Solve the Robert ‘Believe It or Not!’ Ripley Ancestry Brick Wall (Part II)

Introduction: Mary Harrell-Sesniak is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background. In this blog article, Mary follows up on an article she wrote back in January 2013 and, thanks to helpful suggestions from some of her readers, tries to uncover more of the Robert Ripley genealogy mystery.

Early in 2013, the GenealogyBank Blog published my article on Robert L. Ripley (see Solve the Robert ‘Believe It or Not!’ Ripley Ancestry Brick Wall), and – believe it or not – we’re still working on his ancestry. Knowing that Ripley’s family history was a mystery, in that 2013 article I asked readers to help break through a brick wall in the Ripley family tree. Their answers were informative, although much of his ancestry continues to be elusive.

What I want to do now is provide an update to this genealogical quest to uncover Ripley’s family history. First, I suggest you click on the link to read my previous Ripley article, to see what clues I could present to my readers at that time. Next, read the comments several readers left at the end of that article, providing additional clues. Let’s look at some of those follow-up clues now, to make what progress we can in smashing through this Ripley brick wall.

photo of Robert "Believe It or Not!" Ripley, c. 1940

Photo: Robert Ripley, c. 1940. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

The Ripley Brick Wall

As I explained in my 2013 article about the Ripley genealogy mystery:

I can’t seem to crack the brick wall in his genealogy. He left no descendants and was only married briefly to actress Beatrice Roberts. I can’t discover his family history any further back than his maternal grandmother.

Prefers “Robert” to “Leroy”

Leroy Robert Ripley (c.1890-1949), (who went by “Robert” or “Robert L.”), did many things in his career, including work as a cartoonist, a sportswriter and amateur anthropologist.

article by Robert Ripley about Honus Wagner and Larry Lajoie, Evening Star newspaper article 18 October 1914

Evening Star (Washington, D.C.), 18 October 1914, page 64

Conflicting Birth Dates

Ripley’s World War I draft registration reports that he resided at 136 W. 65 Street in New York. He was 25 and recorded his birth on the registration form as 15 February 1892 in Santa Rosa, California. What is interesting about this is that, at other times, he reported his birth date as 25 December 1890 and 26 December 1890 (thought by some genealogists to be his real date of birth). Wikipedia reports Ripley’s birth date as 22 February 1890.

Enter Last Name

Ripley described himself as an artist, writer and cartoonist working for associated newspapers at 170 Broadway. As his mother had died several years earlier, he reported that he supported a brother and was single. He signed his name as Robert LeRoy Ripley. Although recording errors are common, it would be interesting to find his birth record to confirm the actual day and year on which he was born.

article about Robert Ripley, Oregonian newspaper article 29 November 1936

Oregonian (Portland, Oregon), 29 November 1936, page 62

No Descendants

Ripley was married briefly to Beatrice Roberts in 1919. She was only 14 at the time of their marriage, and the couple separated after just three months. They finally divorced in 1926, and had no children. Ripley never remarried, and died childless.

obituary for Robert Ripley, San Diego Union newspaper article 28 May 1949

San Diego Union (San Diego, California), 28 May 1949, page 1

Ripley’s Parents

Robert Ripley was the son of Isaac Davis Ripley (1854-1904) and Lillie Belle Yoka, Yocka or Yocke (1868-1915). His parents married on 3 October 1889 in Sonoma, California (California County Marriages 1850-1952, database at familysearch.org) and are buried at Odd Fellows Lawn Cemetery in Santa Rosa, California (see findagrave.com).

Ripley’s Father

In 1870, the Belpre (Washington County) Ohio Census reports that Isaac was possibly residing in the household of Jason and Phelia A. Stubs (or Stubbs or Stutes). Isaac was 16 at that time and attended school. (See http://ohgen.net/ohwashin/OMP-2.htm, Ohio Historical Society, Newspaper Microfilm Reel # 38487 – marriage license for Jason Stubbs and Phelia A. Hunter of Belpre on 8 May 1865.)

Once he reached California, various Great Registers (see familysearch.org) report that Isaac Davis Ripley worked as a carpenter. His birth place is consistently reported as Ohio, which is confirmed by the 1900 Santa Rosa (California) Census reporting him being born in Ohio in September of 1854.

His Mother and Maternal Grandparents

Lillie Belle was the daughter of Nancy Yocke (1828-?) and an unknown father from Germany.

In 1880, Lillie lived with her widowed mother, according to the Analy (Sonoma County) California Census. Her mother was listed as a housekeeper. She had been born in Tennessee and her parents were both from North Carolina. Lillie was the only child in the household. Her birth was shown as Missouri and her parents as having been born in Tennessee and Germany.

At the time of Lillie’s marriage to Isaac Davis Ripley in 1889, he was 35 and she was 20.

One of the readers of my 2013 article, Donna Bailey, wrote:

Well, this article [Miami News (Miami, Florida), 13 May 1962, from Google News Archives] helps explain a little. It states that Lillie Belle was born on the Santa Fe Trail in a covered wagon on the way to California. And Isaac ran away from home at age 14, which explains why he is at the Stutes home in 1870 already on his way to California, which he does show up in voter lists in Yuba in 1874.

Donna later wrote again, adding more information:

Some more clues. There is a marriage record for a Phillip Yoka and a Nancy A. Card, married in Washington Township, Johnson County, MO, on 4 Dec. 1870. According to her grave at Find a grave [Sebastapol Memorial Lawn Cemetery], Nancy’s middle name was Ann, so this could be our Nancy.

I checked the marriage record and it seems consistent with other records. It does note that the officiant was Justice of the Peace William Fisher, so it is unlikely that a church record exists. I also checked the Miami News article. It gives us the clue that Isaac Davis Ripley was born of old American stock in West Virginia, which differs from records reporting Ohio. Perhaps his roots were from that state.

His Two Siblings

When Robert Ripley died on 27 May 1949, he left the bulk of his estate in trust to his two siblings, Douglas and Ethel “Effie” Ripley. Effie (1885-1965) married Fred Marion Davis (1884-1957) and is buried at Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Francisco next to her husband, who was a veteran of World War II. We still have not located the final resting place of Douglas.

Enter Last Name

His Sister

Another reader named Mallory wrote:

Ethel (Effie) Davis was married to Fred Davis – she was alive in 1947 and apparently in 1949 when she and her husband flew back to NY from the funeral of her brother [Robert Ripley]. She and her other brother Douglas inherited the majority of the estate. Effie was dead before 1971. The family home still exists… Ethel was born in 1893, her brother Douglas in 1904. The father Isaac died in 1905. Robert (Leroy) had to work to help support his mom and sister. There are two nephews named Robert and Douglas (not sure who their parents were) – they show up in local newspaper clippings.

The Renewed Ripley Brick Wall Challenge

So readers, there you have it.

With the genealogy research we’ve done since my 2013 article was posted, we have learned that Robert Ripley’s father, Isaac Davis Ripley, ran away from home – and we have learned the probable identity of his Yocke grandfather, a German named Philip.

But that’s about it – so I am opening up the Ripley brick wall challenge again. Can any of our readers help us get back further on Ripley’s family tree?

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Legendary Lives: Car Manufacturer Henry Ford

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” In this blog article, Gena searches old newspapers to discover more about the life and accomplishments of automobile magnate Henry Ford.

For many Americans who are familiar with the Ford Motor Company, the name Henry Ford (1863-1947) is synonymous with his innovations. While his implementation of the assembly line (a more streamlined process in factory work), and introduction of the affordable Model T automobile, are well-known – he also implemented ideas that better served his employees.

Portrait of Henry Ford, c. 1919

Illustration: portrait of Henry Ford, c. 1919. Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

Admiration for Thomas Edison

For the interested researcher, perusing newspaper articles about Henry Ford printed during his lifetime does not disappoint. Just searching for news articles about him published in 1914, the year he introduced his employee profit-sharing plan, nearly 1,700 articles can be found in GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives – including quite a few that mention his association with inventor Thomas Edison. One such article includes a quote from Henry Ford proclaiming that Thomas Edison is the “greatest man of the times.”

Thomas A. Edison [Is] the Greatest of Men, Says Henry Ford, Head of the Automobile Kingdom, Tulsa World newspaper article 25 January 1914

Tulsa World (Tulsa, Oklahoma), 25 January 1914, section 2, page 1

Profit-Sharing Plan for Ford Employees

In 1914 he raised the daily salary of workers to $5 via a profit-sharing plan that increased 90% of his employees’ pay from the previous level of $2.34 per day. Ford not only increased wages, he shortened the work day to eight hours.

Henry Ford Gives $10,000,000 to His 26,000 Employees, Jackson Citizen Patriot newspaper article 5 January 1914

Jackson Citizen Patriot (Jackson, Michigan), 5 January 1914, page 1

Henry Ford, Birdwatcher?

Birdwatching? Well, everyone has a hobby and not surprisingly, Ford was mentioned numerous times in the newspaper for his hobby (he was an avid birdwatcher) and the bird preserve he established near Detroit, Michigan.

article about Henry Ford's bird preserve in Michigan, Duluth News-Tribune newspaper article 7 July 1912

Duluth News-Tribune (Duluth, Minnesota), 7 July 1912, page 7

The story of how his bird preserve came to be is recounted in the following 1914 newspaper article. Ford had invited Jefferson Butler, Secretary of the Michigan Audubon Society, to his Michigan farm and asked how he could make the lives of birds happier. According to the article:

“Ford wanted to share profits with the birds who were saving the crops of the farmers from destruction [by eating insects] and making it possible for mankind to get something to eat.”

Enter Last Name

That meeting led to Ford creating a bird preserve where he provided shelters, food and even “tepid water” via electric heaters for the birds.

article about Henry Ford and his love of birdwatching, Macon Telegraph newspaper article 24 May 1914

Macon Telegraph (Macon, Georgia), 24 May 1914, page 5

Hi! My Name Is Henry Ford

Not all of the newspaper articles about Henry Ford are related to his accomplishments, hobbies, or even automobiles. Just as today, our ancestors enjoyed reading celebrity stories. Everyone loves a story where two people share a common name but are not related, especially when one of those people is famous. In the following newspaper article from 1914, the meeting of two Henry Fords from Michigan – one the industrialist millionaire and the other an editor of the Galesburg Argus newspaper – is documented.

Michigan's Two Henry Fords Meet at Popular Florida Winter Resort, Kalamazoo Gazette newspaper article 15 March 1914

Kalamazoo Gazette (Kalamazoo, Michigan), 15 March 1914, page 2

And as all good genealogy researchers know, same name doesn’t mean same family. The last sentence of this old news article clarifies that these two Fords are not related.

Henry Ford’s Death

Toward Henry’s later years, his son Edsel was at the helm of the Ford Motor Company – but after Edsel’s death in 1943, Henry returned to running the company. The elder Ford, suffering from ill health, finally relinquished control of the company to his namesake grandson in September 1945. Less than two years later, Henry Ford died on 7 April 1947. His obituary, like that of any well-known figure, named his accomplishments – but also listed his perceived failings including an unsuccessful attempt to stop World War I.

obituary for Henry Ford, Trenton Evening Times newspaper article 8 April 1947

Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, New Jersey), 8 April 1947, page 1

Henry Ford’s Genealogy

The Ford family tree is online.

Newspapers = Stories

As these historical articles have shown, newspapers are a great way to find not only someone’s vital statistics, but the stories of their life as well. Dig into GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives and find your ancestors’ stories. Start your 30-day trial now!

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Native American Newspapers for Genealogy Research

When births, marriages and deaths occur, Native American families make sure that they are written up and documented in their local newspapers. Family and tribal historians want to data mine GenealogyBank’s entire Historical Newspaper Archives looking for these events by searching on the names of the individuals – but also by searching on the tribal affiliations of the persons involved.

montage of newspaper articles about Native Americans

Genealogy Tip: Search for your Native American ancestors using not only individual names, but also the names of their tribal affiliations to locate all articles about your family.

As part of its online collection of deep back runs digitized from more than 7,000 different newspapers spanning 1690 to today, GenealogyBank has a specific collection of Native American newspapers, fantastic for researching Indian roots from several tribes, from all around the country.

Currently, our Native American newspaper titles include:

Genealogy Tip: Make sure to begin searching for your Native American ancestors with a wide search of our entire archives, then narrow down to specific locations and newspapers – including our collection of Native American newspapers – to increase your chances of success.

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Where in Ireland Are Your Irish Ancestors From? Search Newspapers

Newspapers recorded every day of our ancestors’ lives – and that is a good thing for genealogists.

Time and time again old documents, from death certificates to the census, simply state that someone like John Clifford was born “in Ireland” – and never tell us where in Ireland. Often it is newspapers that are critical to our finding the name of the community or the county in Ireland where our Irish immigrant ancestors were born.

For example, this old 1800s obituary for John Clifford tells us where in Ireland he was from.

obituary for John Clifford, New York Herald newspaper article 4 November 1880

New York Herald (New York City, New York), 4 November 1880, page 8

Thanks to GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives, we know that he was born in Killeshandra, County Cavan, Ireland.

Government and other official passenger lists routinely list that the waves of Irish immigrants were born in “Ireland” without any further details – but it is in newspapers that we can find two other key facts (origin and destination) that were not recorded in the passenger lists genealogists are familiar with.

Enter Last Name

I am just amazed every time I read these Irish American passenger lists in online newspapers and see that they tell me where these new arrivals had lived in Ireland, and where they were going to live in America.

How in the world did the editors of New York City’s Irish American newspapers find the time to interview and document the incoming Irish immigrants, and keep doing it for over a century?

Irish immigrants passenger list, Irish Nation newspaper article 27 May 1882

Irish Nation (New York City, New York), 27 May 1882, page 8

Irish American newspapers were diligent about reporting the great migration of Irish immigrants to America in the 19th and 20th centuries. Newspapers like the Irish Nation and Irish World regularly published lists of Irish passengers that came over on the passenger ships each week.
These published ship passenger lists did not include every Irish immigrant – but for the tens of thousands that were interviewed and documented by the newspapers, these lists give us the critical place of origin and where they were heading after their arrival in America, valuable information that is just not found in any other genealogical source.

One of my colleagues, Duncan Kuehn, closely compared some of the passenger lists published in newspapers to the corresponding federal passenger lists. She found that for the passengers interviewed and listed by the newspapers, their names were often more complete – and often, additional names of accompanying family members were given in the newspaper account that did not appear in the federal lists.

It would be even better if the newspapers had interviewed every single passenger, but we’re grateful for the excellent job they did on the ones that were documented.

Genealogists must use these newspaper passenger lists to learn more about their ancestors’ stories.

Start searching GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives and begin documenting and recording your family history. If you have Irish ancestry, try searching our special Irish American newspaper archives first.

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Maine Archives: 48 Newspapers for Genealogy Research

Yesterday Maine celebrated the 195th anniversary of its statehood – it was admitted into the Union on 15 March 1820 as the 23rd state. Originally part of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Maine is the largest of the six New England states – but is only the 39th largest state in the country, and the 41st most populous.

photo of the coast of Maine near Acadia National Park

Photo: the coast of Maine near Acadia National Park. Credit: Someone35; Wikimedia Commons.

If you are researching your family roots in Maine, you will want to use GenealogyBank’s online ME newspaper archives: 48 titles to help you search your family history in “The Pine Tree State,” providing news coverage, family stories and vital statistics from 1785 to Today. There are currently more than 2 million newspaper articles and records in our online Maine archives!

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

Search Maine Newspaper Archives (1785 – 1950)

Search Maine Recent Obituaries (1992 – Current)

Here is a list of online Maine 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 ME newspaper titles are listed alphabetically by city.

City Title Date Range* Collection
Augusta Age 1/6/1832 – 8/29/1861 Newspaper Archives
Augusta Kennebec Gazette 9/11/1801 – 7/31/1805 Newspaper Archives
Augusta Herald of Liberty 2/13/1810 – 9/2/1815 Newspaper Archives
Augusta Kennebec Journal / Kennebec Journal Sunday 11/14/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bangor Bangor Weekly Register 11/25/1815 – 6/21/1831 Newspaper Archives
Bangor Bangor Daily News 12/14/1992 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bath Maine Gazette 12/8/1820 – 12/29/1820 Newspaper Archives
Belfast Waldo Patriot 12/30/1837 – 12/21/1838 Newspaper Archives
Belfast Hancock Gazette 7/6/1820 – 12/28/1820 Newspaper Archives
Biddeford Justice de Biddeford 5/14/1896 – 3/2/1950 Newspaper Archives
Brunswick Maine Intelligencer 9/23/1820 – 12/29/1820 Newspaper Archives
Bucksport Gazette of Maine Hancock Advertiser 7/25/1805 – 4/10/1812 Newspaper Archives
Castine Eagle 11/14/1809 – 3/19/1812 Newspaper Archives
Eastport Eastport Sentinel 8/31/1818 – 8/15/1832 Newspaper Archives
Falmouth Falmouth Gazette and Weekly Advertiser 1/1/1785 – 3/30/1786 Newspaper Archives
Hallowell American Advocate 8/23/1809 – 1/28/1835 Newspaper Archives
Hallowell Maine Cultivator and Hallowell Gazette 10/4/1839 – 3/10/1870 Newspaper Archives
Hallowell Hallowell Gazette 2/23/1814 – 12/26/1827 Newspaper Archives
Hallowell Kennebec Gazette 11/14/1800 – 8/28/1801 Newspaper Archives
Kennebunk Weekly Visiter 6/24/1809 – 6/30/1821 Newspaper Archives
Kennebunk Annals of the Times 1/13/1803 – 1/3/1805 Newspaper Archives
Kennebunk Eagle of Maine 7/1/1802 – 9/30/1802 Newspaper Archives
Lewiston Sun-Journal 1/29/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Madawaska St. John Valley Times 8/6/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Paris Jeffersonian 7/11/1827 – 6/14/1831 Newspaper Archives
Portland Eastern Argus 9/8/1803 – 12/30/1880 Newspaper Archives
Portland Portland Daily Press 9/3/1870 – 3/9/1882 Newspaper Archives
Portland Portland Advertiser 1/3/1824 – 1/30/1864 Newspaper Archives
Portland Daily Eastern Argus 1/1/1863 – 3/17/1888 Newspaper Archives
Portland Gazette 4/16/1798 – 12/30/1828 Newspaper Archives
Portland Portland Daily Advertiser 8/13/1840 – 8/23/1898 Newspaper Archives
Portland Eastern Herald 1/2/1792 – 12/27/1802 Newspaper Archives
Portland Cumberland Gazette 7/20/1786 – 12/26/1791 Newspaper Archives
Portland Freeman’s Friend 9/19/1807 – 6/9/1810 Newspaper Archives
Portland Oriental Trumpet 12/15/1796 – 11/5/1800 Newspaper Archives
Portland Independent Statesman 7/14/1821 – 5/6/1825 Newspaper Archives
Portland Jeffersonian 2/24/1834 – 7/25/1836 Newspaper Archives
Portland Herald of Gospel Liberty 4/27/1810 – 6/21/1811 Newspaper Archives
Portland Maine Sunday Telegram 3/6/1994 – Current Recent Obituaries
Portland Portland Press Herald 3/1/1994 – Current Recent Obituaries
Saco Freeman’s Friend 8/21/1805 – 8/15/1807 Newspaper Archives
Sanford Justice de Sanford 2/26/1925 – 12/27/1928 Newspaper Archives
Sanford Sanford News 1/21/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Waterville Morning Sentinel / Sunday Sentinel 11/14/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
Wiscasset Lincoln Intelligencer 11/1/1821 – 10/24/1822 Newspaper Archives
Wiscasset Wiscasset Telegraph 12/10/1796 – 3/9/1799 Newspaper Archives
Wiscasset Lincoln Telegraph 2/15/1821 – 10/18/1821 Newspaper Archives
Wiscasset Wiscasset Argus 12/30/1797 – 1/13/1798 Newspaper Archives

*Date Ranges may have selected coverage unavailable.

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

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The Bible: It Just Might Save Your Life – Literally

The Word of God has been known to save the lives of many on a daily basis.

And then there is John Brotherton, 1729-1809 (MD4H-4T5). The Bible saved his life – literally.

In the mid-1700s Brotherton was in fierce hand-to-hand combat when a bayonet pierced through his belt, several layers of clothing, and 52 pages of his pocket Bible. That Bible slowed down the bayonet and saved his life.

obituary for John Brotherton, Hampshire Gazette newspaper article 22 November 1809

Hampshire Gazette (Northampton, Massachusetts), 22 November 1809, page 3

obituary for John Brotherton, Hampshire Gazette newspaper article 22 November 1809

Hampshire Gazette (Northampton, Massachusetts), 22 November 1809, page 3

According to Brotherton’s obituary in the Hampshire Gazette, when he left “his native cottage” to join the British Army, he “took with him a small Bible, determining to make it the companion of his marches.” Faith made Brotherton a better man. His family was deeply religious and John himself was described as a man of “boldness and intrepidity” with a demeanor that was “gentle” and “without offense,” setting him apart from his fellow soldiers.

John Brotherton served with his regiment during the Seven Years’ War (1754-1763). (In America this is called the French & Indian War.) While we don’t know the specific battle when that pocket Bible saved his life, John’s newspaper obituary tells us that he fought in Germany against the French at the Battle of Minden in 1759.

Painting: Battle of Minden, 1759, by Richard Caton Woodville (1825-1855)

Illustration: Battle of Minden, 1759 – by Richard Caton Woodville (1825-1855). Source: Wikipedia Commons.

This battle illustration gives us a good idea of the fierce, hand-to-hand fighting that John Brotherton experienced during the Seven Years’ War.

Enter Last Name

Brotherton served in the military faithfully, returned home, and lived to be 80 years old.

Thanks to GenealogyBank, John’s gripping war survival story is passed on to us today.

According to his obituary, one of Brotherton’s brothers was given this special lifesaving Bible at the time of his death.

Does the family still have this heirloom Bible? Do they know why there is a large gash in it? Do they know the details of John’s military service and how this Bible saved his life?

Obituaries showcase our ancestors lives. While some obituaries may only give us a line or two about our deceased relatives, many include important personal stories. Brotherton’s miracle inspires us all to value life, and be thankful for the things that keep us alive. Family history helps connect us to the stories of our past.

GenealogyBank lets us dig deeper into the times our ancestors grew up in, and find the details of their day-to-day lives. We all have a John Brotherton in our family tree. We only need to do the genealogy research to find their story.

GenealogyBank’s deep newspaper archive of over 1.7 billion records holds story after story about the people who built America, along with their births, marriages, and deaths. Find your ancestors’ stories today to discover who they were, what they did and what they lived through. Find your John Brotherton.

Note: FamilySearch International (FamilySearch.org) and GenealogyBank are partnering to make over a billion records from 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/

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The Nelson Shipwreck & Captain Hagney: Name Research Tips

Introduction: Duncan Kuehn is a professional genealogist with over eight years of client experience. She has worked on several well-known projects, such as “Who Do You Think You Are?” and researching President Barack Obama’s ancestry. In this blog post, Duncan searches old newspapers to learn more about Captain Hagney and the sinking of the schooner “Nelson” on Lake Superior in 1899, using various search tips to get good results.

Searching newspapers for an ancestor’s name that doesn’t seem to have a standard spelling can be a challenge for family historians. Here is an interesting case study about the captain of a sunken ship that may help you research those difficult ancestor names. Recently this ship, the schooner Nelson, was found under more than 200 feet of water in Lake Superior. There were several newspaper articles about the shipwreck discovery, but they had various spellings of the captain’s name – including “Haganey” and “Hagginey.”

The Story of the Sinking of the Nelson

The shipwreck story goes like this. On 15 May 1899, the schooner Nelson was overloaded with coal, in addition to the 10 people on board. There was a terrific storm on Lake Superior and ice accumulated on the ship, causing it to sit even lower in the water. The waves began to crash over the edges of the ship. The Nelson was being towed by the steamer A Folsom along with the Mary B Mitchell. At some point the towing line either broke or was cut. Shortly after, the Nelson tilted and the stern popped up out of the water as the entire vessel almost immediately went under. The captain placed his crew, his wife, and his toddler son into the lifeboat. Then he dove into the water to join them. Unfortunately, the lifeboat was still tethered to the Nelson and it was dragged down to the bottom of the lake by the sinking ship. The captain, who never reached the lifeboat, watched helplessly as his ship and family were lost. He clung to a piece of the wreckage and was found unconscious along the shore. The storm’s violent 50 mile-per-hour winds prevented any rescue efforts by the other two ships. Nine lives were lost; only the captain survived.

My Search for the Captain

This is a compelling story of a heroic effort by the captain of the Nelson that just wasn’t enough to save his family or crew, and I wanted to learn more details.

As always, I searched for contemporary records to find out more. I started by looking into GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives. I ran this search:

screenshot of GenealogyBank's search box showing a search for the schooner "Nelson"

I entered the name of the ship in quotation marks as a keyword. You do not necessarily need to use a person’s name to search on GenealogyBank – a keyword search is often effective. I also entered a date range from the date of the accident to several months after the event. When the search results came back I sorted the results with the oldest article first, as I prefer to read articles in chronological order.

I found many newspaper articles from all over the United States telling the story of the accident. Here are three of those articles.

This article refers to Captain “Haganney.”

article about the shipwreck of the schooner "Nelson," Elkhart Weekly Review newspaper article 17 May 1899

Elkhart Weekly Review (Elkhart, Indiana), 17 May 1899, page 1

This historical newspaper article refers to Captain “Hagney.”

article about the shipwreck of the schooner "Nelson," Anaconda Standard newspaper article 15 May 1899

Anaconda Standard (Anaconda, Montana), 15 May 1899, page 1

This old news article also refers to Captain “Hagney.”

article about the shipwreck of the schooner "Nelson," Bay City Times newspaper article 15 May 1899

Bay City Times (Bay City, Michigan), 15 May 1899, page 3

Using these old newspaper articles, I discovered that much of the information in the present-day articles about the discovery of the shipwreck reflected the information given in those 1899 articles. However, I found some inconsistencies as well. Perhaps most importantly, the old articles make no mention of the captain’s heroic effort to save his family and crew. A typical comment from those 1899 articles is that “The Nelson disappeared as suddenly as one could snuff a candle,” suggesting that the captain did not have time to do anything. I also find that Captain Haganey/Hagginey (as spelled in the modern newspaper articles) is spelled differently in the 1899 articles:  “Haganney” and “Hagney.”

Enter Last Name

After learning about the shipwreck, I now wanted to know more about the captain himself – but there were so many spellings of his name I wasn’t sure which was correct. A quick search of census records on FamilySearch.org told me that he was the son of John and Mary Hagney from Oswego, New York. He also had siblings: Ellen, Thomas, William, and Mary.

Going back to GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives, I narrowed my search using the name as it appeared in the census: “Hagney.” This search turned up several articles that told me a great deal about the captain.

One of the first I found was this very sad newspaper article. It appears that on the same day the Nelson when down with Captain Hagney’s entire family, his friends from New York were frantically trying to reach him with the sad news that his mother had just died. The unfortunate man lost his one remaining parent and his wife and child.

article about the shipwreck of the schooner "Nelson," Saginaw News newspaper article 15 May 1899

Saginaw News (Saginaw, Michigan), 15 May 1899, page 6

The Captain Searches for His Family

Immediately after the Nelson accident, Captain Hagney refused to give up hope. As this old news article explains, he wasn’t willing to give up on his family – and spent hours and days combing the beach for any sign of his loved ones:

Capt. Hagney is now engaged in patrolling the beach with the help of the crews of life saving stations here and at Deer Park. The broken yawl, some parts of the cabin, a lady’s hat, a man’s cap and a mattress are all that have yet been found.

article about the shipwreck of the schooner "Nelson," Plain Dealer newspaper article 19 May 1899

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 19 May 1899, page 10

Hagney was understandably distraught, as reported in these next two newspaper articles. This Ohio newspaper article’s headline, “Capt. Hagney in Bad Shape,” says it all, and reports that he had been hospitalized:

The doctors class his trouble as nervousness and insomnia.

article about Captain Hagney's trauma after the shipwreck of the schooner "Nelson," Plain Dealer newspaper article 24 May 1899

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 24 May 1899, page 8

This Michigan newspaper article reports that Hagney’s condition is serious.

article about Captain Hagney's trauma after the shipwreck of the schooner "Nelson," Saginaw News newspaper article 24 May 1899

Saginaw News (Saginaw, Michigan), 24 May 1899, page 2

The Previous Life of Captain Hagney

The 1900 census shows him safely ensconced at the home of a family member in Toledo, Ohio, where he was working as an agent for the seamen’s union.* As tragic as all of this was, I still wanted to know more about Hagney. He had a life before the shipwreck of the Nelson and one after, so I ran some more searches. I started with changing the spelling from Hagney to Hageny. I figured this would be a common misspelling even though I hadn’t seen it in any of the records so far. This search did produce results, and I found a series of articles about his life back in New York a decade before the accident.

Enter Last Name

Ten years previously, in 1889, Andrew got into some difficulty with the law. As this New York newspaper reports, there was a trial after some union trouble involving strikes, “scabs” and violence:

Andrew Hageny, William Putman, and Michael Donovan were charged with a murderous assault upon Jesse Josephs, mate of the schooner John Scheutte of Toledo, at the dock in this port…Josephs was dragged a mile into the suburbs, pounded with belaying pins and thrown into the cellar of a burned house; he managed to crawl to an adjoin house.

They were all found guilty of assault in the second degree, with a second, upcoming trial for coercion and conspiracy in forcing some “scabs” to leave another ship.

article about Andrew Hagney being convicted for assault, Watertown Daily Times newspaper article 20 July 1889

Watertown Daily Times (Watertown, New York), 20 July 1889, page 5

This “Andrew Hageny” seems to be the same man as the later Captain Andrew Hagney of the Nelson, based on location, occupation, and name, but more evidence is always wanted – so I kept searching the archives. I found this earlier newspaper article about the assault on sailor Jesse Josephs, and learned that Andrew Hageny’s brother Thomas was also involved. This lends credence to the belief that this Andrew Hageny is the same as the later Captain Andrew Hagney, since I knew from my earlier research on the census that Andrew Hagney had a brother named Thomas.

article about Thomas Hagney being charged for assault, Watertown Daily Times newspaper article 17 May 1889

Watertown Daily Times (Watertown, New York), 17 May 1889, page 3

But how did Andrew become a ship’s captain with this background of conviction for assault, especially when we find that he had been sentenced to four years in prison?

Intrigued, I kept searching for answers – and found this newspaper article two years into Andrew’s prison sentence, indicating that Governor Hill had promised to pardon him.

article about Andrew Hagney being pardoned by Governor Hill, Watertown Daily Times newspaper article 25 November 1891

Watertown Daily Times (Watertown, New York), 25 November 1891, page 8

And that was indeed what happened – Governor Hill pardoned him. So that was how he got out of prison early, and presumably set about setting his affairs in order. I was unable to find any newspaper articles reporting Andrew getting in trouble with the law again. He must have worked hard and stayed out of trouble, because in a few years he was entrusted as a ship’s captain.

The Post-Shipwreck Life of Captain Hagney

But what happened to Captain Andrew Hagney after the shipwreck of the Nelson? Was he able to recover from the trauma? It took some searching to find a newspaper article to answer this question. I had to go back to the other spellings of his name, and eventually found his obituary by searching under the spelling “Haganey.”

obituary for Andrew Hagney, Cleveland Leader newspaper article 23 February 1912

Cleveland Leader (Cleveland, Ohio), 23 February 1912, page 10

Captain Andrew Hagney appears to have remained in Toledo for the rest of his short life. He remarried and fathered three more children. He died at age 52 in 1912, while visiting his in-laws in New Mexico.

Captain Hagney’s life was full of tragic and challenging experiences. While it must have been difficult to live, searching for his life story provides an opportunity for us to learn about ancestor name search tips, and demonstrates how much we can learn about the lives of our ancestors simply by continuing to dig in the archives..

Genealogy Tips:

Many of us have ancestors with unusual names, or names that appear in records with different spellings. When searching on GenealogyBank, the search engine will look for exactly what you type. Therefore, if you know of an alternative spelling of your ancestor’s name – or if you can guess at one – you may end up finding even more articles. And if you stumble across an article that seems to be about your ancestor, but the name was spelled differently than you thought, it could still be them. Keep searching for additional information to help you determine if that record or article is the right person.

Another thing you might notice is the location of these articles. They appear from places all over the United States: Cleveland, Ohio; Saginaw, Michigan; Watertown, New York; Elkhart, Indiana; Anaconda, Montana; and Bay City, Michigan. While some of these locations make sense because Andrew had a connection with them, some do not – such as Montana and Indiana. Keep in mind that news travels, and reports about the ancestor you are looking for could be in any newspaper in the country. If you don’t find what you are looking for in your ancestor’s local area, don’t hesitate to search nationwide. This is always a good approach to take, even if your initial searches do find articles in your ancestor’s hometown, because many more articles might be out there. Best of luck in your family history searches!

—————-

* “United States Census, 1900,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MMD2-KFQ: accessed Dec. 2014), Andrew Hagney in household of Robert V. French, Port Lawrence Township, Precinct F Toledo city Ward 10, Lucas, Ohio, United States; citing sheet 8A, family 159, NARA microfilm publication T623, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.; FHL microfilm 1241298.

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New York Archives: 586 Newspapers for Genealogy Research

New York is one of the nation’s original 13 states, and is now the 27th largest state in the U.S. – and the 4th most populous, thanks primarily to the New York City Metropolitan Area. Founded by the Dutch in 1625 as New Amsterdam, New York City has grown to become arguably the cultural and financial center of the world.

photo of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor

Photo: the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor. Credit: William Warby; Wikimedia Commons.

If you are researching your family roots in New York, you will want to use GenealogyBank’s online NY newspaper archives: 586 titles to help you search your family history in “The Empire State,” providing news coverage, family stories and vital statistics from 1733 to Today. There are currently more than 31 million newspaper articles and records in our online New York archives!

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

Search New York Newspaper Archives (1733 – 1998)

Search New York Recent Obituaries (1986 – Current)

Here is a partial list of online New York newspapers in the archives (there are too many links to fit into one Blog posting; we cannot present a complete list). 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 NY newspaper titles are listed alphabetically by city.

City Title Date Range* Collection
Albany Albany Evening Journal 6/12/1834 – 12/30/1876 Newspaper Archives
Albany Albany Argus 1/26/1813 – 4/17/1855 Newspaper Archives
Albany Daily Albany Argus 1/6/1826 – 12/29/1876 Newspaper Archives
Albany Albany Register 4/6/1789 – 11/25/1822 Newspaper Archives
Albany Albany Centinel 7/4/1797 – 12/31/1805 Newspaper Archives
Albany Albany Gazette 1/3/1788 – 3/23/1821 Newspaper Archives
Albany Albany Daily Advertiser 9/25/1815 – 3/24/1817 Newspaper Archives
Albany Balance 1/4/1809 – 12/24/1811 Newspaper Archives
Albany Republican Crisis 11/11/1806 – 12/27/1808 Newspaper Archives
Albany New-York Statesman 5/16/1820 – 9/21/1821 Newspaper Archives
Albany Albany Chronicle 9/19/1796 – 4/9/1798 Newspaper Archives
Albany Signs of the Times 10/13/1827 – 11/8/1828 Newspaper Archives
Albany Plough Boy 6/5/1819 – 12/30/1820 Newspaper Archives
Albany New-York Gazetteer, or, Northern Intelligencer 7/15/1782 – 5/1/1784 Newspaper Archives
Albany Sojourner-Herald 4/1/1995 – 11/1/1998 Newspaper Archives
Albany Guardian 11/21/1807 – 11/12/1808 Newspaper Archives
Albany Albany Journal, or, the Montgomery, Washington and Columbia Intelligencer 2/2/1788 – 5/11/1789 Newspaper Archives
Albany Geographical and Military Museum 2/28/1814 – 6/6/1814 Newspaper Archives
Albany Northern Star and Freeman’s Advocate 2/3/1842 – 1/2/1843 Newspaper Archives
Albany Temperance Recorder 5/7/1833 – 11/5/1833 Newspaper Archives
Albany Times Union 3/8/1986 – Current Recent Obituaries
Albany Knickerbocker News 3/12/1986 – 4/15/1988 Recent Obituaries
Auburn Auburn Daily Bulletin 2/16/1870 – 12/30/1876 Newspaper Archives
Auburn Auburn Journal and Advertiser 5/31/1837 – 12/30/1846 Newspaper Archives
Auburn Cayuga Chief 1/4/1849 – 7/15/1856 Newspaper Archives
Auburn Cayuga Tocsin 6/2/1813 – 7/6/1814 Newspaper Archives
Auburn Cayuga Republican 3/31/1819 – 1/16/1833 Newspaper Archives
Auburn Cayuga Patriot 11/21/1827 – 4/2/1834 Newspaper Archives
Auburn Citizen 7/9/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Ballston Spa Independent American 9/27/1808 – 5/6/1818 Newspaper Archives
Ballston Spa Ballston Spa Gazette 10/17/1821 – 10/4/1825 Newspaper Archives
Ballston Spa Saratoga Advertiser 11/12/1804 – 3/10/1812 Newspaper Archives
Ballston Spa Saratoga Patriot 8/19/1812 – 12/28/1813 Newspaper Archives
Ballston Spa Saratoga Journal 2/1/1814 – 6/11/1817 Newspaper Archives
Ballston Spa Saratoga Courier 12/6/1815 – 10/15/1817 Newspaper Archives
Ballston Spa People’s Watch-Tower 5/13/1818 – 4/5/1820 Newspaper Archives
Ballston Spa Saratoga Farmer 1/17/1821 – 2/7/1821 Newspaper Archives
Ballston Spa Saratoga Register, or, Farmer’s Journal 9/5/1798 – 11/21/1798 Newspaper Archives
Ballston Spa Rural Visiter, and Saratoga Advertiser 5/5/1812 – 6/23/1812 Newspaper Archives
Batavia Republican Advocate 11/16/1811 – 11/23/1827 Newspaper Archives
Batavia Batavian 4/25/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Batavia Daily News 3/24/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Binghamton Broome County Patriot 11/10/1812 – 5/18/1813 Newspaper Archives
Binghamton Political Olio 5/25/1813 – 4/5/1814 Newspaper Archives
Binghamton Binghamton University Pipe Dream 11/1/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Brooklyn Long-Island Star 6/8/1809 – 12/27/1820 Newspaper Archives
Brooklyn Espana Libre 11/3/1939 – 12/25/1942 Newspaper Archives
Brooklyn Curioso 4/7/1934 – 6/1/1935 Newspaper Archives
Brooklyn Brooklyn Minerva, and Long-Island Advertiser 10/21/1807 – 12/9/1807 Newspaper Archives
Brooklyn Guaimaro 9/26/1895 – 1/2/1896 Newspaper Archives
Brooklyn Long Island Weekly Intelligencer 7/3/1806 – 1/1/1807 Newspaper Archives
Brooklyn Caribe 9/8/1923 – 10/6/1923 Newspaper Archives
Brooklyn Colonia Latina 1/8/1938 – 1/8/1938 Newspaper Archives
Brooklyn Canarsie Courier 12/21/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Brooklyn BrooklynEagle.com 11/26/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
Brooklyn Greenpoint Star & Weekly Northside News 11/17/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Brooklyn Haitian Times 1/25/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Brooklyn Our Time Press 9/13/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Buffalo Niagara Journal 7/4/1815 – 7/6/1819 Newspaper Archives
Buffalo Buffalo News 1/1/1989 – Current Recent Obituaries
Ithaca Ithaca Journal 7/16/1823 – 12/28/1831 Newspaper Archives
Ithaca American Journal 8/20/1817 – 7/16/1823 Newspaper Archives
Ithaca Ithaca Herald 8/31/1836 – 10/4/1837 Newspaper Archives
Ithaca Republican Chronicle 9/6/1820 – 12/25/1822 Newspaper Archives
Ithaca Ithaca Gazette and Religious Intelligencer 6/5/1817 – 6/5/1817 Newspaper Archives
Ithaca Seneca Republican 10/21/1815 – 10/21/1815 Newspaper Archives
Kingston Rondout Freeman 7/19/1845 – 9/18/1847 Newspaper Archives
Kingston Plebeian 8/3/1803 – 12/27/1805 Newspaper Archives
Kingston Rising Sun 12/14/1793 – 1/13/1798 Newspaper Archives
Kingston Ulster Gazette 7/24/1802 – 5/30/1821 Newspaper Archives
Kingston Farmer’s Register 10/6/1792 – 9/14/1793 Newspaper Archives
Long Island Herald Community Newspapers 8/17/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Long Island Newsday 1/1/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Long Island Queens Gazette 5/9/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
New York Evening Post 11/16/1801 – 12/30/1876 Newspaper Archives
New York Commercial Advertiser 10/2/1797 – 12/30/1876 Newspaper Archives
New York New York Tribune 1/1/1856 – 12/30/1899 Newspaper Archives
New York New York Herald 10/15/1844 – 12/31/1898 Newspaper Archives
New York Mercantile Advertiser 11/10/1798 – 12/30/1820 Newspaper Archives
New York New-York Gazette 2/16/1759 – 10/31/1821 Newspaper Archives
New York New Yorker Volkszeitung 1/6/1889 – 10/12/1932 Newspaper Archives
New York Daily Advertiser 3/16/1785 – 6/1/1809 Newspaper Archives
New York Spectator 10/4/1797 – 9/29/1851 Newspaper Archives
New York Columbian 11/1/1809 – 6/30/1821 Newspaper Archives
New York National Advocate 12/15/1812 – 1/31/1829 Newspaper Archives
New York American Citizen 3/10/1800 – 11/19/1810 Newspaper Archives
New York Daily People 7/1/1900 – 2/22/1914 Newspaper Archives
New York Courrier des Etats-Unis 12/1/1849 – 3/31/1891 Newspaper Archives
New York New-York Daily Advertiser 4/9/1817 – 7/27/1836 Newspaper Archives
New York Wall Street Daily News 5/1/1879 – 11/16/1907 Newspaper Archives
New York Prensa 7/19/1919 – 12/31/1929 Newspaper Archives
New York Irish American Weekly 8/12/1849 – 7/4/1914 Newspaper Archives
New York New-York Daily Gazette 12/29/1788 – 4/25/1795 Newspaper Archives
New York Public Advertiser 1/5/1807 – 2/22/1813 Newspaper Archives
New York Morning Chronicle 10/1/1802 – 6/15/1807 Newspaper Archives
New York Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper 12/15/1855 – 12/23/1876 Newspaper Archives
New York Daily Graphic 3/4/1873 – 2/28/1877 Newspaper Archives
New York Diary 2/15/1792 – 12/30/1797 Newspaper Archives
New York Jewish Daily News 1/2/1916 – 12/31/1922 Newspaper Archives
New York New-York Herald 1/2/1802 – 11/15/1817 Newspaper Archives
New York Jewish Messenger 1/2/1857 – 12/26/1902 Newspaper Archives
New York Courier 1/16/1815 – 4/8/1817 Newspaper Archives
New York Truth 7/6/1880 – 1/7/1884 Newspaper Archives
New York American 3/3/1819 – 12/31/1834 Newspaper Archives
New York New-York Journal 10/16/1766 – 6/12/1811 Newspaper Archives
New York New-York Packet 11/13/1783 – 1/26/1792 Newspaper Archives
New York New-York Gazette, and Weekly Mercury 2/1/1768 – 11/10/1783 Newspaper Archives
New York Irish World 1/11/1890 – 4/8/1905 Newspaper Archives
New York American Minerva 12/9/1793 – 4/30/1796 Newspaper Archives
New York Republican Watch-Tower 3/19/1800 – 11/16/1810 Newspaper Archives
New York Jewish Morning Journal 1/2/1910 – 12/31/1915 Newspaper Archives
New York Minerva 5/2/1796 – 9/30/1797 Newspaper Archives
New York Argus 5/11/1795 – 12/31/1796 Newspaper Archives
New York Greenleaf’s New York Journal 1/1/1794 – 3/8/1800 Newspaper Archives
New York New-York Mercury 8/31/1752 – 1/25/1768 Newspaper Archives
New York Vorwarts 11/19/1892 – 12/30/1922 Newspaper Archives
New York Weekly Museum 9/20/1788 – 4/26/1817 Newspaper Archives
New York Statesman 8/20/1812 – 12/31/1825 Newspaper Archives
New York New York American 1/3/1898 – 12/31/1898 Newspaper Archives
New York Sunday Mercury 1/2/1870 – 12/28/1879 Newspaper Archives
New York Royal Gazette 12/13/1777 – 11/19/1783 Newspaper Archives
New York Socialist Call 3/23/1935 – 3/21/1962 Newspaper Archives
New York Pomeroy’s Democrat 1/6/1869 – 12/25/1875 Newspaper Archives
New York New-York Gazette, or Weekly Post-Boy 1/19/1747 – 12/31/1770 Newspaper Archives
New York People’s Friend 8/25/1806 – 8/3/1807 Newspaper Archives
New York Independent Journal 11/17/1783 – 12/24/1788 Newspaper Archives
New York Weekly Herald 8/1/1840 – 12/26/1857 Newspaper Archives
New York Arbeiter Zeitung 11/28/1874 – 11/15/1902 Newspaper Archives
New York Worker 4/28/1901 – 12/19/1908 Newspaper Archives
New York People 4/5/1891 – 3/30/1901 Newspaper Archives
New York New York Ledger 4/19/1856 – 2/22/1868 Newspaper Archives
New York Progresso Italo-Americano 9/21/1884 – 12/27/1889 Newspaper Archives
New York Eco D’Italia 1/1/1890 – 12/31/1896 Newspaper Archives
New York Novedades 1/5/1888 – 12/21/1918 Newspaper Archives
New York Oracle and Daily Advertiser 1/1/1808 – 9/10/1808 Newspaper Archives
New York Nueva Democracia 1/1/1920 – 10/1/1948 Newspaper Archives
New York Cristoforo Colombo 1/6/1891 – 9/7/1893 Newspaper Archives
New York Grafico 10/21/1916 – 12/5/1953 Newspaper Archives
New York Herald 6/4/1794 – 9/30/1797 Newspaper Archives
New York Emancipator 5/18/1833 – 2/11/1842 Newspaper Archives
New York New York Evangelist 6/16/1870 – 7/26/1877 Newspaper Archives
New York Chronicle Express 11/25/1802 – 5/17/1804 Newspaper Archives
New York Sozialist 1/3/1885 – 11/12/1892 Newspaper Archives
New York New-York Price-Current 1/2/1797 – 12/31/1817 Newspaper Archives
New York Mercury 9/28/1831 – 11/4/1847 Newspaper Archives
New York New-York Weekly Journal 1/7/1733 – 12/3/1750 Newspaper Archives
New York Shamrock 12/15/1810 – 8/16/1817 Newspaper Archives
New York Time Piece 3/13/1797 – 8/30/1798 Newspaper Archives
New York New-York Evening Post 12/17/1744 – 12/18/1752 Newspaper Archives
New York New York Age 11/2/1889 – 11/19/1892 Newspaper Archives
New York Weekly Visitor And Ladies’ Museum 11/1/1817 – 10/25/1823 Newspaper Archives
New York Puerto Rico en Marcha 2/20/1943 – 4/21/1969 Newspaper Archives
New York Fiaccola 9/5/1912 – 2/10/1921 Newspaper Archives
New York Rivington’s New York Gazetteer 4/22/1773 – 11/23/1775 Newspaper Archives
New York Gaelic American 10/7/1905 – 9/28/1907 Newspaper Archives
New York New-York Morning Post 6/2/1783 – 6/12/1792 Newspaper Archives
New York Columbian Gazetteer 8/22/1793 – 11/13/1794 Newspaper Archives
New York New-York Morning Herald 2/1/1830 – 9/11/1830 Newspaper Archives
New York Patron of Industry 6/28/1820 – 6/27/1821 Newspaper Archives
New York Ecos de Nueva York 2/26/1950 – 1/6/1957 Newspaper Archives
New York Hodges’ Journal of Finance and Bank Note Reporter 1/1/1861 – 1/15/1863 Newspaper Archives
New York Irish Nation 11/26/1881 – 10/6/1883 Newspaper Archives
New York Log Cabin 5/2/1840 – 11/20/1841 Newspaper Archives
New York New York Globe 1/6/1883 – 11/8/1884 Newspaper Archives
New York New York Freeman 1/2/1886 – 10/8/1887 Newspaper Archives
New York Iberica 1/21/1953 – 12/15/1964 Newspaper Archives
New York Fur Worker 10/17/1916 – 4/1/1931 Newspaper Archives
New York Gazette of the United States 4/15/1789 – 10/13/1790 Newspaper Archives
New York Freedom’s Journal 3/16/1827 – 3/28/1829 Newspaper Archives
New York War 6/18/1812 – 9/6/1814 Newspaper Archives
New York Doctrina de Marti 7/25/1896 – 5/6/1898 Newspaper Archives
New York Sociale Republik 4/24/1858 – 5/26/1860 Newspaper Archives
New York Artes y Letras 10/21/1933 – 10/21/1939 Newspaper Archives
New York Irish Citizen 10/19/1867 – 10/10/1868 Newspaper Archives
New York New-York Spy 11/18/1806 – 11/11/1807 Newspaper Archives
New York Western Star, And, Harp of Erin 5/16/1812 – 5/1/1813 Newspaper Archives
New York Register of the Times 6/3/1796 – 6/27/1798 Newspaper Archives
New York Universalist Union 11/4/1837 – 11/3/1838 Newspaper Archives
New York Olio 1/27/1813 – 2/5/1814 Newspaper Archives
New York American Sentinel 1/2/1890 – 1/29/1891 Newspaper Archives
New York Gazette Francaise 1/3/1798 – 10/4/1799 Newspaper Archives
New York Nueva Voz 7/29/1962 – 9/1/1965 Newspaper Archives
New York Colored American 3/4/1837 – 4/19/1838 Newspaper Archives
New York Weekly Inspector 8/30/1806 – 8/22/1807 Newspaper Archives
New York Military Monitor, and American Register 6/18/1812 – 11/6/1813 Newspaper Archives
New York New-York Chronicle 5/22/1769 – 1/4/1770 Newspaper Archives
New York Independent Gazette 12/13/1783 – 3/11/1784 Newspaper Archives
New York Constitutional Gazette 8/9/1775 – 8/28/1776 Newspaper Archives
New York Prisoner of Hope 5/3/1800 – 8/23/1800 Newspaper Archives
New York Royal American Gazette 4/10/1777 – 8/7/1783 Newspaper Archives
New York Liberacion 5/3/1946 – 4/9/1949 Newspaper Archives
New York Exile 1/4/1817 – 10/18/1817 Newspaper Archives
New York Observer 2/19/1809 – 4/21/1811 Newspaper Archives
New York Ognisko 7/14/1887 – 6/22/1889 Newspaper Archives
New York Ladies’ Weekly Museum, or Polite Repository of Amusement and Instruction 5/3/1817 – 10/25/1817 Newspaper Archives
New York New-York Weekly Chronicle 4/30/1795 – 10/1/1795 Newspaper Archives
New York New York Semi-Weekly Express 12/10/1836 – 2/27/1852 Newspaper Archives
New York Flash 10/31/1841 – 12/10/1842 Newspaper Archives
New York True Sun 5/24/1847 – 2/25/1848 Newspaper Archives
New York Rivington’s New-York Gazette, and Universal Advertiser 11/22/1783 – 12/31/1783 Newspaper Archives
New York Redactor 1/22/1831 – 12/31/1831 Newspaper Archives
New York Puerto Rico y Nueva York 11/21/1954 – 5/21/1955 Newspaper Archives
New York Washington Republican, or, True American 7/29/1809 – 1/13/1810 Newspaper Archives
New York Mott and Hurtin’s New-York Weekly Chronicle 1/1/1795 – 4/16/1795 Newspaper Archives
New York National Advocate for the Country 12/20/1825 – 6/12/1827 Newspaper Archives
New York Eco Antillano 10/11/1941 – 5/9/1942 Newspaper Archives
New York Rivington’s New-York Loyal Gazette 10/18/1777 – 12/6/1777 Newspaper Archives
New York Impartial Gazetteer, and Saturday Evening’s Post 5/17/1788 – 9/13/1788 Newspaper Archives
New York Voz 4/1/1960 – 10/1/1962 Newspaper Archives
New York Independent Reflector 11/30/1752 – 11/22/1753 Newspaper Archives
New York Political Bulletin and Miscellaneous Repository 12/22/1810 – 3/30/1811 Newspaper Archives
New York Cine Variedades 7/21/1953 – 4/21/1954 Newspaper Archives
New York Eco de Cuba 6/22/1855 – 2/1/1856 Newspaper Archives
New York Pasatiempo 3/21/1951 – 5/21/1951 Newspaper Archives
New York Cuba Libre 7/27/1895 – 9/12/1895 Newspaper Archives
New York Temple of Reason 11/8/1800 – 2/7/1801 Newspaper Archives
New York Americana 12/21/1947 – 6/1/1948 Newspaper Archives
New York Cacara Jicara 10/9/1897 – 12/13/1897 Newspaper Archives
New York Epoca de Nueva York 12/2/1919 – 12/26/1919 Newspaper Archives
New York Estrella de Cuba 4/16/1870 – 6/29/1870 Newspaper Archives
New York Mulato 3/11/1854 – 6/17/1854 Newspaper Archives
New York America Continental 4/1/1956 – 4/1/1956 Newspaper Archives
New York Vida Hispana 6/25/1953 – 9/25/1954 Newspaper Archives
New York Corrector 3/28/1804 – 4/26/1804 Newspaper Archives
New York Mensaje 8/25/1957 – 3/25/1958 Newspaper Archives
New York Independent New-York Gazette 11/22/1783 – 12/6/1783 Newspaper Archives
New York Spirit of ’76 3/7/1809 – 4/27/1809 Newspaper Archives
New York Independiente 10/1/1898 – 12/31/1898 Newspaper Archives
New York M’Dowall’s Journal 10/1/1833 – 10/1/1833 Newspaper Archives
New York Semanario Hispano 3/9/1946 – 5/25/1946 Newspaper Archives
New York Luz 9/25/1921 – 11/20/1921 Newspaper Archives
New York Rights of All 5/29/1829 – 10/9/1829 Newspaper Archives
New York Ecos de Mundo 8/6/1960 – 8/13/1960 Newspaper Archives
New York Alba de Nueva York 3/20/1954 – 3/20/1954 Newspaper Archives
New York Civil Liberties Reporter 9/11/1950 – 4/1/1952 Newspaper Archives
New York Copway’s American Indian 8/23/1851 – 9/6/1851 Newspaper Archives
New York Semanario 12/10/1955 – 12/10/1955 Newspaper Archives
New York Harlem Daily 9/23/1965 – 10/12/1965 Newspaper Archives
New York Rivington’s New-York Gazette 10/4/1777 – 10/11/1777 Newspaper Archives
New York Mundo Latino 5/15/1948 – 5/15/1948 Newspaper Archives
New York New York Evening Post for the Country 6/12/1829 – 6/12/1829 Newspaper Archives
New York Nosotros 11/21/1953 – 11/21/1953 Newspaper Archives
New York Nueva York al Dia 3/24/1945 – 3/24/1945 Newspaper Archives
New York Freiheit 12/26/1903 – 12/26/1903 Newspaper Archives
New York Papagayo 2/15/1855 – 4/16/1855 Newspaper Archives
New York Youth’s News Paper 9/30/1797 – 11/4/1797 Newspaper Archives
New York Artistas Hispanos 6/21/1948 – 6/21/1948 Newspaper Archives
New York Cronica 1/13/1950 – 1/14/1950 Newspaper Archives
New York New-York Statesman 10/31/1825 – 11/10/1826 Newspaper Archives
New York Observateur Impartial, et Messager de L’union 2/6/1808 – 2/6/1808 Newspaper Archives
New York Exito 1/21/1954 – 1/21/1954 Newspaper Archives
New York Boricua 6/23/1948 – 6/23/1948 Newspaper Archives
New York Crisol 5/28/1949 – 5/28/1949 Newspaper Archives
New York Ateneo 4/21/1934 – 4/21/1934 Newspaper Archives
New York PIP 8/1/1953 – 8/1/1953 Newspaper Archives
New York Ahora 6/12/1950 – 6/19/1950 Newspaper Archives
New York Liberator 9/6/1896 – 9/6/1896 Newspaper Archives
New York Patria 3/14/1892 – 6/25/1895 Newspaper Archives
New York Cosas 12/3/1931 – 12/3/1931 Newspaper Archives
New York United States’ Shipping List 11/22/1811 – 11/20/1812 Newspaper Archives
New York Machate Criollo 2/27/1927 – 2/27/1927 Newspaper Archives
New York Frente Hispano 6/26/1937 – 6/26/1937 Newspaper Archives
New York Aki Nueva York 3/26/1955 – 3/26/1955 Newspaper Archives
New York Cascabeles 5/1/1934 – 5/1/1934 Newspaper Archives
New York Remembrancer 6/1/1805 – 6/1/1805 Newspaper Archives
New York Ebenezer 3/1/1945 – 6/1/1945 Newspaper Archives
New York Forlorn Hope 3/24/1800 – 3/24/1800 Newspaper Archives
New York Black Republican and Office-Holder’s Journal 8/10/1865 – 8/10/1865 Newspaper Archives
New York Republicas Hispanas Unidas 12/18/1943 – 12/18/1943 Newspaper Archives
New York Kan-de-la 6/3/1949 – 6/3/1949 Newspaper Archives
New York Soberania 4/21/1958 – 4/21/1958 Newspaper Archives
New York Cubano 4/26/1890 – 4/26/1890 Newspaper Archives
New York Illustracion 3/1/1945 – 3/1/1945 Newspaper Archives
New York Porcupine’s Gazette 1/13/1800 – 1/13/1800 Newspaper Archives
New York Metro – New York 11/20/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
New York Downtown Express 5/26/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
New York New York Observer 1/12/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
New York Gay City News 7/24/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
New York News India-Times 11/10/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
New York Villager 11/18/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
New York New York Sun 6/4/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
New York Filipino Reporter 3/8/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
New York West Side Spirit 5/17/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
New York Our Town Downtown 3/21/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
New York Chelsea Now 10/6/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
New York Our Town 3/12/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
New York Forward 5/18/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
New York City Hall 7/14/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
New York Desi Talk 11/24/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
New York New York Post 11/22/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
New York Irish Voice 2/15/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
New York New York Daily News 1/4/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Plattsburgh Plattsburgh Republican 4/12/1811 – 6/22/1861 Newspaper Archives
Plattsburgh American Monitor 8/4/1809 – 11/10/1810 Newspaper Archives
Plattsburgh Political Observatory 4/12/1811 – 8/24/1811 Newspaper Archives
Plattsburgh Northern Herald 1/11/1812 – 8/26/1814 Newspaper Archives
Plattsburgh Clinton Advertiser 11/17/1810 – 1/12/1811 Newspaper Archives
Plattsburgh Plattsburgh Herald 1/20/1815 – 7/21/1815 Newspaper Archives
Plattsburgh Press-Republican 1/28/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Plattsburgh Burgh 8/5/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Poughkeepsie Poughkeepsie Journal 7/14/1789 – 12/13/1845 Newspaper Archives
Poughkeepsie Political Barometer 6/8/1802 – 8/21/1811 Newspaper Archives
Poughkeepsie Independence 2/8/1832 – 1/29/1834 Newspaper Archives
Poughkeepsie Dutchess Observer 7/24/1816 – 4/26/1826 Newspaper Archives
Poughkeepsie Country Journal 12/15/1785 – 7/7/1789 Newspaper Archives
Poughkeepsie Ulster Republican 1/6/1836 – 11/18/1836 Newspaper Archives
Schenectady Cabinet 7/24/1810 – 6/1/1858 Newspaper Archives
Schenectady Mohawk Mercury 2/9/1795 – 3/13/1798 Newspaper Archives
Schenectady Western Budget 7/25/1807 – 5/8/1810 Newspaper Archives
Schenectady Daily Gazette 8/16/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Schenectady Schenectady County Spotlight 8/5/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Syracuse Northern Christian Advocate 1/9/1879 – 12/23/1909 Newspaper Archives
Syracuse Eagle 8/5/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Syracuse Post-Standard 1/1/1996 – Current Recent Obituaries
Syracuse Post-Standard, The: Web Edition Articles 10/21/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Syracuse Eagle News Online 7/24/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Syracuse Syracuse Herald-Journal 12/8/1986 – 8/30/2001 Recent Obituaries
Syracuse Post-Standard, The: Blogs 2/18/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Syracuse Syracuse Herald American 12/7/1986 – 9/23/2001 Recent Obituaries
Troy Times 7/25/1863 – 3/31/1903 Newspaper Archives
Troy Farmers’ Register 1/25/1803 – 12/25/1820 Newspaper Archives
Troy Troy Gazette 9/15/1802 – 3/17/1812 Newspaper Archives
Troy American Spy 6/17/1791 – 2/27/1798 Newspaper Archives
Troy Troy Post 9/1/1812 – 3/18/1823 Newspaper Archives
Troy Record 4/1/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Utica Columbian Gazette 1/7/1805 – 1/30/1821 Newspaper Archives
Utica Patriot 2/28/1803 – 12/26/1820 Newspaper Archives
Utica Patrol 1/5/1815 – 1/1/1816 Newspaper Archives
Utica Whitestown Gazette and Cato’s Patrol 9/3/1798 – 2/21/1803 Newspaper Archives
Utica Utica Club 8/25/1814 – 5/15/1815 Newspaper Archives
Utica Observer-Dispatch 12/21/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Watertown Watertown Daily Times 1/5/1870 – 12/30/1922 Newspaper Archives
Watertown New-York Daily Reformer 4/22/1861 – 12/31/1869 Newspaper Archives
Watertown New York Reformer 9/5/1850 – 4/18/1861 Newspaper Archives
Watertown Watertown Daily Times 1/20/1988 – Current Recent Obituaries
Yonkers Eastchester Rising 10/31/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Yonkers Yonkers Rising 11/14/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Yonkers Westchester Rising 1/16/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Yonkers North Castle Rising 1/23/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Yonkers Sound View Rising 1/16/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Yonkers Yonkers Tribune 3/8/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries

*Date Ranges may have selected coverage unavailable.

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John Adams & Thomas Jefferson: Intertwined in Life – and Death

Introduction: Duncan Kuehn is a professional genealogist with over eight years of client experience. She has worked on several well-known projects, such as “Who Do You Think You Are?” and researching President Barack Obama’s ancestry. In this blog post, Duncan searches old newspapers to learn more about the remarkable coincidence of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson – friends and ex-presidents – both dying on 4 July 1826, the nation’s 50th anniversary.

John Adams, the nation’s 2nd president, and Thomas Jefferson, the 3rd president, were a large presence in one another’s life – a lifelong personal connection that continued to the day they both died: 4 July 1826, the 50th anniversary of the young country they were instrumental in creating and leading.

portrait of John Adams, 2nd president of the United States, by Asher B. Durand

Portrait: John Adams, 2nd president of the United States, by Asher B. Durand. Credit: U.S. Naval Historical Center; Wikimedia Commons.

John Adams (1735-1826) and Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), were friends and companions as they fought for independence from the British government. Although Jefferson was ultimately the author of the Declaration of Independence, Adams was initially favored to draft it and was on the writing committee – from which position he convinced the other members that Jefferson was the right man for the job. After the Declaration was written, Adams was perhaps the loudest and most assertive of its supporters and was hailed as a champion to the cause – which only increased the goodwill between the two men.

portrait of Thomas Jefferson, 3rd president of the United States, by Rembrandt Peale

Portrait: Thomas Jefferson, 3rd president of the United States, by Rembrandt Peale. Credit: New York Historical Society; Wikimedia Commons.

Their individual personalities and political opinions about how the new government should function, however, proved to be radically different. John Adams was aggressively in favor of a strong federal government and his bold, pushy demeanor alienated many. Thomas Jefferson was refined and gentile. He strongly defended the rights of the individual states over the rights of the federal government. The two men clashed constantly on political issues.

Both ran for the office of president of the United States after George Washington. Adams won the office in 1796 with the most votes and, as was customary at the time, Jefferson was made vice-president after receiving the second-highest number of votes. It was a political role Jefferson despised. He ended up beating Adams for the presidential office in the 1800 election and set to work undoing as much of Adams’s work as he could. He called it the “Revolution of 1800.”

In their latter years, they were able to set aside their differences and repair the relationship, maintaining a strong, steady correspondence for the last 14 years of their lives. On 4 July 1826, the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, they both lay in their sick beds. Jefferson died first, but Adams didn’t know that when he said his last words: “Jefferson survives.” Adams, being older, was one of the longest-living presidents. He died just months shy of his 91st birthday. Of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, only Charles Carroll was still living after Adams and Jefferson died.

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In the midst of celebrating the nation’s 50th anniversary, Americans marveled that these two great leaders and friends died together on such an important day – the only time in U.S. history two presidents have died on the same day.

As the following newspaper obituary noted:

The coincidence is a remarkable one. It seems as though Divine Providence had determined that the spirits of these great men…should be united in death, and travel into the unknown regions of eternity together!

Death of Thomas Jefferson, Hampshire Gazette newspaper article 12 July 1826

Hampshire Gazette (Northampton, Massachusetts), 12 July 1826, page 2

The importance of the 4th of July was also emphasized in this obituary.

Death of John Adams, Salem Observer newspaper article 8 July 1826

Salem Observer (Salem, Massachusetts), 8 July 1826, page 2

Obituaries – of ordinary citizens as well as famous people – help provide the details of our ancestors’ lives. GenealogyBank’s deep newspaper archive of over 1.7 billion records holds story after story about the people who built this nation, along with their births, marriages, and deaths. Find your ancestors’ stories today and see what they’ve done.

Note: FamilySearch International (FamilySearch.org) and GenealogyBank are partnering to make over a billion records from 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/

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Remembering the Amazing Life of Maya Angelou

Calling someone a “Renaissance” person is an overused – and overblown – term these days. If a rock guitarist paints a portrait, the critics gush that he is a “Renaissance man.” However, America – and the whole world – truly did lose a Renaissance woman on 28 May 2014 when the remarkable Maya Angelou died.

Born in poverty on 4 April 1926 in St. Louis, Angelou experienced and accomplished more in her 86 years than is almost imaginable. In alphabetical order, she was an: activist, actress, artist, author, dancer, director, composer, cook, editor, journalist, mother, musician, nightclub performer, playwright, poet, professor, prostitute, producer, screenwriter, singer, speaker, streetcar conductor and waitress.

photo of Maya Angelou giving a speech during the Barack Obama 2008 presidential campaign, 18 September 2008

Photo: Maya Angelou giving a speech during the Barack Obama 2008 presidential campaign, 18 September 2008. Credit: Talbot Troy; Wikimedia Commons.

An advocate for women in general and African American women in particular, Angelou was also active in the Civil Rights Movement. She was a friend of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Nelson Mandela, and a mentor to Toni Morrison and Oprah Winfrey. She maintained a large circle of friends and associates, including prominent politicians, activists, entertainers and writers. Angelou recited her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1993.

photo of Maya Angelou reciting her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration, 19 January 1993

Photo: Maya Angelou reciting her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration, 19 January 1993. Credit: Office of the White House; Wikimedia Commons.

She produced and directed movies, plays and television programs. Angelou wrote seven autobiographies (including I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, 1969), several volumes of essays and poetry, and could speak seven languages. She was recognized, appreciated and praised, receiving more than 50 honorary degrees and dozens of awards – including nominations for a Pulitzer Prize, Tony Award, and Emmy Award; winning three Grammys; and receiving the National Medal of Arts, the Lincoln Medal, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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The astonishing extent of Angelou’s life accomplishments was mentioned prominently in her obituaries, such as this one from the Associated Press published in a Vermont newspaper – note she is immediately identified as a “renaissance woman.”

obituary for Maya Angelou, Bennington Banner newspaper article 29 May 2014

Bennington Banner (Bennington, Vermont), 29 May 2014

The Renaissance aspect of Angelou’s long life was also featured in the lead of this newspaper obituary.

obituary for Maya Angelou, Blade newspaper article 29 May 2014

Blade (Toledo, Ohio), 29 May 2014

Angelou spent much of her childhood in Stamps, Arkansas, and this Arkansas newspaper published an extensive obituary about her, with this lead.

obituary for Maya Angelou, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspaper article 29 May 2014

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Little Rock, Arkansas), 29 May 2014

Obituaries are a key resource for family history research. Although vital statistics can be found in government and other official records, it is newspaper articles – and especially obituaries – that go beyond the names and dates to provide the stories of our ancestors, to help us get to know them as real people.

For example, later in the above obituary comes this little tidbit from Angelou.

obituary for Maya Angelou, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspaper article 29 May 2014

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Little Rock, Arkansas), 29 May 2014

The obituary from the Ohio newspaper above provided this detail about her first name.

obituary for Maya Angelou, Blade newspaper article 29 May 2014

Blade (Toledo, Ohio), 29 May 2014

This obituary from a West Virginia newspaper provided a story about the close relationship that Angelou maintained with Coretta Scott King, widow of the slain civil rights leader.

obituary for Maya Angelou, Charleston Gazette newspaper article 29 May 2014

Charleston Gazette (Charleston, West Virginia), 29 May 2014

And finally, this obituary from a North Carolina newspaper provided an insight into Angelou’s character.

obituary for Maya Angelou, Charlotte Observer newspaper article 29 May 2014

Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, North Carolina), 29 May 2014

It isn’t just obituaries that provide stories about our ancestors. GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives – more than 6,700 titles from 1690 to today – have more than 3,400 articles about Maya Angelou.

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Of particular interest in these online newspaper archives is GenealogyBank’s African American Newspaper Archives. From that collection we gain the following perspectives on Maya Angelou.

This African American Kansas newspaper said this of Angelou.

article about Maya Angelou, Wichita Times newspaper article 18 November 1976

Wichita Times (Wichita, Kansas), 18 November 1976, page 3

This African American New York newspaper reported on one of Angelou’s many speaking engagements.

article about Maya Angelou, Sojourner-Herald newspaper article 1 May 1998

Sojourner-Herald (Albany, New York), 1 May 1998, page 3

This African American Michigan newspaper reported on another of her speaking engagements.

article about Maya Angelou, Afro-American Gazette newspaper article 20 December 1993

Afro-American Gazette (Grand Rapids, Michigan), 20 December 1993, page 1

This African American newspaper from Wisconsin reviewed Angelou’s 1969 autobiography.

article about Maya Angelou, Soul City Times newspaper article 8 October 1970

Soul City Times (Milwaukee, Wisconsin), 8 October 1970, page 13

As these examples from GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives have shown, obituaries and other newspaper articles can give us a fuller understanding of Maya Angelou’s remarkable life, broad experiences, and many achievements. Genealogy is about so much more than mere statistics; names and dates don’t tell the complete story of a person’s life. To better understand our ancestors’ lives and the times they lived in, we need the stories forever preserved in online newspaper archives.

Note: FamilySearch International (FamilySearch.org) and GenealogyBank are partnering to make over a billion records from 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/

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