Follow Every Genealogy Clue: It Might Surprise You!

When you have a genealogy record in front of you, track down every clue and see where it takes you.

For example: I found the announcement of my cousin’s wedding in 1767 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

wedding notice for Martin Howard and Abigail Greenleaf, New Hampshire Gazette newspaper article 28 August 1767

New Hampshire Gazette (Portsmouth, New Hampshire), 28 August 1767, page 3

Are there more clues here?
Let’s see where they take us.

The groom is identified as: “the Honorable Martin Howard, Esq; Chief Judge of North-Carolina.”

OK, he was the Chief Judge of North Carolina. Probably I can find more information about him in GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives. Let’s see.

Here’s an article.

obituary for Anne Howard, Newport Mercury newspaper article 1 October 1764

Newport Mercury (Newport, Rhode Island), 1 October 1764, page 3

So, prior to his marriage to Miss Abigail Greenleaf in 1767, Martin Howard was married to Anne – who died Wednesday, 26 September 1764.

I’ll add her to my family tree and look for more information on her.

What else can I find about Chief Judge Martin Howard’s life and family?
I also found this article.

article about Martin Howard, New-York Mercury newspaper article 9 September 1765

New-York Mercury (New York, New York), 9 September 1765, page 2

What’s this?
A mob destroying his home?

They were so angry that after they left, they returned and ransacked his home a second time.

The article ends by saying:

The ship Friendship, capt. Lindsey, sailed for England yesterday. Doctor Thomas Maffat, and Martin Howard, jun. Esq; of this town went [as] passengers.

article about Martin Howard, New-York Mercury newspaper article 9 September 1765

New-York Mercury (New York, New York), 9 September 1765, page 2

What was this all about?
We learn more in this next article I found.

article about Martin Howard, Cincinnati Daily Gazette newspaper article 30 July 1869

Cincinnati Daily Gazette (Cincinnati, Ohio), 30 July 1869, page 3

So – Martin Howard was supporting the hated Stamp Act during Colonial times; his home was ransacked and he was forced to flee to England.

By the next year he was appointed by the King as the new Chief Judge of North Carolina.

The Dictionary of North Carolina Biography quotes him as saying:

I shall have no argument with the Sons of Liberty of Newport; it was they who made me Chief Justice of North Carolina, with a thousand pounds sterling a year.

Digging deeper I found his portrait.

Painting: Judge Martin Howard, by John Singleton Copley, 1767. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Painting: Judge Martin Howard, by John Singleton Copley, 1767. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

This was no small-time judge. He sat for this Copley portrait at the same time he married my cousin Abigail Greenleaf.

Extraordinary.
I was not expecting to find this.

Later, Howard was forced to flee the Colonies permanently, and he lived the rest of his life in obscurity in England.

If I hadn’t found his marriage notice in GenealogyBank he would not have made it into our family tree.

When I searched FamilySearch and Ancestry, he wasn’t recorded on the family tree in either site – so I remedied that and added him to our family tree on both sites.

I love it when the old newspapers in GenealogyBank help me to discover new members of the family. I find more every day.

It’s a great day for genealogy!

Related Genealogy Clues Articles:

Obituaries Provide Clues for More Family History Research

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” In this blog article, Gena shows that – beyond the name and date of death – obituaries provide many clues that can lead your family history research into new and unexpected directions.

An obituary is an obituary is an obituary. We use them to verify a death but what else does an obituary tell us? One of the reasons I love to read obituaries is for all the other clues and records they point to. When you search obituaries, what more family history information can you be looking for?

Obituaries Go beyond Names and Dates

Let’s face it, sometimes obituaries can be brief and vague without much helpful information – but in most cases obituaries provide clues that lead to additional records. Case in point: this 1918 obituary for Bryan McDonough. We are given just a few facts about him, and no information about other family members. The obituary tells us he was 68 years of age, ill for six years prior to his death, and died at his home. It also provides these important clues: “He was one of the oldest members of St. Peter’s Catholic Church and had been employed at the Reading Iron Works for many years.”

obituary for Bryan McDonough, Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper article 29 June 1918

Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), 29 June 1918, page 2

A Google search on St. Peter’s Catholic Church points to a website for the church (which was established in 1752) and contact information which can be helpful in locating records. While St. Peter’s is in the Diocese of Allentown, additional research guidance can be found on the Philadelphia Archdiocesan Historical Research Center website, including a parish boundary map and a guide to starting your genealogy research. A search on the FamilySearch Catalog also shows resources for cemetery marker readings, a church history article, and some 19th century records for baptisms, marriages and confirmations.

Genealogy Tip: Enhance your newspaper research by conducting a Place search in the FamilySearch Catalog.

Go beyond the Obituary

Searching for an obituary may seem like a simple task. If you know when the person died, you look for a notice published a day to a week or so after. Simple, right? While it seems like a simple task, it’s always good to expect the unexpected.

Here’s an example of two death notices printed weeks apart for the same person. In 1910, Joseph H. Taylor was a 22-year-old Mormon missionary serving in Germany. His November 21st death notice mentions Joseph’s untimely death but not much more – as can be expected under the circumstances. Aside from his death, it is announced that burial will occur in December and that the body is being accompanied home by his family.

obituary for Joseph Taylor, Salt Lake Telegram newspaper article 21 November 1910

Salt Lake Telegram (Salt Lake City, Utah), 21 November 1910, page 3

Later, in the December 8th Salt Lake Telegram, the reader is informed that Joseph died at Stuttgart, Germany, on November 14th. His services were held in the Salt Lake 14th ward and his burial was at the “city cemetery.”

article about Joseph Taylor's funeral, Salt Lake Telegram newspaper article 8 December 1910

Salt Lake Telegram (Salt Lake City, Utah), 8 December 1910, page 10

Both death notices provide us with some good family history information including his name, age, where he was when he died, religion, family names, and where he was buried. So that’s enough, right? Well, if we continue searching we can find even more! For example, a search on his name and residence (Utah) in the Historical Records collection of FamilySearch finds a death record in the online images for Salt Lake County Death Records. In this record we learn the cause of death, his parents’ names (including their state of birth and the mother’s maiden name), and date and place of burial.

Any time a younger person dies unexpectedly, or a death is the result of an accident or violence, I always search for more newspaper articles. So in this case, I went back to GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives – but this time instead of searching on “Joseph H. Taylor,” I typed “Joseph Taylor” in the search engine and narrowed the search to Utah. With that search, I received a hit on a longer article about his death that provided even more information about his religious background.

This article talks about his illness and how well loved he was in the community. It also explains that his brother was serving a mission and that he was the grandson of Mormon President John Taylor. As a researcher, I know that I need to go back to FamilySearch and look for records dealing with the family history of John Taylor, as well as membership records and any histories of the ward he was attending in Salt Lake.

article about the death of Joseph Taylor, Salt Lake Telegram newspaper article 15 November 1910

Salt Lake Telegram (Salt Lake City, Utah), 15 November 1910, page 7

GenealogyTip: Always conduct multiple searches for your ancestor using variations of their name. By searching on only one version of their name you could be missing longer, more detailed articles.

Where Were They Buried?

Every word in an obituary is a potential clue to more information, even when the obituary seems to say nothing at all. The 1914 death of J. J. Hartenbower is noted very briefly in the Emporia Gazette. We learn he was 75 years of age, “a wealthy land-owner of Sedgwick and Butler Counties,” and that he died on June 23rd in Los Angeles, California.

obituary for Jeremiah Hartenbower, Emporia Gazette newspaper article 23 June 1914

Emporia Gazette (Emporia, Kansas), 23 June 1914, page 1

Additional news articles about Hartenbower fail to provide the cemetery information. A check on FamilySearch verifies he is found in the California Death Index, but that index does not include burial information.

A search on Google Books provides us more details on Hartenbower’s life. His entry in The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 16, includes the name of the church he attended in California: The First Congregational in Los Angeles.

Listing: Jeremiah J. Hartenbower, from The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography

Listing: Jeremiah J. Hartenbower, from The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography. Credit: Google Books.

Hartenbower lived in many different places throughout his life, and one newspaper article commented that he left “nearly 1 million to his widow.” So clearly he could be buried anywhere. The one place that most likely we could find that burial is on his death certificate, but it is not available online. The next place to check, after thoroughly searching online newspapers and vital record sources, is a cemetery index – either through one of the online websites or via microfilm at FamilySearch (search the catalog for the county or state and then the subject “Cemeteries”).

In this case, Jeremiah J. Hartenbower’s burial information, wife’s name, and photo of his tombstone can be found online. He’s buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.

Genealogy Tip: Work on creating a profile of your ancestor by using Google Booksto find mentions in family history books, biographical works, city directories, and periodicals.

Obituaries are important to genealogical research for a couple of reasons. Obviously they provide us with a date of death. But they can also provide additional biographical as well as death information that point to additional records like religious and cemetery records. As you read the obituary of your ancestor, note what additional records it leads you to and follow up on them.

Note: FamilySearch International (FamilySearch.org) 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: http://www.genealogybank.com/family-search/

Related Obituaries Articles:

Finding Irish Marriage Records

I have been researching my Irish roots for over 50 years.

When I want to search for an Irish marriage record, I go to FamilySearch and to GenealogyBank to get the details.

Painting: “The Wedding Register,” Edmund Blair Leighton, 1920

Painting: “The Wedding Register,” Edmund Blair Leighton, 1920. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

I use FamilySearch because it has the preeminent collection of Irish church and governmental registers, and GenealogyBank because it was common for Irish American newspapers to publish marriages solemnized in Ireland for the benefit and awareness of their newspaper readers here.

Recently, I was looking for the wedding of my cousin Anna Moore to James O’Grady in the mid-1850s – so I searched for information in both databases.

I found the details of their wedding using GenealogyBank, published in the Irish American Weekly.

wedding announcement for Anna Moore and James O’Grady, Irish American Weekly newspaper article 10 March 1850

Irish American Weekly (New York, New York), 10 March 1850, page 2

And here is the record of their marriage I found in FamilySearch.org

screenshot from FamilySearch of the marriage record for Anna Moore and James O’Grady

Source: “Ireland Marriages, 1619-1898” database, FamilySearch: accessed 24 December 2015, James Ogrady and Anna Moore, 05 Feb 1850; citing St George, Dub, Ire, reference 2:3PCGXJQ; FHL microfilm 101,316. There is no register image available online.

See: (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FG6C-TWR

Both sources tell us that they were married at St. George’s Church (Denomination: Church of Ireland) in Dublin, Ireland, on 5 February 1850.

The newspaper account adds that they were married “by Rev. Gibson Black, and afterwards according to the rites of the Roman Catholic Church.” Good information to have.

The record in FamilySearch gives the name of the groom’s father (James Ogrady) and both FamilySearch and GenealogyBank give us the name of the bride’s father (James Sinclair Moore) – with GenealogyBank adding the detail: “the late James Sinclair Moore, of Moorebrook, in the county of Armagh.”

The GenealogyBank account also adds that the groom lived at Mountjoy Square in Dublin.

Photo: “The South Side of Mountjoy Square, Dublin, Ireland, in the Snow of January 2010,” Bryan Butler

Photo: “The South Side of Mountjoy Square, Dublin, Ireland, in the Snow of January 2010,” Bryan Butler. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Per Wikipedia, construction of Mountjoy Square was begun in the early 1790s and completed in 1818. With its distinctive Georgian architecture, “the square has been home to many of Dublin’s most prominent people: lawyers, churchmen, politicians, writers and visual artists.”

This is a good clue that the “James O’Grady, Esq.” reference in the Irish American Weekly was a man of means or perhaps a lawyer.

Genealogy Tip: When searching for old Irish marriage records, it is essential that you check both the Ireland Marriages, 1619-1898 on FamilySearch and GenealogyBank’s collection of Irish American Newspapers (1810-2016). You will find important details and clues on one site that you will not find on the other. It’s a great day for genealogy!

Related Articles:

Newspapers Help Smash a Genealogy Brick Wall

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 describes how she used old newspapers to help one of her clients smash through a brick wall blocking their family history research.

Recently a client contacted me for some help identifying the parents of his ancestor Samuel Langston (names have been changed). He had done an excellent job finding information about Samuel. He had looked for Sam in all the most likely places: census returns, vital records, city directories, etc. Impressively, he had kept detailed accounts of each record he found and the information it contained. However, he had reached a brick wall when it came to Samuel’s parents.

Photo: brick wall

Photo: brick wall. Credit: Pawel Wozniak; Wikimedia Commons.

Not one of the records he had located had provided the names of those elusive parents. The only information he had been able to find was their birthplaces, from Sam’s census returns. Supposedly, Sam’s father was born in New York and his mother was born in England.

Genealogy Tip: Keeping good research records will increase the likelihood that you can resolve a genealogy brick wall. Often the clue you need has already been found in the records you looked at. You just didn’t recognize it when you saw it. Keeping records that can be easily reviewed is priceless.

I got to work by confirming that he had located all the records possible, and discovered that two important records had not yet been found: a marriage certificate or license for Sam and his wife, and Sam’s obituary.

Marriage Certificate

I started by pulling the marriage records. The information in this record is provided by the bride and groom and would likely list the correct names of Sam’s parents. However, the marriage certificate I found only listed the names of the bride and groom and their marriage data. The witnesses were not obviously related, and no license was found.

Genealogy Tip: In the beginning it may not be obvious if the name found in a record refers to the person you are searching for or not. Don’t disregard these records. There may be clues that you find later that can confirm their identity.

Newspaper Obituary

The one good source for genealogy information that my client hadn’t exhausted was old newspapers, so I began searching GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives.

After finding the marriage certificate, I turned to old newspapers to search for Sam’s obituary. My client had found an obituary for Sam’s widow, Jenny, and he had ordered Sam’s death certificate. The death certificate was filled out by Sam’s son, who did not know his grandparents’ names. The obituary I found for Sam was written a few days after his death in 1927. More family members had gathered and there was an increased likelihood that someone could have provided the missing information. Sadly, Sam’s parents’ names were not recorded in the obituary either.

However, three other items of information were found in the obituary. First, it confirmed that Sam had been associated with a particular mine in Utah. Second, it agreed with the census returns in stating that Sam had been born in Illinois – and went even further by providing a birth town. Third, it provided the name of Sam’s only surviving family member, a sister, identified by initials (Mrs. J. F. Dennison). Two of these items of information were vitally important in cracking the case. And one of them was a red herring.

Genealogy Tip: Prior to the 1960s, look for women in newspapers under both their own name and their husband’s name. A woman may be listed as Sandra Smith or Mrs. Andrew Smith.

More Newspaper Articles Found

I continued to search the newspaper archives for any possible detail about Sam Langston. I found multiple articles about his business dealings with the mine. I found several about his association with a fraternal organization. I could not locate any articles that listed Sam’s parents’ names, but I did find one very short article 26 years prior to Sam’s death that mentioned a family reunion of sorts in 1901. Sam was identified by name and by his employment with the mine. Listed with him were three sisters, one of which was the Mrs. J. F. Dennison I had found in Sam’s obituary. Another sister was listed by her married name, Mrs. Abe Johnson. The last sister was a widow listed under her own name, Carrie Hatchet. Carrie’s name was the clue that broke the case open.

Genealogy Tip: Some old newspaper articles may not appear to be valuable at first glance, but become crucial later. Keep all articles that pertain to the individuals you are searching for. Many will contain small clues that can benefit your research later.

Widowed Sister’s Name Breaks Case Open

I was able to trace Carrie back through the census returns and other records to find her with her mother in northern Utah. I had found the mother’s name at last! Listed in the household were her two other sisters and Samuel. To ensure that this was in fact the correct family, I traced each of the sisters through the records to ensure that they were the same women that were listed in the 1901 reunion article I had found. Having confirmed that these three sisters were the correct people, I felt confident that the Sam who died in 1927 and was married to Jenny was the same person who appeared in the 1870 and 1880 census returns with his sisters and their mother.

Genealogy Tip: The easiest way to confirm a person’s identity is by their relationships. Historically, people could willfully or inadvertently alter names, ages, or other dates without difficulty. However, a sister is nearly always a sister.

Red Herring

So which clue was the red herring? It was the information in Sam’s obituary that gave his birth town in Illinois. As I went on to discover, Sam was not born in Illinois. In addition, his father was not born in New York – and Sam had been born a few years earlier than he stated in records after he married. Sorting through misinformation and throwing out the errors is an important part of genealogy.

With more research, I was able to prove that Sam was actually born in England, like his parents and most of his sisters. They had all immigrated to Utah in the mid 1860s and shortly after the family’s arrival, the parents had divorced – which is why it’s so hard finding records with the father’s name. As the children left home, the younger ones told the story that they were born in the United States and their father had been born in New York. It is unclear why the younger children chose to tell that story, though perhaps it was to claim U.S. citizenship.

It is also unclear what, if any, relationship Sam had with Illinois or why he claimed to be younger than he actually was. His mother had died shortly after the 1880 census and the siblings had only periodic contact. Fortunately, they did gather together in 1901 and the newspaper recorded a one-sentence announcement that led to the discovery of information about Sam’s parents.

Genealogy Tip: Don’t get stuck in the details. People lie and misremember information. People change details based on the situation and outside pressures. An underage girl may claim to be a year or two older in order to get married without parental consent. An immigrant may claim to be a native citizen. Look for trends and patterns.

Once again, information in newspapers was vital in breaking through a brick wall in my client’s research. Be sure to use old newspapers to help solve your own genealogy brick walls!

Related Newspaper Research Articles:

Maryland Archives: 125 Newspapers for Genealogy Research

One of the original 13 British Colonies that formed the United States, Maryland was named after Queen Henrietta Maria – who was the wife of England’s King Charles I. It became the new nation’s 7th state on 28 April 1788. Maryland is the 42nd largest state in the country and the 19th most populous.

Photo: Chesapeake Bay Bridge, connecting Maryland’s Eastern and Western Shores

Photo: Chesapeake Bay Bridge, connecting Maryland’s Eastern and Western Shores. Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture; Wikimedia Commons.

If you are researching your ancestry from Maryland, you will want to use GenealogyBank’s online MD newspaper archives: 125 titles to help you search your family history in the “Old Line State,” providing coverage from 1728 to Today. There are more than 9.6 million articles and records in our online Maryland newspaper archives!

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

Search Maryland Newspaper Archives (1728 – 1922)

Search Maryland Recent Obituaries (1990 – Current)

Illustration: Maryland state flag

Illustration: Maryland state flag. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Here is a list of online Maryland 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 MD newspaper titles are listed alphabetically by city.

City Title Date Range * Collection
Annapolis West County News 11/14/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Annapolis South County Gazette 01/09/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
Annapolis Negro Appeal 02/16/1900 – 02/16/1900 Newspaper Archives
Annapolis Maryland Gazette 12/03/1728 – 11/22/1734 Newspaper Archives
Annapolis Maryland Gazette 03/25/1751 – 02/16/1832 Newspaper Archives
Annapolis Capital 01/02/1991 – Current Recent Obituaries
Annapolis Annapolis Gazette 09/28/1854 – 11/24/1874 Newspaper Archives
Annapolis, Glenburnie Maryland Gazette 03/06/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Arbutus Arbutus Times 03/10/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Baltimore Telegraphe and Daily Advertiser 05/14/1795 – 01/11/1807 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Sun 09/10/1990 – Current Recent Obituaries
Baltimore Sun 05/17/1837 – 12/31/1922 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore South 04/22/1861 – 02/17/1862 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Republican; or, Anti-Democrat 01/01/1802 – 01/14/1804 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Recorder; or, Summary of Foreign, Domestic, and Literary Intelligence 06/16/1810 – 06/16/1810 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Race Standard 01/02/1897 – 01/16/1897 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Palladium of Freedom; or the Baltimore Daily Advertiser 08/08/1787 – 08/08/1787 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore North American and Mercantile Daily Advertiser 01/11/1808 – 12/31/1808 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Mechanics’ Gazette; and Merchants Daily Advertiser 03/14/1815 – 09/13/1815 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Maryland Journal 08/20/1773 – 01/16/1797 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Katholische Volkszeitung 07/02/1870 – 07/15/1876 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Fell’s Point Telegraphe 03/06/1795 – 06/01/1795 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Federal Republican 07/04/1808 – 06/20/1812 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Federal Intelligencer 10/30/1794 – 12/30/1795 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Federal Gazette 01/01/1796 – 11/08/1823 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Edward’s Baltimore Daily Advertiser 10/29/1793 – 11/15/1794 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Dunlap’s Maryland Gazette, or, The Baltimore General Advertiser 05/02/1775 – 01/05/1779 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Democratic Republican 03/17/1802 – 08/13/1802 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Commonwealth 07/24/1915 – 09/04/1915 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore City Paper 01/14/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Baltimore Baltimore Telegraph 06/23/1814 – 03/29/1816 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Baltimore Price-Current 02/14/1803 – 12/30/1820 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Baltimore Patriot 12/28/1812 – 12/31/1834 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Baltimore Messenger 02/13/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Baltimore Baltimore Guide: South Baltimore Edition 03/25/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Baltimore Baltimore Guide 01/19/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Baltimore Baltimore Gazette and Daily Advertiser 01/02/1826 – 01/27/1838 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Baltimore Evening Post 07/13/1792 – 09/30/1793 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Baltimore Daily Intelligencer 10/28/1793 – 10/29/1794 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Baltimore Bulletin 04/20/1872 – 09/23/1876 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Baltimore American 01/01/1903 – 12/31/1922 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore American, and Baltimore Gazette 07/30/1803 – 02/28/1805 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore American Farmer 04/02/1819 – 12/26/1828 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore American Citizen 04/19/1879 – 04/19/1879 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore American and Commercial Daily Advertiser 01/31/1801 – 12/31/1853 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore American a Gazette for the Country 07/10/1802 – 07/10/1802 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore American 05/18/1799 – 03/01/1802 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Afro-American 04/29/1893 – 03/26/1898 Newspaper Archives
Bel Air Southern Aegis 07/11/1857 – 12/26/1857 Newspaper Archives
Bel Air National American 09/05/1856 – 11/09/1866 Newspaper Archives
Bel Air Harford Gazette and General Advertiser 05/27/1848 – 05/21/1852 Newspaper Archives
Bowie Bowie Blade News 10/03/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cambridge Dorchester Star 06/30/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cambridge Banner 01/01/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Catonsville Catonsville Times 03/14/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Centreville Record Observer 08/04/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chestertown Kent County News 12/28/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chestertown Chestertown Transcript 11/10/1866 – 02/18/1876 Newspaper Archives
Chestertown Apollo; or, Chestertown Spy 03/26/1793 – 12/31/1793 Newspaper Archives
Columbia Jeffersonian 02/26/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Columbia Howard County Times 03/14/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Columbia Columbia Flier 01/31/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Crisfield Crisfield Times 01/03/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Crofton Crofton-West County Gazette 03/29/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cumberland Weekly Civilian 03/17/1859 – 09/21/1865 Newspaper Archives
Cumberland Phoenix Civilian 04/14/1835 – 01/04/1840 Newspaper Archives
Cumberland Cumberland Times-News 08/22/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cumberland Cumberland Impartialist 01/24/1809 – 01/24/1809 Newspaper Archives
Cumberland Cumberland Gazette 07/21/1814 – 07/21/1814 Newspaper Archives
Cumberland Cumberland Daily News 04/05/1871 – 04/02/1872 Newspaper Archives
Cumberland American Eagle 02/15/1809 – 02/15/1809 Newspaper Archives
Cumberland Allegany Freeman 12/04/1813 – 10/18/1817 Newspaper Archives
Denton Times Record 08/09/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Dundalk Dundalk Eagle 04/02/2015 – Current Recent Obituaries
Easton Sunday Star 11/13/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Easton Star Democrat 09/01/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Easton Republican Star 02/11/1800 – 06/12/1832 Newspaper Archives
Easton Maryland Herald, and Eastern Shore Intelligencer 05/11/1790 – 08/28/1804 Newspaper Archives
Easton Easton Star 01/02/1844 – 02/11/1862 Newspaper Archives
Easton Easton Journal 05/16/1874 – 05/16/1874 Newspaper Archives
Easton Easton Gazette 07/06/1818 – 06/28/1879 Newspaper Archives
Eldersburg Eldersburg Eagle 06/17/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Elkton Cecil Whig 08/14/1841 – 09/01/1866 Newspaper Archives
Elkton Cecil Whig 10/04/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Elkton Cecil Democrat 04/12/1845 – 11/11/1876 Newspaper Archives
Essex Avenue News 05/10/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Frankfort Freiheitsbothe 04/14/1810 – 04/14/1810 Newspaper Archives
Frederick Rights of Man 02/05/1794 – 11/05/1800 Newspaper Archives
Frederick Reservoir and Public Reflector 07/25/1826 – 07/28/1829 Newspaper Archives
Frederick Republican Gazette and General Advertiser 02/11/1801 – 09/28/1826 Newspaper Archives
Frederick Republican Citizen and State Advertiser 08/29/1823 – 12/30/1831 Newspaper Archives
Frederick Republican Advocate 12/06/1802 – 12/15/1808 Newspaper Archives
Frederick Maryland Chronicle, or Universal Advertiser 01/18/1786 – 05/28/1788 Newspaper Archives
Frederick Hornet 06/29/1802 – 06/29/1814 Newspaper Archives
Frederick General Staatsbothe 12/27/1811 – 12/27/1811 Newspaper Archives
Frederick Frederick News-Post 10/17/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Frederick Examiner 07/08/1857 – 12/29/1875 Newspaper Archives
Frederick Bartgis’s Marylandische Zeitung 02/18/1789 – 02/18/1789 Newspaper Archives
Frederick Bartgis’s Maryland Gazette 05/22/1792 – 01/23/1794 Newspaper Archives
Hagers-Town Washington Spy 01/04/1792 – 02/01/1797 Newspaper Archives
Hagers-Town Torch Light 01/03/1826 – 10/12/1837 Newspaper Archives
Hagerstown Maryland Herald and Hager’s-Town Weekly Advertiser 03/02/1797 – 12/28/1804 Newspaper Archives
Hagerstown Herald-Mail 11/11/1996 – Current Recent Obituaries
Halifax Hagers-town Gazette 05/23/1809 – 06/15/1813 Newspaper Archives
Hampstead, Manchester Advocate of Hampstead and Manchester 03/14/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hollywood County Times 05/05/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Laurel Laurel Leader 03/15/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Owings Mills Owings Mills Times 03/13/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Owings Mills Jewish Times 03/07/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Parkville, Carney Northeast Reporter 03/14/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Perry Hall, White Marsh Northeast Booster 05/09/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Potomac Potomac Almanac 02/26/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Prince Frederick Calvert Gazette 05/01/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Rockville True American and Farmers Register 03/10/1824 – 03/10/1824 Newspaper Archives
Rockville Centinel of Freedom 01/14/1820 – 01/14/1820 Newspaper Archives
Salisbury Salisbury Independent 05/29/2014 – Current Recent Obituaries
Stevensville Bay Times 08/02/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Towson Towson Times 02/14/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Towson North County News 03/13/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Uniontown Engine of Liberty and Uniontown Advertiser 10/21/1813 – 04/27/1815 Newspaper Archives
Westminster Westminster Eagle 07/07/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Westminster Community Times 11/10/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Westminster Carroll County Times 01/23/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Westminster Advocate of Westminster and Finksburg 04/28/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Westminster Advocate of Eldersburg and Sykesville 04/29/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries

*Date Ranges may have selected coverage unavailable.

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

Related Resource:

Finding Your Ancestor’s Story

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” In this blog article, Gena searches old newspapers to learn about her Chatham ancestors in Texas.

Everyone loves a story – and a story is infinitely better when it involves your family. RootsTech presentations this week have been stressing the importance of telling the stories of our ancestors’ lives – but the government records and official documents we rely on often provide cold, dry facts and not a lot of information to fill in a story. Stories require context and detail.

That’s where a collection of newspapers, such as GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives, really helps a genealogist.

Photo: an Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway train, c. 1895

Photo: an Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway train, c. 1895. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

The Chathams of Bellville, Texas

I know that my paternal great-grandfather Joseph Chatham worked for the railroad. Where he grew up in Texas, the Santa Fe Railroad was a major employer. Not only did he work for the railroad once he married and started his family, but his brother Walter also made a career of the railroad. Instead of driving or riding on the train as an engineer, brakeman or conductor, both brothers spent at least some of their time working in the roundhouse. Joseph eventually moved his family north to Southern California because of health issues.

Joseph died in Northern California in 1940. I know about him because of stories from his grandchildren whom I’ve interviewed. Family members still living remember Joseph in his later years. I have spent time gathering documents about his life including marriage and death certificates, cemetery records, and copies from the family Bible where he noted the births and deaths of his parents, siblings, and children. Similarly, discussions with Walter’s descendants, a trip to Texas, and online research have unearthed documents about Walter’s life that I have gathered, including his will.

So how do I fill in some of the dates not covered by vital records, wills, and the census? How do I tell stories about a life when there isn’t a lot available to me?

Vital to any family history research is the newspaper. Newspapers make the difference – because it is there, in their pages, that our ancestors’ stories were told and can still be found today.

As I recently searched for anything on the Chathams of Texas, I came across this interesting newspaper article involving Walter under the headline “Doings of the Police.”

article about Walter Chatham, Houston Chronicle newspaper article 21 April 1902

Houston Chronicle (Houston, Texas), 21 April 1902, page 2

The article includes a note from Walter Chatham, a railroad “car inspector” in Bellville, Texas, regarding a missing 11-year-old boy named John Darnell. Prior to this article, the Houston police chief had reported in the newspaper the April 18th disappearance of John and asked anyone with information to contact him. Only a day later Walter wrote to Police Chief Ellis that the boy arrived in Bellville from a freight train on April 19th. He then spent the night in Bellville before heading north the next morning. Walter apparently spoke to the boy since he knew John was traveling to Marlin, Texas. The report ends with the police chief stating he would talk to John’s father about what he wanted to do next.

Now seemingly, you might look at this report and say “who cares?” John isn’t a member of the Chatham family and this short report doesn’t detail any event crucial to documenting Walter’s life.

Going beyond the BMD (Birth, Marriage, Death) Records

And yet, even a notice as brief as this one is helpful to family history research. For one thing, it brings to light a real incident from Walter’s life, as we imagine him interacting with the boy, then deciding to do the right thing and sitting down to write this letter to help the police in their search.

Also, there’s this important point: any mention of our ancestor in the newspaper accomplishes an important task – it situates that person in a time and place. This newspaper notice helps verify that Walter was working for the railroad as a car inspector in April 1902, and that he was in Bellville at this time. This is important information for our timeline of his life, but it also leads to other questions that can enhance telling his story – like what did a car inspector for the railroad do? What was it like to work for the railroad in 1902? What other records might exist that would tell us about his work during this time? And I have to admit, I’m curious why Walter didn’t hand John over to local law enforcement to be reunited with his family when he first met the boy. (I know; I always want answers to questions that would require a time machine.)

Further research about Walter’s time working for the railroad would lead me to local histories and additional newspapers articles.

Are you curious about what happened to John Darnell? I know I am. Unfortunately, I didn’t find any newspaper story about his travels after leaving Bellville, where Walter reported seeing him. So I’m not sure how this runaway story evolved. But after some Internet searching, it appears that he found his way home eventually. I’m sure his descendants would be interested in learning more about his solo road trip.

Newspaper articles provide a vital link to your research. The value they offer is found in the details and context they provide that assist you in telling your ancestor’s story. The government records and official documents you find should lead you to ask questions about your ancestor’s experiences and life story. Search out the answers to those questions in the newspaper.

Are you attending the RootsTech Genealogy Conference?

GenealogyBank is helping to sponsor the RootsTech conference. If you’re attending, come visit us at booth #523 to discuss genealogy in general, or any specific questions you have about your own family history research.

For more information about RootsTech, visit the website at: http://www.rootstech.org/?lang=eng

Related Newspaper Research Articles:

Her Father Was the ‘Rustic Bard’? Newspapers Tell the Story

I was looking at the marriage announcement for my cousins Isaac and Annis (Dinsmoor) Cochran, and was surprised to see the name of her father given as the “Rustic Bard.”

wedding notice for Isaac Cochran and Annis Dinsmoor, New Hampshire Sentinel newspaper article 23 March 1827

New Hampshire Sentinel (Keene, New Hampshire), 23 March 1827, page 3

The “Rustic Bard” – I wonder who that was?

So – I dug deeper into GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives and did a search for “Rustic Bard,” and found this poem.

poem referring to the "Rustic Bard," New Hampshire Patriot & State Gazette newspaper article 4 February 1822

New Hampshire Patriot & State Gazette (Concord, New Hampshire), 4 February 1822, page 1

This could be a clue.
The poem speaks of “The Bard of Windham hill” and refers to him as “The rustic Bard.”

Another poem dated 8 November 1828 was also published in the New Hampshire Patriot & State Gazette.

poem by the "Rustic Bard," New Hampshire Patriot & State Gazette newspaper article 24 November 1828

New Hampshire Patriot & State Gazette (Concord, New Hampshire), 24 November 1828, page 1

This poem was untitled and presented as a letter to the editor.
It looks like the poet’s initials were “R. D,” and he was identified as the “Rustic Bard.”

Looking further through the GenealogyBank search results I found this lengthy obituary for the poet R. D. (Robert Dinsmoor).

obituary for Robert Dinsmoor, New Hampshire Sentinel newspaper article 14 April 1836

New Hampshire Sentinel (Keene, New Hampshire), 14 April 1836, page 3

Genealogists love to find an obituary like this. It gives a lot of details of his life and talks about his ancestry right back into Scotland.

The obituary says that as a young man, Robert showed promise as a mathematician – but poetry soon became his chief interest.

excerpt from the obituary for Robert Dinsmoor, New Hampshire Sentinel newspaper article 14 April 1836

New Hampshire Sentinel (Keene, New Hampshire), 14 April 1836, page 3

Learning that Robert published a book of his poems in 1828, I went to the Internet Archive – the major online repository of digital books – and quickly found “Poems of Robert Dinsmoor, the Rustic Bard.”

photo of the book of poems by Robert Dinsmoor, from Internet Archive

Source: Internet Archive

See: https://archive.org/details/poemsofrobertdin00dins

I love it. Researching in GenealogyBank for my cousin’s marriage record, I was able to find this interesting story about Annis Dinsmoor’s father Robert Dinsmoor, the “Rustic Bard.”

Get the entire story.
Look at the clues in newspaper articles and go wherever they take you to get the complete picture of your ancestors’ lives.

Are You Attending the RootsTech Genealogy Conference?

GenealogyBank is helping to sponsor the RootsTech conference. If you’re attending, come visit us at booth #523 to discuss genealogy in general, or any specific questions you have about your own family history research.

For more information about RootsTech, visit the website at: http://www.rootstech.org/?lang=eng

Related Newspaper Research Articles:

Why Are Newspapers Vital to Your Genealogy Research?

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” In this blog article, Gena shows that searching old newspapers should be a vital part of every genealogist’s family history research.

I’m always surprised when family history researchers confess they haven’t searched newspapers for information about their brick wall ancestor. Sure, it’s a good idea to start your research project by searching the census and vital records. In addition to checking government records and official documents, part of your research plan should include newspapers – such as the collection in GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives.

Newspapers allow you to verify and add information to your family tree. They often complement the government documents that you are using to verify your ancestor’s event dates and places by adding stories that tell you more about your ancestor’s life and experiences.

Every family history project should involve ongoing newspaper research. Why? Consider the following reasons:

Newspapers Reported On Events as They Happened

While a newspaper article is not an original source for documenting events like a birth, marriage or death, it is an important addition to confirming or finding information. For example, you may not know the exact date of an ancestor’s death, but finding a newspaper obituary or probate notice might provide the clue you need to successfully find that original “official” death certificate.

obituary for Charlotte Kendtner, Seattle Daily Times newspaper article 27 January 1953

Seattle Daily Times (Seattle, Washington), 27 January 1953, page 21

What types of newspapers articles complement vital records? Birth notices; engagement, wedding and anniversary announcements; obituaries; and probate notices are just a few examples.

Newspapers Reported On Your Ancestor’s Life like No Other Document

There are some limitations to those vital record certificates that you are gathering to document your ancestor’s life. One of the big frustrations is the lack of detail, or even the additional questions they raise. Official government or church documents only provide so much information. They are meant to provide the basics, not tell a story. However, newspaper articles use the details to tell a story. Sure some of that detail may not seem as important, such as “The bride will wear a gown of white figured chiffon over white silk, with trimmings of Irish lace” – but every little detail helps give a deeper picture of your ancestor’s life.

Newspaper articles also provide genealogically relevant gems like relationships and names, occupations, and addresses. Consider this newspaper article about a 1910 New Jersey wedding. Aside from reporting on the wedding, we find the bride’s grandmother’s married name (Mrs. Wade H. Brown) and that she is giving the bride away. The article mentions that the bride is a member of the First Presbyterian Church, and that the groom works for Bell Telephone Company. The bride and groom’s residence at 62 South Hermitage Avenue is also mentioned.

What a goldmine! We now know the name of the bride’s grandmother (and grandfather), the bride’s religion and the groom’s employer, and where the newly married couple will live. Now we can take that information and search censuses, city directories, church records, and other genealogical records.

wedding notice for Pearl Dalrymple and Arthur Gilder, Trenton Evening Times newspaper article 9 June 1910d

Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, New Jersey), 9 June 1910, page 10

Newspaper Articles Help You Find Documents

Let’s face it, research is not easy and in some cases it can feel impossible to find a document that you know should be online or on that microfilm reel. Online content might be mis-indexed or simply not where we think it should be. In some cases even trying to find documents in a library, archive, or courthouse may prove unsuccessful.

One friend faced a problem when the probate of her grandfather seemed to not exist at the county courthouse. She knew there was a probate because her father had been the executor of the estate. Unfortunately, this courthouse does not allow patrons to search indexes, microfilm or older files. She had to pay a search fee only to be told that no probate file existed.

So she asked me what to do. I told her to go search the legal notices section of the local newspaper. The probate notice would help “prove” to the courthouse that a probate action had occurred. Sure enough she was able to easily find the probate notice in the newspaper. She showed it to the courthouse clerk who then found the missing file. Without that newspaper proof she would never had been able to obtain the document she needed.

probate notice for the estate of Roger Powell, Duluth News-Tribune newspaper article 25 January 1908

Duluth News-Tribune (Duluth, Minnesota), 25 January 1908, page 9

What’s the lesson here? Newspapers provide us with information that leads to other documents about our ancestors.

Newspapers Provide a Look at Our Ancestor’s Community

We don’t take the time to really read our ancestor’s newspaper. As researchers, we tend to be singularly focused on finding mentions of our own ancestor and not much else. I understand too well how addicting it is to enter an ancestor’s name into a search engine and get a result. But it is important to invest some time to read that ancestor’s hometown newspaper to learn more about their life, and what events or activities impacted them.

article about an earthquake, Cincinnati Daily Gazette newspaper article 19 June 1875

Cincinnati Daily Gazette (Cincinnati, Ohio), 19 June 1875, page 1

Don’t forget that your ancestor was part of a community. Their children went to school, they attended a church, and were active members of organizations. Those types of activities generate newspaper articles. So don’t conduct your family history research with blinders on.

One of the suggestions I always make to researchers is to create a timeline. In that timeline you are going to add the cradle-to-grave events of your ancestor’s life – but you should also add events that they may have been a part of or that might have affected them, like a natural disaster or military service during a time of war. These types of events help to fill out the story of their life, and one of the few places to get that type of information is the newspaper.

Newspaper Research Should Start Today

There’s no doubt that newspaper research is an important piece of your genealogical puzzle. Newspapers complement the genealogy documents that we use in documenting our ancestors. Their value lies in recreating the story that is uniquely your family’s.

Are You Attending the RootsTech Genealogy Conference?

GenealogyBank is helping to sponsor the RootsTech conference. If you’re attending, come visit us at booth #523 to discuss genealogy in general, or any specific questions you have about your own family history research.

For more information about RootsTech, visit the website at: http://www.rootstech.org/?lang=eng

Related Newspaper Research Articles:

RootsTech Presentation: ‘Facts, Photos & Fugitives – Using Online Newspapers’

Are you attending the upcoming RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, 3-6 February, 2016? If so, be sure to check out tomorrow’s genealogy presentation:

  • Title: “Facts, Photos & Fugitives – Using Online Newspapers”
  • Speaker: Scott M. Spencer, GenealogyBank VP, Customer Experience
  • Time & Place: Wednesday, February 3, 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM, Room 155D
montage of newspaper articles

Source: GenealogyBank.com

Objective: Newspapers are one of the most underutilized resources in family history research – and yet they can be one of the most valuable. Attendees will learn more about how newspapers can take them far beyond the names and dates of their ancestors by enriching their research with unique stories and details that can only be found in newspapers.

Whether the challenge is overcoming a brick wall or learning more about the life of an ancestor, this class will teach you practical tips on how to discover articles of all types including birth, marriage, death, military, passenger lists and more!

Participants will hear inspirational stories and learn about the more than 7,000 online newspaper titles, published from 1690-today, in GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives – while walking away with knowledge and resources that will allow them to immediately begin making discoveries of their own. Examples will be taken from www.genealogybank.com.

Uncover the facts…

Newspaper birth, marriage and death notices provide much more than just a name and date. They can often provide more information than a vital record itself. Learn tips and tricks on how to discover these on your own.

Discover the photos…

In addition to names, dates and other facts contained in articles, newspapers provide invaluable images of our ancestors, their homes, and the towns in which they lived. Come see examples of photos you can find in newspapers.

Find the family fugitive…

Newspapers contain a treasure trove of stories and details that helped shape the lives of our ancestors, some of which may have involved a run-in with the law. Learn how uncovering the past by using newspapers can help you understand the future.

Are you attending the RootsTech Genealogy Conference?

GenealogyBank is helping to sponsor the upcoming RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, 3-6 February, 2016. If you’re attending, come visit us at booth #523 to discuss genealogy in general, or any specific questions you have about your own family history research.

For more information about RootsTech, visit the website at: http://www.rootstech.org/?lang=eng

Related RootsTech Articles:

Genealogy Conferences, Such as RootsTech: What to Expect

Introduction: Mary Harrell-Sesniak is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background. In this blog article, Mary – who has attended many genealogy conferences – provides some tips to prepare for and enjoy the next genealogy conference you attend.

Are you planning on attending the upcoming RootsTech genealogy conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, 3-6 February, 2016? Or perhaps another genealogy conference later this year? If so, this article provides some tips to help you get the most out of whatever family history conference you attend.

Photo: RootsTech genealogy conference

Source: RootsTech.org

There are a few pilgrimages diligent genealogists take. Among them are:

  • Visiting cemeteries
  • Touring ancestral homelands
  • Researching at renowned libraries
  • Researching at state and national archives
  • Attending national genealogy conferences

All of these are exciting options, but the last choice is high on my list. Genealogy conferences are always exciting to attend. My experience is that they leave me refreshed and enthused about tackling portions of my family tree that need to be addressed.

If you’ve never attended a genealogy conference, this list is typical of what you can expect:

Preregistration

Register early, so that you can take advantage of early bird discounts. Information may be sent electronically or in the mail. Hotels may fill too, so if you wish to find one in close proximity do not delay. Many attendees reserve rooms a year in advance. They also reserve special events, such as dinners and classes.

Registration

Once you have arrived, get in the appropriate line to register. You’ll be given a name tag or other ID to get you into the event and exhibits. Some provide a holder and strap so it will hang around your neck.

Name Tags

If you subscribe to, or are a member of, a well-known genealogy organization, you may be given labels to attach to your credentials. Don’t be surprised to see people adorned with a half dozen or so examples of genealogical bling (i.e., things to attach to the name tag).

The Keynote Speech

The opening gathering will feature one or more keynote speakers. This is where you’ll hear first hand what’s on the mind of the great minds.

Not every keynote speaker will be a genealogist – but expect someone prominent. It may be a historian, CEO or renowned author. Sometimes there will be more than one, so arrive early to get a good seat. Sometimes you will be treated to exciting announcements and information about the latest trends affecting family history research.

Handouts

Most national conferences offer a syllabus. It may be printed, recorded on a DVD or thumb drive, or downloadable in advance. If you are fortunate to receive it in advance, do your homework so that you can decide which presentations you wish to attend.

Speakers are required to create their handouts well in advance, but occasionally there will be changes. Be prepared to take notes and gather any additional materials within each setting.

Presentations

This is where you’ll have to make some tough decisions. Smaller conferences may require you preregister for a presentation, but larger ones generally do not. The more popular speakers will be placed in the larger rooms. Many fill up and doors may be closed promptly once they reach standing-room-only capacity, so do not be late.

Regional Considerations

Some conventions follow themes. Others offer in-depth looks at regional issues, which is a real boon if held in an area of ancestral interest.

Classes

To come up to speed on a special topic, look for a class. Some are elementary and others are at the advanced levels.

Generally, classes are taught by accredited or certified genealogists who are at the top of their field. Some may charge for classes and most require preregistration. My recommendation is that the price is generally worth it if you want to become knowledgeable in a topic.

Families, Languages and Ethnic Considerations

Some conferences are limited to specific age groups, but a growing trend is to include family-friendly days. Genealogy is also becoming more diversified, so don’t be surprised to see programs with a multicultural approach or even in a foreign language.

Entertainment, Tours, Parties and Dinners

Entertainment and tours of local venues may be offered. I’ve been treated to choirs, scanning demonstrations and tours of industry headquarters. These can be a highlight of your event.

Not everyone will be invited to invitation-only parties. However, if you are an officer of a prominent organization or well known in your field, you may receive an invite – so pack proper attire.

During the day, there will be a limited amount of food for purchase in the exhibit halls. A nicer option would be to attend a banquet or dinner with a speaker program. Reservations will be required, as well as advanced fees. Many sell out early, as attendees tend to find these enjoyable.

Vendor Exhibits

One of the most fun places in a conference is the exhibit hall.

Here is where you will network with known and unknown companies, watch sales demonstrations, learn about the newest and greatest innovations, enter drawings for freebies, and purchase books and other materials.

You never know whom you’ll run into on the floor. You might just meet one of your favorite bloggers, an interesting author, or the CEO of a well-known genealogy company.

Closing Presentation

Due to flight schedules and long drives home, many elect to miss the closing ceremony – but if possible, stay to the very end. There are often interesting recaps and information that was not shared earlier. And don’t forget to go back into the conference hall. Vendors may not wish to take everything back with them!

Conference Tips

  • Take comfortable walking shoes. The exhibit hall may be hard concrete and you can expect to walk long distances between presentations.
  • Wear a backpack or carry a durable tote bag.
  • A notepad & pencil, tablet or laptop is essential for taking notes. A thumb drive, smart phone or camera may also be useful.
  • Some attendees will pull a roller board behind them to accommodate all of the materials.
  • Even if you are not connected with an organization, personal business cards are handy to exchange info or to use in a drawing.
  • Take along a snack and water bottle. Food choices may be limited and the fast food lines may be long.
  • If you are attending a winter conference, there may be a checkroom for coats and other items.
  • WIFI may be available, but if everyone is online at the same time, you may have issues.
  • Some venues offer shipping services. This is a great idea to keep your luggage manageable.

Can’t Make the Conference?

Many genealogy conferences allow family historians to attend sessions virtually via a home computer – and if they are recorded, many sessions are available for purchase. It’s always great to revisit a favorite presentation or review a class you weren’t able to attend in person.

Are You Attending the RootsTech Genealogy Conference?

GenealogyBank is helping to sponsor the upcoming RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, 3-6 February, 2016. If you’re attending, come visit us at booth #523 to discuss genealogy in general, or any specific questions you have about your own family history research.

For more information about RootsTech, visit the website at: http://www.rootstech.org/?lang=eng

Related RootsTech Article: