I can’t find my ancestor – what am I doing wrong?

For most searches on GenealogyBank it is easy to find your ancestor. You type in their name and in an instant you spot them in the search results list.

So - what do you do when your ancestor’s name doesn’t come right up in the search hits?
Just like any other genealogical resource you need to step back and see what your options are and try various ways to search on the site.

Consider your search strategy.
1. Sometimes less is more.
Be careful how you type in your ancestor’s name.
His full name might have been: Willard Jacob Teskey …. but the newspaper article may have simply called him:

Willard Teskey
Willard J. Teskey
W.J. Teskey
Bill Teskey
or only: Teskey

Try typing in variations of the person’s name.
I have found that typing in only the surname can quickly get you the best results.

Tip: You almost never want to type in a person’s “middle” name. Newspapers rarely use a person’s full name.

Be Careful How You Limit Your Search
It is tempting to limit your search to only one state or even to one newspaper. That can often be the most appropriate search strategy. However, if your searches did not locate the obituary or article about your ancestor – try your search again and this time do not limit your search geographically.

If that produces too many hits – then repeat your search and limit it by the likely starting and ending years when your ancestor. Be sure add a few years in both directions so you will bring up the most possible hits.

Tip: Newspapers often published brief biographies and articles years after a person died. So be careful how you limit your search or you might miss the articles you are looking for.

GenealogyBank brings together newspapers, books, reports and documents from over 300 years. During that time printers had access to varying qualities of newsprint; pieces of type and printing presses.

1. Newspapers have been printed on newsprint paper of varying quality. Some are smooth and some pages are rough.

2. Printers had only so many pieces of type and the newspaper had a deadline. It would be easy when they set the type for the day’s newspaper to swap in an “m” for a “w” or switch a “d” and a “p” or a “1″ and a “l”. The reader in 1843 would hardly notice the difference. But a modern computer might struggle to interpret each word if the piece of type was a different letter or had been damaged.

Let me give you a similar example that has circulated on the Internet for years:

Cna yuo raed tihs?
i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotui t a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

This is an extreme example that shows the problems that computers have reading the old newspapers and documents. Individuals reading an old newspaper quickly adjust to the look, feel of the newspaper and learn how to read it. GenealogyBank has been working on these issues for years and improved and enhanced our OCR capability.

GenealogyBank uses state of the art OCR software and we have teams of indexers that review and tag each item – focusing on names, obituaries, births, marriages and other data of high importance to genealogists.

3. Still can’t find your ancestor? Then, its time to dig in and search the target newspapers, page by page. GenealogyBank makes it easy to bookmark a specific newspaper, combination of newspapers or locations. You could then go through the newspapers – month by month – clicking from page to page to quicly see if your ancestors were mentioned.

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Genealogy – Growing Even More Popular

“In ever increasing numbers … genealogists becoming more numerous … in every part of the country.”

“Almost every large city has its own genealogical society.”

That sounds like an article from today’s newspaper – but it was written in 1912.

(Read the complete article – 16 Dec 1912 San Jose Mercury News).

But it is as true now as it was nearly 100 years ago when this article was written.

There are more genealogists now than every before.

Genealogists today as then are using the tools and data available to “do accurate and truthful genealogical research.”

Genealogists then and now are working at two goals:

1. To accurately research, document and record the information on their extended family tree.

2. To preserve, disseminate and pass down that information to the rising generation.

Discover your heritage, preserve it and pass it on!

Be a part of GenealogyBankSign up Now.

Find and document your ancestors in GenealogyBank – the best source for old newspapers & documents on the planet.

Period!

Revolutionary War Graves List

Get the most out of GenealogyBank!

The annual reports of the DAR – Daughters of the American Revolution are in GenealogyBank. They were published annually as part of the US Serial Set.
I didn’t know that was in GenealogyBank!

One of the important contributions that the DAR has made over the past 119 years is their effort to locate and document the grave of every soldier that served in the American Revolution.

Each year the DAR published the details of the soldier’s graves that they had located the previous year.

It’s a terrific resource for genealogists.

Discover your heritage, preserve it and pass it on!

Be a part of GenealogyBankSign up Now.

Find and document your ancestors in GenealogyBank – the best source for old newspapers & documents on the planet.

Period!

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Deaths at the US Soldiers’ Home – Washington, DC 1898-1899

Get the most out of GenealogyBank!

GenealogyBank has more than 250,000 historical documents and reports – like the Annual Reports of the War Department.

The War Department, like all US Government Agencies issues an annual report that includes the report of each of its component departments.

The 1899 report of the Secretary of War is 708 pages long – and it is packed with information for genealogists. (See: Date: 1899-12-04; Publication: Serial Set Vol. No. 3899, Session Vol. No.2; Report: H.Doc. 2 pt. 1)

For example – on pages 490-491 in the Annual Report of the Attending Surgeon of the US Soldiers’ Home in Washington, DC is a list of the old soldiers that died at the Home in 1898-1899.

Discover your heritage, preserve it and pass it on!

Be a part of GenealogyBankSign up Now.

Find and document your ancestors in GenealogyBank – the best source for old newspapers & documents on the planet.

Period!
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A, E, I, O, U and sometimes Y

I am often asked: Do you have Canadian newspapers in GenealogyBank?

Well, no we don’t – but that’s not the question you want to ask. GenealogyBank has over 3,800 newspapers – all of them published in the United States – but it has several million articles, records and documents on Canadians.

Tip: I have been researching my family tree for 45 years and I can tell you that you’ll find the information on your family where you least expect to find it.

Here’s a wedding announcement for Alexander James Ross of Winnipeg, Manitoba and Mary Moore McArthur of Picton, Nova Scotia – they were married in Chicago 6 March 1882. (Inter Ocean 14 March 1882).

Newspapers were published – every day.
And every day editors had to fill the next day’s paper & they wanted to sell papers.

So they pulled “news” from a wide circle of influence. Birth announcements, marriage announcements, and obituaries from small town and big city newspapers.

Just like CNN or Fox News – the daily newspapers had to fill their pages with hard news. News that people wanted to read and that would sell subscriptions.

If you are researching Canadian genealogy then
GenealogyBank is an essential online tool.

Eastport, Maine is a small town on the Maine coast right on the border with New Brunswick, Canada.

As you would expect the Eastport Sentinnel regularly carried birth, death and marriage announcements for individuals and families from the Canadian side of the border.

Look at this example of marriage notices published in the
29 March 1828 Eastport (ME) Sentinnel. Look at the places mentioned “Lubec” – “Dennysville” – “St. Andrews” – “Antigua” – “St. Stephens” and “Charlotte”. Towns on both sides of the border. “Antigua” refers to the island nation of Antigua.

Nothing unusual here – just a typical day with a newspaper editor packing his paper with the information his readers wanted to read.

Just like GenealogyBank – everyday we pack in more resources that genealogists need and rely on. You’re not finished with your research until you’ve searched the newspapers in GenealogyBank.
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Genealogists who make a difference: Doris Cozart

Genealogists who make a difference


Doris Cozart, of Chillicothe, Texas has spent the past 40 years in genealogy – as a publisher, author and researcher. Active in multiple genealogical societies she is quick to help others find the information they are looking for.

Times Record News (Wichita Falls, TX – 21 June 2009).

She has now taken helping other genealogists to the next level.
She has opened a library and is making her extensive collection available to the public.

Hat’s off to Doris Cozart – a genealogist who is making a difference!


William Montgomery Clemens (1860-1931)

Genealogists who made a difference

William Montgomery Clemens (1860-1931)
was a prolific genealogist and writer. Nephew to the more famous Samuel Clemens (1835-1910) – he was also a newspaper man and author. William M. Clemens started writing for the Pittsburgh Leader in 1879 and continued his research & writing for more than five decades.

(Illus. Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain – 2nd from right).

(Click here to see original Obituary – Trenton Evening Times 25 Nov. 1931)


A prolific writer, he was the author of well over 100 books and hundreds of essays and newspaper articles.


His regular column – “Notes on American Ancestry and Revolutionary Records” regularly appeared as the “Genealogical Department” in the Columbia, SC newspaper – the State.


Click Here to search all of the back issues of the State (Columbia, SC) newspaper 1891-1922

Over 80 of Clemens’ genealogy columns appeared in the Star.

Each one has genealogical details & information for families from across the country.

He regularly received questions from his readers and posted them to this column.

GenealogyBank has added a new feature – Ask the Genealogist!

Have a question about GenealogyBank or hit a brick wall with your family history research? Write us and let us know.

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Tremendous Battle on Lake Ontario – War of 1812 – Team Looking for Wreck of HMS Wolfe

This month a Canadian dive team is expected to search the water near Kingston, Ontario for the wreck of the HMS Wolfe, later renamed the HMS Montreal.

Launched 5 May 1813 the HMS Wolfe was the flagship of the British fleet on Lake Ontario during the War of 1812. The ship was badly damaged by the USS General Pike under the command of US Commodore Isaac Chauncey on 28 August 1813.

The ship escaped and was repaired but did not return as the flagship for the British fleet. Years later the ship sunk off of Kingston, Ontario.
You can read the accounts of the battle as they were reported in the newspapers of the day in GenealogyBank.

(Tremendous Battle on Lake Ontario – Universal Gazette (Washington, DC) 8 Oct 1813). Click on the link above or the image (left) to read the article.

GenealogyBank has more than 3,800 newspapers, covering 1690 to today. It is the source that genealogists rely on to document the lives of their ancestors.

Read the news as it happened.

Subscribe to GenealogyBank today.

Click Here.

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Passenger Lists

GenealogyBank is growing – it now has nearly 300 million items.
This morning I found this passenger list – published as a souvenir handbill that was likely given to the passengers on the steamship Silesia when it left on Tuesday November 30, 1869 bound for Plymouth, Cherbourg, London and Hamburg.

In addition to the 3,800 newspapers – GenealogyBank has over 255,000 digital books, documents and early printed items – like this one page passenger list from 1869. It’s amazing what you’ll find in GenealogyBank.

On close inspection of the newspapers I also found these articles giving more details of the passengers, the progress of the ship to the various ports of Europe and even this interesting article about the value of the gold bars that the ship was carrying.

Brief article in a Cincinnati newspaper about local residents who were passengers on the Silesia.
(Cincinnati Commerican Tribune – 5 Dec 1869)
Notice of the gold bars carried as cargo on that voyage.
(Philadelphia Inquirer – 6 Dec 1869).

Silesia arrives at the port of Le Havre, France. (Cincinnati Commercial Tribune – 11 Dec 1869).

GenealogyBank is a core tool for genealogists – packed with the practical information you’ll rely on for documenting your ancestor’s lives. Subscribe now.
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Two timer names

Tip: “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” – but newspapers very often have the same or similar names.

Be sure to carefully document your sources so that your descendants and other genealogists will know which “Daily Globe” newspaper that article came from.


There were two “Daily Globe” newspapers published in the US. One in San Francisco and the other in Washington, DC.

GenealogyBank has both of them.
Search for a specific article – or – browse through the entire paper, page by page.