If You Don’t Put It Online – Your Descendants Will Not Find It!

With the New Year now started, here’s a genealogy resolution you can keep in 2016: preserve your family history records online so that future generations can find them. Take your records – prepare now to begin scanning them and putting them online.

photo of a letter from Maxine Lacy

Source: Thomas Jay Kemp

Bottom line: “If You Don’t Put It Online – Your Descendants Will Not Find It!”

photo of a letter from Maxine Lacy

Source: Thomas Jay Kemp

It is that simple.

That is the central message of the online lecture that I gave Friday, November 13th.

Click here to listen to my webinar Bringing It All Together and Leaving a Permanent Record.

Whether you’ve been researching your family history for 5 years – 15 years – or perhaps even 50 years – your search skills have improved year after year.

Now is the time to thoroughly review your research conclusions. You want to review and evaluate each person in your family tree. Reconfirm the dates/places of their vital events and upload their photos, stories and documents. Make sure that each person’s record is accurate and that all of your notes are attached.

Put that information online. Now.

Review and rebuild your tree – putting it on multiple websites so that you have double or triple the online backup, widely distributing your information so that your non-genealogist family members can easily find what you spent years discovering.

Put your stories and family photos on multiple websites like:

Facebook

screenshot of a Facebook page showing a recipe for chocolate cake

Source: Facebook

Pinterest

screenshot of a Pinterest board showing a recipe for chocolate cake

Source: Pinterest

FamilySearch

screenshot of a FamilySearch page showing a recipe for chocolate cake

Source: FamilySearch

Listen to the webinar to learn how to review and prepare your data so that you can leave it – permanently – on multiple websites. For the upcoming New Year, resolve to make sure your data is available for your family into the rising generation.

Related Articles:

 

Finding Bion Whitehouse: How Initials Can Help Your Ancestry Search

I have been looking at my Whitehouse cousins of Keene, New Hampshire, this week and was wrapping up the details of Bion Huntley Whitehouse (1858-1929) and his wife Mabel Medora (Wilder) Whitehouse (1871-1938).

In looking at GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives, I searched using his first and last name: Bion Whitehouse. I found a handful of newspaper articles, including this one that stated he was elected secretary of the Masonic lodge: Eureka Lodge No. 9, Order of the Golden Lion in 1891.

article about the Masonic lodge, Eureka Lodge No. 9, Order of the Golden Lion, New Hampshire Sentinel newspaper article 4 February 1891

New Hampshire Sentinel (Keene, New Hampshire), 4 February 1891, page 4

Another article reported that he “is taking a ten days’ trip about Sunapee Lake.”

article about Bion Whitehouse, New Hampshire Sentinel newspaper article 5 August 1891

New Hampshire Sentinel (Keene, New Hampshire), 5 August 1891, page 4

And this one stated that he “has bought the Amos Ross place near Wilson pond, West Keene.”

article about Bion Whitehouse, New Hampshire Sentinel newspaper article 18 December 1889

New Hampshire Sentinel (Keene, New Hampshire), 18 December 1889, page 4

On a hunch, I searched for Bion again in GenealogyBank – but this time I searched using his initials with his last name instead of using his first name.

screenshot of GenealogyBank's search box showing a search for B. H. Whitehouse

Source: GenealogyBank.com

I am glad that I did.

By searching on this variation of his name I found the obituary of his first wife – information that I didn’t have.

obituary for Lena Whitehouse, New Hampshire Sentinel newspaper article 9 April 1890

New Hampshire Sentinel (Keene, New Hampshire), 9 April 1890, page 8

Genealogy Tip: Be sure you discover all of the articles about your relatives. An extra search, such as using only their initials, can sometimes yield critical information for documenting your family tree.

Related Name Search Articles:

Genealogy Tips: Searching for Your Ancestors Using Nicknames

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” In this blog article, Gena shows how expanding your name searches to include nicknames can discover records about your ancestors you never found before.

Finding your ancestor in old newspapers, such as GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives, isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Sure, you can search by a given name and sometimes find your ancestor right away. Other times you need to try variations and common misspellings of their name before getting good search results. But if even then you come up empty, what do you search on next?

Try Nicknames

Do you have a nickname? Maybe your nickname is based on your actual given name. Perhaps it has to do with a characteristic or physical trait you possess. You may have earned your nickname playing sports or in the workplace. Sometimes a nickname may make absolutely no sense. In my case, my paternal grandfather gave me a nickname shortly after I was born based on his miss-hearing of my actual middle name. That nickname would make no sense to anyone (and no, I won’t tell you what it is) but it was always the name he used to refer to me.

A person can gain a nickname for all kinds of reasons, including: ease of pronunciation; to distinguish between two family members with the same name; and in some cases to call out a negative trait.

The most important thing to remember about nicknames is that they could have also been used in print when a newspaper referred to your ancestor. Have you given some thought to searching for your ancestor using a nickname?

You Say Mary, I Say Polly

Probably the most familiar use of a nickname is one that simply substitutes one name for a person’s given name. Throughout history, there have been some standard names substituted for “proper” given names. Case in point: Mary. Mary could be May, Mimi, Molly or Polly. And of course she could have been just Mary, Mary Ann or Mary Jane.

While these nicknames may have seemed childish to some – and they certainly were to the writer of this 1875 newspaper article – in reality it’s possible the nickname was used all of the person’s life. This writer seems annoyed at the use of such familiar names as “Bettie,” commenting:

While this vulgar and silly practice of calling ladies by their nicknames is in vogue among the ignorant and the shoddy class in all parts of the country…

article about nicknames, Cincinnati Daily Enquirer newspaper article 5 March 1875

Cincinnati Daily Enquirer (Cincinnati, Ohio), 5 March 1875, page 2

Are you searching on all variations of your ancestor’s written name, including nicknames? Their name may have been abbreviated to a form considered archaic to our modern written language, such as “Jno” for John, “Wm” for William or “Geo.” for George. Previous generations’ nicknames may make little sense to us today. Sarah being referred to as Sally is one such example. Many modern people are confused about why Dick is a nickname for Richard, but according to an online article by David K. Israel, 12th and 13th century nicknames for Richard included Rich and Rick as well as rhyming versions of those names – including Dick.*

In order to improve your chances of finding your ancestor in the newspaper (and other records), it’s important to become familiar with nicknames for a given name. One way to do this is to consult a resource list on nicknames like the FamilySearch Wiki page, “Traditional Nicknames in Old Documents – A Wiki List,” or “A Listing of Some Nicknames Used in the 18th & 19th Centuries” from the Connecticut State Library. You can also read more about nicknames in Christine Rose’s book, Nicknames: Past and Present.

Boy, They Weren’t Very Original!

Do you ever get tired of ancestors who seem to use the same few given names generation after generation? Recycling the names William and John, or Elizabeth and Mary, makes it very difficult to trace a family tree. In some cases re-using a name or favoring certain names might be due to a tradition like naming a child after a saint. You may stumble upon a whole family that has used one singular given name, as in the case of one branch of my family where all the daughters share the name Maria but used their middle names in day-to-day life. This is another example of why searching newspapers for variations of your ancestor’s name, such as middle names or nicknames, is so important. Don’t forget to look for home sources or conduct family interviews to uncover a person’s possible nicknames.

Nicknames can be an important distinguisher for those who are given the same name as a parent, grandparent or older relative. A newspaper article may refer to someone as “Junior” or “Senior.” While referring to someone as Junior or the Second (II) may seem straightforward, a more uncommon nickname could be utilized to refer to someone named after a previous generation or who carries the same name held by successive generations. For example, Skip may be the nickname of someone named after their grandfather but not their father.

“Billy the Kid” & “Gorgeous” George

We are all familiar with nicknames that are substitutes for both a given name and surname. A good example is Billy the Kid. Looking for articles using his given name, Henry McCarty, or his alias, William H. Bonney, might not yield as many returns as searching for his moniker, Billy the Kid.

obituary for Billy the Kid, Kalamazoo Gazette newspaper article 22 July 1881

Kalamazoo Gazette (Kalamazoo, Michigan), 22 July 1881, page 1

Billy the Kid wasn’t the only desperado who ditched his given name. Nicknames were seemingly so popular among those committing crimes that the U.S. District Clerk’s Office kept track of defendant’s actual names and nicknames. Researching a black sheep ancestor? Make sure to use both his or her “real” name and their nickname to find relevant articles.

article about criminals' nicknames, Dallas Morning News newspaper article 23 December 1938

Dallas Morning News (Dallas, Texas), 23 December 1938, page 5

One way to incorporate nicknames in your search is to consider your ancestor’s descriptive nickname substituting for a first or middle name, offset with quotes, as is often done for people like athletes or criminals.

This 1962 sports example of a wrestler named George “Gorgeous” Grant shows the difficulty that can arise when searching on a name. I’ve also seen a nickname listed with parenthesis in the middle like George (Gorgeous) Grant in genealogically-rich articles like obituaries. So make sure that you search on multiple versions of a name including just the nickname and the surname. And while exact phrase searches are important, incorporate other searches as well.

article about professional wrestlers, Times-Picayune newspaper article 14 February 1962

Times-Picayune (New Orleans, Louisiana), 14 February 1962, page 37

When you aren’t sure of a family member’s nickname, it can be beneficial to try a surname search and include other keywords that can assist you in discovering that nickname. Remember that on GenealogyBank, in addition to keywords, you can narrow your search by place, date, newspaper title and even type of article.

article about professional baseball players, Trenton Evening Times newspaper article 26 August 1911

Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, New Jersey), 26 August 1911, page 13

Before you start your next family history research project, keep in mind the importance of having a list of name variations that includes all the various nicknames and versions of your ancestor’s name, as well as possible misspellings.

————————

* “The Origins of 10 Nicknames,” by David K. Israel. Mental Floss: http://mentalfloss.com/article/24761/origins-10-nicknames

Related Name Search Articles:

Typical Genealogy Research Problem: Here’s What You Want to Do

Here is my task: find documentation for the marriage of Benjamin Walter Tribble and Lilian Blanche Mathias, who were married on 30 December 1906 in Irmo, South Carolina.

OK. That should be easy.

Step One

I’ll go to FamilySearch.org and look for their marriage certificate.
With billions of records online, this should be quick.

FamilySearch has an online database: South Carolina Marriages 1709-1913.
See: https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1675541

A close look at this collection shows that so far it has only 4,154 South Carolina marriage records online. Clearly this is a work in process – there must have been hundreds of thousands if not more than a million marriages in South Carolina during those 200+ years.

Let’s search this database and see if their marriage certificate is online.
No. Not there.
I can keep checking back and see when it is uploaded to their site.

Step Two

Digging deeper into FamilySearch’s certificates, I next looked to see if they had records for Irmo, South Carolina.

Irmo is located in both Lexington and Richland Counties in South Carolina.

Let’s look in the FamilySearch online catalog and see if they have microfilm or published marriage records for these counties.

Search the FamilySearch Catalog here: https://familysearch.org/catalog/search

Looking at the records for Lexington County – great – they have marriage licenses and indexes for that county – but only for 1911-1950 and 1911-1958 respectively.

Benjamin and Lilian’s marriage was in 1906 – so I won’t find it there.

Turning to Richland County, South Carolina, I find that FamilySearch has their marriage licenses from 1911-1922 online – but again, no coverage for 1906.

Step Three

Let’s see if there is a record of their marriage in GenealogyBank.com, searching through the South Carolina Newspaper Archives.

screenshot of GenealogyBank showing the South Carolina Newspaper Archives search page

Source: GenealogyBank.com

OK good.
GenealogyBank has newspaper coverage for South Carolina from 1735 to 1996.

But – I see only seven South Carolina cities are listed and Irmois not one of them.

So – is my search over?
No – wait – there’s more.

Important Genealogy Tip: Marriages, obituaries, etc., were routinely reported by newspapers from around the state. You want to search all the newspapers in your target state and not limit your search to only your ancestors’ local newspapers.

A quick search across all South Carolina newspapers for their wedding announcement quickly pulls up a record about them.

screenshot of GenealogyBank showing a search for the Tribble family

Source: GenealogyBank.com

I found their marriage notice.

marriage announcement for Benjamin Walter Tribble and Lilian Blanche Mathias, State newspaper article 31 December 1906

State (Columbia, South Carolina), 31 December 1906, page 2

This newspaper article from a Columbia, South Carolina, newspaper provides a long description of their wedding.

Where else would we learn details such as this:

The church was darkened and decorated in white and green. Just in front of the pulpit a double arch of evergreens had been erected and from the intersection hung a large white wedding bell. The arch was studded with lighted tapers.

Wow – a candlelight wedding. That is an image I won’t soon forget.

Bottom Line: Take a balanced approach in your family history research. In searching for marriage records I always look in FamilySearch and GenealogyBank. I want a copy of the original marriage certificate that FamilySearch provides – AND – a firsthand account of the wedding itself that can only be found in GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives.

Find and document your family history – gathering the old marriage certificates and also the newspaper articles about their candlelight weddings beneath a canopy of evergreens.

Related Marriage Record Articles:

Arkansas Archives: 86 Newspapers for Genealogy Research

Arkansas became the nation’s 25th state when it joined the Union on 15 June 1836. Arkansas (whose pronunciation with the final “s” being silent was made official by the state legislature in 1881) is the 29th largest state in the country and the 33rd most populous.

Photo: Cedar Falls at the end of the Cedar Falls Trail, located in Petit Jean State Park near Morrilton, Arkansas

Photo: Cedar Falls at the end of the Cedar Falls Trail, located in Petit Jean State Park near Morrilton, Arkansas. Credit: Brandonrush; Wikimedia Commons.

If you are researching your ancestry from Arkansas, you will want to use GenealogyBank’s online AR newspaper archives: 86 titles to help you search your family history in the “Natural State,” providing coverage from 1819 to Today. There are more than 3.7 million articles and records in our online Arkansas newspaper archives!

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

Search Arkansas Newspaper Archives (1819 – 1999)

Search Arkansas Recent Obituaries (1999 – Current)

Illustration: Arkansas state flag

Illustration: Arkansas state flag. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Here is a list of online Arkansas 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 AR newspaper titles are listed alphabetically by city.

City Title Date Range * Collection
Arkadelphia Daily Siftings Herald 03/15/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bella Vista Weekly Vista 11/23/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Benton Saline Courier 05/08/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bentonville Benton County Daily Record 01/01/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Booneville Booneville Democrat 10/23/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cabot Cabot Star-Herald 08/22/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Camden Camden News 12/02/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Camden Ouachita Herald 05/22/1856 – 03/30/1861 Newspaper Archives
Carlisle Carlisle Independent 06/06/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Charleston Charleston Express 06/03/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Clinton Van Buren County Democrat 01/26/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Denson Denson Tribune 03/02/1943 – 06/06/1944 Newspaper Archives
El Dorado El Dorado News-Times 01/04/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Farmington Washington County Enterprise-Leader 11/04/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fayetteville Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette 01/01/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fayetteville Northwest Arkansas Times 01/02/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fayetteville NWAOnline: Web Edition Articles 07/28/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fayetteville Whole Hog Sports 04/14/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Forrest City Homeland 10/01/1991 – 07/01/1999 Newspaper Archives
Fort Chaffee Helping Hand 05/02/1975 – 12/19/1975 Newspaper Archives
Fort Smith Times Record 10/13/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fort Smith Fort Smith New Era 01/20/1869 – 05/12/1880 Newspaper Archives
Gravette Westside Eagle Observer 08/04/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Greenwood Greenwood Democrat 06/03/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Heber Springs Jacksonian 11/27/1890 – 05/31/1894 Newspaper Archives
Heber Springs Sun Times 11/13/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Helena Western Clarion 04/01/1865 – 12/16/1865 Newspaper Archives
Helena, West Helena Daily World 02/09/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hope Hope Star 10/20/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hot Springs Hot Springs Village Voice 09/03/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hot Springs Sentinel-Record 03/01/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hot Springs Sentinel=Record 01/01/1962 – 12/31/1964 Newspaper Archives
Jacksonville Jacksonville Patriot 04/18/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Jonesboro Jonesboro Daily News 10/19/1908 – 05/31/1910 Newspaper Archives
Jonesboro Jonesboro Daily Times-Enterprise 09/03/1904 – 10/16/1908 Newspaper Archives
Jonesboro Jonesboro Daily Tribune 01/01/1910 – 12/30/1922 Newspaper Archives
Jonesboro Jonesboro Evening Sun 12/08/1904 – 12/27/1922 Newspaper Archives
Jonesboro Jonesboro Weekly Sun 03/03/1904 – 02/21/1923 Newspaper Archives
Jonesboro Jonesboro Weekly Times-Enterprise 05/18/1905 – 01/16/1908 Newspaper Archives
Jonesboro Jonesboro Weekly Tribune 06/01/1905 – 02/17/1921 Newspaper Archives
Jonesboro Jonesboro Sun 08/25/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
Little Rock Arkansas Democrat-Gazette 10/30/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Little Rock Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: Web Edition Articles 03/30/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Little Rock Arkansas Times 07/07/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Little Rock Arkansas Times: Blogs 04/12/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Little Rock ARPreps 05/28/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Little Rock American Guide 01/27/1900 – 01/27/1900 Newspaper Archives
Little Rock Arkansas Freeman 10/05/1869 – 10/05/1869 Newspaper Archives
Little Rock Arkansas Gazette 12/23/1820 – 11/01/1908 Newspaper Archives
Little Rock Arkansas Weekly Mansion 06/23/1883 – 04/19/1884 Newspaper Archives
Little Rock Arkansas Star 09/07/1839 – 02/01/1841 Newspaper Archives
Little Rock Arkansas State Press 05/09/1941 – 10/30/1959 Newspaper Archives
Little Rock Weekly Arkansas Gazette 11/20/1819 – 05/25/1876 Newspaper Archives
Little Rock Arkansas Whig 05/22/1851 – 05/24/1855 Newspaper Archives
Little Rock Morning Republican 11/25/1867 – 06/03/1874 Newspaper Archives
Little Rock Southern Mediator Journal 06/22/1962 – 02/25/1966 Newspaper Archives
Little Rock Arkansas Advocate 07/28/1830 – 03/27/1833 Newspaper Archives
Little Rock Arkansas Times and Advocate 05/01/1837 – 03/11/1844 Newspaper Archives
Lonoke Lonoke Democrat 03/21/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Magnolia Banner-News 11/19/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Malvern Malvern Daily Record 08/01/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Maumelle Maumelle Monitor 10/17/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
McGehee Rohwer Outpost 10/24/1942 – 07/21/1945 Newspaper Archives
McGehee Rohwer Relocator 08/01/1945 – 11/09/1945 Newspaper Archives
Newport Newport Independent 01/25/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
North Little Rock Times 10/12/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Paragould Paragould Daily Press 07/11/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Paris Paris Express 06/03/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Pea Ridge Times of Northeast Benton County 10/05/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Pine Bluff Pine Bluff Weekly Herald 01/27/1900 – 01/27/1900 Newspaper Archives
Pine Bluff Pine Bluff Commercial 10/11/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Prescott Gurdon Times 12/17/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Prescott Nevada County Picayune 10/05/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Rogers Rogers Morning News 10/26/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Russellville Courier 08/20/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Searcy Daily Citizen 08/26/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
Sherwood Sherwood Voice 06/05/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Siloam Springs Siloam Springs Herald-Leader 12/28/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Springdale Springdale Morning News 10/26/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Springdale, Rogers Morning News of Northwest Arkansas 10/23/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Stuttgart Stuttgart Daily Leader 03/15/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Van Buren Alma Journal 06/25/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Van Buren Arkansas Intelligencer 02/15/1845 – 10/01/1858 Newspaper Archives
Van Buren Press Argus Courier 10/22/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
White Hall White Hall Journal 09/30/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
White Hall White Hall Progress 11/08/2007 – 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 Arkansas newspaper links will be live.

Related Resource:

Genealogy Resolution for the New Year: Make a ‘To-Do’ List

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” In this blog article, Gena settles on one New Year’s genealogy resolution for 2016 that she’s determined to follow.

Yikes! Where did 2015 go? I feel like another year has flown by and I’m still not where I want to be with the genealogy goals I wrote down in December 2014. I don’t know about you but I’m just not a New Year’s resolution person. Sure, I have great intentions. I feel motivated on January 1st and still fairly committed by the end of the month. But then February comes and goes and then March and I start justifying my continuing procrastination with promises that “I’ll accomplish that stuff during the summer when it’s not as busy.” Oh, sure I will. Life gets busy, stuff happens, and then pretty soon it’s December 31st again.

So if you’re like me, try sticking to just one New Year’s genealogy resolution: make a to-do list for those moments when you can say “I have an hour to work on my genealogy.” By creating a family history research to-do list you can refer back to it when you’re ready, and not feel the pressure and disappointment that will inevitably come on December 31st when you realize you never tackled a long list of New Year’s genealogy resolutions.

Photo: New Year’s resolutions postcards from the early 20th century

Photo: New Year’s resolutions postcards from the early 20th century. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

As I spent some time looking over my genealogy database recently I realized I could do a better job adding information from newspapers, such as those in GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives. The following ideas from my 2016 genealogy to-do list might be some you could incorporate into your own.

Go Back and Utilize Name Variations

I’ve talked about it before and believe me, I have been guilty of not heeding my own advice. I’ve noticed that when I’ve missed newspaper articles about the person I was researching it’s often because I didn’t take into consideration name variations, misspellings, and use of initials. For example, one of the women I am researching was married twice, went by a name other than her given first name, used her first husband’s surname even when married to her second husband because that was her “professional” name, and used her initials instead of her first name! Because of all this, here are some of the name variations I have to take into consideration when searching for Eleanore G. Burdick Stetson Dederick:

  • G. Stetson
  • E. G. Stetson
  • Louis Dederick
  • Eleanore Dederick
  • Ella Burdick
  • Eleanore Stetson
article about registered hotel guests, Daily Inter Ocean newspaper article 6 August 1895

Daily Inter Ocean (Chicago, Illinois), 6 August 1895, page 2

One of the first things I do when researching an individual is create a list of name variations, including initials substituting for first and middle name, and all the possible alternative spellings of their name. I add to this list as I come across other misspellings or variations. Each time I research I use this list to guide my search. By being flexible about how you search for a person, you are more likely to find them.

Fill in Your 20th Century Blanks

It’s easy to get side tracked when looking at newspapers – let’s face it, there are some great articles that can be found about our ancestors’ lives from very long ago. But I know I need to go back and concentrate on finding some of the basics for my more recent generations. Sometimes in our quest to trace our family back as far as we can, we fail to gather information on those family members that may have lived in the 20th century. My plan is to gather those newspaper articles to fill in the timelines for my great-great-grandparents and successive generations.

For example, this 1954 obituary for Betty Chatham filled in some gaps in my family tree and gave me several clues for further family history research.

obituary for Betty Chatham, Sacramento Bee newspaper article 24 December 1954

Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, California), 24 December 1954, page 21

While it’s tempting to skip multiple generations in our quest to trace our family lines farther back, don’t do it. Take some time today to document your more recent family. Their stories and lives deserve to be preserved for the future.

Try Something New

Whether it’s correct or not, we often hear statistics about how we only use a small percentage of our brains – but the same could be said for many of the tools we use. We become familiar with a few features of a software program or a website and we don’t venture beyond those features or databases.

I must admit that I am guilty of this. I get so caught up in finding historical newspaper articles in GenealogyBank that I forget to check out some of the other databases GenealogyBank has to offer, such as Historical Documents and Historical Books.

One of their databases that is a real gem is the Recent Newspaper Obituaries collection. At first glance you may assume you wouldn’t need obituaries from the late 1970s to today – but that would be a mistake. While the majority of our work as genealogists concentrates on those who lived generations before us, we also need to track those who died more recently, and their immediate families. That’s how we make connections with cousins and ultimately uncover new information. As I explored this collection of more recent obituaries, I came across the obituary of a cousin that listed his children. These were family members that we had lost contact with decades ago and now, because of that one obituary, I have names and residences that I can use to contact them.

Take some time today to brainstorm your 2016 genealogy to-do list. What would you like to know more about your family before 31 December 2016 rolls around?

Related Article:

20 New Years’ Resolutions for Genealogy

Introduction: Mary Harrell-Sesniak is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background. In this blog article, Mary – with tongue firmly in cheek – presents 20 New Year’s resolutions for genealogists as we head into 2016.

As we head from 2015 to 2016, remember to quickly document 2015, as it is now your past.

Illustration: cartoon showing an infant representing “New Year 1905” chasing “Old Man 1904” into history

Illustration: cartoon showing an infant representing “New Year 1905” chasing “Old Man 1904” into history. Credit: John T. McCutcheon; Wikimedia Commons.

But seriously, when asked by GenealogyBank for some timely genealogy resolutions for the New Year, my serious side left the building. Wouldn’t it be fun to use these resolutions!

  • Locate deceased relatives in order to figure out which ancestor is haunting the family house – or better yet, invite one to become the family ghost and leave you clues.
  • Resolve to donate a black sheep to the local petting zoo. Family historians will understand the innuendo.
  • Resolve to never purchase a house with a real brick wall. It’s very unlucky when trying to solve the family puzzles.
  • Add a genealogically oriented cornerstone to your home. Include the pertinent data as to the family name, its pronunciation, when you moved there, etc.
  • Find birth records to make genealogy quilts for family members with the names of your ancestors and their countries of origin.
  • Resolve to only donate to politicians who have supported funding for genealogy and historical preservation. While you’re at it, search military records to see which of your ancestors served this country.
  • Threaten to disinherit the family down-at-the-mouthers when they sneer at your genealogy.
  • Write your own glowing obituary – then add a clause to your will disinheriting anyone who dares replace it with another version.
  • Read newspaper archives and historical documents to create a genealogy quiz for the executor to distribute at the reading of your will. Anyone who can’t answer questions, such as “which ancestor built the house on 7th Street” or “what was Grandma’s maiden name” has to retake it until they get an A. Leave a bonus to the top scorer, along with all your family research material and a stipend to preserve it.
  • Create birth, marriage and death announcements for ancestors who missed out on having them.
  • If you hear a relative sneer with “blah, blah, blah” to your latest genealogy find, respond with: “thanks, I think I’ll ‘blog, blog, blog’ about your disinterest, so it will be out there when you finally get interested.”
  • Record the GPS coordinates of the family headstones and present the data to disinterested relatives. Make sure you take their photos to record their “Oh gee thanks” expressions!
  • Use historical books to find your living family’s doppelgangers (ancestor look-alikes) and frame their images in side-by-side frames.
  • In order to hook your grandchildren on genealogy, search family names to figure out how they are related to their favorite pop stars.
  • Create your multi-generational family tree and engrave it into your headstone! (No joke. Some genealogists have already thought of this.)
  • Engrave your headstone with a statement noting your better qualities. (“Loving mother, or grandmother, genealogy diva & the family favorite”)
  • Persuade your local library board to provide special parking places for family history researchers.
  • Petition your state legislature for vanity license plates that grant free & convenient parking for genealogists at all state and national archives.
  • Hire handwriting experts to determine just who mislabeled the family photos. If it turns out it was a living relative, label this person’s really bad photos accurately.
  • Lastly, to complete the family DNA tests – resolve to do it surreptitiously during a family get-together. Here’s how: cover your desserts and say “Everyone. Open your mouth and close your eyes, so you can have a little surprise.” Instead of inserting a tasty bite, take a cheek swab.

Remember: all New Year’s resolutions go in one year and out the other! Make this one a safe one!

Bunker Hill Drummer Boy

Every Christmas we hear the familiar lyrics of “The Little Drummer Boy” Christmas classic popularized in the 1950s and still popular today.

Pa rum pum pum pum,
Rum pum pum pum,
Rum pum pum pum

Drummer boys have resonated with Americans for centuries.

painting: “Yankee Doodle,” aka “The Spirit of ’76,” by Archibald Willard

Painting: “Yankee Doodle,” aka “The Spirit of ’76,” by Archibald Willard. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Rufus Kingsley (1763-1846) was one of three drummer boys at the Battle of Bunker Hill. The town of Kingsley, Pennsylvania, was named for this Connecticut-born Revolutionary War veteran.

obituary for Rufus Kingsley, Centinel of Freedom newspaper article 23 June 1846

Centinel of Freedom (Newark, New Jersey), 23 June 1846, page 4

Kingsley’s obituary recalled his popularity:

Many of our readers will recollect the enthusiasm with which the old veteran, with his ancient drum, was hailed when presented to the audience.

He gave us a touch of the music which awakened the American combatants on the morning of that memorable battle…The stirring note of his old drum will be heard no more.

Tragically his wife of 60 years, Lucinda Cutler, died three days later.

Don’t let their stories be lost.

GenealogyBank’s over 1 billion records are your best source to find their stories.

Document every drummer boy in your family tree and pass down their stories.

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 Revolutionary War Articles:

Idaho Archives: 35 Newspapers for Genealogy Research

Idaho became the nation’s 43rd state when it joined the Union on 3 July 1890. A mountainous state with large areas of wilderness, Idaho is the 14th largest state in the country and the 39th most populous.

Photo of Yellow Bells at City of Rocks National Reserve, Idaho

Photo: Yellow Bells at City of Rocks National Reserve, Idaho. Credit: Wallace Keck, Park Superintendent, City of Rocks National Reserve; Wikimedia Commons.

If you are researching your ancestry from Idaho, you will want to use GenealogyBank’s online ID newspaper archives: 35 titles to help you search your family history in the “Gem State,” providing coverage from 1864 to Today. There are more than 13.7 million articles and records in our online Idaho newspaper archives!

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

Search Idaho Newspaper Archives (1864 – 1976)

Search Idaho Recent Obituaries (1989 – Current)

Illustration of the Idaho state flag

Illustration: Idaho state flag. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Here is a list of online Idaho 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 ID newspaper titles are listed alphabetically by city.

City Title Date Range* Collection
Blackfoot Blackfoot Register 07/10/1880 – 03/22/1884 Newspaper Archives
Blackfoot Morning News 08/02/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Boise Evening Bulletin 02/21/1903 – 02/21/1903 Newspaper Archives
Boise Idaho Statesman 07/26/1864 – 01/01/1953 Newspaper Archives
Boise Idaho Statesman 01/26/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
Boise Idaho Democrat 01/28/1871 – 06/28/1871 Newspaper Archives
Bonners Ferry Bonners Ferry Herald 10/05/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Challis Challis Messenger 03/17/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Coeur d’Alene Coeur d’Alene Press 10/01/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
Coeur d’Alene Idaho Spokesman-Review 07/03/1994 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hunt Minidoka Irrigator 09/10/1942 – 07/28/1945 Newspaper Archives
Idaho Falls Citizen 03/11/1907 – 04/01/1907 Newspaper Archives
Idaho Falls Idaho Falls Times 07/09/1891 – 09/16/1920 Newspaper Archives
Idaho Falls Idaho Register 04/04/1885 – 10/31/1916 Newspaper Archives
Idaho Falls Post Register 01/02/1992 – Current Recent Obituaries
Kellogg Shoshone News-Press 04/06/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lewiston Lewiston Morning Tribune 12/01/1989 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lewiston Lewiston Tribune 08/01/1964 – 05/31/1976 Newspaper Archives
Moscow Moscow-Pullman Daily News 01/01/1998 – Current Recent Obituaries
Nampa Idaho Press-Tribune 07/01/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Payette Independent Enterprise 05/16/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Pocatello Idaho State Journal 06/27/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Priest River Priest River Times 06/05/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Rathdrum Kootenai Courier 06/29/1889 – 06/21/1890 Newspaper Archives
Rigby Jefferson Star 07/25/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Ruby City Owyhee Avalanche 08/19/1865 – 08/11/1866 Newspaper Archives
Salmon City Idaho Recorder 12/12/1889 – 05/04/1892 Newspaper Archives
Salmon City Semi-weekly Mining News 08/11/1867 – 08/11/1867 Newspaper Archives
Sandpoint Bonner County Daily Bee 03/02/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Shelley Shelley Pioneer 08/29/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Silver City Owyhee Avalanche 08/18/1866 – 12/28/1900 Newspaper Archives
Silver City Owyhee Daily Avalanche 10/17/1874 – 04/26/1876 Newspaper Archives
Silver City Owyhee Semi-Weekly Tidal Wave 12/15/1868 – 02/10/1870 Newspaper Archives
Twin Falls Twin Falls Daily News 04/08/1918 – 12/31/1922 Newspaper Archives
Twin Falls Times-News 08/19/1999 – 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 Idaho newspaper links will be live.

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She Had the Best Laugh!

What a great tribute.

This obituary for Effie Mae Sanders says:

She had the best laugh – loud and hearty and she was always cheerful. No one could walk past the house without a ‘hello’ from Effie.

obituary for Effie Mae Sanders, Gettysburg Times newspaper article 6 March 2014

Gettysburg Times (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania), 6 March 2014

Yes, her obituary gives the facts: when and where she was born; whom she married; the groups she belonged to; the details of her death and who the survivors were.

But…it is her story that sticks with us.
The way this obituary characterized her life – capturing her persona and making us wish that we had known her too.

She “loved to cook…to try new recipes and share them with her friends. And she had a lot of friends.”

She was always worrying about those who were sick. She would call them and pray for them. Effie said ‘no matter how many health problems I have, there are always those worse off than me.’ She was a friend to everyone she met and loved by many more.

Find the stories of every one of your relatives.

What a terrific person.
Effie Mae Sanders (1930-2015) would have been 85 years old this month.

She was “a joyful woman.”

Use GenealogyBank to find and document your family’s stories so that they are told and remembered, just like Effie Mae’s.

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 Obituary Articles: