to 1/18/1977
WI. La Crosse. Wisconsin Labor Advocate. 1886-08-20 to 1887-06-06
WI. Milwaukee. Milwaukee Defender. 1/3/1957 to 2/1/1958
WI. Milwaukee. Milwaukee Star. 10/19/1968 to 2/10/1977
WI. Milwaukee. Soul City Times. 9/14/1968 to 12/16/1971
WI. Racine. Racine Courier. 9/3/1988 to 7/25/1992
WV. Charleston. Advocate. 6/9/1904

More Newspapers Go Online – 41 newspapers, 23 states

GenealogyBank adds and expands 41 newspapers from 23 states.

21 new titles.

That’s nearly 14 million articles contained in 8,052 issues!

Click and search them right now!!
Connecticut. Middletown. American Sentinel. 326 issues. 1823-01-01 to 1833-04-24
Connecticut. Middletown.
Constitution. 47 issues. 1854-12-13 to 1855-12-05
Connecticut. New London.
New London Gazette. 160 issues. 1838-01-03 to 1843-03-22
Connecticut. Nor wich.
True Republican. 49 issues. 1804-06-20 to 1806-10-01

Washington, DC. Daily National Intelligencer. 3,230 issues. 1842-07-01 to 1866-06-25

Florida. Gainesville. *Gainesville Sun. 1995-01-18 to Present

Illinois. Chicago. Chicago Metro News. 118 issues. 1974-07-06 to 1990-10-06
Illinois. Freeport. *
Journal Standard. 2002-12-14 to Present

Indiana. Crawfordsville. *Paper of Montgomery County. 2004-11-26 to Present
Indiana. Noblesville. *
Times. 2008-10-22 to Present

Kentucky. Paris. *Western Citizen. 45 issues. 1808-12-24 to 1814-12-31

Louisiana. New Orleans. Orleans Gazette. 1 issue. 1817-09-27
Louisiana. New Orleans.
Times-Picayune. 30 issues. 1872-09-26 to 1900-11-15

Maine. Kennebunk. *Annals of the Times. 68 issues. 1803-01-13 to 1805-01-03
Maine. Portland. *Independent Statesman. 167 issues. 1821-07-14 to 1825-05-06

Massachusetts. Boston. *American Traveller. 19 issues. 1825-07-26 to 1836-03-25
Massachusetts. Gloucester. *
Gloucester Democrat. 362 issues. 1834-08-19 to 1838-02-16
Massachusetts. Springfield.
Federal Spy. 133 issues. 1800-01-07 to 1805-12-31
Massachusetts. Springfield. *
Hampden Whig. 2 issues. 1831-05-11 to 1836-06-08

Maryland. Baltimore. *Baltimore Bulletin. 93 issues. 1872-04-20 to 1876-09-23

Michigan. Grand Rapids. Grand Rapids Press. 330 issues. 1893-01-19 to 1920-10-25

Mississippi. Columbia. *Columbian Progress. 2008-11-03 to Present

Montana. Great Falls. Montana Herold. 1 issue. 1896-09-03

New Hampshire. Concord. New Hampshire Patriot. 2 issues. 1881-02-24 to 1884-01-10

New Jersey. Trenton. Trenton State Gazette. 293 issues. 1847-01-12 to 1847-12-31

New York. Albany. Albany Evening Journal. 83 issues. 1850-09-19 to 1874-06-10
New York. Catskill. *
Catskill Recorder. 143 issues. 1807-04-07 to 1833-04-18
New York. Goshen. *Goshen Repository. 37 issues. 1797-03-21 to 1798-12-25
New York. New York.
Hodge’s Banknote Reporter. 4 issues. 1861-06-01 to 1861-06-22
New York. New York.
New York Herald. 1,121 issues. 1864-01-28 to 1871-11-04; 1874-10-04 to 1888-01-05
New York. New York.
New York Herald-Tribune. 962 issues. 1856-10-30 to 1879-03-27
New York. Poughkeepsie. *
Country Journal. 136 issues. 1785-12-15 to 1789-07-07

North Carolina. Forest City. *Daily Courier. 2005-01-01 to Present

Ohio. Cincinnati. *Advertiser and Journal. 9 issues. 1819-01-26 to 1827-09-26
Ohio. Cincinnati. *
Cincinnati Daily Gazette. 722 issues. 1835-01-01 to 1845-06-25
Ohio. Warren. *Trump of Fame. 15 issues. 1812-11-05 to 1814-07-27

Rhode Island. Pawtucket. *Valley Breeze. 2009-08-19 to Present

South Carolina. Charleston. City Gazette. 206 issues. 1824-01-01 to 1824-08-31

Texas. Beaumont. Beaumont Enterprise & Journal. 14 issues. 1906-05-30 to 1911-09-01

Utah. Salt Lake City. Salt Lake Tribune. 1 issue. 1881-06-11

Vermont. Newport. *Newport Daily Express. 2008-07-24 to Present
.

Two more newspapers added to GenealogyBank

GenealogyBank adds more newspapers.

Gainesville, Florida
Gainesville Sun, The (Gainesville, FL)
Obituaries: 03/19/1995 – Current
Death Notices: 02/18/1995 – 08/31/2008

Newport, Vermont
Newport Daily Express, The (Newport, VT)
Obituaries: 07/24/2008 – Current
Death Notices: 07/25/2008 – Current

List of Private Claims – 1815-1881 – Online

John and Jane Q. Public have been petitioning Congress for all types of reasons for over 200 years. The reason for each request may vary – but Congress considered every request.

In 1880 the Senate, presided over by William A. Wheeler (1819-1887), authorized the publication of the List of Private Claims – that listed all claims brought before the Senate from 4 March 1815 to 3 March 1881. The list was so long – 2,056 pages – that the Senate published it in two volumes. This list is in GenealogyBank.

(Photo of William A. Williams, Library of Congress, digital ID cwpbh.03976)

The full title describes it: List of private claims brought before the Senate of the United States from the commencement of the Fourteenth Congress to the close of the Forty-sixth Congress. Prepared under the direction of the Secretary of the Senate, pursuant to the orders of the Senate of April 9, 1840; February 27, 1841; February 8, 1849; March 3, 1855; and March 16, 1866; the act of July 20, 1868, making appropriations for sundry civil expenses of the government for the year ending June 30, 1869; and the resolution of the Senate of June 16, 1880. December 21, 1880.

In these typical examples from volume 1, page 931 we see that:

H.W. Jernigan of Georgia had petitioned the Indian Affairs Committee for “Indemnity for Indian deprivations during the Creek War”

Martha Jernigan petitioned “For property stolen by the Indians in the Florida War”

John B. Jerome petitioned “For property destroyed during the War of 1812″

Jerome & McDougal – petitioned for the “Confirmation of land title”

Margaret Jerome petitioned for an “Increase of pension”

James Jewett petitioned to be released from prison.

Some were “passed” as John B. Jerome’s request and others, like James Jewett’s request were rejected.

You may search these volumes on GenealogyBank:

List of Private Claims ….. (1880/1881) – Volume One

List of Private Claims ….. (1880/1881) – Volume Two

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GenealogyBank adds more newspapers – 51 titles – 16 States

GenealogyBank announces that it has added newspaper backfiles for 51 newspapers from 16 States.

This major upgrade brings GenealogyBank to nearly 300 million articles, books and records from over 3,800 newspapers; 260,000 books/documents and other resources. An esitmated One Billion Names.

Click on the following links and start searching!

California
Colton.
Chicano. 1 Issue. 5/10/1973
Los Angeles.
Dos Republicas. 1 Issue. 1892-06-07
Los Angeles.
Heraldo de Mexico. 27 Issues. 8/8/1918 to 11/1/1928
Oakland.
Mundo. 36 Issues. 8/2/1973 to 4/2/1975

Colorado
Trinidad.
Anunciador. 1 Issue. 9/9/1922

DC
Washington, DC.
Daily National Intelligencer. 1,624 Issues. 1822-01-01 to 1884-12-31

Florida
Ybor City.
Diario de Tampa. 6 Issues. 1/6/1909 to 1/30/1909

Georgia
Sparta.
Farmer’s Gazette*. 51 Issues. 1803-06-17 to 1807-08-08

Indiana
Indiana Harbour.
Amigo del Hogar. 2 Issues. 5/29/1927 to 5/27/1928

Louisiana
Donaldsville.
Donaldsonville Chief . 6/11/2008 to Today
New Orleans.
Times Picayune. 528 Issues. 1861-05-01 to 1897-04-10

Maine
Eastport. Eastport Sentinel*. 555 Issues. 1818-08-31 to 1832-08-15

Maryland
Baltimore. Federal Gazette. 1,989 Issues. 1796-02-05 to 1823-11-08 Uniontown. Engine of Liberty & Uniontown Advertiser*. 73 Issues. 1813-10-21 to 1815-04-27

Massachusetts
Gloucester.
Gloucester Telegraph. 1,597 Issues. 1827-01-01 to 1851-12-31
Springfield.
Federal Spy*. 170 Issues. 1794-05-13 to 1804-05-29

Nebraska
Nebraska City.
Nebraska City News-Press. 4/6/2009 to Today

New Mexico
Albuquerque.
Opinion Publica. 1 Issue. 1893-01-21
Las Cruces.
Eco del Valle. 5 Issues. 1/6/1906 to 2/13/1912
Las Cruces.
Estrella. 12 Issues. 6/19/1915 to 2/21/1925
Las Cruces.
Labrador. 12 Issues. 1897-11-21 to 9/1/1911
Las Cruces.
Las Cruces Democrat. 1 Issue. 1892-03-09
Las Cruces.
Mesilla Valley Bulletin. 1 Issue. 4/30/1937
Mountainair.
Independent. 2 Issues. 4/20/1918 to 12/7/1918
Santa Fe.
Daily New Mexican. 30 Issues. 1871-06-21 to 1875-01-30
Santa Fe.
Santa Fe Weekly New Mexican and Livestock Journal. 1 Issue. 1895-12-26
Socorro.
Defensor del Pueblo. 16 Issues. 1925-0-16 to 9/24/1937
Springer.
Colfax County Stockman. 1 Issue. 12/10/1910
Springer.
Estandarte de Springer. 124 Issues. 1890-07-03 to 1893-05-25

New York
Albany.
Albany Evening Journal. 69 Issues. 1854-04-22 to 1874-06-30
Brooklyn.
Espana Libre. 2 Issues. 2/7/1941 to 5/9/1941
New York.
Doctrina de Marti. 30 Issues. 1896-07-25 to 1898-02-15
New York.
Eco de Cuba. 3 Issues. 1855-06-22 to 1855-07-20
New York.
Prensa. 1832 Issues. 7/19/1919 to 12/30/1929
Poughkeepsie.
Dutchess Observer*. 60 Issues. 1816-07-24 to 1821-12-26
Sag Harbor.
Frothingham’s Long Island Herald*. 8 Issues. 1791-07-26 to 1798-03-12

Ohio
Chilliocothe.
Fredonian*. 27 Issues. 1807-02-19 to 1819-06-10

Tennessee
Athens.
Daily Post-Athenian. 3/28/2009 to Today
Newport.
Newport Plain Talk. 7/1/1998 to Today

Texas
Brownsville.
Cronista del Valle. 13 Issues. 2/21/1925 to 8/9/1927
Brownsville.
Heraldo de Brownsville. 18 Issues. 7/21/1937 to 2/20/1940
Brownsville.
Progreso. 1 Issue. 1876-05-07
Brownsville.
Puerto. 1 Issue. 9/27/1958
Corpus Christi.
Nueces County News. 1 Issue. 11/17/1938
El Paso.
Atalaya Bautista: Semanario Evangelico Bautista. 8 Issues. 11/3/1910 to 1/21/1929
El Paso.
Continental. 3 Issues. 10/17/1937 to 8/19/1938
El Paso.
Monitor. 1 Issue. 1897-07-03
Kingsville.
Notas de Kingsville. 2 Issues. 8/2/1951 to 11/11/1954
Laredo.
Correo de Laredo. 2 Issues. 1892-02-11 to 1892-05-26
San Antonio.
Bejareno. 2 Issues. 1855-08-18 to 1856-04-19
San Antonio.
Prensa. 662 Issues. 2/13/1913 to 9/15/1916

* New titles are marked with the *

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Using the Congressional Serial Set for Genealogical Research

Using the Congressional Serial Set for Genealogical Research
By Jeffery Hartley


(This article appeared in the Spring 2009 issue of Prologue. It has been excerpted and reprinted here with the permission of the author.

The Historical Documents section in GenealogyBank includes over 243,000 reports from the US Serial Set and the American State Papers).


Click here to search the American State Papers and US Congressional Serial Set in GenealogyBank.com

Genealogists use whatever sources are available to them in pursuit of their family history: diaries, family Bibles, census records, passenger arrival records, and other federal records. One set of materials that is often overlooked, however, is the Congressional Serial Set.

This large multivolume resource contains various congressional reports and documents from the beginning of the federal government, and its coverage is wide and varied. Women, African Americans, Native Americans, students, soldiers and sailors, pensioners, landowners, and inventors are all represented in some fashion. While a beginning genealogist would not use the Serial Set to begin a family history, it nevertheless can serve as a valuable tool and resource for someone helping to flesh out an ancestors life, especially where it coincided with the interests of the U.S. federal government.

Since its inception, the U.S. government has gathered information, held hearings, compiled reports, and published those findings in literally millions of pages, the majority of which have been published by the Government Printing Office (GPO).

These publications include annual reports of the various executive branch agencies, congressional hearings and documents, registers of employees, and telephone directories. Their topics cover a wide range, from the Ku Klux Klan to child labor practices to immigration to western exploration.

In 1817, the Serial Set was begun with the intent of being the official, collective, definitive publication documenting the activities of the federal government. Following the destruction of the Capitol in 1814 by the British, Congress became interested in publishing their records to make them more accessible and less vulnerable to loss.

In the early Federal period, printing of congressional documents had been haphazard, and the Serial Set was an effort designed to rectify that situation. Although initially there were no regulations concerning what should be included, several laws and regulations were promulgated over the years. The contents, therefore, vary depending on the year in question.

In 1831, 14 years after the Serial Set was begun, the printers Gales & Seaton proposed that a compilation of the documents from the first Congresses be printed. The secretary of the Senate and the clerk of the House were to direct the selection of those documents, 6,278 of which were published in 38 volumes between 1832 and 1861. This collection was known as the American State Papers.

Because it was a retrospective effort, these 38 volumes were arranged chronologically within 10 subject areas: Foreign Relations, Indian Affairs, Finance, Commerce & Navigation, Military Affairs, Naval Affairs, Post Office, Public Lands, Claims, and Miscellaneous.

Although not technically a part of the Serial Set, the volumes were certainly related, and therefore the volumes were designated with a leading zero so that these volumes would be shelved properly, i.e. before the volumes of the Serial Set. (1)

The Congressional Serial Set itself includes six distinct series: House and Senate journals (until 1953), House and Senate reports, House and Senate documents, Senate treaty documents, Senate executive reports, and miscellaneous reports. The journals provide information about the daily activities of each chamber. The House and Senate reports relate to public and private legislation under consideration during each session.

Documents generally relate to other investigations or subjects that have come to the attention of Congress. Nominations for office and military promotion appear in the Senate Executive Reports. Miscellaneous reports are just that­widely varied in subject matter and content. With the possible exception of the treaty documents, any of these can have some relevance for genealogists.

The documents and reports in the Serial Set are numbered sequentially within each Congress, no matter what their subject or origin. The documents were then collected into volumes, which were then given a sequential number within the Serial Set. The set currently stands at over 15,000 volumes, accounting for more than 325,000 individual documents and 11 million pages.

The Serial Set amounts to an incredible amount of documentation for the 19th century. Agency annual reports, reports on surveys and military expeditions, statistics and other investigations all appear and thoroughly document the activities of the federal government.

In 1907, however, the Public Printing and Binding Act provided guidelines for what should be included, resulting in many of these types of reports no longer being included as they were also issued separately by the individual agencies. The number of copies was also trimmed. With that stroke, the value of the Serial Set was lessened, but it nevertheless stands as a valuable genealogical resource for the 19th century.

So what is available for genealogists? The following examples are just some of the types of reports and information that are available.

Land Records
The Serial Set contains much information concerning land claims. These claims relate to bounty for service to the government as well as to contested lands once under the jurisdiction of another nation.

In House Report 78 (21-2), there is a report entitled “Archibald Jackson.” This report, from the House Committee on Private Land Claims, in 1831, relates to Jackson’s claim for the land due to James Gammons. Gammons, a soldier in the 11th U.S. Infantry, died on February 19, 1813, “in service of the United States.” The act under which he enlisted provided for an extra three month’s pay and 160 acres of land to those who died while in service to the United States. However, Gammons was a slave, owned by Archibald Jackson, who apparently never overtly consented to the enlistment but allowed it to continue. That Gammons was eligible for the extra pay and bounty land was not in dispute, but the recipient of that bounty was. Jackson had already collected the back pay in 1823 and was petitioning for the land as well. The report provides a decision in favor of Jackson, as he was the legal representative of Gammons, and as such entitled to all of his property. (2)

Land as bounty was one issue, and another was claims for newly annexed land as the country spread west. In 1838, the House of Representatives published a report related to Senate Bill 89 concerning the lands acquired through the treaty with Spain in 1819 that ceded East and West Florida to the United States. Claims to land between the Mississippi and the Perdido Rivers, however, were not a part of that treaty and had been unresolved since the Louisiana Purchase, which had taken the Perdido River as one of its limits. The report provides a background on the claims as well as lists of the claimants, the names of original claimants, the date and nature of the claim, and the amount of the land involved. (3)

Other land claims are represented as well. In 1820, the Senate ordered a report to be printed from the General Land Office containing reports of the land commissioners at Jackson Court House. These lands are located in Louisiana and include information that would help a genealogist locate their ancestor in this area. Included in this report is a table entitled “A List of Actual Settlers, in the District East of Pearl River, in Louisiana, prior to the 3d March, 1819, who have no claims derived from either the French, British, or Spanish, Governments.” The information is varied, but a typical entry reads: No. 14, present claimant George B. Dameson, original claimant Mde. Neait Pacquet, originally settled 1779, located above White’s Point, Pascag. River, for about 6 years. (4)

Annual Reports
Among the reports in the Serial Set for the 19th century are the annual reports to Congress from the various executive branch agencies. Congress had funded the activities of these organizations and required that each provide a report concerning their annual activities. Many of these are printed in the Serial Set, often twice: the same content with both a House and a Senate document number. Annual reports in the 19th century were very different from the public relations pieces that they tend to be today.

Besides providing information about the organization and its activities, many included research reports and other (almost academic) papers. In the annual reports of the Bureau of Ethnology, for instance, one can find dictionaries of Native American languages, reports on artifacts, and in one case, even a genealogy for the descendants of a chief. (5)

These reports can often serendipitously include information of interest to the family historian. For instance, the annual report of the solicitor of the Treasury would not necessarily be a place to expect to find family information. The 1844 report, however, does have some information that could be useful. For instance, pages 36 and 37 of this report contains a “tabular list of suits now pending in the courts of the United States, in which the government is a part and interested.”

Many on the opposite side of the case were individuals. An example is the case of Roswell Lee, late a lieutenant in the U.S. Army, against whom there has been a judgment for over $5,000 in 1838. Lee was sued in a court in Massachusetts and in 1844 still owed over $4,000. In a letter dated May 5, 1840, the district attorney informed the office (6)
that Mr. Lee is not now a resident of the district of Massachusetts, and that whether he ever returns is quite uncertain; that nothing, however, will be lost by his absence, as the United States have now a judgment against him, which probably will forever remain unsatisfied.

Another set of annual reports that appear in the Serial Set are those for the Patent Office. The annual reports of the commissioner of patents often include an index to the patents that were granted that year, arranged by subject and containing the names of the invention and the patentee and the patent number. The report included a further description of the patent, and often a diagram of it as well. Each year’s report also included an index by patentee.

Unfortunately, the numbers of patents granted in later years, as well as their complexity, led to more limited information being included in later reports. The 1910 report, for instance, simply contains an alphabetical list of inventions, with the entries listing the patentee, number, date, and where additional information can be found in the Official Patent Office Gazette. (7)

The Civil War gave rise to a number of medical enhancements and innovations in battlefield medicine, and the annual report for 1865, published in 1867, contains a reminder of that in the patent awarded to G. B. Jewett, of Salem, Massachusetts, for “Legs, artificial.” Patent 51,593 was granted December 19, 1865, and the description of the patent on page 990 provides information on the several improvements that Jewett had developed. The patent diagram on page 760 illustrated the text. (8)

This annual report relates to a report from May 1866, also published in the Serial Set that same session of Congress, entitled “Artificial Limbs Furnished to Soldiers.” This report, dated May 1866, came from the secretary of war in response to a congressional inquiry concerning artificial limbs furnished to soldiers at the government’s expense. Within its 128 pages are a short list of the manufacturers of these limbs, including several owned by members of the Jewett family in Salem, Massachusetts, New York, and Washington, D.C., as well as an alphabetical list of soldiers, detailing their rank, regiment and state, residence, limb, cost, date, and manufacturer. Constantine Elsner, a private in B Company of the 20th Massachusetts living in Boston, received a leg made by G. B. Jewett at a cost of $75 on April 8, 1865. 9 This may have been an older version of the one that Jewett would have patented later in the year, or it may have been an early model of that one. Either way, a researcher would have some idea not only of what Elsner’s military career was like, but also some sense of what elements of life for him would be like after the war.

Congress also was interested in the activities of organizations that were granted congressional charters. Many of the charters included the requirement that an annual report be supplied to Congress, and these were then ordered to be printed in the Serial Set.

One such organization is the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). As one would expect, the DAR annual reports contain a great deal of genealogical and family history information. The 18th annual report is no exception. Among other things, it includes, in appendix A, a list of the graves of almost 3,000 Revolutionary War soldiers. The list includes not just a name and location, but other narrative information as well:
Abston, John. Born Jan. 2, 1757; died 1856. Son of Joshua Abston, captain of Virginia militia; served two years in War of the American Revolution. Enlisted from Pittsylvania County, Va.; was in Capt. John Ellis’ company under Col. Washington. The evening before the battle of Kings Mountain, Col. Washington, who was in command of the starving Americans at this point, sent soldiers out to forage for food. At a late hour a steer was driven into camp, killed, and made into a stew. The almost famished soldiers ate the stew, without bread, and slept the sleep of the just. Much strengthened by their repast and rest, the next morning they made the gallant charge that won the battle of Kings Mountain, one of the decisive battles of the American Revolution. Washington found one of the steer’s horns and gave it to Abston, a personal friend, who carried it as a powder horn the rest of the war. (10)

Another organization whose annual reports appear is the Columbia Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, which later became Gallaudet University. These reports, found in the annual reports of the secretary of the interior, contain much of what one would expect: lists of faculty and students, enrollment statistics, and other narrative. While that information can help to provide information about one’s ancestor’s time there, there are other parts of the narrative that include information one would not expect to find.

For instance, the 10th annual report for 1867 has a section entitled “The Health of the Institution.” It concerns not the fiscal viability of the institution but rather the occurrences of illness and other calamities. One student from Maryland, John A. Unglebower, was seized with gastric fever and died: “He was a boy of exemplary character, whose early death is mourned by all who knew him.” Two other students drowned that year, and the circumstances of their deaths recounted, with the hope that “they were not unprepared to meet the sudden and unexpected summons.” (11) Both the faculty and the student body contributed their memorials to these two students in the report.

Other organizations represented in the Serial Set are the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America, Veterans of World War I of the United States, proceedings of the National Encampment, United Spanish War Veterans, the American Historical Association, and the National Convention of Disabled American Veterans.

Lists of Pensioners
The history of pensions provided by the federal government is beyond the scope of this article. However, the Serial Set is a source of information about who was on the rolls at various times. For instance, an 1818 letter from the secretary of war was published containing a list of the persons who had been added to the pension list since May 28, 1813. The list provides information on the likes of Susanna Coyle, certificate of pension no. 9, heiress of deceased soldier William Coyle, alias Coil, a private who received pay of four dollars per month. (12)

Sundry lists of pensions appeared in 1850, related to the regulation of Navy, privateer, and Navy hospital funds. The report included four lists: those placed in the invalid list who were injured while in the line of duty; those drawing pensions from wounds received while serving on private armed vessels; widows drawing pensions from their husbands who were engineers, firemen, and coal-heavers; and orphan children of officers, seamen, and marines pensioned under the act of August 11, 1848. (13)

One of the most widely consulted lists is that for 1883, “List of Pensioners on the Roll, January 1, 1883” (Senate Executive Document 84 [47-2]). This five-volume title, arranged by state and then county of residence, provides a list of each pensioner’s name, his post office, the monthly amount received, the date of the original allowance, the reason for the pension, and the certificate number.

An example is the case of Eli G. Biddle, who served in the 54th Massachusetts. Biddle can be found on page 439 of volume 5 of the “List,” and a researcher can learn several things without even having seen his pension file: his middle name is George, he was living in Boston in 1883, and he was receiving four dollars each month after having suffered a gunshot wound in the right shoulder. His pension certificate number is also provided 99,053­ and with that one could easily order the appropriate records from the National Archives.

Registers
The Serial Set serves as a source of military registers and other lists of government personnel as well. Both Army and Navy registers appear after 1896. The Army registers for 1848–1860 and the Navy registers for 1848–1863 are transcripts of the lists that appeared the preceding January and include pay and allowances, with corrections to that earlier edition for deaths and resignations.

The Official Register, or “Blue Book,” a biannual register of the employees of the federal government, appears for 10 years, from 1883 to 1893. If one’s ancestors were employees at this time, their current location and position, place from which they were appointed, date of appointment, and annual compensation can be gleaned from this source.

The Serial Set often provides unexpected finds, and the area of registers is no exception. There is a great deal of material on the Civil War, from the 130 volumes of the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion to other investigations and the aforementioned registers and lists of pensions. There are not, however, large amounts of compiled unit histories.

One exception, however, is the report from the adjutant general of Arkansas. Shortly after the Civil War, the adjutant general offices of the various Union states prepared reports detailing the activities of the men from their states. The same was done in Arkansas, but the state legislature there, “under disloyal control,” declined to publish the report. Senator Henry Wilson of Massachusetts, chairman of the Senate Committee on Military Affairs, brought it to the committee in 1867, and it was ordered to be printed in the Serial Set so that the loyal activities of these 10,000 men would be recognized. (14) The report includes brief histories of each unit as well as a roster of the unit and rank, enlistment date, and other notes on each soldier.

Accessing Information in the Serial Set
The indexing for the Serial Set has long been troublesome to researchers. Various attempts have been made to provide subject access, with varying degrees of success. Many of the indexes in the volumes themselves are primarily title indexes to the reports from that Congress and session. The Checklist of United States Public Documents, 1789–1909, does provide information about what reports listed therein do appear in the Serial Set, but the researcher has to know the name of the issuing agency in order to access that information. The Document Index provides some subject indexing by Congress, and other efforts such as those by John Ames and Benjamin Poore can also be used, but none index the tables and contents of many of the reports that have been discussed in this article. (15)

The best comprehensive print index is the Congressional Information Service’s (CIS) U.S. Serial Set Index, produced in conjunction with their microfilming of the volumes through 1969 beginning in the mid-1970s. In this index, a two-volume subject index covers groups of Congresses, with a third volume providing an index to individual names for relief actions, as well as a complete numerical list in each report/document category. The index, however, does not index the contents of the documents. For instance, although the title given for the Archibald Jackson land claim includes James Gammons’s name, the latter does not appear in the index to private relief actions. In addition, users must often be creative in the terms applied in order to be sure that they have exhausted all possibilities. In the mid-1990s CIS released these indexes on CD-ROM, which makes them somewhat easier to use, although the contents are essentially the same.

The indexing problems have been rectified by the digitization of the Serial Set. At least two private companies, LexisNexis and Readex, have digitized it and made it full-text searchable.

[The Serial Set and American State Papers are available in GenealogyBank. Click here to search them online]

This article can only hint at some of the genealogical possibilities that can be found in the Congressional Serial Set. It has not touched on the land survey, railroad, western exploration, or lighthouse keeper’s reports or many of the private relief petitions and claims. Nonetheless, the reports and documents in the Serial Set provide a tremendous and varied amount of information for researchers interested in family history.

Author
Jeffery Hartley is chief librarian for the Archives Library Information Center (ALIC). A graduate of Dickinson College and the University of Maryland’s College of Library and Information Services, he joined the National Archives and Records Administration in 1990.

Notes
1 For a more complete description of the American State Papers, and their genealogical relevance, see Chris Naylor, “Those Elusive Early Americans: Public Lands and Claims in the American State Papers, 1789–1837,” Prologue: Quarterly of the National Archives and Records Administration 37 (Summer 2005): 54–61.
2 H. Rept. 78 (21-2), 1831, “Archibald Jackson” (Serial 210).
3 H. Rept. 818 (25-2), 1838, “Land Claims between Perdido and Mississippi” Serial 335.
4 S. Doc. 3 (16-2), 1820, “Reports of the Land Commissioners at Jackson Court House” (Serial 42).
5 H. Misc. Doc. 32 (48-2), 1882, “3rd Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology” (Serial 2317).
6 H. Doc. 35 (28-1), 1844, “Annual Report of Solicitor of the Treasury” (Serial 441), p. 37. 7 H. Doc. 1348 (61-3), 1911, “Annual Report of the Commissioner of Patents for the Year 1910″ (Serial 6020).
8 H. Exec. Doc. 62 (39-1), 1867, “Annual Report of the Commissioner of Patents for the Year 1865″ (Serial 1257-1259).
9 H. Exec. Doc. 108 (39-1), 1866, “Artificial Limbs Furnished to Soldiers” (Serial 1263).
10 S. Doc. 392 (64-1), 1916, “Eighteenth Report of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, October 11, 1914, to October 11, 1915″ (Serial 6924), p.155. 11 H. Exec. Doc. 1 (40-2), “Tenth Annual Report of the Columbia Institution for the Deaf and Dumb” (Serial 1326), pp. 429–430.
12 H. Doc. 35 (15-1), 1818 (Serial 6), p. 17.
13 See H. Ex. Doc. 10 (31-2), 1850, “Sundry Lists of Pensioners” (Serial 597).
14 See S. Misc. Doc 53 (39-2), 1867, “Report of the Adjutant General for the State of Arkansas, for the Period of the Late Rebellion, and to November 1, 1866″ (Serial 1278).
15 A good discussion of how some of these indexes work can be found in Mary Lardgaard, “Beginner’s Guide to Indexes to the Nineteenth Century U.S. Serial Set,” Government Publications Review 2 (1975): 303–311.