Hurricane Preparedness: Protect Your Family – & Your Genealogy Records

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

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

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

This year’s hurricane season will be no different.

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

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

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

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

Genealogy Tip:

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

Related Articles:


3 Genealogy Tips for Family History Month

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Searching the Archives for Rufus, I Found Little Eugenie

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

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

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

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

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


Genealogy Search Tip:

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

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

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

OK. That search returned 24 record results.

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

Let’s see what they tell us.

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

Business Troubles

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

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

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

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

Enter Last Name

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

Obituary for Rufus Kemp

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

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

OK. This is also our target Rufus Kemp.

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

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

Business Ad

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

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

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

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

Marriage Announcement

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

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

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

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

Obituary of Rufus’s Daughter

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

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

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

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

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

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

Genealogy Tip:

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

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

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

Related Search Tip Articles:

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How to Find Your Ancestors’ Name Abbreviations & More

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

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

Ancestor Name Abbreviations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Resources for Finding Name Abbreviations

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

More Abbreviations for Words & Terms

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

Ancestor Name Hyphenations

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

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

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

Customs & Common Expressions

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

Enter Last Name

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newspaper Scanning Issues

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

  • Dates
  • Locations
  • Types of Events

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

marriage announcements, Richmond Whig newspaper article 19 January 1841

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

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

Related Name Search Articles:

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Civil War Nurse Mary Maxwell Featured in OGSQ

I received the latest copy of the Ohio Genealogical Society Quarterly (OGSQ) in the mail this week and was interested in the cover story about “Mary Francis (Stokes) Huddleston Maxwell, Civil War Nurse.”

photo of the cover of the Ohio Genealogical Society Quarterly magazine

Source: Ohio Genealogical Society Quarterly

The article was written by Laurel Sheppard, the Assistant Editor of the OGSQ – who was assisted by Barbara Hart, Susan Lee and Daniel Reigel.

OK – I wondered if GenealogyBank had any articles about Mary Francis (Stokes) Maxwell (1835-1924).

I quickly found her obituary in the Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio).
Lots of good data here.

obituary for Mary Maxwell, Plain Dealer newspaper article 13 January 1924

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 13 January 1924, page 7

Mary’s obituary reports that she died “last night” – on 12 January 1924.
She died at the home of her daughter in Lakewood, Ohio, on Bonnieview Avenue.

A quick search of Google Street View pulls up how that home looks today.

photo of a house in Lakewood, Ohio

Source: Google Street View

Mary’s obituary tells us that she enlisted in the Civil War in 1861 and was stationed at the Civil War-era U.S. Army hospital in Keokuk, Iowa.

Click to Read: Kennedy, Gerald. U.S. Army Hospital: Keokuk, 1862-1865.” Annals of Iowa (Fall 1969), Vol. 40, No. 2, pages 118-136.

Search 1:

Search 2:

Her obituary also reports:

  • She was receiving a pension
  • She lived in Ashland, Ohio
  • She moved from Ashland to Lakewood, Ohio, to live with her daughter in 1910
  • She was buried in Ashland, Ohio, on 14 January 1924

There are hundreds of millions of obituaries in GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives – come find your ancestor’s today!

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

If you are interested in Ohio genealogy research, then a membership in the Ohio Genealogical Society is essential. Do it!

Related Civil War Articles:

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How to Research Hispanic Ancestors When You Don’t Speak Spanish

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” Has National Hispanic Heritage Month inspired you to research your Hispanic ancestors – yet you’re not sure how to go about it because you don’t speak Spanish? In this blog article, Gena gives practical tips and describes online resources to help you overcome this family history challenge.

What are your favorite genealogy projects to work on? Mine typically involve English-language records. Let’s face it, when you only speak/read/write English those are the genealogy records that you feel most comfortable using.

So what happens when you have to research outside of your comfort zone – such as researching Hispanic ancestors when you don’t know how to speak or read the Spanish language? Well, for one thing: it’s time to start planning your Hispanic ancestor research.

A basic genealogy tip is to start with yourself and work back through each generation. In this case, after you do that, focus on your immigrant ancestors and exhaust records in the United States, then work on records found in their homeland.

Enter Last Name

Here are three other tips to keep in mind.

1) Start your timeline. I’ve written about timelines on the GenealogyBank blog before (see: Genealogy Timelines: Helpful Research Tools), and it’s worth taking the time to re-read that article. Organize what you know about your Hispanic ancestors with a timeline, and then study it for gaps in information. Ask yourself what events you should be searching for, such as births, marriages, and deaths. Consider historical events that may have affected your ancestors on a personal level and would have resulted in records. For example: military service during a war. As you study your timeline, what events impacted your family?

You can learn more about historical events in your ancestors’ homeland by consulting online history timelines. And very important: don’t neglect to read online historical newspapers, such as those in GenealogyBank’s Hispanic American Newspapers.

a Spanish-language article about the "Familia Ochoa," Heraldo de Mexico newspaper article 12 September 1928

Heraldo de Mexico (Los Angeles, California), 12 September 1928, page 6

These Spanish-language newspapers were published in the United States, but they also report on events in other countries and can be a valuable resource for better understanding a historical era. These historical Hispanic American newspapers covered events important to the community they served, and provided a perspective not found in the larger city newspapers. GenealogyBank’s Hispanic American Newspapers collection includes newspapers from the early 19th century.

2) Read Spanish-language newspapers. It may seem strange to suggest reading Spanish-language newspapers when you don’t know how to read Spanish. Don’t let Spanish-language newspapers intimidate you. I don’t read Spanish either, but with today’s online tools it’s never been easier to “read” a foreign language.

It’s helpful to become familiar with genealogically-relevant words in the new language you’re trying to understand. What’s genealogically-relevant mean? It depends on what you’re researching, but some words to begin with include those for birth, marriage, baptism, death, and familial relationships. Combining a name and a Spanish-language keyword in the search box will help you narrow down results when researching a common name. Consult the Spanish Genealogical Word List on the FamilySearch Wiki for words to become familiar with. I would also recommend investing in a Spanish-English dictionary for quick lookups. These two tools will assist you as you research Spanish-language documents.

For example, here’s a search for Perez birth records in GenealogyBank.

screenshot of GenealogyBank's search box showing a search for the keywords "Perez" and "nacimiento"

One of my favorite resources for Spanish-to-English language translations is the website Google Translate. While not a perfect language translation tool, it can help you better understand what you are reading. You can use the Google Translate website on your computer or on the go with the Google Translate app. The translation app allows you to speak, scan, type or draw text. The app will even translate text from a photo. Translations can be saved in an online Phrasebook for future reference. Consult the web page for Google Translate Help for information on using these features.

3) Learn more. Perhaps you aren’t just researching your Hispanic ancestors’ vital statistics, but instead verifying a family story. In my family, one story involves being forcibly chased out of Mexico by Pancho Villa. You might have a similar story that you want to verify.

Huerta Plans Ruin of North Mexico as Check to Villa, Fort Worth Star-Telegram newspaper article 21 December 1913

Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Fort Worth, Texas), 21 December 1913, page 1

Good family history research is searching for records, but also learning more about a place in time so that you can find additional documents that you need. Use books and periodicals to learn more about an area and the events your Hispanic ancestors were a part of. Search on the event and read newspapers published throughout the United States archived on GenealogyBank. Join societies like the Genealogical Society of Hispanic America to learn more about research and to benefit from their publications, meetings, and conferences. Genealogy research is so much more than just doing look-ups for dates and places; it takes time to immerse yourself in the material that will help you document your ancestors’ lives.

Researching Hispanic ancestors and you don’t know how to speak or read Spanish? No problem! Take some time to formulate a genealogy research plan and learn more about what you should be researching – and you will be on your way to adding more information to your family tree!

Related Hispanic American Genealogy Articles & Resources:

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Court Records in Newspapers: A Gold Mine for Genealogy Research

Introduction: Duncan Kuehn is a professional genealogist with over nine years of client experience. She has worked on several well-known projects, such as “Who Do You Think You Are?” In this blog post, Duncan show how legal articles in old newspapers can tell you about some of the experiences your ancestors went through, and help steer additional research into their court cases and legal issues.

Court records are a gold mine for genealogists. A court record can be anything from a probate record, divorce decree, or guardianship case, to a criminal trial or civil action. Most of our ancestors were involved in the court system in one way or another. But how do you know what court records include your ancestors? Searching through old newspapers, such as those in GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives, is a good way to find clues.

Enter Last Name

Americans were just as litigious in grandma’s time as they are now. Many people owned land, and that property would have to be distributed upon their death through a will (testate) or letters of administration in the absence of a will (intestate). Our ancestors were also called as witnesses in cases involving their neighbors. And so on.

These court records add a tremendous amount of texture to our understanding of our ancestors’ lives. Knowing more about who our ancestors were and what they were doing can increase our attachment and understanding of them. In addition, court records can also solve brick wall situations. For example, you may find that great-grandpa Connors and his son Jacob were sued for poaching on their neighbor’s property. If you were trying to connect Jacob to his father with documentation, you would have direct evidence of their relationship.

Information Contained in Court Records

Court documents will vary in what information is found within. For example, a probate record might include the names of the decedent’s heirs, what property they owned, clues about their lifestyle, etc. A divorce decree may list the minor children of a couple, the cause of the divorce, etc.

Not all of the records within each type of court document will have the same kind of information. For example, not all wills mention the names of all the heirs. One will I found simply left the decedent’s property “to be divided equally among my children.” However, other wills are highly detailed and informative. Some court document files can be hundreds of pages long!

Court records use legal verbiage, which can be confusing at times. Don’t let this deter you. There are many resources available to work through this challenging legal language. After a while, your comfort level with legal terms will increase and reading the court documents will become easier.

You will also begin to notice that certain phrases are repeated in court records. For example, a will often starts with the phrase, “In the name of God, Amen.” These types of phrases are called boilerplate, and recognizing them can help in reading the court documents. Becoming familiar with these common phrases and how they were used will increase your understanding of what the court document actually says. In the case of the beginning of a will, the phrase “In the name of God, Amen” does not indicate that your ancestor was highly religious; it was just a legal phrase used to begin a will. However, it does mean that your ancestor did not object to such language – which would mean they were not a Quaker or staunch atheist, for example.

Old Newspapers & Court Documents in the News

The main challenge researching your ancestors’ court records is finding them. You may not know a court case existed at all. You may not know in which jurisdiction to begin searching. You may not know what date to search. Unfortunately, most court records are not indexed. You can search through docket books and/or court minute books, but this can be a time consuming venture – especially if you aren’t sure a court case even existed.

Fortunately, there is an effective alternative: searching historical newspaper archives. Old newspapers often listed the cases seen before the court each week or term. Digitized newspapers online are easily searchable, and this often makes finding the court case a breeze!

The legal notices in a newspaper can take several forms. Here is one newspaper that organized the trial list by day:

article about court trials, Washington Reporter newspaper article 27 December 1876

Washington Reporter (Washington, Pennsylvania), 27 December 1876, page 1

This newspaper organized its legal list by type of case, court, and room. It even included the case number (bless them!).

article about court trials, Plain Dealer newspaper article 20 May 1897

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 20 May 1897, page 8

This newspaper gave a short synopsis of what happened during the hearing:

article about court trials, Cleveland Leader newspaper article 7 June 1897

Cleveland Leader (Cleveland, Ohio), 7 June 1897, page 8

Why were newspapers reporting this information? There are a number of reasons for making court case info public; three come immediately to mind. The first reason being that there was a legal requirement, in many cases, to publish the date of a hearing so that those who were affected could come to the courthouse and participate. Second, it has always been a part of the American justice system to have an open court, except in unusual circumstances. And lastly, before the advent of TV, this was actually a form of entertainment.

How to Find Court Records in GenealogyBank

To find legal information relating to your ancestors in the newspaper, some exceptional search techniques are required. For most genealogy research, you should not narrow a newspaper search down to just one paper. Searching for legal notices in the newspaper is the exception to this general research rule because the cases are often listed just by last name. Entering in “Robertson” without narrowing your search by a newspaper or region would yield far too many results to be practical.

Here are instructions for narrowing your results to a town or specific newspaper when searching GenealogyBank’s records. From the home page, go ahead and enter the last name only of the ancestor you’re researching.

screenshot of the search box on GenealogyBank's home page

Once the results page appears, select “Newspaper Archive (1690-2010).” Scroll down to the bottom of the page and select the state. Once the new results page has loaded, scroll down to the bottom of the page and select the city. If you still need to narrow it further, scroll down to the bottom of the page and enter the keyword “court,” a date range, or select a single newspaper. (Chose one, not all three.)

Once you find the correct jurisdiction, date, and possibly even case number from various newspaper articles, you can go search through the original case files to find the valuable information you are seeking. Some of these files have been digitized and are available on Others you will need to track down by contacting the court in question and asking where their archives are kept.

Note that GenealogyBank also has a category dedicated to court records, case files and legal news that can help you narrow your search.

I hope you take advantage of court records in your family history research. The information found therein is exceptionally beneficial. Using newspapers to aid your search can make the process much simpler and more likely to yield positive results. Happy searching!

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A Special Family History Gift Fit for a Queen

What gift do you give to a nine-year-old queen? Why, a copy of your just-published book of family history, of course!

Gift to Queen Wilhelmina, New York Tribune newspaper article 23 November 1899

New York Tribune (New York, New York), 23 November 1899, page 5

We remember Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands (1888-1962) as a kindly, matronly woman – but at age nine she received a special gift.

What young lady wouldn’t be thrilled to receive her own copy of the newly-printed Swartwout Chronicles, 1338-1899? It was presented to her by Major William Merrill Swartwout of Troy, New York.

photo of the Swartwout Chronicles

Source: Library of Congress, American Memory

This handsome family history book was published in a limited edition of 100 copies. According to the New York Tribune article:

The book is 11 inches long, 8 1/2 inches wide and 2 1/4 inches thick. The linen coated paper is of a superior quality that will, it is said, last for centuries…It is bound in full crushed levant, with leather double and fly and richly handtooled in gold. The outer cover, dark brown in color, is embossed in antique, with the Swartwout coat of arms.

This must have been a special day at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam.

Enter Last Name

According to the article it was “claimed that there is not one typographical error in the volume.”

You can see for yourself and read through this family history online.

All kidding aside – this was a terrific honor.

How many families have the opportunity to present a copy of their family history to the Royal family of their homeland?

Did You Know?

Family history books still make for excellent gifts to give to family and friends. You can have your own family history printed in a hard copy book format by several publishing services nowadays. See Cyndi’s List for a list of family history publishers.

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Arizona Archives: 73 Newspapers for Genealogy Research

Arizona became a state on 14 February 1912 – the 48th state to join the Union, and the last of the nation’s contiguous states. AZ is the country’s sixth largest state and the 15th most populous. One of the Four Corners states (it touches Colorado), Arizona has borders with four other states (New Mexico, Utah, Nevada & California) as well as a 389-mile border with Mexico.

Arizona’s ethnic diversity is as varied as its beautiful natural terrain, given its unique history. Our AZ archives are a premier resource to research your Native American, Mormon, and Hispanic ancestry, as well as explore the California Gold Rush, O.K. Corral and other interesting people, places and events of the Old American West.

photo of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona

Photo: North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona. Credit: Staplegunther at English Wikipedia; Wikimedia Commons.

If you are researching your ancestry from Arizona, you will want to use GenealogyBank’s online AZ newspaper archives: 73 titles to help you search your family history in “The Grand Canyon State,” providing coverage from 1859 to Today. There are more than 1.5 million articles and records in our online Arizona newspaper archives!

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

Search Arizona Newspaper Archives (1859 – 1977)

Search Arizona Recent Obituaries (1991 – Current)

illustration: state flag of Arizona

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

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

City Title Date Range* Collection
Apache Junction East Mesa Independent 11/13/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Apache Junction Chandler Independent 10/20/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Apache Junction Apache Junction-Gold Canyon Independent 11/13/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Apache Junction Queen Creek Independent 01/30/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Arizona City Arizona City Independent 05/31/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Benson San Pedro Valley News-Sun 01/27/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bullhead City Mohave Valley Daily News 10/16/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Casa Grande Tri-Valley Dispatch 11/15/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Casa Grande Casa Grande Dispatch 05/13/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cave Creek Sonoran News 09/01/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Coolidge Coolidge Examiner 01/09/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Coolidge Florence Reminder and Blade-Tribune 06/14/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Douglas Douglas Dispatch 09/24/1998 – Current Recent Obituaries
Eloy Eloy Enterprise 01/09/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Flagstaff Arizona Daily Sun 05/01/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Gilbert Gilbert Independent 10/20/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Glendale Peoria Times 01/17/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
Glendale Glendale Star 12/13/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Green Valley Sahuarita Sun 02/08/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Green Valley Green Valley News & Sun 05/09/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
Kearny Copper Basin News 09/12/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Kingman Mohave County Miner 10/30/1897 – 10/30/1897 Newspaper Archives
Maricopa Maricopa Monitor 12/23/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
Maricopa Communicator 10/17/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Nogales Monitor 09/05/1890 – 09/05/1890 Newspaper Archives
Nogales Nogales International 12/18/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
Phoenix Arizona Informant 05/04/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Phoenix Town of Paradise Valley Independent 01/16/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Phoenix North Scottsdale Independent 01/16/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Phoenix Weekly Republican 06/29/1899 – 03/07/1901 Newspaper Archives
Phoenix Weekly Phoenix Herald 01/02/1896 – 06/22/1899 Newspaper Archives
Phoenix Phoenix New Times 01/29/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Poston Poston Chronicle 12/22/1942 – 10/23/1945 Newspaper Archives
Prescott Arizona Weekly Journal-Miner 01/10/1866 – 12/26/1900 Newspaper Archives
Prescott Prescott Morning Courier 01/05/1891 – 06/30/1908 Newspaper Archives
Queen Creek Southeast Valley Ledger 01/29/2013 – Current Recent Obituaries
Rivers Gila News Courier 09/12/1942 – 09/05/1945 Newspaper Archives
Safford Eastern Arizona Courier 02/27/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
San Manuel Pinal Nugget 03/05/2013 – Current Recent Obituaries
San Manuel San Manuel Miner 03/26/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Sierra Vista Sierra Vista Herald 04/11/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Sonoita Bulletin 01/20/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Sun City Sun City West Independent 01/02/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Sun City Peoria Independent 01/16/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Sun City Surprise Independent 01/02/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Sun City Sun City-Youngtown Independent 01/02/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Superior Superior Sun 09/12/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Tombstone Tombstone Daily Epitaph 07/20/1880 – 11/30/1890 Newspaper Archives
Tombstone Arizona Kicker 12/06/1893 – 02/28/1894 Newspaper Archives
Tombstone Weekly Tombstone Epitaph 05/01/1880 – 06/25/1899 Newspaper Archives
Tombstone Tombstone Epitaph Prospector 07/24/1880 – 08/12/1895 Newspaper Archives
Tombstone Tombstone Daily Prospector 01/01/1889 – 06/30/1899 Newspaper Archives
Tombstone Daily Tombstone 03/21/1885 – 12/07/1886 Newspaper Archives
Tubac Weekly Arizonian 05/26/1859 – 04/12/1860 Newspaper Archives
Tucson Fronterizo 01/09/1892 – 12/17/1892 Newspaper Archives
Tucson Arizona Weekly Star 05/03/1877 – 10/07/1882 Newspaper Archives
Tucson Iris 06/19/1886 – 06/19/1886 Newspaper Archives
Tucson Arizona Daily Star 01/03/1991 – Current Recent Obituaries
Tucson Tucsonense 03/17/1915 – 11/01/1931 Newspaper Archives
Tucson Arizona Citizen 10/15/1870 – 07/29/1876 Newspaper Archives
Tucson Explorer 01/16/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Tucson Tucson Citizen 07/05/1882 – 12/31/1922 Newspaper Archives
Tucson Ferrocarril 05/17/1885 – 05/17/1885 Newspaper Archives
Tucson Amigos 05/08/1975 – 12/21/1977 Newspaper Archives
Tucson Dos Republicas 08/23/1879 – 10/18/1879 Newspaper Archives
Tucson Alianza 08/23/1900 – 10/18/1900 Newspaper Archives
Tucson 01/28/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Vail Vail Sun 03/24/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Wickenburg Wickenburg Sun 11/17/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Willcox Arizona Range News 01/10/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Window Rock Navajo Times 04/01/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Yuma Sun 05/30/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Yuma Arizona Sentinel 09/27/1873 – 07/15/1876 Newspaper Archives

*Date Ranges may have selected coverage unavailable.

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

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A Guide to Using Social Media for Genealogy

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” In this blog article, Gena examines the various social media channels that exist for genealogy and shows how they can help your family history research.

I remember the more recent “good old days” of genealogy. In those days, connecting with other researchers meant reading Everton’s Genealogical Helper magazine, where pages of researchers’ messages resided. I eagerly read those blurbs looking for my surnames, hoping to connect with a yet-unknown cousin who was trying to track down the same information I was.

I miss that magazine but I’m grateful to live in a time where making genealogical connections is considerably easier, thanks to the rise of the Information Age. With online message boards and numerous social media channels, I’m able to make connections in ways that my family historian grandmother could only imagine.

Are you using social media for your own genealogy? I realize it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but seriously consider trying at least one social media network (Twitter, Facebook, GenealogyWise, Google+, YouTube are examples), or create a family history blog so that you can take advantage of all that modern-day genealogy offers.

graphic to illustrate an article on using social media for genealogy

Whether you are just dipping your toes in the ocean of social media or a seasoned user, consider these ways that social networking can benefit and enhance your genealogy research.

Seeking Family History Information

Genealogy research often raises more questions than answers, so I’m glad that I’m able to go online and seek guidance from libraries, archives and other family history researchers when I need to ask a question or talk through a tough research problem.


There are various ways that I do this, but one method is crowd-sourcing questions using a social media website like Twitter. I add relevant hashtags to my post that expand the reach of my question beyond just the people that follow me (some examples include #genealogy or #familyhistory). For questions I want to direct specifically to one person or institution, I use the direct message feature so that we can have a longer, private conversation. Note that Twitter apps such as Tweetdeck can help you track your responses more easily.

Also, try searching the names and hashtags of genealogical societies, companies, magazines, conferences and more, to find accounts to follow and stay on top of what is going on in the community, as shown below.

screenshot of GenealogyBank on Twitter

See: #genealogybank Twitter search


Obviously there are other ways to ask questions and seek information. Facebook’s specific subject groups are a great place to direct questions to those who have an interest in a certain type of research (like newspapers for example) or who use a website or software product. To find relevant groups, use the search engine located at the top of Facebook and enter keywords like “genealogy” or your favorite website or software program. Note that you must be logged into Facebook to search.

screenshot of GenealogyBank on Facebook

Follow Genealogical Societies, Organizations & Companies

Don’t forget to follow your favorite libraries, historical archives and genealogy companies on social media. They often post great resources to try, as well as information about emergency closings. Their social media channels are a great way to stay informed. For example, to find genealogy groups on Facebook, type “genealogy” into the search box and then select the “Pages” tab to get a listing of related pages to follow. Note that you must be logged into Facebook to search as shown below.

screenshot of genealogy pages on Facebook

Genealogy pages on Facebook

Attract Cousins

How do distant relations know of your research unless you have information about yourself out “there”? Leaving a virtual trail is one way people can find and connect with you to share information as well as answer questions. In my research, it’s through looking at online family trees, message boards and social media websites that I find modern-day descendants to share information, ask questions, and on occasion, reunite a family heirloom that I have found in an antique store.

I know it’s your genealogy research and I understand how protective you are of the work you’ve invested in it. But make it easier for others to find you. While some communications could be frustrating, others might result in wonderful things like a lost heirloom making its way back to your family. Get out there in the virtual world by using a genealogy blog or website to post information about your family history research. Then add a family tree or family images to share.

As one example, I put together a blog about an early 20th century couple I am researching. An antique dealer Googled the name she found on a painting (the wife was a painter), found my blog and then contacted me with information. Researching family history is not just about searching websites – it’s also about making connections with people who share your passion.

Learn More from GenealogyBank

We all could use a little help now and then. That’s why I always appreciate genealogy website social media tools. GenealogyBank has numerous tools online to help you learn more about genealogy research, as well as using the website to find your ancestors.

What tools are available? For one, take a look at GenealogyBank’s YouTube channel. Here you can find tutorials helping you do everything from finding family stories to using the GenealogyBank website itself. Sign into Google with your Google Account or your Gmail credentials and you can add your favorite genealogy tutorial videos to your YouTube playlist.

screenshot of GenealogyBank tutorial videos available on YouTube

See: GenealogyBank tutorial videos on Youtube

GenealogyBank also has a Google+ account with links to a variety of family history blog posts.

screenshot of GenealogyBank on Google+

See: GenealogyBank on Google Plus

Whom to Follow on Twitter for Genealogy

Those who know me know that I love Twitter. It’s a great place to follow other researchers, libraries, archives, and your favorite genealogy websites. GenealogyBank can be found at @genealogybank. Don’t forget to follow the GenealogyBank writers at their accounts: Gena Philibert-Ortega, @genaortega; Mary Harrell-Sesniak, @compmary; Duncan Kuehn, @FamBriarPatch; and Tom Kemp, @TomKemp.

GenealogyBank can also be found on Facebook and Pinterest.

Enter Last Name

I saved the best for last: the GenealogyBank blog. Frequent articles on the blog include nods to history, methodology, and ideas for your family history research. Don’t forget that we also post the latest newspaper additions to GenealogyBank, so the blog is a great place to learn about what’s new on the website.

I would recommend you add the GenealogyBank blog to your favorite blog reader by subscribing via the RSS feed. The RSS orange subscribe button can be found at the top right of the blog page.

screenshot of the GenealogyBank Blog RSS subscribe button

GenealogyBank Blog RSS Subscribe

You can search blog postings by the date, name of the author (to find all my blog posts search on my name: Gena Philibert-Ortega), and even by tags. You can find tagged subjects for each article at the bottom of the post. These tags index the article by subjects, and those subjects might be shared by other posts. You can find social media share buttons (as well as the option to print your favorite posts) at the bottom of each blog article.

Why Use Social Media for Genealogy?

Social media is an important tool in family history research. It provides us opportunities to network, share, and find information. Even if you are overwhelmed by social media, give one of the above tips a try. You just might find that these online genealogy tools can help you find a new cousin or unravel that family history mystery you’ve been working on for a while. I’d love to hear your experiences finding family or answers via social media networking. Please use the comment section below to share your social media genealogy tips.

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