Family History Fact Finding: True Family Stories in Newspapers

GenealogyBank has really been great for finding the personal stories of each family member.

I have been systematically going through the old newspapers looking for my Revolutionary War ancestors, and the other day I decided to look for my more recent ancestors and cousins.

A quick search found this article.

article about an accident at the St. John Wood Working Company, Stamford Advocate newspaper article 12 November 1886

Stamford Advocate (Stamford, Connecticut), 12 November 1886, page 2

The historical newspaper article reports:

A young man named Kemp, employed at St. John, Hoyt & Co.’s planing mill, got his right arm badly injured by an accident on Tuesday last [9 November 1886]. It got caught in a dove-tailing machine, which lacerated the flesh and broke the bone. It is said the arm will be saved, though perhaps in a more or less disabled condition.

I recognized that this was my cousin George Andrew Kemp (1864-1935) even though the article did not give his full name.

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illustration of the St. John Wood Working Company, Hardwood and Cabinet Department

Image: St. John Wood Working Company, Hardwood and Cabinet Department. Source: “Picturesque Stamford – 1892,” Stamford Historical Society.

Digging deeper I found this follow-up newspaper article.

article about an accident by George Kemp at the St. John Wood Working Company, Stamford Advocate newspaper article 18 February 1887

Stamford Advocate (Stamford, Connecticut), 18 February 1887, page 2

According to the 1800s news article:

George A. Kemp, who about three months ago had his arm badly lacerated, has through the surgical treatment of Drs. Hungerford and A. M. Hurlbutt, and under the skillful care of Dr. Geib, come out with a magnificent arm, with a new joint which will answer for an elbow. He is now able to resume his work at the same place—the St. John Wood-Working Co.

Confirmation.

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Great—it was George Andrew Kemp, and the second article gave information about the surgical procedure and the physicians who performed it.

We have a family story that George had hurt his arm and was handicapped for the rest of his life.

Thanks to these articles in old newspapers, we have confirmation and more of the details of his personal story. We did not know that he was only 22 years old at the time of the accident, or that this handicap would last for the rest of his adult life.

Family history also tells us that while he was no longer able to work in the wood shop, the accident didn’t slow him down. He opened his own business and sold goods as a traveling salesman, delivering kerosene and doughnuts with his horse and wagon for the next 49 years. He died in 1935 at age 71 years of age.

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Florida Newspaper Archives: 116 Titles for Genealogy Research

When the first European—Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon—arrived in Florida in 1513, he named it “La Florida” (Flowery Land) because of the floral beauty he found everywhere. With its tropical climate, long coastline adorned with many beaches—on both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean—and varied vegetation, Florida is a beautiful place to live and one of America’s most popular vacation destinations.

photo of Bahia Honda Beach, Florida Keys, Florida

Photo: Bahia Honda Beach, Florida Keys, Florida. Credit: Mwanner; Wikimedia Commons.

If you are researching your ancestry from Florida, you will want to use GenealogyBank’s online Florida newspaper archives: 116 titles to help you search your family history in “The Sunshine State,” providing coverage from 1823 to Today. There are more than 15.2 million newspaper articles and records in our online FL archives.

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

Search Florida Newspaper Archives (1823 – 1984)

Search Florida Recent Obituaries (1983 – Current)

Here is our complete list of online Florida newspapers in the 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 FL newspaper titles are listed alphabetically by city.

City Title Date Range Collection
Arcadia Arcadian 12/9/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Arcadia DeSoto Sun 4/14/1996 – 9/2/2010 Recent Obituaries
Bartow Polk County Democrat 7/17/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Belle Glade Sun 5/1/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Boca Grande Boca Beacon 5/31/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Boca Raton Boca Raton News 3/2/2006 – 8/26/2009 Recent Obituaries
Bonita Springs Banner 1/27/1996 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bonita Springs Bonita Daily News 5/23/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bradenton Manatee River Journal 9/5/1889 – 9/20/1923 Newspaper Archives
Bradenton North Manatee Observer 11/24/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bradenton Bradenton Herald 1/19/1991 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bradenton East County Observer 8/17/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Branford Branford News 7/25/2007 – 5/4/2009 Recent Obituaries
Brooksville Hernando Today 10/3/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bushnell Sumter County Times 12/27/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Callahan Nassau County Record 10/4/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chiefland Cedar Key Beacon 11/20/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chiefland Chiefland Citizen 11/19/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Clermont South Lake Press 7/13/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Clewiston Clewiston News 1/4/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Crawfordville Wakulla News 6/24/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Crystal River Citrus County Chronicle 10/14/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Daytona Beach Daytona Beach News-Journal 3/27/1996 – Current Recent Obituaries
DeLand West Volusia Beacon 11/17/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Dunnellon Riverland News 5/1/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Englewood Englewood Sun 3/5/1996 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fernandina Beach News Leader 3/15/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel 1/1/1986 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fort Meade Fort Meade Leader 12/31/2002 – 8/14/2013 Recent Obituaries
Fort Myers Fort Myers Florida Weekly 5/31/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fort Myers Beach Island Sand Paper 5/14/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fort Pierce St. Lucie News Tribune 8/13/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fort Pierce Hometown News 2/9/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fort Pierce Fort Pierce News 5/2/1997 – 6/16/2000 Recent Obituaries
Frostproof Frostproof News 3/23/2011 – 8/14/2013 Recent Obituaries
Ft. Lauderdale South Florida Times 12/31/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Gainesville Gainesville Sun 2/18/1995 – Current Recent Obituaries
Immokalee Immokalee Bulletin 1/4/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Jacksonville Florida Tattler 12/1/1934 – 9/29/1945 Newspaper Archives
Jacksonville Florida Sentinel 1/26/1900 – 1/26/1900 Newspaper Archives
Jacksonville Florida Times-Union 1/12/1996 – Current Recent Obituaries
Jacksonville Florida Times-Union, The: Web Edition Articles 11/28/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Jacksonville Beach Beaches Leader 1/2/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Jasper Jasper News 1/2/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Jupiter Jupiter Courier 9/3/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Key West Key West Citizen 10/31/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
LaBelle Caloosa Belle 1/4/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lake City Lake City Reporter 11/1/2013 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lake Placid Lake Placid Journal 6/15/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lake Wales Lake Wales News 7/31/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lakeland Ledger 12/19/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lakeland Ledger, The: Blogs 7/17/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Leesburg Daily Commercial 12/1/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Live Oak Suwannee Democrat 11/21/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Longboat Key Longboat Observer 11/2/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Marathon Florida Keys Keynoter 11/6/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Marco Island Marco Island Eagle 6/7/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Marianna Jackson County Floridan 4/22/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Mayo Mayo Free Press 1/19/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Miami Miami Herald 1/1/1911 – 3/31/1926 Newspaper Archives
Miami Nuevo Herald 3/29/1976 – 4/30/1984 Newspaper Archives
Miami Miami Herald 1/1/1983 – Current Recent Obituaries
Miami Miami Herald, The: Blogs 3/10/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Miami El Nuevo Herald 1/1/1983 – Current Recent Obituaries
Miami Shores Biscayne Boulevard Times 8/1/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Moore Haven Glades County Democrat 4/26/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Naples Naples Florida Weekly 10/16/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Naples Naples Daily News 1/3/1998 – Current Recent Obituaries
Naples Collier Citizen 7/6/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
North Port North Port Sun 5/3/1996 – Current Recent Obituaries
Ocala Ocala Star-Banner 1/1/1991 – Current Recent Obituaries
Ocala West Marion Messenger 8/2/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Ocala South Marion Citizen 11/21/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Okeechobee Okeechobee News 3/1/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Orlando Orlando Weekly 1/5/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Orlando Orlando Sentinel 4/1/1985 – Current Recent Obituaries
Orlando Valencia Voice: Valencia Community College 11/9/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Palatka Palatka Daily News 1/1/2014 – Current Recent Obituaries
Palm Beach Palm Beach Daily News 1/2/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Palm Coast Palm Coast Observer 7/15/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Pensacola Pensacola Gazette 5/15/1824 – 3/29/1856 Newspaper Archives
Pinecrest Pinecrest Tribune 10/22/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Plant City Plant City Times & Observer 7/12/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Pompano Beach Pelican 3/23/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Port Charlotte Charlotte Sun 8/3/1996 – Current Recent Obituaries
Quincy Gadsden County Times 1/15/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Sarasota Pelican Press 8/12/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Sarasota Sarasota Herald-Tribune 1/1/1996 – Current Recent Obituaries
Sebastian Sebastian Sun 3/19/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
Sebring News-Sun 4/14/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Sebring Highlands Today 3/21/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
St. Augustine Florida Herald and Southern Democrat 1/4/1823 – 12/20/1842 Newspaper Archives
St. Augustine St. Augustine Record 2/16/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
St. Petersburg Tampa Bay Times 1/1/1987 – Current Recent Obituaries
Stuart Stuart News/Port St. Lucie News 9/2/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Stuart YourNews.com 7/18/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Tallahassee Floridian and Journal 1/6/1849 – 12/22/1860 Newspaper Archives
Tallahassee Floridian and Advocate 10/24/1831 – 4/2/1842 Newspaper Archives
Tampa Tampa Tribune 1/2/1895 – 7/20/1936 Newspaper Archives
Tampa Traduccion Prensa 4/9/1941 – 9/4/1956 Newspaper Archives
Tampa Internacional 6/30/1939 – 8/7/1942 Newspaper Archives
Tampa Revista de Cuba Libre 12/25/1897 – 8/27/1898 Newspaper Archives
Tampa Nueva Republica 5/29/1897 – 5/28/1898 Newspaper Archives
Tampa Ecos 7/21/1959 – 7/21/1959 Newspaper Archives
Tampa Ybor City Sunday News 11/18/1951 – 11/18/1951 Newspaper Archives
Tampa Informacion 10/31/1958 – 10/31/1958 Newspaper Archives
Tampa Comite Consulto Conjuto 4/30/1941 – 4/30/1941 Newspaper Archives
Tampa Boletin 3/12/1941 – 3/12/1941 Newspaper Archives
Tampa Tampa Tribune 8/13/1990 – Current Recent Obituaries
Tavernier Reporter 2/27/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Venice Venice Gondolier Sun 7/1/1996 – Current Recent Obituaries
Vero Beach Vero Beach Press Journal 12/2/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
West Palm Beach Palm Beach Post 1/1/1989 – Current Recent Obituaries
West Tampa West Tampa Leader 12/8/1940 – 12/8/1940 Newspaper Archives
Williston Williston Pioneer Sun News 12/11/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Ybor City Diario de Tampa 6/6/1908 – 7/14/1911 Newspaper Archives

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 Florida newspaper links will be live.

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260k+ Wyoming Newspaper Records for Your Genealogy Research

Wyoming became the Union’s 44th state on 10 July 1890. The 10th largest state in the United States, Wyoming is the least populated. Wyoming is proud of some of the “firsts” in its history as a territory. In 1872 Yellowstone National Park was established, the world’s first national park. Three years prior to that Wyoming achieved another first that women suffragists were especially proud of: on 10 December 1869 Wyoming women were given the right to vote—the first U.S. state or territory to grant women suffrage. In applying for statehood, Wyoming’s state constitution specifically sanctioned women suffrage. Because of this fact Wyoming’s official state nickname is the “Equality State.”

photo of Castle Geyser, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Photo: Castle Geyser, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

If you are researching your ancestry from Wyoming, you will want to use GenealogyBank’s online Wyoming newspaper archives: 9 titles containing more than 260,000 digitized historical records from the 1800s to today to help you search your family history in this large, mountainous Western state.

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

Search Wyoming Newspaper Archives (1868 – 1921)

Search Wyoming Recent Obituaries (1997 – Current)

Here is our complete list of online Wyoming newspapers in the online 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 WY newspaper titles are listed alphabetically by city.

City Title Date Range Collection
Casper Star-Tribune 11/26/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cheyenne Wyoming State Tribune 1/1/1917 – 12/31/1921 Newspaper Archives
Cheyenne Wyoming Commonwealth 7/20/1890 – 11/14/1891 Newspaper Archives
Cheyenne Wyoming Tribune-Eagle 10/1/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Knight Frontier Index 4/14/1868 – 4/14/1868 Newspaper Archives
Laramie Daily Boomerang 1/2/1890 – 6/30/1890 Newspaper Archives
Laramie Laramie Boomerang 2/9/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Riverton Riverton Ranger 4/3/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Worland Northern Wyoming Daily News 1/3/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries

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 Wyoming newspaper links will be live.

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Best Family Tree Software & Websites to Share Your Genealogy

If a genealogist falls in the forest—does she make a sound? What are you doing to ensure that your decades of family history research are preserved and passed down so that others can build on your expertise?

photo of a family tree chart

Photo: family tree. Credit: Wikipedia.

For centuries genealogists relied on family tree charts that were carefully prepared on paper, a time-consuming and laborious process. These paper documents were then copied and distributed to other members of the family. Paper tree charts were costly to prepare, and their reproduction and distribution added to the expense.

In more recent times, genealogists have moved on from typewriters and copy machines to the Internet as the mechanism for distributing copies of their ancestry research to interested family members around the globe.

Here are the basic tools you need to share and distribute your family history research online.

Computer-Based Family History Software

There are dozens of family history software programs that genealogists use to organize their research. These programs make it easy to incorporate photographs, research notes and commentary into one family tree that can easily be printed in whole or in part and distributed to others—or simply shared online.

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Three of the leading family history programs are:

With any one of these family tree software programs it is easy to record your information and then, with a few clicks, print out the standard family tree charts or reports you need to communicate your family’s history to the other members of the family.

family history reports

Credit: Thomas Jay Kemp

These genealogy software programs easily prepare and print out family history reports that name all of the descendants of a designated ancestor up to the present day. Or you can do the process in reverse: start with a person from today and lay out the preceding generations one by one, going back in time through both sides of that person’s family tree.

These printed paper family tree reports can be given to relatives at family gatherings. Alternatively, you can save these genealogy reports electronically as PDF or Word files that can be easily emailed to interested relatives.

Family History Websites

There are a number of good social media sharing websites where genealogists can store, collaborate, share and distribute their family history research. Here are a few of these online sites where you might consider uploading your own family history.

Scribd.com

Genealogists use online sites like Scribd.com as convenient free sites where they can upload, share and preserve their genealogy research findings.

Genealogy Tip: Before using a site like Scribd.com, be sure to set the reporting features on your genealogy software so that your family history report will not include any information about still-living members of the family. Use that edited report when you upload it online. That way the privacy of your living relatives is protected.

family history reports for Edward and Mary Rutledge

Credit: Scribd.com

Scribd.com lets you upload your family history report and present it as an online version of your family history. Online sites like this are easily searched from any computer, smartphone, iPad, or any other device. The Scribd.com report uses the standard genealogical report styles so that this document has a professional, clean look. And, since it is online, every name—in fact every word­—of the report is then searchable online.

Genealogists often find that as they continue their research, or receive feedback from relatives, they discover additional details to add to the family tree. With new family information in hand they might regret having already published and distributed their research as expensive paper documents. That is not a problem with Scribd.com.

With just a few clicks on Scribd.com, genealogists can update their family history reports and have the current, most accurate version of their family history online. Or if you prefer you can designate this updated report as a “2nd Edition” with a new publication date. However you post it, your latest findings will be instantly available to all genealogists and, importantly, preserved online.

Pinterest

There are other online sites that make it easy to present and share your family history.

Pinterest.com is an excellent site for sharing photographs about your family and where they lived.

With Pinterest you can create separately-themed “Boards” that illustrate part of your family’s story. I organize my boards by places where the family has lived or by topics that are important to our story.

Visit Thomas Jay Kemp’s profile on Pinterest.


Credit: Pinterest

I then use the notes field to describe each old family photograph, including the details of why this picture is significant to the family.

Pinterest board showing scenes from Ireland

Credit: Pinterest

Pinterest is a handy way for me to illustrate my family history in an organized way, all shared online. By adding notes, I can update and add more context to these images—sharing them through this Wikipedia-like source of online photographs.

Online Family Trees

As technology has improved, genealogists have moved to the next step and are sharing their family trees online. Genealogists welcome the opportunity to permanently store their information in the “cloud” of online family trees. This protects your family history information from any unexpected loss, such as your home computer suddenly failing, and puts the information securely online where the rising generation can find it. There are many websites where you can post your family tree online: FamilySearch.org, MyHeritage.com, OneGreatFamily.com, Ancestry.com, and other sites.

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Perhaps the most popular is FamilySearch.org.

This free family history site makes it easy to post your family tree online, along with your genealogy data, photographs and reports.

familiy history reports for Kemp ancestors

Credit: Thomas Jay Kemp, Scribd.com & FamilySearch

With just a click you can easily bring together your genealogy research reports, along with your old family photos, and link them to your ancestor’s page on the FamilySearch Family Tree.

family tree entries for Kemp ancestors

Credit: Thomas Jay Kemp & FamilySearch

By putting your genealogy online you make it easy to update, ensuring that your latest research is accurately recorded, permanently online, and easily accessible to you and all of your cousins around the globe 24/7.

By adding digital copies of your old family photos, documents and reports, you are able to share these one-of-a-kind items with your cousins without risking the original copies.

Genealogy Tip: Posting your family tree online is a smart way to share and preserve your family history information, making your research findable by your children, grandchildren and their children. They are expecting to find online information rather than the paper copies genealogists have relied on in the past.

As genealogists we enjoy researching and documenting our family history. These modern tools allow us to quickly share our research with the rest of the family, in paper formats as well as digital copies posted online.

Make every effort to share your family history online. It will make your own genealogy work easier, and future generations will thank you for it.

Make sure the family history records you organize and leave to posterity make a sound.

Related Articles about Sharing Your Ancestry:

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Researching Legal, Probate & Court Records Found in Newspapers

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” In this guest blog post, Gena shows how those small-print legal notices found in the back of newspapers—often ignored by most readers—can provide important clues to help you break through your genealogy brick walls.

When reading your daily newspapers, are there certain sections you skip over? For many people there is the tendency to skip over the legal notices, typically found in the back of the paper, densely squeezed together and printed in a too-small font. As readers we may think: “why should I read the legal notices?” But as genealogists it would be a mistake to skip over them—they can be a great source of family history information.

Legal notices are notifications placed in the newspaper that alert the community of judicial actions. These can be matters involving estates, divorces, taxes, and land transactions. A 1957 Wisconsin statute states that a legal notice is defined as “…every summons, order, citation, notice of sale, or other notice and every other advertisement of any description required to be published by law or in pursuance of any law or of any order of any court.”* These public legal notices can lead you to records found at the courthouse, a county assessor or recorder’s office, and even additional newspaper articles.

How to Find Legal Notices on GenealogyBank

One way to search for your ancestor in GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives is to use the search engine, either the basic or the advanced search, to enter a name, perhaps a place, and even a date or date range. But don’t forget that GenealogyBank allows you to narrow your search results further by article type. Using the list found on the left hand side of your results page, choose the  Legal, Probate & Court option to search for your ancestor in legal notices.

screenshot of GenealogyBank's search results page showing the Legal, Probate and Court records search option

Probate Notices in Newspapers

So what is of genealogical value in these legal notices? Plenty. Consider the notices of probate actions. One of my friends was researching her grandfather who had died and left a will. Problem was, the county courthouse serving the area where he died required payment for a search of the probate index—and then, after she paid, responded by telling her there was no court case. She knew there was a probate case because her father had been the executor of the will. So what do you do when an official entity tells you there isn’t a case? I suggested she turn to newspapers and search in the legal notices section. Sure enough, she was able to find the probate case—and with a copy of that legal notice, went back to the court clerks who were then able to provide her with the file.

probate notices, Duluth News-Tribune newspaper articles 25 January 1908

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

Probate notices in newspapers can provide you names, dates, and information that you can follow up with at the courthouse. In the case of these notices from 1908 in Minnesota, the name of the deceased, the person administering the probate, the judge, and the next court date are listed.

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Genealogy Tip: Even if your ancestor left no will, there still could have been a probate case. Did they own land, a home, or owe money? Make sure to check for the existence of a probate.

Divorce Notices in the News

I’ve written about newspaper divorce notices on this blog before (see How to Find Your Ancestor’s Divorce Records in the Newspaper). Divorces notices can show up in various newspaper articles, but don’t forget that a notice requiring an appearance in court will be found in the legal notices. In these examples from 1914 Philadelphia, the defendant is told that their spouse has “filed a libel in the Court of Common Pleas…praying a divorce against you.” Those who do not show up on the date provided in this notice are forewarned “you will be liable to have a divorce granted in your absence.” Notice that in these examples, the court date and address of the defendant are listed.

divorce legal notices, Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper articles 22 May 1914

Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), 22 May 1914, page 16

Are you new to court research? On GenealogyBank’s Legal, Probate & Court Records search box, there is a link you can click to get court record search tips.

screenshot of GenealogyBank's Legal, Probate and Court records search page showing the Search Tips link

Trustee’s Sale Notices

One of the genealogical benefits of legal notices is that our women ancestors do appear in these postings. Unfortunately, many of these notices are about the more difficult periods of a person’s life, as in this example of listings of Trustee’s Sales. As you can see, both the wife and the husband are listed in these sale notices. These 1891 examples are a good reminder that our ancestors may have been facing difficult financial times, just as many people faced in the more recent housing market collapse. If you find a notice where your ancestor’s home or property is being foreclosed on, you may want to conduct additional research to determine if there was a larger economic collapse that affected their lives. While we are most familiar with the Great Depression of the 1930s, other similar economic crises have happened in U.S. history. For example, two years after these newspaper notices appeared, there was a financial panic in 1893 that included the closing of many banks and high unemployment rates.

Auction Sales by Trustee, Kansas City Times newspaper article 29 January 1891

Kansas City Times (Kansas City, Missouri), 29 January 1891, page 9

Legal notices in newspapers help tell the story of our ancestors’ lives. While they are often ignored, these legal notices contain rich information including names, street addresses, and dates with the court that can help us find additional documentation to fill out the details on our family trees.

________

*Burke, James J. Wisconsin Statutes, 1957: Embracing All General Statutes in Force at the Close of the General Session of 1957. Racine, 1957, p. 3551.

Related Legal & Court Record Articles:

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Meanings of Family Surnames: Exploring Origins of Last Names

Introduction: Mary Harrell-Sesniak is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background. In this guest blog post, Mary discusses the origins and meanings of various family surnames, and shows how including the origins of your family surnames in your genealogy research may reveal intriguing clues about your ancestry.

Ever wonder about the origin of your family surname? If so, you are not alone.

Many people would like to learn about their family surname, but don’t know where to look for more information. Fortunately, historical and modern newspapers frequently have articles about last names. Look for these articles in GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives.

Crispin’s French Origins

Many newspaper articles discuss the meaning of specific surnames, such as this 1871 piece on the surname Crispin. The patron saint of shoemakers was St. Crispin, which is derived from the French term “crepin,” which means a shoemaker’s last (mechanical form in the shape of a foot). (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last.)

article about the family surname Crispin, Massachusetts Spy newspaper article 8 September 1871

Massachusetts Spy (Worcester, Massachusetts), 8 September 1871, page 4

Other historical newspaper articles discuss the etymology or nomenclature of surnames, which is the study of their origins. Where did particular names come from? How were they assigned? Is there a special meaning behind them? All of these are interesting components for your genealogical research and can lead to a deeper understanding of your familial roots.

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The First English Surnames

This 1893 newspaper article reports that the first English surname was adopted in the reign of King Edward the Confessor of England, who ruled between 1042 and 1066. If correct, this first surname was probably for a nobleman and most likely established to carry on hereditary rights (titles, and later property).

article about various firsts in history, Bay City Times newspaper article 30 June 1893

Bay City Times (Bay City, Michigan), 30 June 1893, page 1

This 1823 newspaper article also reports that surnames were first adopted in the 11th century in England, and “for the distinction of families in which they were to continue hereditary.”

The old news article notes that the term “surname” came not from the word “sire,” but from a French concept indicating a super-addendum (or additional name added to one’s religious or Christian name). Of course, surnames weren’t just required for Christians, but for every culture and religion.

Origin of Surnames, Rhode-Island American newspaper article 4 November 1823

Rhode-Island American (Providence, Rhode Island), 4 November 1823, page 1

Patronymics and Matronymics

As human populations grew, there needed to be a system to identify individuals. Each country chose their own method, and within a society, a religious group or individualized group, some might have chosen their own unique system.

One early naming identification method was to associate a son’s surname with a father’s first name, and a daughter’s with her mother’s.

This is known as patronymics and matronymics, and if you ever come across a person with just one name, this is called mononymics (usually associated with rulers or famous individuals). See Wikipedia’s article on patronymics: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patronymic.

A Look at Surnames around the World

Depending upon cultural customs, a specific spelling or pattern for the name was designated.

In most cases the surname was modified, but in some cases the name was constructed differently. In some parts of Asia for example, the surname is given first, rather than last—and in other places, another word is inserted to indicate the family relationship.

Hebrew: One culture where you will find examples of this practice of word insertion in names is with the Jews. Hebrew names are often expressed with the use of “ben,” meaning son of, or with “bint,” meaning daughter of.

article about Jewish surnames, Rhode-Island American newspaper article 4 November 1823

Rhode-Island American (Providence, Rhode Island), 4 November 1823, page 1

Ireland: Watch for names such as Fitzgerald—the “fitz” indicates that someone was the son of Gerald. According to Behind the Name’s website, this particular surname came from the Anglo-Norman French and was introduced to Ireland at the time of William the Conqueror. See http://surnames.behindthename.com/name/fitzgerald.

Netherlands: Dutch patronymics can carry on for several generations. The Dutch Wikipedia explanation is that a “Willem Peter Adriaan Jan Verschuren would be Willem, son of Peter, son of Adriaan, son of Jan Verschuren.” See Dutch surnames at http://surnames.behindthename.com/names/usage/dutch.

Poland: A common way to express a son’s last name is by the use of “wicz” at the end. Correspondingly, “ówna” or “’anka” may be used for an unmarried daughter, and “owa” or “’ina” for a married woman or widow.

Wikipedia’s article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_name gives the example of a man with the last name of Nowak. His unmarried daughter would use Nowakówna and his wife or widow would use Nowakowa.

If you encounter a name ending in “ski,” the person is a male. If you see “ska” at the end, the person is female. There are many other variations, including “wicz,” “owicz,” “ewicz,” and “ycz” which can be added to a name, along with diminutives (similar to calling someone “little” as a pet name). See About.com’s article at http://genealogy.about.com/cs/surname/a/polish_surnames.htm for more examples.

Scandinavia: “Son” or “dotter” or “dottir” is a common addition for boys and girls names, and there are slight spelling variations from country to country. Although most of Scandinavia no longer practices patronymics, you may still see it in Iceland.

Examples: a daughter of a man named Sven might use the surname Svensdottir, and Leif Ericson, the famous Norse explorer, has a name that identifies him as the son of an Eric (Erik the Red.) See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leif_Erikson.

Naming People in Norway, National Advocate newspaper article 28 November 1828

National Advocate (New York, New York) 28 November 1828, page 2

Spain/Portugal: Although it doesn’t mean son, “ez” (Spain) and “es” (Portugal) are used to indicate males, such as with the names Gonzales or Hernandez. See the article on Spanish patronymics at http://spanishlinguist.us/2013/08/spanish-patronymics/.

Wales: Over time, there have been several variations of name usage in Wales. Sometimes you’ll find that the surnames of children were an unmodified version of the father’s name. A son Rees might be named James Rees. Another option related to the terms “ap” (son of) or “verch/ferch” (daughter of). The name Madog ap Rhys would be interpreted as Madog, the son of Rhys, and Maredudd ferch Rhys would be Maredudd, the daughter of Rhys.

To complicate matters, a name might indicate if a woman were the first or second wife of a man, or a widow.

For an in-depth explanation, see Tangwystyl verch Morgant Glasvryn’s article “Women’s Names in the First Half of 16th Century Wales (with particular attention to the surnames of married women)” at www.s-gabriel.org/names/tangwystyl/welshWomen16/.

These are just some of the many types of matronyms and patronyms that you might find while researching your ancestry, so be sure to investigate your ancestral countries further.

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Naming by Association (towns, physical attributes, etc.)

We can thank the practice of taxation for other methods of assigning surnames, some of which are attributed to the English poll taxes of 1377, 1379 and 1381.

See “The English Poll Taxes, 1377-1381” by George Redmonds, 28 March 2002, published online by American Ancestors.org at www.americanancestors.org/the-english-poll-taxes-1377-1381/.

In order to keep track of who owed what taxes, names were recorded on the tax rolls in a variety of ways. Some people were associated with their villages, others by trades or occupations, and others by distinguishing features or attributes such as a very tall, or blind, man.

Most Common Surnames by Country

If you are stuck on the origins of your last name, consider the commonality of names in specific places.

Most of us are aware that Smith and Jones are among the most familiar U.S. surnames, but what about other countries?

Wikipedia’s article List of the Most Common Surnames in Europe has an interesting list, some of which I’ve included below. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_most_common_surnames_in_Europe.

  • Belgium: Peeters (meaning the rock, similar to Petros, Peterson, Peters, Perez)
  • England: Smith (a tradesman)
  • France: Martin
  • Germany: Miller
  • Greece: Nagy (meaning great) or Papadopoulos
  • Ireland: Murphy or Of Murchadh (a personal name meaning descendant of Murchadh or “sea hound/warrior”)
  • Italy: Rossi and Russo (red-haired)
  • Luxembourg: Schmit (blacksmith, metal worker, equivalent to Smith)
  • Netherlands: De Jong (equivalent of Young)
  • Northern Ireland: Wilson
  • Norway: Hansen (son of Hans)
  • Poland: Nowak (meaning new man)
  • Scotland: Smith
  • Spain: Garcia (means brave in battle)
  • Sweden: Anderssen (son of Anders)
  • Wales: Jones (of Medieval English origins, derived from the given name John, which in turn is derived from the Hebrew name Yochanan/Johanan)

Genealogical Facts a Surname Might Reveal

Be sure to include the origins of your family surnames in your genealogy research, as they may reveal intriguing clues about your ancestry:

  • Country of origin or hometown
  • Occupation
  • Parentage
  • Physical and mental attributes
  • Religion

An example in my own research is the surname Exton. This family came to America from Euxton, England, an obvious spelling variation. And my maiden name, Harrell, has Norman-French origins. Although a legend, Madame Marie Harel or Harrell is thought to have been the creator of Camembert Cheese in 1791. This is a family favorite of ours today, so perhaps there is a connection!

Genealogy Tip: don’t forget to consider spelling variations in your surname research. My earlier blog article Ancestral Name Searches: 4 Tips for Tracing Surname Spellings provides some examples of how names change over time.

Resources for Researching Surnames

Related Family Surname Research Articles

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Find Genealogy Gems Online in These 26 Idaho Newspapers

Idaho became the nation’s 43rd state on 3 July 1890. The 14th largest state in the U.S., Idaho is a mountainous region known as the “Gem State” because of the incredible variety of gemstones that have been found there.

photo of the Owyhee Mountains in Idaho

Photo: Owyhee Mountains in Idaho. Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture; Wikimedia Commons.

If you are researching your ancestry from Idaho, you will want to use GenealogyBank’s online Idaho newspaper archives: 26 titles to help you search your family history in what is sometimes called the “Potato State,” providing coverage from 1864 to Today. There are more than 4.5 million newspaper articles and records in our online archives.

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

Search Idaho Newspaper Archives (1864 – 1931)

Search Idaho Recent Obituaries (1992 – Current)

Here is our complete list of online Idaho newspapers in the 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 7/10/1880 – 3/22/1884 Newspaper Archives
Blackfoot Morning News 8/2/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Boise Idaho Statesman 7/26/1864 – 8/15/1931 Newspaper Archives
Boise Evening Bulletin 2/21/1903 – 2/21/1903 Newspaper Archives
Boise Idaho Statesman 1/26/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bonners Ferry Bonners Ferry Herald 10/5/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Challis Challis Messenger 3/17/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Coeur d’Alene Idaho Spokesman-Review 7/3/1994 – 11/28/2007 Recent Obituaries
Coeur d’Alene Coeur d’Alene Press 10/1/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
Idaho Falls Idaho Register 4/4/1885 – 10/31/1916 Newspaper Archives
Idaho Falls Idaho Falls Times 7/9/1891 – 9/16/1920 Newspaper Archives
Idaho Falls Citizen 3/11/1907 – 4/1/1907 Newspaper Archives
Idaho Falls Post Register 1/2/1992 – Current Recent Obituaries
Kellogg Shoshone News-Press 4/6/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lewiston Lewiston Morning Tribune 1/1/1998 – Current Recent Obituaries
Moscow Moscow-Pullman Daily News 1/1/1998 – Current Recent Obituaries
Nampa Idaho Press-Tribune 7/1/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Payette Independent Enterprise 5/16/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Pocatello Idaho State Journal 6/27/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Priest River Priest River Times 6/5/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Salmon City Idaho Recorder 12/12/1889 – 5/4/1892 Newspaper Archives
Sandpoint Bonner County Daily Bee 3/2/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Silver City Owyhee Avalanche 8/19/1865 – 12/28/1900 Newspaper Archives
Silver City Owyhee Daily Avalanche 10/19/1874 – 4/26/1876 Newspaper Archives
Twin Falls Twin Falls News 4/8/1918 – 12/31/1922 Newspaper Archives
Twin Falls Times-News 8/19/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries

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 ID newspaper links will be live.

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Where Was George Washington? Revolutionary War Fact Checking

One of my family traditions tells us that George Washington made his headquarters, from 4 July to 19 August 1781, at the home of my 5th Great-Grandfather, Joseph Appleby (1732-1792) in Greenburgh, New York, in the Dobbs Ferry section of town, during the American Revolutionary War.

Joseph Appleby served as a 2nd lieutenant in the First Regiment of Westchester County, New York Militia.

I found this interesting 1935 newspaper article reporting that in 1935 Messmore Kendall (1872-1959) was living in a house in Dobbs Ferry—and erroneously stated that was the house that George Washington used as his headquarters in 1781, not the home of my ancestor Joseph Appleby.

article about Messmore Kendall and George Washington, Seattle Daily Times newspaper article 27 August 1935

Seattle Daily Times (Seattle, Washington), 27 August 1935, page 8

Kendall took great pride in his home’s supposed connection to George Washington and its key role in the American Revolution.

It was an impressive home.

photo of Philipse Manor

Photo: Philipse Manor. Source: Library of Congress.

Kendall served as the national vice-president of the Sons of the American Revolution and as the president of the Empire State Chapter of the NSSAR. In 1894 he had a monument erected in front of his house commemorating its place in history.

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Kendall collected dozens of historic heirlooms previously owned by George Washington and had them on display at his home.

It was a nice story—but it was not true.

A Historic American Building Survey Report issued 29 March 1934, written by Thomas Hotchkiss (Re: Messmore Kendall Residence), stated that:

The 1894 monument…incorrectly alleges that Washington and Rochambeau met at this house [Philipse Manor] to plan the Yorktown Campaign in 1781. As explained authoritatively…these commanders of the allied armies occupied the Appleby and Odell houses respectively on country roads back in the hills, and conveniently held their conference there surrounded by their troops.

It turns out that Kendall lived at the Philipse Manor built by Frederick Philipse. His great-grandson, Frederick Philipse, was a Tory and “his lands and houses” were seized and sold. The manor house was purchased by Philip Livingston.

See: Historic American Building Survey, Report HABS No. 4-105
http://www.historicmapworks.com/Buildings/index.php?state=NY&city=Dobbs%20Ferry&id=25738

Genealogy Tip: Historical claims can be wrong—even when they make it into print in a newspaper, such as Kendall’s claim about his home being a former headquarters of George Washington.

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The Appleby home which George Washington did use as his headquarters stood on what is now Secor Road in Dobbs Ferry, New York. The WFAS radio station offices are now located on this site.

photo providing an aerial view of the Appleby farm

Photo: aerial view of the Appleby farm. Source: Google Earth.

There is a video interview with Mary Sudman Donovan, Ph.D., Village Historian of Dobbs Ferry, New York. See the interview on YouTube here:

Donovan is the author of the book George Washington at “Headquarters, Dobbs Ferry” July 4 to August 19, 1781. Bloomington, IN: iUniverse, 2009.

photo of the cover of Mary Donovan's book "George Washington at 'Headquarters, Dobbs Ferry' July 4 to August 19, 1781

Find and document your family’s stories in GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives.

Carefully review the facts you are gathering. Evaluate them and seek out corroborating sources.

Make sure that the stories about your ancestors are accurate, preserved and passed down in the family.

Related Articles:

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Planning Your Genealogy Trip: Summer Vacations for Genealogists

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” In this guest blog post, Gena gives advice and provides online resources for planning your summer genealogy vacation.

What do you have planned this summer? Taking a vacation? How about a genealogy vacation? While it may be hard to convince the rest of your family that a vacation composed of genealogical research is a good idea, there are trips and tours to satisfy everyone’s interests and budget. Whether you want to focus on just genealogy research or you also want to see the world, there is something for you.

photo of a cruise ship

Photo: cruise ship. Credit: David Ortega.

Heritage Tours

Ever consider traveling to your ancestral home? Whether that’s here in the United States or “across the pond,” there may be a heritage tour that can help you see the sights and take in some family history research.

For example, Genealogy Tours of Scotland run by genealogist Christine Woodcock is an opportunity to do onsite research in Scotland, with assistance from local archivists and researchers. This annual trip includes 10 days of research at ScotlandsPeople Centre, the National Library, and more—as well as time for touring and experiencing the Scotland of your ancestors.

Various heritage tours exist worldwide. To find one in the area of your ancestor’s hometown, try Googling the name of the country and the phrase “heritage tours.” Some travel companies offer several heritage tours including the company Family Tree Tours.

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Going to the Promised Land

OK, maybe Salt Lake City is not “the” Promised Land, but it comes pretty close for family historians. Many genealogists dream of an opportunity to go to Salt Lake City to research in the Family History Library. It can be intimidating to go to a place and do family research when you’ve never been there before. A retreat might be the answer to help you not only navigate your way around the Library and maximize your research time, but also to benefit from the expertise of those who are familiar with the Library and Salt Lake City.

The Salt Lake Christmas Tour, sponsored by Family Roots Publishing, is in its 30th year and features genealogy professionals providing educational lectures and assistance at the Family History Library. This tour attracts a large group and many attendees participate year after year.

Want to go to Salt Lake but still be able to ask someone for help? Consider taking professional genealogist Michael John Neill’s annual Library Research Trip. For a nominal fee you can join Michael at the Family History Library for a week, with an optional morning educational presentation and assistance as you research throughout the day. You can read more about this year’s trip and plan for the 2015 trip at http://rootdig.blogspot.com/2013/10/salt-lake-family-history-library.html.

Genealogy Cruises

Where do you want to sail? A cruise is a great vacation idea—and when you add a vacation destination with a genealogy education you have the perfect get-away.

There are several genealogy cruises that you may want to consider. United States software company Legacy Family Tree’s yearly cruise combines exotic locales with speakers on a variety of topics. This year’s genealogy cruise is unique: it’s a back-to-back cruise opportunity with the first leg of the cruise, two weeks, starting in Japan and making its way to Hong Kong. On the second leg of the tour, you can concentrate on vacationing with stops at ports in Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore. As of this time, classes and speakers have not been announced but you can read more about this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity on their website. If you’re unsure about being out to sea for two weeks to a month, then maybe a shorter cruise would be of more interest to you. Legacy announced that in 2015 they will have a one-week Western Caribbean cruise.

Another genealogy software company, Wholly Genes (the makers of The Master Genealogist), has its annual cruise this year in the late Fall. Organized by Heritage Books, this year’s cruise will leave from Los Angeles and visit the Mexican Riviera. You can learn more about the speakers on this cruise by visiting their website. This cruise will feature 17 hours of “genealogy, technology and DNA instruction.” I’ve been on a cruise to the Mexican Rivera in November and it’s a great time to leave the cold and enjoy some Mexican sunshine.

Are you a seasoned cruiser? Looking for more frequent genealogy cruise opportunities? Consider Australian-based Unlock the Past’s cruises. With multiple cruises each year, Unlock the Past and their international team of genealogy professionals has something for everyone. Cruises for the next three years include trips to the British Isles, Australia to the Baltic, and a Transatlantic voyage. If you’re not sold on the benefits of a genealogy cruise, I would suggest their web page 20 Reasons to Join an Unlock the Past History & Genealogy Cruise.

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Planning a Family Research Trip on Your Own

Maybe you like to strike out on your own. You might want to consider putting together your own genealogy trip that combines visiting your ancestral homeland with research opportunities.

How do you start? Make a list of all the travel details you will need to sort out, including transportation to your destination and transportation while you are there, as well as lodging and food. You may want to plan those details on your own with the help of a discount site like Kayak. For genealogy vacation destination ideas, be sure to check out our Genealogy Travel board on Pinterest.

Follow Genealogy Bank’s board Genealogy Travel on Pinterest.


Next, figure out what family history research can be done while you are there. Identify nearby libraries, archives, and museums and what resources they have. Make sure to exhaust online digitized items that you are able to access from home so as to not waste your time while you are there. Email librarians and archivists with questions about on-site research. You might even consider contacting a local genealogist in the area for a consultation, or to get help navigating repositories while you are there. There is a real benefit from working with someone who knows all of the ins and outs of an area and the repositories.

However you decide to take your next genealogy trip, plan ahead to make the most of what is offered. And most of all plan to have lots of family research fun!

Travel Tip: When I’m taking a genealogy trip I try to pack as light as possible just in case I pick up some books or other research materials along the way. A SmartPhone or Tablet is a must. With this one tool you can take photos, scan images, audio or video record your travels or interviews, refer to your family tree through an app or via a cloud storage site like Dropbox, take notes, refer to research plans, get directions, and surf the Internet.

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A Genealogy Quotes ‘How-To’ Guide: Ideas, Creating & Sharing

Introduction: Mary Harrell-Sesniak is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background. In this guest blog post, Mary gives advice and provides free resources so that you can make your own genealogy quote graphics to share on social media sites like Facebook.

We’ve noticed that many of our blog readers share our affinity for inspirational, humorous and memorable genealogy quotes!

Some of the quotes on the GenealogyBank blog are serious, but others are funny or whimsical. When they touch our readers’ hearts, they tend to be shared across social media sites such as Facebook or Pinterest.

If you haven’t yet tried making a quote graphic to share on your own social media page, I encourage you to try. There are dozens of free and easy sites where your can create genealogy quote graphics and unleash your creativity, such as Pinstamatic and Quozio.

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The hardest part will be choosing what to say—so if you’re stumped, here are a few suggestions.

Genealogy Quote Ideas

  • Quote a cherished family member. For instance, one of my Sesniak ancestors used to say: “You bet your boots,” indicating that he agreed with what had just been said.
Old saying: "You bet your boots!"

Quote graphic created on behappy.com

  • Select a quote from a celebrity or historical figure, such as Benjamin Franklin’s “A penny saved is a penny earned.” (See more ideas below.)
  • Start with an inspirational image and add an appropriate quote.
  • And don’t forget to search GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives for quotes. You might even find one from an ancestor, such as this one by Mary O. Stanton, published in an 1894 newspaper.
article about Mary Stanton, San Francisco Chronicle newspaper article 24 June 1894

San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco, California), 24 June 1894, page 10

The San Francisco Chronicle created this illustration to accompany Stanton’s quote:

illustration to accompany an article about Mary Stanton, San Francisco Chronicle newspaper article 24 June 1894

San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco, California), 24 June 1894, page 10

To see a more modern graphic design of Stanton’s quote, click here: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/195977021259910167/.

Free Quote Graphics Sites

The following sites have free options and may allow you to connect by using your Facebook account. If not, create an account with the site itself and try out the features.

Some of these quote sites allow you to upload your own background image, while others provide sample graphics. Subscription services may be required for advanced features, but I was able to make appealing genealogy quotes on all of the tested sites for free.

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Each quote site is different, and I am not recommending one over the other. If you have a site that you prefer over these, please let us know in the comments section.

Inspirational Quotes for Genealogy

Try unleashing your creativity with these sample quotes.

  • “The more you know of your history, the more liberated you are.” —Maya Angelou
  • “I sustain myself with the love of family.” —Maya Angelou
  • “The patriot blood of my father was warm in my veins.” —Clara Barton
quote from Clara Barton: "The patriot blood of my father was warm in my veins."

Quote graphic created on Pinstamatic.com

  • “If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday.” —Pearl S. Buck
quote from Pearl Buck: "If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday."

Quote graphic created at behappy.me

  • “Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children.” —Sitting Bull
quote from Sitting Bull: "Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children."

Quote graphic created at shareasimage.com

  • “A man finds room in the few square inches of the face for the traits of all his ancestors; for the expression of all his history, and his wants.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: "A man finds room in the few square inches of the face for the traits of all his ancestors; for the expression of all his history, and his wants."

Quote created at picteller.com

  • “Ever since I watched Roots, I’ve dreamed of tracing my African ancestry and helping other people do the same.” —Henry Louis Gates
  • “When you start about family, about lineage and ancestry, you are talking about every person on earth.” —Alex Haley
quote from Alex Haley: "When you start about family, about lineage and ancestry, you are talking about every person on earth."

Quote graphic created at Pinstamatic.com

  • “Develop a healthy skepticism. Accept nothing unreservedly until proven.” —Donald Lines Jacobus. Genealogy As Pastime and Profession. (Baltimore: Genealogical Pub. Co, 1968)
  • “From time to time, the Tree of Liberty must be watered with the blood of tyrants and patriots.” —Thomas Jefferson
  • “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” —Poet Emma Lazarus, inscribed beneath the monument at Ellis Island
inscription from the base of the monument at Ellis Island

Quote graphic created at Quozio.com

  • “I come from pioneer stock, developers of the West, people who went out into the wilderness and set up home with nothing but a pair of oxen.” —Joni Mitchell
  • “I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” —Harriet Tubman
quote from Harriet Tubman: "I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves."

Quote graphic created on Quozio.com

Pinterest Genealogy Quotes Boards

Start your own Pinterest quote board and be sure to follow ours at:

Related Genealogy Quotes Blog Articles:

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