How to Research Land Records for Genealogy Clues

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 discusses a genealogy resource that will help family historians trace their family tree: land records.

Prior to the Civil War, more than 85% of American males owned property! This astonishing statistic shows the importance of using and understanding land records when researching our ancestors. Many genealogists are unaware of the value of these historical documents and the family relationship information that can be gathered from them. Some genealogists are intimidated by these old property records. However, it has been said that land records are the bread and butter of American genealogy research, particularly in the Southern states.

During the Civil War, records were destroyed across many areas in the South—some accidentally by fire, others deliberately by Union troops. Southerners had begun classifying slaves as property similar to land. This was a political move to prevent the North from encroaching on their property rights. When Northern troops attacked Southern towns and cities, they often targeted courthouses to destroy documents recording property—and therefore records of slave ownership.

After the war, Southerners were anxious to protect their property rights and quickly re-filed their land claims. Sometimes these reconstructed land deeds list previous owners and their relationships, providing valuable family history information and clues.

Brief History about Deeds

A deed is a document showing the transfer of land from one private entity (person, company, trust, organization, etc.) to another. These documents record the seller, buyer, and property details. They are usually indexed in two ways: under the name of the grantor (seller), and under the name of the grantee (buyer). The index will list the book and page number to search for the actual recording of the deed.

photo of Aroostook County, Maine, deed books 1865-1900

“Maine, Aroostook County Deed Books, 1865-1900,” accessed Aug. 2014, Northern Registry > Deed books, 1868-1879, vol. 7 (p. 1-300) > image 6 of 303; citing Register of Deeds, Houlton. Source: FamilySearch.

See: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-21740-26870-86?cc=1447693&wc=M6KC-X29:38808601,38833501

This deed is between an engaged couple. It goes on to give conditions and qualifications, including a nullification of the deed in the event that the marriage does not take place. Some of the information that we gather from these two paragraphs:

  • Anna Perkins Pingree of Salem, MA
  • Thomas P. Pingree of Wenham, MA
  • Joseph Peabody of Salem, MA
  • Joseph and Anna plan to marry
  • Anna owns an estate of which Thomas is the trustee
  • She received the estate from her father David Pingree, deceased, of Salem, MA
Enter Last Name










When a married man sold land, his wife was often asked to give a dower release. This meant that after the seller died, his widow could not claim rights to a portion of the land he had previously sold. The dower release will usually list her name.

photo of Cattaraugus County, New York, land records, 1841-1845

“New York, Land Records, 1630-1975,” accessed Aug. 2014, Cattaraugus > Deeds 1841-1845, vol. 13-14 > image 122 of 1144; citing County Clerk. County Courthouse. Source: FamilySearch.

See: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-32808-9067-66?cc=2078654&wc=M7C7-2ZZ:358137101,359440401

In this dower release we learn about the following individuals:

  • Ferdinand Suydam’s wife, who was named Eliza
  • James Boyd Jr’s wife, who was named Maria Ann

Genealogy Clues in Deeds

These land documents can help to distinguish between two individuals with similar names. They can provide the name of the wife. Sometimes they explicitly state other familial relationships such as receiving land from a father, mother, brother, uncle, grandfather, etc. I have even seen deeds which include the last will and testament of an individual. Plotting out the residences of all those with the same last name in an area can help to clarify family groupings. For example if there are two John Smiths in an area, and one owns land near or purchases several plots of land from Robert Smith and the other one is doing the same thing with Simeon Smith, you can build a case for which father belongs to which John Smith.

As you can see, these documents are an important part of a well-researched family history project. Unfortunately, there are some challenges. These documents can be hard to read as the hand writing is not always clear. There is a lot of legal terminology that you will want to become familiar with. Also, not very many of these documents are available online at this point. Fortunately, the sale of land was also recorded in newspapers, which in many cases are available online.

Enter Last Name










Legal notices in newspapers about land transactions began very early. For example, here is one from 1716, 60 years before the USA became a country.

article about an estate sale for Jonathan Springer, Boston News-Letter newspaper article 2 April 1716

Boston News-Letter (Boston, Massachusetts), 2 April 1716, page 2

Genealogy Tip: When reading old newspapers, keep in mind that the letter “s” often appears as an “f.”

This article lists several individuals:

  • Doctor Jackson in Marblehead
  • Jonathan Springer, deceased, of Glocester (sic)
  • John Newman, Esquire, of Glocester (sic)
  • John Maule of Salem

All of this information is helpful for the genealogical researcher.

Some land records will list even more information. Here is an example of an 1857 land sale notice that mentions the grandchildren of an individual.

article about an estate sale for Samuel Randall, Barre Gazette newspaper article 13 February 1857

Barre Gazette (Barre, Massachusetts), 13 February 1857, page 3

This land sale mentions the following individuals:

  • Mary E. Marsh, minor child, daughter of Hiram Marsh, granddaughter of Samuel Randall
  • Ellen Marsh, minor child, daughter of Hiram Marsh, granddaughter of Samuel Randall
  • Hiram Marsh, minor child, son of Hiram Marsh, grandson of Samuel Randall
  • Hiram Marsh, probable son-in-law of Samuel Randall
  • Samuel Randall, original land purchaser
  • Artemas Bryant, guardian of minor children
  • P.W. Barr, owner of auction house in Petersham
  • Deacon Bassett, neighbor of Marsh children

Have you used land records in your family history research? What success have you had tracing your family tree with property records?

Related Articles about Property Records for Genealogy:

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New Jersey Archives: 145 Newspapers for Genealogy Research

Although New Jersey is the 4th smallest state in the Union, it is the 11th most populous—and the most densely populated state in the country. One of the 13 original United States, New Jersey was the location of several major battles during the American Revolutionary War, making our historical newspaper collection a rich genealogy resource for researching your Revolutionary roots.

photo of the Great Falls of the Passaic River in Paterson, New Jersey

Photo: Great Falls of the Passaic River in Paterson, New Jersey. Credit: Merle9999; Wikimedia Commons.

If you are researching your ancestry from New Jersey, you will want to use GenealogyBank’s online New Jersey newspaper archives: 145 titles to help you search your family history in “The Garden State,” providing coverage from 1777 to Today. There are more than 69 million newspaper articles and records in our online NJ archives!

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

Search New Jersey Newspaper Archives (1777 – 1993)

Search New Jersey Recent Obituaries (1985 – Current)

Here is our complete list of online New Jersey 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 NJ newspaper titles are listed alphabetically by city.

City Title Date Range Collection
Andover, Stanhope, Newton Township Journal 1/12/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Atlantic City Press of Atlantic City 1/1/1989 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bayonne Bayonne Journal 4/4/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Belleville Belleville Times 1/29/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bergenfield, Dumont, New Milford Twin-Boro News 1/7/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Berlin Record Breeze 6/17/2005 – 5/21/2009 Recent Obituaries
Bloomfield Bloomfield Life 10/22/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bloomingdale, Wanaque Suburban Trends 10/3/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Brick Brick Township Bulletin 11/6/2002 – 1/21/2010 Recent Obituaries
Bridgeton Bridgeton Evening News 2/13/1879 – 1/1/1923 Newspaper Archives
Bridgeton Washington Whig 7/31/1815 – 9/13/1834 Newspaper Archives
Bridgeton News of Cumberland County 7/31/2004 – 11/3/2012 Recent Obituaries
Bridgeton News of Cumberland County, The: Web Edition Articles 4/27/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Burlington Burlington Advertiser 4/13/1790 – 12/13/1791 Newspaper Archives
Burlington Rural Visitor 7/30/1810 – 7/22/1811 Newspaper Archives
Burlington New-Jersey Gazette 12/5/1777 – 2/25/1778 Newspaper Archives
Camden Camden Democrat 1/7/1860 – 12/25/1875 Newspaper Archives
Clifton Clifton Journal 4/4/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Collingswood Retrospect 1/6/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cranford Cranford Chronicle 6/9/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cranford Cranford Chronicle, The: Web Edition Articles 10/24/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
East Brunswick East Brunswick Sentinel 11/4/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Edgewater Edgewater View 12/18/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Edison, Metuchen Edison-Metuchen Sentinel 10/15/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
Egg Harbor City Egg Harbor Pilot 3/22/1860 – 2/20/1915 Newspaper Archives
Egg Harbor City Der Zeitgeist 4/6/1867 – 3/23/1872 Newspaper Archives
Egg Harbor City Atlantic Democrat 4/6/1861 – 7/26/1862 Newspaper Archives
Egg Harbor City Egg Harbor Beobachter 1/13/1859 – 4/28/1859 Newspaper Archives
Egg Harbor City Pilot 12/18/1858 – 3/19/1859 Newspaper Archives
Egg Harbor City Wochentliche Anzeiger 6/4/1859 – 8/6/1859 Newspaper Archives
Egg Harbor City Egg Harbor Aurora 8/18/1860 – 11/28/1860 Newspaper Archives
Egg Harbor City Beobachter Am Egg Harbor River 10/2/1858 – 12/25/1858 Newspaper Archives
Elizabethtown New-Jersey Journal 5/10/1786 – 12/29/1818 Newspaper Archives
Elizabethtown Federal Republican 1/25/1803 – 1/17/1804 Newspaper Archives
Elizabethtown Political Intelligencer 4/20/1785 – 5/3/1786 Newspaper Archives
Emerson, Hillsdale, Montvale Pascack Valley Community Life 10/2/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Englewood Northern Valley Suburbanite 1/21/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fairlawn Community News 1/7/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fairlawn Gazette 1/21/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Flemington Hunterdon County Democrat: Web Edition Articles 8/7/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Flemington Horse News 6/30/1994 – Current Recent Obituaries
Flemington Hunterdon County Democrat 6/17/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fort Lee Fort Lee Suburbanite 12/11/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Franklin Lakes, Oakland Franklin Lakes-Oakland Suburban News 11/11/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Freehold Atlanticville 11/4/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Frenchtown Delaware Valley News 2/12/2004 – 9/25/2008 Recent Obituaries
Glen Ridge Glen Ridge Voice 10/12/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Glen Rock Glen Rock Gazette 11/5/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hackensack Record 1/2/1985 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hackensack Hackensack Chronicle 4/23/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Haddonfield Haddon Herald 12/27/2000 – 12/11/2008 Recent Obituaries
Hoboken Hudson Reporter Publications 1/3/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Howell, Jackson, Lakewood, Plumstead Tri-Town News 11/11/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Jersey City Jersey Journal 5/2/1867 – 6/30/1962 Newspaper Archives
Jersey City Jersey City News 1/2/1902 – 3/31/1902 Newspaper Archives
Jersey City Jersey Journal, The: Web Edition Articles 7/31/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Jersey City City Journal 6/3/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Jersey City Waterfront Journal 7/24/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
Kearny Kearny Journal 6/19/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
Kinnelon Argus 12/16/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lafayette, Oak Ridge, Ogdensburg, Stockholm, Sussex, Wantage, Vernon Advertiser-News 6/9/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Leonia Leonia Life 1/22/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Little Falls, Totowa Passaic Valley Today 10/8/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Mahwah Mahwah Suburban News 3/10/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Manalapan News Transcript 3/10/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Maple Shade Maple Shade Progress 8/18/2006 – 6/5/2009 Recent Obituaries
May’s Landing Atlantic Journal 10/13/1859 – 10/24/1862 Newspaper Archives
Medford Central Record 3/22/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Middletown, Hazlet Independent 1/5/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Midland Park Midland Park Suburban News 6/24/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Millburn, Short Hills Item of Millburn and Short Hills 4/15/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Millstone, Englishtown, Allentown Examiner 1/31/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Montclair Montclair Times 4/1/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Moorestown Newsweekly 11/14/2003 – 1/22/2009 Recent Obituaries
Morristown Palladium of Liberty 5/5/1808 – 12/26/1822 Newspaper Archives
Morristown Genius of Liberty 5/24/1798 – 3/5/1811 Newspaper Archives
Mount Pleasant Jersey Chronicle 5/2/1795 – 4/30/1796 Newspaper Archives
New Brunswick Jewish Journal 9/5/1956 – 8/27/1971 Newspaper Archives
New Brunswick New Brunswick Fredonian 4/24/1811 – 12/30/1829 Newspaper Archives
New Brunswick Political Intelligencer 10/14/1783 – 4/5/1785 Newspaper Archives
New Egypt New Egypt Press 10/18/2001 – 1/22/2009 Recent Obituaries
Newark Newark Star-Ledger 1/1/1964 – 12/31/1984 Newspaper Archives
Newark Newark Daily Advertiser 3/28/1832 – 12/29/1866 Newspaper Archives
Newark New Jersey Deutsche Zeitung 4/12/1880 – 6/30/1898 Newspaper Archives
Newark Centinel Of Freedom 10/5/1796 – 9/19/1876 Newspaper Archives
Newark Jewish Chronicle 10/14/1921 – 1/8/1943 Newspaper Archives
Newark New-Jersey Telescope 11/4/1808 – 11/7/1809 Newspaper Archives
Newark Star-Ledger 2/13/1996 – Current Recent Obituaries
Newark Star-Ledger, The: Web Edition Articles 7/10/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Newton AIM Sussex County 11/6/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
North Brunswick, South Brunswick North-South Brunswick Sentinel 1/3/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Nutley Nutley Sun 10/2/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Old Bridge Suburban 11/11/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Parsippany Parsippany Life 10/14/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Pemberton Community News 1/30/2004 – 3/5/2009 Recent Obituaries
Pennington Pennington Post 1/15/2003 – 6/11/2009 Recent Obituaries
Rahway East-Jersey Republican 5/22/1816 – 7/3/1816 Newspaper Archives
Ramsey Ramsey Suburban News 10/2/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Red Bank Hub 11/11/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Ridgewood Town News 1/7/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Ridgewood Suburban News – A Publication of The Ridgewood News 1/14/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Ridgewood Town Journal 1/7/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Ridgewood Ridgewood News 10/2/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Rockaway AIM Jefferson 12/18/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Rutherford South Bergenite 10/8/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Salem Salem Messenger and Public Advertiser 11/17/1819 – 4/25/1832 Newspaper Archives
Salem Today’s Sunbeam 7/29/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Salem Today’s Sunbeam: Web Edition Articles 1/21/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Secaucus Secaucus Journal 5/20/2004 – 2/4/2010 Recent Obituaries
Secaucus Jersey Journal 1/16/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
Secaucus Hudson Dispatch 4/15/2010 – 10/20/2011 Recent Obituaries
Sewell News Report 8/26/2004 – 1/22/2009 Recent Obituaries
Somerville Messenger-Gazette, The: Web Edition Articles 1/24/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Somerville Chronicle 6/11/2005 – 3/3/2007 Recent Obituaries
Somerville Messenger-Gazette 6/9/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Sparta Sparta Independent 5/18/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Summit, Berkeley Heights, New Providence Independent Press 8/2/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Summit, Berkeley Heights, New Providence Independent Press: Web Edition Articles 10/23/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Teaneck Teaneck Suburbanite 10/2/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Trenton Trenton Evening Times 1/7/1883 – 3/15/1993 Newspaper Archives
Trenton Trenton State Gazette 1/12/1847 – 12/31/1898 Newspaper Archives
Trenton Trenton Federalist 12/2/1800 – 12/27/1824 Newspaper Archives
Trenton True American 3/10/1801 – 9/21/1818 Newspaper Archives
Trenton New-Jersey Gazette 3/4/1778 – 11/27/1786 Newspaper Archives
Trenton Sentinel 6/26/1880 – 11/13/1882 Newspaper Archives
Trenton New Jersey State Gazette 9/19/1792 – 12/31/1799 Newspaper Archives
Trenton Emporium and true american 6/16/1827 – 12/13/1828 Newspaper Archives
Trenton Miscellany 6/10/1805 – 12/2/1805 Newspaper Archives
Trenton Times of Trenton, The: Web Edition Articles 1/15/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Trenton Trentonian 4/12/2000 – 2/20/2012 Recent Obituaries
Trenton Times 3/21/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Verona, Cedar Grove Verona-Cedar Grove Times 10/2/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Warren Warren Reporter 6/28/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Wayne Wayne Today 10/14/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
West Milford AIM West Milford 10/9/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
West Milford West Milford Messenger 1/7/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Westfield Westfield Record-Press 6/10/2005 – 9/26/2008 Recent Obituaries
Williamstown Plain Dealer 11/1/2002 – 1/22/2009 Recent Obituaries
Willingboro, Burlington Burlington County Times 12/16/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Woodbridge Woodbridge Sentinel 11/5/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
Woodbury Woodbury Daily Times 2/3/1897 – 12/30/1922 Newspaper Archives
Woodbury Gloucester County Times 12/24/2004 – 11/5/2012 Recent Obituaries
Woodbury Gloucester County Times, The: Web Edition Articles 3/12/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Woodbury South Jersey Times 11/9/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Woodland Park Herald News 7/30/1998 – 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 New Jersey newspaper links will be live.

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Researching Our Old Family Vacation Destinations with Newspapers

Introduction: Scott Phillips is a genealogical historian and owner of Onward To Our Past® genealogy services. In this guest blog post, Scott reminisces about a wonderful vacation at a Wyoming ranch his family enjoyed when he was 11—and supplements his memories by searching in old newspapers for articles about the R Lazy S ranch.

My mom passed away recently and as a son and genealogist, you must know that I have been doing a lot of reminiscing. Most often I have found myself thinking of all the things my mom taught me in life. She was a woman who moved with urgency and purpose, enjoying a wide variety of interests, and she cultivated those traits in my older sisters and me.

One of the memories that came back to me was of one of our quintessential “family car vacations.” This one happened to be what the family still refers to as “Scott’s Summer Vacation.” My folks decided that my sisters and I needed to see the grand sites of the Western United States. I was bouncing-off-the-ceiling happy that our vacation destinations included such places as the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, Petrified Forest, Painted Desert, several more U.S. National Parks, and concluded with a week at a “Dude Ranch.” Now, I will admit right here that my sisters were hoping more for Western sights such as Las Vegas and San Francisco, but off we went in the family station wagon—complete with the third seat facing rearward.

The dude ranch was truly the highlight of the trip for me. For a boy of about 11, “real” cowboys, outhouses, a potbellied stove in my cabin, learning to rope a calf, and riding into the Grand Tetons every day simply could not be beat. Finally from my memory banks came the name of the ranch we stayed at: the R Lazy S. The brand, I still recall, was an upright “R” with an “S” on its side.

photo of the sign for the R Lazy S ranch, Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Photo: sign for the R Lazy S ranch, Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Credit: courtesy of the R Lazy S ranch.

I wanted to find out more about this boyhood memory of mine, so I did a quick check of GenelaogyBank.com to see if there might be something.

To my delight and surprise, on my first search in GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives I got results!

The first article I opened was published by a Wyoming newspaper in 1920. This old news article gave me far more background about the R Lazy S ranch than I had known (or perhaps recalled) from our long-ago visit. It turns out the R Lazy S ranch had quite a storied history to it. The property was once owned by Owen Wister, who wrote The Virginian and other works set in Wyoming. Wister sold the ranch in 1920 to the R Lazy S “outfit.”

Owen Wister Tires of His Old Ranch; Parts with It, Wyoming State Tribune newspaper article 1 March 1920

Wyoming State Tribune (Cheyenne, Wyoming), 1 March 1920, page 1

Smiling from this find, I looked further into my results and quickly found a 1958 travel article from my Cleveland, Ohio, hometown newspaper. Immediately I wondered if my mother had read this article—had it been the genesis of the plans for our family vacation? I had a good laugh when I read this author’s description of the R Lazy S ranch that included “luxury cabins.” Now perhaps I was in the wrong cabin, but mine was outside the gate, had only a potbellied stove for heat, and the outhouse was a good 200 yards away. But perhaps “luxury” is in the eye of the beholder!

Bainbury's Western Diary, Plain Dealer newspaper article 8 July 1958

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 8 July 1958, page 8

Next I discovered a newspaper article from 1982, again in the Plain Dealer, explaining that Mr. Howard F. Stirn, then chairman of the R Lazy S ranch, was in Cleveland to present a photographic exhibit of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and the surrounding area. I’m wondering if perhaps there was a connection between the R Lazy S ranch and my hometown. This may be one of those many questions in our family histories that we are never able to fully answer (and is a good reason why preserving our stories and memories onto our family trees is so crucial).

Jackson Hole Nature Photography, Plain Dealer newspaper article 10 January 1982

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 10 January 1982, page 116

With my head full of wonderful memories and our crazy family song (which we all made up along the way and called “Touring Our Country: Monuments and Parks”), I searched Google to see if the R Lazy S ranch is still in existence.

Guess what—it is! You can see at http://rlazys.com that they are indeed alive and kicking like a bronco.

Hmm, maybe it is high time for a family vacation…back out to Wyoming and the R Lazy S ranch with our grandsons.

I do believe, as a proper grandfather, I need to share my memories with my grandsons in person, especially since the Ranch looks far less “rustic” than back in my day!

What were your favorite family vacation destinations growing up? We’d love to hear your personal vacation stories. Share them with us in the comments.

The Past Tells the Future of Genealogy: Is Anything Really New?

Introduction: Scott Phillips is a genealogical historian and owner of Onward To Our Past® genealogy services. In this guest blog post, Scott researches old newspaper articles to discover that what was new in genealogy 100 or more years ago is still new today.

There is nothing new except that which has been forgotten.

~ Marie Antoinette

This is certainly true in genealogy in a variety of ways. Naturally, we as genealogists spend a great deal of time and effort looking for that which has been forgotten or almost forgotten. We strive to discover, or rediscover actually, family history information every day.

On the other hand, I find it interesting when I hear some of the genealogy “pundits” trumpet all the newest “discoveries” in genealogy, often claiming that they are a harbinger of the end of genealogy as we know it. Some of these latest proclamations had me wondering, so I decided to see what was new (and old, which might have been forgotten) in genealogy through the historical newspapers in the database of GenealogyBank.com.

After a few quick searches, I encountered some terrific genealogy headlines and articles. Every one of them brought home the point that not all that much has changed in the world of genealogy! See if you can place the date of each of the following newspaper articles. Were these historical stories from yesteryear or news articles from today’s newspapers?

  • “Genealogy Study Rapidly Growing.” How often have we heard this? I especially appreciated this newspaper article’s subheadings: “In Recent Years Americans Have Been Making Great Study of the Family Tree” and “Genealogists Working Along New Lines and Startling Results Follow.” Sounds just like something I’d read in the news today.
Genealogy Study Rapidly Growing, San Jose Mercury News newspaper article 16 March 1912

San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, California), 16 March 1912, page 2

This newspaper article was published in 1912!

  • “Forum on computers, genealogy scheduled.” This one really could be from today, the type of article found in just about every genealogy society newsletter and newspaper column on “local happenings.” It is interesting to see the name of Genealogical Computing magazine in this article, and it is fun to see how far we have come in such a short time.
Forum on Computers, Genealogy Scheduled, Dallas Morning News newspaper article 22 September 1984

Dallas Morning News (Dallas, Texas), 22 September 1984, page 20C

While this sounds like today’s genealogy news, this newspaper article was published in 1984!

  • “Of the New Genealogy, Its Enlarged Field of Study. How Genealogy as a Science May Help Us to Help Ourselves.” I wondered if this article might be discussing the role of DNA testing in genealogy today, but not quite… I enjoyed this article especially since it was on a topic near-and-dear to me: that of the needed link between genealogy and the academic world. Plus, this article is about an address given at the 60th anniversary of the New England Historic Genealogist Society by Charles K. Bolton.
Of the New Genealogy, Springfield Republican newspaper article 3 November 1909

Springfield Republican (Springfield, Massachusetts), 3 November 1909, page 15

This newspaper article was published in 1909!

  • “Genealogy business booming national one.” With the business of genealogy booming, it seems to offer good career opportunities. This article was from an advice column and the author seemed to have a pretty decent grasp of genealogy, which was fun to see.
Genealogy Business Booming National One, Dallas Morning News newspaper article 18 July 1981

Dallas Morning News (Dallas, Texas), 18 July 1981, page 33

While this would be good career advice for genealogists today, this newspaper article was actually published in 1981!

  • “Who Was Your Grandfather?” I thought perhaps this was an article for the newest television spinoff of Who Do You Think You Are?
Who Was Your Grandfather? New-Hampshire Patriot newspaper article 27 August 1851

New-Hampshire Patriot (Concord, New Hampshire), 27 August 1851, page 3

While this headline seems right out of today’s news, it’s actually about finding an heir for the deceased Jennings—and the newspaper article was published in 1851!

  • “Old Tombstone Wanted.” Once again, this headline could be from practically any newspaper today; as I read the article I can almost feel the angst of the writer as he pleaded for anyone in the local community who may have known anything at all about the tombstone he was searching for.
Old Tombstone Wanted, Jackson Citizen Patriot newspaper article 23 October 1900

Jackson Citizen Patriot (Jackson, Michigan), 23 October 1900, page 2

While this newspaper article refers to “a genealogical chain” and “the genealogist and all his vagaries,” it was actually published in 1900!

  • “Cousin George’s Decision” The subtitle of this article “He Thought His New Found Relatives Were a Very Shoddy Lot” made me think that this story’s moral is as valid today as when the article was written.
Cousin George's Decision, Daily Alaska Dispatch newspaper article 24 January 1900

Daily Alaska Dispatch (Juneau, Alaska), 24 January 1900, page 2

However, this newspaper article was published in 1900!

  • “Genealogy of Slang.” This article earned its way to being copied and placed on my bulletin board. After all who knows when it might come in handy for me to use the word “Gellibagger”?
Genealogy of Slang, Repository newspaper article 15 March 1890

Repository (Canton, Ohio), 15 March 1890, page 5

While using slang in genealogy might seem like a modern topic, this newspaper article was published in 1890!

Thanks to this trip through the past using historical newspapers, we can see that: 1) genealogy has been in the news a long time; and 2) what was new then is sometimes new today. Truly, “Nothing in Genealogy is as new as that which has been forgotten.” The past is often one of the best places to look for clues to the future.

61 Tennessee Newspapers Now Online for Your Genealogy Research

Dolly Parton’s powerful country song “My Tennessee Mountain Home” evokes the quiet days of her childhood growing up in Tennessee:

In my Tennessee mountain home
Life is as peaceful as a baby’s sigh
In my Tennessee mountain home
Crickets sing in the fields near by…

photo of country singer Dolly Parton

Photo: Dolly Parton. Credit: Alan Light.

If you have Tennessee roots like Dolly does, you will want to use GenealogyBank’s Tennessee newspaper archives: 61 online news titles to help you search for your family history in “The Volunteer State.”

Dig in and search for obituaries and other news articles about your ancestors in these recent and historical TN newspapers online:

Search Tennessee Newspaper Archives (1793 – 1969)

Search Tennessee Recent Obituaries (1990 – Current)

Here is our complete list of online Tennessee newspapers. Each news title 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.

City Newspaper Date Range Collection
Athens Daily Post-Athenian 3/28/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Carthage Carthage Gazette 8/13/1808 – 7/1/1817 Newspaper Archives
Carthage Western Express 11/21/1808 – 11/21/1808 Newspaper Archives
Chattanooga Chattanooga Courier 2/10/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chattanooga Chattanooga Daily Rebel 8/9/1862 – 4/27/1865 Newspaper Archives
Chattanooga Chattanooga Times Free Press 4/1/1995 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chattanooga Justice 12/24/1887 – 12/24/1887 Newspaper Archives
Clarksville Clarksville Gazette 11/21/1819 – 12/23/1820 Newspaper Archives
Clarksville Tennessee Weekly Chronicle 1/27/1819 – 6/7/1819 Newspaper Archives
Clarksville Town Gazette 7/5/1819 – 11/8/1819 Newspaper Archives
Clarksville Weekly Chronicle 2/18/1818 – 9/16/1818 Newspaper Archives
Cleveland Cleveland Daily Banner 10/15/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Columbia Daily Herald 10/12/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cookeville Herald-Citizen 4/12/1998 – Current Recent Obituaries
Crossville Crossville Chronicle 9/1/1996 – Current Recent Obituaries
Crossville Glade Sun 6/2/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Dayton Herald-News 1/6/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Greeneville Greeneville Sun 9/14/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
Jackson Jackson Headlight 1/27/1900 – 1/27/1900 Newspaper Archives
Kingston Roane County News 1/14/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Knoxville Daily Journal and Journal and Tribune 4/1/1888 – 12/31/1896 Newspaper Archives
Knoxville Knoxville Enlightener 1/31/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Knoxville Knoxville Gazette 12/7/1793 – 10/29/1806 Newspaper Archives
Knoxville Knoxville News Sentinel 1/4/1991 – Current Recent Obituaries
Knoxville Negro World 10/15/1887 – 11/26/1887 Newspaper Archives
Knoxville Wilson’s Knoxville Gazette 9/1/1818 – 9/1/1818 Newspaper Archives
Lafayette Macon County Times 10/8/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
LaFollette LaFollette Press 11/21/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lenoir City News-Herald 9/27/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
Maryville Blount Today 2/1/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Maryville Daily Times 12/12/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
Memphis Commercial Appeal 1/1/1968 – 12/31/1969 Newspaper Archives
Memphis Commercial Appeal 6/27/1990 – Current Recent Obituaries
Memphis Commercial Appeal, The: Web Edition Articles 11/14/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Memphis Memphis Daily Avalanche 1/1/1866 – 4/30/1869 Newspaper Archives
Memphis Memphis Triangle 11/17/1928 – 7/27/1929 Newspaper Archives
Memphis Tri-State Defender 2/3/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Murfreesboro Murfreesboro Union 6/6/1939 – 6/6/1939 Newspaper Archives
Nashville Colored Tennessean 8/12/1865 – 7/18/1866 Newspaper Archives
Nashville Impartial Review 1/18/1806 – 8/16/1806 Newspaper Archives
Nashville Murfreesboro Vision 1/15/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Nashville Nashville Clarion 2/6/1821 – 8/29/1821 Newspaper Archives
Nashville Nashville Gazette 5/26/1819 – 2/14/1827 Newspaper Archives
Nashville Nashville Post 1/21/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Nashville Nashville Pride 1/2/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Nashville Nashville Republican 8/7/1824 – 1/16/1835 Newspaper Archives
Nashville Nashville Scene 11/23/1995 – Current Recent Obituaries
Nashville National Banner and Nashville Whig 1/1/1834 – 12/30/1836 Newspaper Archives
Nashville Review 11/10/1809 – 5/3/1811 Newspaper Archives
Nashville Tennessee Gazette 2/25/1800 – 5/30/1807 Newspaper Archives
Newport Newport Plain Talk 7/1/1998 – Current Recent Obituaries
Oak Ridge Oak Ridger 2/17/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Paris Paris Post-Intelligencer 7/5/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Rogersville Rogersville Review 12/16/1998 – Current Recent Obituaries
Rogersville Western Pilot 8/19/1815 – 8/19/1815 Newspaper Archives
Sevierville Mountain Press 10/3/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Shelbyville Tennessee Herald 12/19/1817 – 3/8/1820 Newspaper Archives
Spring Hill Advertiser News 5/14/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Sweetwater Advocate and Democrat 6/12/1998 – Current Recent Obituaries
Tazewell Claiborne Progress 11/18/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Wartburg Morgan County News 12/19/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries

A Civil War Captain in My Family Tree?! Share Your Surprises

Introduction: Scott Phillips is a genealogical historian and owner of Onward To Our Past® genealogy services. In this guest blog post, Scott writes about his genealogy surprise: he was researching a branch of his family tree and discovered a Confederate captain from the Civil War!

One of the most enjoyable aspects of working on our genealogy is the surprises we discover. If you are like me, you have had your fair share of finding something in your family history research that you either weren’t looking for at the time, or were shocked at what you actually did find. Recently that happened to me while I was working on our daughter-in-law’s family branch. Here is that story. And after telling you about my latest genealogy adventure, I’d love to hear about your biggest genealogy surprises!

I had been at work on our daughter-in-law’s family tree for some time when I got a bit stumped on one of the female members back in the early 1800s. The family was from southern Ohio and their daughter Mary A. Dillon seemed to have disappeared on me. That is to say, she disappeared until a colleague happened to mention that he thought she might have married a fellow by the name of Scovell. A quick check with the Lawrence County, Ohio, Genealogy Society and I confirmed the marriage of our Mary A. Dillon to one William Tiley Scovell. Once I had a place and a name I was off to the newspaper archives and other databases of GenealogyBank.com to see what else I could find.

Well, the last thing I was expecting to find in my family tree was a Civil War Confederate captain who was so in demand that Southern generals were competing to have his services! Plus, none other than General Robert E. Lee, the top man himself, was deciding where Scovell could best serve the Confederacy.

I’ve long known that we have a Civil War veteran or two in our family tree, but never anyone above the rank of private and certainly no one who was in demand quite like Captain Scovell. A riverboat captain before the war, Scovell evidently was extremely adept at getting ships, men, and cargo up and down—as well as across—rivers.

In my first search I found an 1895 newspaper article explaining that Captain Scovell had just passed away—at that time he was the second-to-last surviving member of the Grivot Rifles of the Fifteenth Louisiana Infantry.

William Scovell obituary, Times-Picayune newspaper article 4 July 1895

Times-Picayune (New Orleans, Louisiana), 4 July 1895, page 11

From this old newspaper article I gained excellent information, leads, and insight into the Civil War career of William T. Scovell and began looking further.

Next I discovered, in GenealogyBank.com’s Historical Documents collection, the Journal of the Congress of the Confederate States of America, 1861-1865, which showed William T. Scovell “taking rank” on June 5, 1862, in Louisiana.

reference to William Scovell in the Journal of the Congress of the Confederate States of America, 1861-1865

U.S. Congressional Serial Set: Journal of the Congress of the Confederate States of America, 1861-1865. Volume II. Serial Set Vol. No. 4611; S.Doc. 234 pt. 2.

Next I found an additional 1895 newspaper article about Scovell.

Liked by Lee and Jackson, Idaho Register newspaper article 18 October 1895

Idaho Register (Idaho Falls, Idaho), 18 October 1895, page 2

This historical newspaper article was wonderful since it explained that Captain Scovell’s services were argued over by Generals Stonewall Jackson and Early, with the decision over Scovell’s assignment coming from General Robert E. Lee himself. It also offered the information that Captain Scovell was one of the CSA officers in charge of the infamous burning of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, on July 30, 1864.

Then I discovered a real bit of genealogy treasure. In a 1922 newspaper I read a “Succession Notice” for “Mrs. Mary A. Dillon, widow of William T. Scovell.”

succession notice for Mary Dillon, New Orleans States newspaper article 8 January 1922

New Orleans States (New Orleans, Louisiana), 8 January 1922, page 35

This historical succession notice was for the probate of the estate of Mary. I have since sent to Louisiana for instructions and information on how I can access this will and estate file since the old news article wonderfully contains the court name, parish, division, date, file number, deceased, attorney, and executor. What an abundance of information in one short article!

photo of the crypt of William T. Scovell and Mary Dillon in Louisiana

Photo: the Louisiana crypt for William T. Scovell, his wife Mary Dillon, and their family. Credit: from the author’s collection.

From almost nothing I am now deeply involved in learning about our family’s Civil War luminary and it brings me back to the question I asked in the beginning of this article.

Tell me…what is the biggest surprise that you have found doing your genealogy and family history?

Early Women Occupations, Jobs & Avocations

Introduction: Mary Harrell-Sesniak is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background. In this guest blog post, Mary provides a fun quiz to test your knowledge of terms used in old newspapers to describe our female ancestors’ occupations—and then provides illustrated definitions of those terms.

Our female ancestors were hard-working and talented women. Although historically many early jobs were not made available to women, the workplace roles that were filled by women often required highly skilled and talented workers—such as milliners and educators. These working women performed several different types of jobs throughout the 1800s and 1900s.

How well do you know the occupational terms used in old newspapers to identify our American female ancestors’ jobs during the nineteenth century and earlier? Test your historical jobs knowledge with this handy Early Occupations for Women quiz. Play the women occupations quiz by matching the historical occupational names in the left column with the modern occupational name answers on the right. Check the key on the bottom to see how well you know your historical jobs.

Early Occupations for Women quiz

Accoucheuse, Accoucheus or Accoucheur: An accoucheuse was a midwife, or one who assisted during childbirth. This 1826 newspaper article reported an unusual marriage, when Mr. William Sharp, age 18, married Mrs. Rebecca Varnel, who was 64 and had officiated as “accoucheur” at his birth.

wedding announcement for William Sharp and Rebecca Varnel, Bangor Weekly Register newspaper article 7 December 1826

Bangor Weekly Register (Bangor, Maine), 7 December 1826, page 3

Alewife: An alewife is a type of herring (fish) that spawns in rivers, and was used in Colonial times by Native Americans and Colonialists as fertilizer. When applied to an occupation, it indicates a female ale house or tavern keeper. In 1897, this newspaper account of “Meat and Drink in Old England” reported how food and drink were sold at a tavern: “The cook comes out to the tavern door and cries, ‘Hot pies, hot!’ and the alewife fills pots of half and half by pouring penny ale and pudding ale together.”

Meat and Drink in Old England, Woodbury Daily Times newspaper article 13 October 1897

Woodbury Daily Times (Woodbury, New Jersey), 13 October 1897, page 1

Besom Maker: A besom was a hand-made broom, in which a bundle of twigs was secured to a stick or broom handle. The job was common for, but not specific to, women. The term appears in this 1852 newspaper story.

story about a besom maker (broom maker), Albany Evening Journal newspaper article 14 August 1852

Albany Evening Journal (Albany, New York), 14 August 1852, page 4

Charwoman: Charwomen were cleaners, who sometimes worked by the day or for several employers. The etymology may relate either to the term “char,” indicating something burned (possibly related to fireplace cleaning), or to the word chore. In this 1890 newspaper article, the Archbishop’s daughter is doing charitable work as a charwoman.

A True Sister of Charity, Jackson Citizen Patriot newspaper article 15 August 1890

Jackson Citizen Patriot (Jackson, Michigan), 15 August 1890, page 5

Chautauqua or Chautauquan: In 1874, the New York Chautauqua Assembly was founded by Lewis Miller and John Heyl Vincent as an informal religious teaching camp along Chautauqua Lake. It developed into what is known as the Chautauquan movement. The main gathering was known as the “Mother Chautauqua” and spin-offs as “Daughter Chautauquas.” During these meetings, presenters provided lectures, concerts and other forms of educational entertainment. The following notice from 1874 announced the first convention, which lasted two weeks.

A Big Sunday-School Gathering, Springfield Republican newspaper article 4 August 1874

Springfield Republican (Springfield, Massachusetts), 4 August 1874, page 5

Many women, such as Jane Addams and Maude Ballington Booth, were well-known on the Chautauquan circuit. The movement is still active today.

story about Chautauquan gatherings, Rockford Republic newspaper article 8 May 1905

Rockford Republic (Rockford, Illinois), 8 May 1905, page 5

Executrix: This occupational term is still current, and describes a female who is the administrator of an estate. This 1911 newspaper article names Mary C. Wishard executrix of the estate of E. S. Wishard.

The Wishard Estate, Evening News newspaper article 5 December 1911

Evening News (San Jose, California), 5 December 1911, page 4

Midinette and Milliner: Midinettes were Parisian fashion house assistants and seamstresses. Milliners made and sold women’s hats. In 1910, there was a strike in Paris by the midinettes, milliners and dressmakers of Paris.

Strike of the "Midinettes" in Paris, Trentoon Evening Times newspaper article 1 December 1910

Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, New Jersey), 1 December 1910, page 10

Necessary Woman: Prior to the advent of indoor plumbing, the necessary woman had the unfortunate job of tending to chamber pots (used for toilets). In 1882, this newspaper article described the employees of Queen Victoria’s household, which included a necessary woman.

Queen Victoria's Household, Jackson Citizen Patriot newspaper article 11 April 1882

Jackson Citizen Patriot (Jackson, Michigan), 11 April 1882, page 3

Pugger: Puggers were clay manufacturing workers who assisted in treading clay to make a paste. The job was not specific to women and often included children. This 1916 notice advertised for three clay puggers in Trenton, New Jersey.

ad for clay puggers, Trenton Evening Times newspaper advertisement 3 April 1916

Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, New Jersey), 3 April 1916, page 8

Scullery Maid, Woman and Worker: The term “scullery” applied to a small room, typically at the back of a kitchen (domestic or commercial), where laundry was processed, small food prepared or dishes washed. The job was common for females, but men also worked as scullery workers. This 1914 newspaper article, reprinted from a London newspaper during World War I, recruited women for a variety of jobs including scullery work.

story about work available in England during World War I, Weekly Times-Picayune newspaper article 15 October 1914

Weekly Times-Picayune (New Orleans, Louisiana), 15 October 1914, page 2

Tire Woman: Tire women were dressers or costumiers who worked in dressmaking or the theater. This 1801 newspaper article quoted the late Gov. Livingston commenting on the practice of promoting dress sales by dressing dolls in the latest fashion: “Doth a tire-woman in Paris send to London a doll completely accoutred [finely dressed] to shew [show] the new mode…”

story on fashion and dress making, Daily Advertiser newspaper article 26 June 1801

Daily Advertiser (New York, New York), 26 June 1801, page 2

Tucker: A tucker is a dress embellishment, or a person who attached a tucker to a garment. The decoration was typically made of lace or linen, and secured at the top of the bodice. The following image shows a 1906 ad for tuckers, and a 1910 picture of a girl’s evening frock (dress) described with a “neck being filled in with a tucker of mousseline and straps of pink ribbon.”

newspaper ads and a drawing for a tucker

Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), 19 March 1906, page 13 & Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, New Jersey), 2 January 1910, page 13

Yeomanette: This is the female equivalent of yeoman, a term associated with certain military occupations, as well as farming. During World War I, women who served in the Naval Reserve were designated yeomanettes, as seen in this newspaper announcement that Eileen Carkeek, a member of the February 1918 class, had passed the Civil Service examination to become a yeomanette in the Navy.

notice about Eileen Carkeek becoming a yeomanette, Oregonian newspaper article 3 March 1918

Oregonian (Portland, Oregon), 3 March 1918, page 49

The Library of Congress Prints and Photograph archive has an interesting photo depicting uniforms worn by yeomanettes on duty.

photo of "Navy Girls on Review" c. 1918

Photo: “Navy Girls on Review, Washington, DC” c. 1918. Credit: Library of Congress file LC-USZ62-59313 at http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/cph.3b07059/

 

List of 50+ Mississippi Newspapers Online

Mississippi is in the heart of the Old South. Today there are three million Mississippians living in the Magnolia State—and millions more have lived in the Delta area since its first settlement over 300 years ago.

With more than 50 Mississippi newspapers currently online and growing, GenealogyBank’s historical archives are your starting place for researching your family tree—dating back to the American Colonial period up to modern times—in this old Southern state.

photo of Meridian, Mississippi

Photo: Meridian, Mississippi. Credit: Wikipedia.

Here is the list of the Mississippi newspapers currently available in our online archives:

City Title Date Range*

Collection

Biloxi Biloxi Herald 1/14/1888 – 11/26/1898

Newspaper Archives

Biloxi Daily Herald 3/31/1888 – 12/31/1909

Newspaper Archives

Biloxi Sun Herald 2/12/1994 – Current

Recent Obituaries

Brandon Free State 1/20/1900 – 1/20/1900

Newspaper Archives

Clarksdale Clarksdale Press Register 4/20/2005 – Current

Recent Obituaries

Cleveland Bolivar Commercial 10/2/2009 – Current

Recent Obituaries

Columbia Columbian-Progress 11/3/2008 – Current

Recent Obituaries

Columbus Columbus Packet 12/12/2010 – Current

Recent Obituaries

Columbus Commercial Dispatch 5/7/2002 – Current

Recent Obituaries

Corinth Daily Corinthian 6/12/2011 – Current

Recent Obituaries

Eupora Webster Progress-Times 3/25/2003 – Current

Recent Obituaries

Forest Scott County Times 8/5/2003 – Current

Recent Obituaries

Gautier Mississippi Press 8/15/2006 – Current

Recent Obituaries

Gautier Mississippi Press, The: Web Edition Articles 10/18/2012 – Current

Recent Obituaries

Greenville Delta Democrat Times 1/8/2002 – Current

Recent Obituaries

Greenwood Greenwood Commonwealth 5/29/2000 – Current

Recent Obituaries

Gulfport Daily Herald 1/1/1910 – 12/30/1922

Newspaper Archives

Hattiesburg Lamar Times 4/21/2011 – Current

Recent Obituaries

Hattiesburg Petal News 4/21/2011 – Current

Recent Obituaries

Indianola Indianola Enterprise-Tocsin 9/16/2010 – Current

Recent Obituaries

Jackson Clarion 1/6/1886 – 1/11/1888

Newspaper Archives

Jackson Clarion Ledger 1/19/1888 – 3/6/1890

Newspaper Archives

Jackson Jackson Advocate 2/23/2011 – Current

Recent Obituaries

Jackson Mississippi Free Press 12/16/1961 – 8/1/1964

Newspaper Archives

Jackson Mississippi Link 2/17/2011 – Current

Recent Obituaries

Jackson Mississippi Weekly 5/18/1935 – 5/18/1935

Newspaper Archives

Jackson Northside Sun 7/1/2007 – Current

Recent Obituaries

Kosciusko Star Herald 1/7/2008 – Current

Recent Obituaries

Laurel Laurel Leader-Call 5/2/2006 – Current

Recent Obituaries

Louisville Choctaw Plaindealer 11/10/2005 – Current

Recent Obituaries

Louisville Winston County Journal 3/25/2003 – Current

Recent Obituaries

Magee Magee Courier, The & Simpson County News 1/3/2008 – Current

Recent Obituaries

McComb Enterprise-Journal 12/24/1999 – Current

Recent Obituaries

Meridian Meridian Star 2/17/2006 – Current

Recent Obituaries

Mound Bayou Mound Bayou News-Digest 5/13/1950 – 5/13/1950

Newspaper Archives

Natchez Ariel 7/20/1825 – 7/19/1828

Newspaper Archives

Natchez Mississippi Free Trader 11/20/1844 – 3/28/1854

Newspaper Archives

Natchez Mississippi State Gazette 3/6/1818 – 5/14/1825

Newspaper Archives

Natchez Southern Clarion 5/13/1831 – 11/18/1831

Newspaper Archives

Natchez Southern Galaxy 5/22/1828 – 3/18/1830

Newspaper Archives

Natchez Statesman and Gazette 5/18/1825 – 10/24/1832

Newspaper Archives

New Albany New Albany Gazette 11/20/2008 – Current

Recent Obituaries

Olive Branch DeSoto Times-Tribune 3/25/2005 – Current

Recent Obituaries

Oxford Oxford Eagle 2/9/2012 – Current

Recent Obituaries

Picayune Picayune Item 2/5/2008 – Current

Recent Obituaries

Starkville Starkville Daily News 3/9/2008 – Current

Recent Obituaries

Vicksburg Daily Commercial 3/21/1877 – 12/28/1882

Newspaper Archives

Vicksburg Golden Rule 1/27/1900 – 1/27/1900

Newspaper Archives

Vicksburg Light 1/18/1900 – 1/18/1900

Newspaper Archives

West Point Daily Times Leader 3/27/2008 – Current

Recent Obituaries

Winona Winona Times & Conservative 4/2/2009 – Current

Recent Obituaries

Record Your Family Stories: How Did Your Parents Meet?

How did your parents meet? My Dad told me recently how he met Mom over 70 years ago at the University of New Hampshire.

photo of Bill and Ellie Kemp

Tom Kemp’s parents Bill and Ellie. Photo from the author’s collection.

The students were going to Thanksgiving dinner. Since it was a special occasion, they had the men and women eat together. They each filed in separately, sat down—and there she was, his bride-to-be, seated across the table from him! It happened again the next month. For Christmas the same process took place and in they filed, separately: men on one side and the women on the other. And there she was again, seated directly across from him! Given their series of serendipitous encounters they knew their love was meant to be and a courtship began. When the nation was attacked at Pearl Harbor, my Dad enlisted. Following World War II they married—and a few weeks ago they celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary.

Newspapers have preserved the stories of our lives—including Bill Nye’s interesting story of when he first met his parents.

Bill Nye Visits His Birthplace, Jackson Citizen Patriot newspaper article 12 June 1885

Jackson Citizen Patriot (Jackson, Michigan), 12 June 1885, page 3

Mid-1800s American humorist and newspaper columnist Edgar Wilson Nye, aka Bill Nye, remembered the day when he first met his parents—“a casual meeting” that over the years forged itself into a “powerful bond” between his parents and himself. Read his poignant and humorous account here: http://bit.ly/12wNaMx

Bill Nye was having fun with his audience, but it does raise the question: how did you meet the family members you love? And how did they meet? How did your parents meet?

Record your family stories, and pass them on to the rising generation.

And share your family stories with us. Tell us how your parents or grandparents met, or when you first met your parents, in the comments.

Help Solve a Genealogy Mystery: Who Is Uncle L in My Old Photo?

Introduction: Scott Phillips is a genealogical historian and owner of Onward To Our Past® genealogy services. In this guest blog post, Scott asks our readers for help in deciphering the writing on the back of an old photo identifying his “Uncle L.”

As I would imagine many of you do, I have some intriguing old photographs that unfortunately don’t have any identification on them. However, the one I have in my family history stash that makes me the craziest actually does have writing on it. The old black and white picture has a wonderfully clear full sentence on the back, which identifies my father around the age of 2 or 3 and—here is the kicker—a second, older fellow identified as Uncle L. Uncle L?

photo of Scott Phillips's father and uncle

From the author’s collection

Yep! The old family photo is as clear as a bell (as you can see here), except for the name of this mysterious uncle!

back of photo of Scott Phillips's father and uncle, showing inscription

From the author’s collection

Every so often I pull that old photo out and try again to identify this mysterious member of my family that I know nothing about. As my family tree continues to grow, becoming more refined and better documented, I keep hoping for a breakthrough. So far though, I have had no luck in identifying this Uncle L. I brought that old family photo out the other day and decided to try some lateral thinking via GenealogyBank.com and its newspaper archives.

To me the handwriting on the back of the photo might be read as Uncle “Lew” or “Len.” Unfortunately there is no Lew or Len in any of my Dad’s immediate family, nor his father’s family. So I branched out to look at some relations of my grandmother’s who lived nearby.

I began my genealogy research with the knowledge that the passenger list from Ellis Island shows my grandmother coming to America to live with her brother-in-law Thomas Martin. He happened to be living on the same street as she and my grandfather would later live on for decades. I still have many warm and wonderful memories of that home from my youth.

My new search began with this brother-in-law and fellow traveler, Thomas Martin. I learned many interesting facts about him from GenealogyBank’s newspapers, such as his job as a lamplighter—which conjured up many images of a great job, until I thought of winter and rainy evenings—and his later job as a street car motorman. However, nothing I found about Thomas helped me identify my mystery uncle.

So I broadened my search on the Martin surname and it wasn’t long before I discovered that a descendant had married a Starr family member related to Floyd Starr, the founder of the amazing Starr Commonwealth for Boys in Albion, Michigan.

Starr Commonwealth--the Miracle Home--Is Rebuilding Many Boys, Jackson Citizen Patriot newspaper article 16 November 1919

Jackson Citizen Patriot (Jackson, Michigan), 16 November 1919, page 14

While I truly enjoyed reading this old news article, which provides a great history of the charitable youth program, it still offered me no one with a given name that comes close to my mystery uncle’s name.

I branched my researching out some more and soon found another family member farther down the street, the Newell family. The Newell family matriarch, Marjorie, was another sister of my grandmother’s, so the search was back on. I discovered lots of interesting information about Marjorie in the newspaper archives, such as her old marriage announcement.

Marjorie Cottle Becomes Wife of T. J. Newell, jr., Plain Dealer newspaper article 14 May 1944

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 14 May 1944, page 47

While offering good genealogical information on Marjorie, this historical marriage announcement also led me to another interesting story about her soon-to-be brother-in-law being awarded the Purple Heart after an air raid in WWII.

Hero, Minus Foot, Is Glad He Did Bit, Plain Dealer newspaper article 28 July 1943

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 28 July 1943, page 1

However, once again I had nothing that solved my mystery about Uncle L.

I moved on to the last family member who lived in the States. This was my grandmother’s brother Thomas Cottle who lived just a couple of blocks away. I searched his family, his wife’s family the Morrells, his wife’s brother Wilbert, and his brother-in-law’s wife’s family the Ricks. Again I gained much useful information for my family tree, but my mystery uncle remains just that.

While I refuse to call this treasured family photograph a brick wall, I am back to staring closely at the photo and analyzing the name. Does it begin with an L, a T, or possibly even a script Q?

What do YOU think? Take a good look yourself, post a comment and let me know…PLEASE!