Monthly Update: GenealogyBank Just Added 24 Million More Records!

Every day, GenealogyBank is working hard to digitize more newspapers and obituaries, expanding our collection to give you the largest newspaper archives for family history research available online. We just completed adding 24 million more U.S. genealogy records, vastly increasing our content coverage from coast to coast!

Here are some of the details about our most recent U.S. newspaper additions (we actually added new content to thousands of newspaper titles, but the following is a representative sample):

  • A total of 152 newspaper titles from 42 U.S. states and the District of Columbia
  • Newspaper titles marked with an asterisk (*) are new to our online archive
  • We’ve shown the newspaper issue date ranges so that you can determine if the newly added content is relevant to your personal genealogy research

If a recent addition to our archive interests you, simply click on that newspaper’s title: it is an active link leading to that paper’s search form on GenealogyBank.

State City Title Date Range

Collection

Alabama Mobile Mobile Register 11/19/1862–12/02/1869

Historical Newspapers

Arkansas Little Rock Arkansas Gazette 11/30/1882–10/20/1899

Historical Newspapers

Arkansas Little Rock Arkansas State Press 06/25/1943–10/04/1957

Historical Newspapers

California Riverside Press and Horticulturist* 1/31/1880–8/26/1902

Historical Newspapers

California Riverside Riverside Daily Press 06/10/1886–12/30/1922

Historical Newspapers

California Riverside Riverside Independent Enterprise 03/03/1891–12/31/1922

Historical Newspapers

California San Diego Evening Tribune 12/04/1895–12/30/1922

Historical Newspapers

California San Diego San Diego Union 7/1/1898–11/26/1983

Historical Newspapers

California San Francisco San Francisco Abend Post 11/02/1871–08/14/1873

Historical Newspapers

Colorado Colorado Springs Colorado Springs Gazette 10/11/1915–10/11/1915

Historical Newspapers

Connecticut Norwich Norwich Aurora 08/11/1866–08/11/1866

Historical Newspapers

Delaware Wilmington Advance* 09/22/1900–09/22/1900

Historical Newspapers

District of Columbia Washington Washington Bee 12/26/1885–11/23/1889

Historical Newspapers

District of Columbia Washington Evening Star 3/2/1857–10/15/1880

Historical Newspapers

Florida Tampa Tampa Tribune 01/02/1895–12/29/1922

Historical Newspapers

Georgia Augusta Augusta Chronicle 08/16/1794–01/04/1860

Historical Newspapers

Georgia Marietta Marietta Journal 04/07/1892–03/02/1922

Historical Newspapers

Georgia Savannah Georgian* 06/12/1823–11/24/1830

Historical Newspapers

Idaho Idaho Falls Idaho Falls Times 6/9/1892–6/9/1892

Historical Newspapers

Illinois Chicago Broad Axe 09/21/1901–02/20/1904

Historical Newspapers

Illinois East Moline Common Bond 03/16/1978–10/12/1978

Historical Newspapers

Illinois Highland Highland Union 01/24/1873–09/09/1910

Historical Newspapers

Illinois Rockford Crusader 10/07/1955–03/03/1971

Historical Newspapers

Illinois Rockford Daily Register 01/06/1873–01/30/1891

Historical Newspapers

Illinois Rockford Daily Register-Gazette 1/31/1891–6/27/1930

Historical Newspapers

Illinois Rockford Morning Star 3/20/1888–1/1/1979

Historical Newspapers

Illinois Rockford Register Star 12/2/1979–7/27/1992

Historical Newspapers

Illinois Rockford Register-Republic 6/11/1948–9/20/1963

Historical Newspapers

Illinois Rockford Rockford Weekly Register-Gazette* 5/5/1866–5/13/1871

Historical Newspapers

Illinois Springfield Daily Illinois State Journal 1/26/1872–12/31/1922

Historical Newspapers

Illinois Springfield Daily Illinois State Register 4/25/1849–6/30/1908

Historical Newspapers

Indiana Indianapolis Freeman 02/09/1889–02/09/1889

Historical Newspapers

Indiana Indianapolis Recorder 01/27/1900–01/27/1900

Historical Newspapers

Kansas Coffeyville Vindicator 11/10/1905–11/10/1905

Historical Newspapers

Kansas Kansas City American Citizen 08/31/1900–08/31/1900

Historical Newspapers

Kansas Kansas City Kansas Elevator 03/25/1916–09/02/1916

Historical Newspapers

Kansas Lawrence For Our People* 09/08/1971–09/08/1971

Historical Newspapers

Kansas Salina Salina Enterprise 12/24/1908–01/28/1909

Historical Newspapers

Kansas Topeka Herald of Kansas 01/30/1880–01/30/1880

Historical Newspapers

Kansas Topeka Kansas State Tribune* 10/06/1881–10/06/1881

Historical Newspapers

Kansas Weir City Weir City Eagle 03/16/1900–03/16/1900

Historical Newspapers

Kansas Wichita Kansas Weekly Journal 02/05/1981–02/05/1981

Historical Newspapers

Kansas Wichita Wichita Times 08/24/1972–11/20/1975

Historical Newspapers

Kentucky Frankfort Frankfort Argus 11/16/1831–11/16/1831

Historical Newspapers

Louisiana Baton Rouge Daily Advocate 1/2/1854–10/31/1906

Historical Newspapers

Louisiana Baton Rouge Daily State 08/01/1906–07/16/1910

Historical Newspapers

Louisiana Baton Rouge State Times Advocate 1/1/1909–2/28/1967

Historical Newspapers

Louisiana Baton Rouge Weekly Advocate 12/24/1845–10/31/1903

Historical Newspapers

Louisiana New Orleans Courrier de la Louisiane 10/15/1823–01/05/1824

Historical Newspapers

Louisiana New Orleans New Orleans Tribune 04/11/1865–04/11/1865

Historical Newspapers

Louisiana New Orleans Times-Picayune 02/18/1906–02/18/1906

Historical Newspapers

Louisiana New Orleans Weekly Pelican 11/26/1887–11/26/1887

Historical Newspapers

Maryland Baltimore Afro-American 12/14/1895–12/14/1895

Historical Newspapers

Maine Hallowell Maine Cultivator and Hallowell Gazette 09/25/1841–09/03/1842

Historical Newspapers

Maryland Bel Air National American 09/05/1856–08/10/1866

Historical Newspapers

Massachusetts Boston Boston Herald 7/2/1855–10/31/1932

Historical Newspapers

Massachusetts Boston Boston Post 04/29/1861–02/14/1870

Historical Newspapers

Massachusetts Nantucket Nantucket Inquirer 11/07/1838–11/28/1840

Historical Newspapers

Massachusetts New Bedford New-Bedford Mercury 10/26/1866–04/23/1869

Historical Newspapers

Massachusetts New Bedford Whaleman’s Shipping List and Merchants’ Transcript* 05/16/1843–10/23/1849

Historical Newspapers

Massachusetts Newburyport Newburyport Herald 05/31/1836–05/31/1836

Historical Newspapers

Massachusetts Quincy Patriot Ledger* 7/2/1917–12/29/1922

Historical Newspapers

Massachusetts Springfield Springfield Republican 01/01/1911–12/31/1922

Historical Newspapers

Massachusetts Springfield Springfield Union 1/4/1864–12/18/1987

Historical Newspapers

Massachusetts Worcester Massachusetts Spy 10/21/1870–12/29/1876

Historical Newspapers

Massachusetts Worcester National Aegis 12/13/1862–12/13/1862

Historical Newspapers

Michigan Adrian Daily Telegram 2/1/1904–12/22/1913

Historical Newspapers

Michigan Bay City Bay City Times 01/02/1889–12/30/1922

Historical Newspapers

Michigan Detroit Plaindealer* 01/13/1893–05/19/1893

Historical Newspapers

Michigan Jackson Jackson Citizen Patriot 07/11/1882–03/17/1902

Historical Newspapers

Michigan Sault Ste. Marie Evening News* 6/8/1907–12/28/1921

Historical Newspapers

Missouri Kansas City Rising Son 11/18/1904–08/09/1906

Historical Newspapers

Missouri Sedalia Sedalia Times 05/09/1903–05/09/1903

Historical Newspapers

Missouri St. Louis Missouri Gazette and Public Advertiser 10/5/1808–3/27/1813

Historical Newspapers

Montana Helena Helena Weekly Herald* 12/06/1866–11/25/1869

Historical Newspapers

Nebraska Omaha Omaha World Herald 11/16/1887–12/30/1941

Historical Newspapers

New Hampshire Dover Sun 10/26/1796–9/10/1808

Historical Newspapers

New Hampshire Portsmouth New-Hampshire Gazette 4/6/1847–4/6/1847

Historical Newspapers

New Hampshire Portsmouth Portsmouth Journal of Literature and Politics 05/14/1864–05/27/1876

Historical Newspapers

New Jersey Newark New Jersey Deutsche Zeitung 04/26/1880–10/14/1889

Historical Newspapers

New Jersey Trenton Sentinel 06/17/1882–11/13/1882

Historical Newspapers

New Jersey Trenton Trenton Evening Times 01/10/1884–08/20/1891

Historical Newspapers

New York Albany Albany Argus 11/21/1872–11/29/1886

Historical Newspapers

New York Auburn Auburn Journal and Advertiser 02/14/1840–07/12/1843

Historical Newspapers

New York Auburn Cayuga Republican* 03/31/1819–01/16/1833

Historical Newspapers

New York New York Commercial Advertiser 03/04/1861–03/04/1861

Historical Newspapers

New York New York Evening Post* 01/02/1823–12/31/1823

Historical Newspapers

New York New York New York Age 08/30/1890–03/07/1891

Historical Newspapers

New York New York New York Freeman 04/24/1886–01/29/1887

Historical Newspapers

New York Schenectady Cabinet* 01/20/1824–12/26/1854

Historical Newspapers

New York Utica Columbian Gazette 1/7/1805–2/28/1815

Historical Newspapers

North Carolina Greensboro Greensboro Daily News 6/1/1906–9/30/1906

Historical Newspapers

North Carolina Greensboro Greensboro Record 1/16/1923–6/30/1930

Historical Newspapers

North Carolina Hillsborough Hillsborough Recorder* 03/10/1824–05/10/1865

Historical Newspapers

North Carolina Winston-Salem Winston-Salem Journal 08/30/1898–09/30/1921

Historical Newspapers

Ohio Canton Canton Repository* 7/3/1884–12/28/1905

Historical Newspapers

Ohio Canton Repository 1/31/1898–5/19/1925

Historical Newspapers

Ohio Cleveland Cleveland Gazette 05/09/1885–11/25/1944

Historical Newspapers

Ohio Cleveland Plain Dealer 12/28/1883–03/24/1912

Historical Newspapers

Ohio Wooster Wooster Republican 08/06/1857–08/06/1857

Historical Newspapers

Oklahoma Langston Langston City Herald 04/30/1892–04/30/1892

Historical Newspapers

Oklahoma Oklahoma City Guide 03/30/1899–09/19/1901

Historical Newspapers

Oregon Portland Oregonian 09/15/1907–09/15/1907

Historical Newspapers

Pennsylvania Harrisburg Patriot 12/08/1903–12/29/1922

Historical Newspapers

Pennsylvania Philadelphia Illustrated New Age 6/25/1864–6/25/1864

Historical Newspapers

Pennsylvania Washington Washington Reporter 08/23/1848–12/20/1876

Historical Newspapers

Pennsylvania Washington Washington Review and Examiner 06/28/1823–06/28/1823

Historical Newspapers

Rhode Island Newport Newport Mercury 08/24/1872–12/07/1872

Historical Newspapers

Rhode Island Providence Providence Evening Press 09/19/1872–12/24/1872

Historical Newspapers

South Carolina Charleston Charleston Courier 01/01/1833–11/27/1858

Historical Newspapers

Texas Austin Austin City Gazette 08/25/1841–08/25/1841

Historical Newspapers

Texas Clarksville Standard 1/8/1852–10/2/1852

Historical Newspapers

Texas Dallas Dallas Morning News 4/5/1984–9/19/1984

Historical Newspapers

Utah Salt Lake City Salt Lake Telegram 08/12/1902–11/20/1914

Historical Newspapers

Vermont St. Albans St. Albans Daily Messenger 10/25/1872–10/07/1922

Historical Newspapers

Vermont St. Albans St. Albans Messenger 08/29/1918–08/29/1918

Historical Newspapers

Vermont Windsor Vermont Republican 03/05/1821–07/23/1821

Historical Newspapers

Virginia Alexandria Alexandria Gazette 02/03/1873–12/31/1875

Historical Newspapers

Virginia Norfolk Norfolk Gazette and Publick Ledger 11/09/1808–06/09/1813

Historical Newspapers

Virginia Richmond Enquirer 12/09/1873–08/22/1876

Historical Newspapers

Virginia Richmond Richmond Times Dispatch 1/27/1903–2/28/1943

Historical Newspapers

Virginia Richmond Richmond Whig 11/13/1840–09/05/1856

Historical Newspapers

Alaska Nome Nome Nugget, The* 01/06/2011–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

Arkansas Farmington Washington County Enterprise-Leader* 02/15/2012–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

Arkansas Gravette Westside Eagle Observer* 02/15/2012–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

Arkansas Pea Ridge Times of Northeast Benton County, The* 02/15/2012–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

California Cupertino La Voz Weekly: De Anza College* 05/15/2000–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

Florida Lakeland Ledger, The: Blogs* 07/17/2007–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

Georgia Woodstock Cherokee Ledger-News, The* 08/18/2010–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

Massachusetts Jamaica Plain Mission Hill Gazette* 01/16/2009–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

Michigan Detroit Detroit News, The: Web Edition Articles* 11/17/2011–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

Mississippi Oxford Oxford Eagle, The* 02/09/2012–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

Missouri Noel, Lanagan McDonald County Press, The* 11/12/2009–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

National National Christian Science Monitor, The* 05/07/1987–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

North Carolina Mount Olive Mount Olive Tribune* 10/06/2011–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

North Dakota Beulah Beulah Beacon* 01/06/2011–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

North Dakota Center Center Republican* 01/27/2011–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

North Dakota Garrison McLean County Independent* 01/06/2011–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

North Dakota Hazen Hazen Star* 01/06/2011–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

North Dakota McClusky McClusky Gazette* 01/06/2011–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

North Dakota New Town New Town News* 01/07/2011–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

North Dakota Parshall Mountrail County Record* 01/07/2011–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

North Dakota Turtle Lake McLean County Journal* 01/06/2011–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

North Dakota Underwood Underwood News* 01/06/2011–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

North Dakota Velva Velva Area Voice* 01/20/2011–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

North Dakota Washburn Leader-News, The* 01/06/2011–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

Ohio Bluffton Bluffton News* 12/30/2010–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

Ohio North Baltimore North Baltimore News* 08/25/2011–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

Tennessee Chattanooga Chattanooga Times Free Press* 04/01/2011–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

Texas Irving Irving Rambler, The* 07/02/2011–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

Wisconsin Brookfield Brookfield-Elm Grove NOW: Blogs* 01/14/2010–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

Wisconsin Hartland Living Lake Country: Blogs* 01/10/2011–Current

Newspaper Obituaries

GenealogyBank’s Genealogy Archive Expansion Keeps Rolling!

Old Historical Newspaper Vendor

GenealogyBank keeps expanding our online archives of historical newspapers, books, documents, and government records—continuously adding new material for your genealogy research at the astonishing rate of 10 more records every second.

In the next few weeks GenealogyBank will be adding more newspapers and filling in gaps for over 2,800 U.S. newspapers providing you more family history coverage online than ever before.

We are adding so many newspaper titles that there isn’t space to list every one that will soon be added into our genealogy archive. As such, we selected out only a few dozen of the newest paper titles and date ranges coming to GenealogyBank. These new research resources will be added to our archive over the course of the next few weeks.

Nome Nugget (Nome, AK)

  • Obituaries:  01/20/2011 – Current
  • Death Notices:  01/06/2011 – Current

La Voz Weekly: De Anza College (Cupertino, CA)

  • Obituaries:  05/15/2000 – Current

Ledger: Blogs (Lakeland, FL)

  • Obituaries:  07/17/2007 – Current

Cherokee Ledger-News (Woodstock, GA)

  • Obituaries:  08/18/2010 – Current
  • Death Notices:  08/18/2010 – Current

Bay Windows (Boston, MA)

  • Obituaries: 12/10/1998 – 2/2/2011

Mission Hill Gazette (Jamaica Plain, MA)

  • Obituaries:  01/16/2009 – Current

Detroit News: Web Edition Articles (MI)

  • Obituaries: 10/28/2005 – 12/30/2010

Oxford Eagle (Oxford, MS)

  • Obituaries:  02/22/2012 – Current
  • Death Notices:  02/09/2012 – Current

Mount Olive Tribune (Mount Olive, NC)

  • Obituaries:  02/22/2012 – Current
  • Death Notices:  10/06/2011 – Current

Beulah Beacon (Beulah, ND)

  • Obituaries:  01/13/2011 – Current
  • Death Notices:  01/06/2011 – Current

Center Republican (Center, ND)

  • Obituaries:  07/21/2011 – Current
  • Death Notices:  01/27/2011 – Current

Hazen Star (Hazen, ND)

  • Obituaries:  01/13/2011 – Current
  • Death Notices:  01/06/2011 – Current

Leader-News (Washburn, ND)

  • Death Notices:  01/06/2011 – Current

McClusky Gazette (McClusky, ND)

  • Obituaries:  04/14/2011 – Current
  • Death Notices:  01/06/2011 – Current

McLean County Independent (Garrison, ND)

  • Obituaries:  02/10/2011 – Current
  • Death Notices:  01/06/2011 – Current

McLean County Journal (Turtle Lake, ND)

  • Obituaries:  02/17/2011 – Current
  • Death Notices:  01/06/2011 – Current

Mountrail County Record (Parshall, ND)

  • Obituaries:  03/11/2011 – Current
  • Death Notices:  01/07/2011 – Current

New Town News (New Town, ND)

  • Obituaries:  03/11/2011 – Current
  • Death Notices:  01/07/2011 – Current

Underwood News (Underwood, ND)

  • Death Notices:  01/06/2011 – Current

Velva Area Voice (Velva, ND)

  • Obituaries:  04/12/2012 – Current
  • Death Notices:  01/20/2011 – Current

Chester County Press (Oxford, PA)

  • Obituaries: 1/21/2009 – 2/16/2011
  • Death Notices: 11/5/2008 – 1/19/2011

Delaware County Daily Times (Primos – Upper Darby, PA)

  • Obituaries: 4/1/1994 – 1/1/2009
  • Death Notices: 4/1/1994 – 3/23/1995

Chattanooga Times Free Press (Chattanooga, TN)

  • Obituaries:  04/01/2011 – Current
  • Death Notices:  04/01/2011 – Current

Irving Rambler (Irving, TX)

  • Obituaries:  08/20/2011 – Current
  • Death Notices:  07/02/2011 – Current

Living Lake Country: Blogs (Hartland, WI)

  • Obituaries:  01/10/2011 – Current

It’s a great day for genealogy!

The Story of Perkins Swain: A Genealogist’s Online Research Discoveries

Online genealogy research is endlessly fascinating—you never know what you will find. I was doing some family history research in GenealogyBank’s newspaper archive when this double obituary caught my eye. Baltimore Patriot (Baltimore, Maryland), 25 July 1834, page 3.

Just a short, simple notice, 4½ lines long—and yet what a sad story it tells.

Sally Swain, 27-year-old wife of Perkins Swain, died on 17 June 1834 in Gilmanton, New Hampshire. Her husband, Perkins Swain, age 37, “was in [his] usual health at the funeral of his deceased wife”—but abruptly died seven days later. No doubt, of a broken heart.

Can you imagine the grief of the pallbearers? They were probably family members, or at least friends and neighbors, who sadly carried the body of young Sally Swain to her grave on June 17th while her grieving yet healthy husband, Perkins, stood nearby. And then suddenly, just seven days later, those same pallbearers were carrying the body of her husband to join Sally’s gravesite.

Who were this couple struck down by tragedy? This story of a perfectly-healthy husband dying seven days after his young wife’s funeral made me want to research more about them and learn about their lives.

Digging deeper into my genealogy research online, I found a marriage announcement that Perkins Swain married Sally Weymouth in Gilmanton, New Hampshire, in a November 1823 newspaper. Portsmouth Journal of Literature and Politics (Portsmouth, New Hampshire), 15 November 1823, page 3.

Looking at the free collection of New Hampshire marriage certificates online at FamilySearch, I quickly found their marriage certificate. They were married on 23 October 1823 by the Rev. William Blaisdell. FamilySearch.org is a handy genealogy site. It has put up the entire U.S. Census, as well as birth and marriage certificates from all 50 states and many foreign countries. This free website by the Family History Library is well worth a visit to find great genealogical information that can aid in your research. Checking further in GenealogyBank, I found a newspaper probate article showing that Perkins Swain had known tragedy earlier in his life, when he and his brother Gorham were orphaned at age 5 and 4 respectively. The Sun (Dover Gazette & County Advertiser) (Dover, New Hampshire), 21 December 1805, page 4.
Enlarging the first paragraph, we find some interesting details about Perkins Swain’s life.
In this probate notice, Thomas Balch is acting as guardian for the young orphans. We discover that their father was William Swain, “late of Gilmanton,” a tailor who died without leaving a will. Did he die unexpectedly? And why is there no mention of the mother? These are tantalizing questions that require further family history research.

This probate notice also tells us that the two young boys have inherited an estate of 100 acres in Gilmanton.

Continuing to look further in GenealogyBank’s newspaper archive for details about Perkins Swain, I found this public auction notice that perhaps completes the story of his life.
New Hampshire Patriot (Concord, New Hampshire), 19 October 1835, page 3.

A year after his death, the homestead farm of Perkins Swain is being publicly auctioned on Nov. 2, 1835. This farm is a 100-acre parcel in Gilmanton, New Hampshire—the same piece of land we learned about in the probate notice of 1805.

Isn’t it amazing how many details we’ve found out about Perkins Swain, who died in 1834? We have found his marriage and death notices, his marriage certificate, the probate notice when he was orphaned at age 5, and the public auction notice of his farm after his death. With more online genealogy research, we could no doubt uncover even more details about Perkins Swain and his family.

There are so many digitized newspaper articles, historical documents and government records available online today—terrific research resources for genealogists.

This is a great day for genealogy.

Family History Expos – Georgia 2011

Georgia Family History Expo – Duluth, Georgia 2011

Over 400 genealogists gathered in Duluth, Georgia, for the annual Family History Expo held at the Gwinnett Center on Nov. 11-12, 2011.

Now in its second year, this conference has the size and feel of a national conference. There were over 60 informative family history sessions taught by two dozen experienced national speakers. Topics covered at this premier event for genealogists ranged from “Searching Your Scottish Ancestors” to “Special Sources for Confederate Research in the National Archives.” Thanks to the conference’s solid organization and the Gwinnett Center’s well-managed layout, it was easy for genealogists to mingle with nationally-recognized speakers and take the time to ask meaningful, detailed questions.

For example, the Family History Expo made it easy for working genealogists to attend by having sessions scheduled well into the evening. Working genealogists that couldn’t make the day-time sessions could attend sessions at night as well as all day on Saturday.

The speakers and vendors each shared their latest genealogy insights and tips. One nifty new application I learned about at this conference is a free family tree software program from TreeSeek.com. This application creates a nine-generation family tree fan chart that is easy to share with relatives and other researchers, as shown below. TreeSeek pulls family data from Geni or FamilySearch.Genealogists will find this free family tree software program a terrific way to easily share some of their family discoveries with relatives over the Holidays.

In addition to traditional family tree charts this program can also create a “Name Cloud” familiar to those of us working with 21st Century genealogy computing. Tom Kemp, GenealogyBank’s Director of Genealogy Products, gave three lectures at the Expo, all focused on the value of newspapers for genealogists.

Friday, Nov. 11: “African American Newspapers”

(Beginner Level) Tom talked about the more than 270

African American newspapers in GenealogyBank’s collection, published from 1827-1999—the largest collection of African American newspapers online. He provided practical advice for genealogists, such as: methods for efficient searching; and how to clip and save newspaper articles about your family. The lecture gave practical examples of the type of information family historians can find in these old newspapers, such as this obituary of Mary Stamps that appeared in the Atlanta Age (Georgia) 13 January 1900, page 2.

Saturday, Nov. 12: “21st Century Genealogy”
(All Levels) For this lecture, Tom concentrated on the ten essential online resources that you need to research your family online, save time, and improve the accuracy of your family history. He showed his audience how to cut through the clutter on the Internet and focus on the ten core resources with the reliable, essential content that genealogists use to document and preserve their family trees.

Genealogy sites Tom discussed included:
· Ancestry
· FamilySearch
· GenealogyBank
· Google Books
· Internet Archive
· Scribd

As Tom told his audience: “It’s a great day for genealogy! Researchers need to know about these terrific online genealogy resources.” Saturday, Nov. 12: “Newspapers: Finding the Details about Your Family”
It was standing room only for this 2011 Family History Expo session, in which Tom explained how to use the more than 5,700 newspapers in GenealogyBank’s
online newspaper archives, published from 1690-Today. He taught how to search efficiently, and clip and save newspaper articles about your family—providing practical tips for searching these online newspapers published over the past three centuries.

African American newspapers going up on GenealogyBank

GenealogyBank is adding over 280 fully-searchable African American newspapers with coverage from 1827 to 1999. GenealogyBank released the first 50+ newspapers this month.

This is an exciting new addition to GenealogyBank – we are pleased to make these resources available -opening up family history information just not found anywhere else.”

Alaska Spotlight (AK). 1956-1968

Homeland (AR). 1991-1999

Southern Mediator Journal (AR). 1962-1966

Inter-Faith Churchman (CA). 1941

Los Angeles Tribune (CA) 1943-1960

Teller (CA). 1946

Black Networking News (DC). 1989-1990

National Chronicle (DC). 1990-1991

Washington Bee (DC). 1914-1915

Florida Tattler (FL). 1934-1945

Savannah Tribune (GA). 1875-1922

Bags and Baggage (IL). 1937-1943

Bulletin (IL). 1968-1969

Central South Sider (IL). 1929

Chicago Courier (IL). 1974-1975

Chicago Metro News (IL). 1973-1990

Chicago World (IL). 1925-1935

Illinois Sentinel (IL). 1937

Metropolitan Post (IL). 1938-1939

Olivet Baptist Church Herald (IL) 1936

Freeman (IN) 1897-1899

Indianapolis Ledger (IN). 1918-1922

Advocate (KS). 1904-1926

People’s Elevator (KS). 1937-1940

Wyandotte Echo (KS). 1936-1937

Freeman’s Lance (KS) 1891

Plaindealer (KS). 1912-1921

Negro Star (KS). 1939-1952

Community Leader (LA). 1985

Inside New Orleans (LA) 1965

New Orleans Daily Creole (LA) 1856-1857

St. Louis Clarion (MO). 1920-1921

Mississippi Free Press (MS) 1961-1964

Mississippi Weekly (MS) 1935

Mound Bayou News-Digest(MS) 1950

People’s Community News (NY). 1970

Rights of All (NY) 1829

Minority Report (OH). 1969-1970

North Philly Free Press (PA) 1982-1983

Political Digest (PA) 1937

Memphis Triangle (TN). 1928-1929

Brotherhood Eyes (TX). 1936

Fort Worth Mind (TX) 1943-1947

USA Monitor (TX) 1992-1993

Soul City Courier (WI) 1976-1977

Wisconsin Labor Advocate (WI) 1886-1887

Milwaukee Defender (WI) 1957-1958

Milwaukee Star (WI) 1968-1977

Soul City Times (WI) 1968-1971

Racine Courier (WI) 1988-1992

Advocate (WV). 1904-1926

GenealogyBank adds 190 newspapers this month

GenealogyBank. adds more newspapers – we’re up to 190 titles added this month – that’s over 4,100 newspapers online right now.

And, the month’s not over yet – there are still more newspapers going online before the year is over.

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AK. Anchorage. Alaska Spotlight. 7/28/1956 to 11/30/1968
AR. Forrest City. Homeland. 6/1/1998 to 7/1/1999
AR. Little Rock. Southern Mediator Journal. 6/22/1962 to 2/25/1966
CA. Los Angeles. Heraldo de Mexico. 5/12/1925

CA. Los Angeles. Inter-Faith Churchman. 4/20/1941
CA. Los Angeles. Los Angeles Tribune. 1/3/1958 to 4/22/1960
CA. Los Angeles. Teller. 3/20/1946
CT. New London. New London Gazette. 1827-01-03 to 1837-12-13
DC. Washington. Black Networking News. 1/1/1989 to 8/1/1990
DC. Washington. National Chronicle. 7/6/1990 to 9/20/1991
DC. Washington. Washington Bee. 1/3/1914 to 9/25/1915
FL. Jacksonville. Florida Tattler. 12/1/1934 to 9/29/1945
GA. Augusta. Augusta Chronicle. 1/1/1982 to 12/31/1996
GA. Savannah. Savannah Tribune. 1875-12-04 to 12/28/1922
IL. Chicago. Bulletin. 9/11/1968 to 12/3/1969
IL. Chicago. Central South Sider. 7/6/1929
IL. Chicago. Chicago Courier. 4/13/1974 to 11/15/1975
IL. Chicago. Chicago Metro News. 11/3/1973 to 12/26/1987
IL. Chicago. Chicago World. 10/29/1925 to 6/15/1935
IL. Chicago. Illinois Sentinel. 11/20/1937
IL. Chicago. Metropolitan Post. 9/10/1938 to 6/3/1939
IL. Chicago. Olivet Baptist Church Herald. 11/29/1936
IN. Indianapolis. Freeman. 1897-06-12 to 1899-02-04
IN. Indianapolis. Indianapolis Ledger. 4/13/1918 to 10/28/1922
KS. Kansas City. Advocate. 1/6/1922 to 4/23/1926
KS. Kansas City. People’s Elevator. 8/19/1937 to 9/19/1940
KS. Kansas City. Wyandotte Echo. 1/3/1936 to 12/24/1937
KS. Peru. Freeman’s Lance. 1891-02-20 to 1891-12-25
KS. Topeka. Plaindealer. 7/5/1912 to 4/29/1921
KS. Wichita. Negro Star. 1/5/1939 to 12/26/1952
LA. Baton Rouge. Community Leader. 6/13/1985
LA. New Orleans. Inside New Orleans. 5/1/1965
LA. New Orleans. Times Picayune. 12/7/1942 to 4/4/1950
LA. New Orleans. Times-Picayune. 1870-04-09 to 1899-02-06
MA. Boston. Boston Journal. 1870-07-01 to 1871-06-30
MI. Kalamazoo. Kalamazoo Gazette. 1876-06-07 to 8/31/1907
MO. St. Louis. St. Louis Clarion. 12/18/1920 to 4/2/1921
MS. Jackson. Mississippi Free Press. 12/16/1961 to 8/1/1964
MS. Jackson. Mississippi Weekly. 5/18/1935
MS. Mound Bayou. Mound Bayou News-Digest. 5/13/1950
NY. Harlem. People’s Community News. 5/10/1970
NY. New York. New York Herald. 1879-02-1 to 1895-01-26
NY. New York. New York Herald-Tribune. 1856-07-14 to 1875-06-30
NY. New York. Nueva Democracia. 1/1/1947 to 10/1/1948
NY. New York. Prensa. 10/9/1923 to 9/16/1927
NY. New York. Rights of All. 1829-05-29 to 1829-10-09
OH. Dayton. Minority Report. 1/1/1969 to 12/18/1970
OH. Sandusky. Sandusky Register. 1848-04-24 to 1867-04-24
PA. Philadelphia. North Philly Free Press. 3/23/1982 to 1/18/1983
PA. Philadelphia. Political Digest. 10/31/1937
SC. Charleston. City Gazette. 1825-01-01 to 1826-08-31
TN. Memphis. Memphis Triangle. 11/17/1928 to 7/27/1929
TN. Murfreesboro. Murfreesboro Union. 6/6/1939
TX. Brownsville. Cronista del Valle. 10/12/1928
TX. Dallas. Brotherhood Eyes. 10/31/1936
TX. Dallas. Dallas Morning News. 7/31/1978 to 12/28/1978
TX. El Paso. ontinental. 11/17/1936 to 1/2/1938
TX. Fort Worth. Fort Worth Mind. 11/13/1943 to 9/13/1947
TX. Fort Worth. USA Monitor. 8/1/1992 to 3/1/1993
WA. Seattle. Seattle Daily Times. 12/1/1938 to 12/31/1952
WI. Beloit. Soul City Courier. 10/12/1976 to 1/18/1977
WI. La Crosse. Wisconsin Labor Advocate. 1886-08-20 to 1887-06-06
WI. Milwaukee. Milwaukee Defender. 1/3/1957 to 2/1/1958
WI. Milwaukee. Milwaukee Star. 10/19/1968 to 2/10/1977
WI. Milwaukee. Soul City Times. 9/14/1968 to 12/16/1971
WI. Racine. Racine Courier. 9/3/1988 to 7/25/1992
WV. Charleston. Advocate. 6/9/1904

More newspapers go online

GenealogyBank today added 5 newspapers from 5 states: Arizona; Hawaii; Maryland; Mississippi; and North Dakota

Superior Sun, The (Superior, AZ)
Obituaries: 06/11/2002 – Current
Death Notices: 09/12/2001 – Current

Big Island Weekly (Hilo, HI)
Obituaries: 04/18/2007 – Current

Towson Times (Towson, MD)
Obituaries: 02/21/2001 – Current
Death Notices: 02/14/200…1 – Current

Winston County Journal (Louisville, MS)
Obituaries: 12/15/2004 – Current
Death Notices: 03/25/2003 – Current

Devils Lake Journal (Devils Lake, ND)
Obituaries: 08/26/2009 – Current
Death Notices: 08/27/2009 – Current

See:
http://bit.ly/5gmzM

More Newspapers Go Online – 41 newspapers, 23 states

GenealogyBank adds and expands 41 newspapers from 23 states.

21 new titles.

That’s nearly 14 million articles contained in 8,052 issues!

Click and search them right now!!
Connecticut. Middletown. American Sentinel. 326 issues. 1823-01-01 to 1833-04-24
Connecticut. Middletown.
Constitution. 47 issues. 1854-12-13 to 1855-12-05
Connecticut. New London.
New London Gazette. 160 issues. 1838-01-03 to 1843-03-22
Connecticut. Nor wich.
True Republican. 49 issues. 1804-06-20 to 1806-10-01

Washington, DC. Daily National Intelligencer. 3,230 issues. 1842-07-01 to 1866-06-25

Florida. Gainesville. *Gainesville Sun. 1995-01-18 to Present

Illinois. Chicago. Chicago Metro News. 118 issues. 1974-07-06 to 1990-10-06
Illinois. Freeport. *
Journal Standard. 2002-12-14 to Present

Indiana. Crawfordsville. *Paper of Montgomery County. 2004-11-26 to Present
Indiana. Noblesville. *
Times. 2008-10-22 to Present

Kentucky. Paris. *Western Citizen. 45 issues. 1808-12-24 to 1814-12-31

Louisiana. New Orleans. Orleans Gazette. 1 issue. 1817-09-27
Louisiana. New Orleans.
Times-Picayune. 30 issues. 1872-09-26 to 1900-11-15

Maine. Kennebunk. *Annals of the Times. 68 issues. 1803-01-13 to 1805-01-03
Maine. Portland. *Independent Statesman. 167 issues. 1821-07-14 to 1825-05-06

Massachusetts. Boston. *American Traveller. 19 issues. 1825-07-26 to 1836-03-25
Massachusetts. Gloucester. *
Gloucester Democrat. 362 issues. 1834-08-19 to 1838-02-16
Massachusetts. Springfield.
Federal Spy. 133 issues. 1800-01-07 to 1805-12-31
Massachusetts. Springfield. *
Hampden Whig. 2 issues. 1831-05-11 to 1836-06-08

Maryland. Baltimore. *Baltimore Bulletin. 93 issues. 1872-04-20 to 1876-09-23

Michigan. Grand Rapids. Grand Rapids Press. 330 issues. 1893-01-19 to 1920-10-25

Mississippi. Columbia. *Columbian Progress. 2008-11-03 to Present

Montana. Great Falls. Montana Herold. 1 issue. 1896-09-03

New Hampshire. Concord. New Hampshire Patriot. 2 issues. 1881-02-24 to 1884-01-10

New Jersey. Trenton. Trenton State Gazette. 293 issues. 1847-01-12 to 1847-12-31

New York. Albany. Albany Evening Journal. 83 issues. 1850-09-19 to 1874-06-10
New York. Catskill. *
Catskill Recorder. 143 issues. 1807-04-07 to 1833-04-18
New York. Goshen. *Goshen Repository. 37 issues. 1797-03-21 to 1798-12-25
New York. New York.
Hodge’s Banknote Reporter. 4 issues. 1861-06-01 to 1861-06-22
New York. New York.
New York Herald. 1,121 issues. 1864-01-28 to 1871-11-04; 1874-10-04 to 1888-01-05
New York. New York.
New York Herald-Tribune. 962 issues. 1856-10-30 to 1879-03-27
New York. Poughkeepsie. *
Country Journal. 136 issues. 1785-12-15 to 1789-07-07

North Carolina. Forest City. *Daily Courier. 2005-01-01 to Present

Ohio. Cincinnati. *Advertiser and Journal. 9 issues. 1819-01-26 to 1827-09-26
Ohio. Cincinnati. *
Cincinnati Daily Gazette. 722 issues. 1835-01-01 to 1845-06-25
Ohio. Warren. *Trump of Fame. 15 issues. 1812-11-05 to 1814-07-27

Rhode Island. Pawtucket. *Valley Breeze. 2009-08-19 to Present

South Carolina. Charleston. City Gazette. 206 issues. 1824-01-01 to 1824-08-31

Texas. Beaumont. Beaumont Enterprise & Journal. 14 issues. 1906-05-30 to 1911-09-01

Utah. Salt Lake City. Salt Lake Tribune. 1 issue. 1881-06-11

Vermont. Newport. *Newport Daily Express. 2008-07-24 to Present
.

Obituaries – From Annual Reports – Congress has chartered many national associations – among them the American Instructors of the Deaf.

Using the Congressional Serial Set for Genealogical Research

Using the Congressional Serial Set for Genealogical Research
By Jeffery Hartley


(This article appeared in the Spring 2009 issue of Prologue. It has been excerpted and reprinted here with the permission of the author.

The Historical Documents section in GenealogyBank includes over 243,000 reports from the US Serial Set and the American State Papers).


Click here to search the American State Papers and US Congressional Serial Set in GenealogyBank.com

Genealogists use whatever sources are available to them in pursuit of their family history: diaries, family Bibles, census records, passenger arrival records, and other federal records. One set of materials that is often overlooked, however, is the Congressional Serial Set.

This large multivolume resource contains various congressional reports and documents from the beginning of the federal government, and its coverage is wide and varied. Women, African Americans, Native Americans, students, soldiers and sailors, pensioners, landowners, and inventors are all represented in some fashion. While a beginning genealogist would not use the Serial Set to begin a family history, it nevertheless can serve as a valuable tool and resource for someone helping to flesh out an ancestors life, especially where it coincided with the interests of the U.S. federal government.

Since its inception, the U.S. government has gathered information, held hearings, compiled reports, and published those findings in literally millions of pages, the majority of which have been published by the Government Printing Office (GPO).

These publications include annual reports of the various executive branch agencies, congressional hearings and documents, registers of employees, and telephone directories. Their topics cover a wide range, from the Ku Klux Klan to child labor practices to immigration to western exploration.

In 1817, the Serial Set was begun with the intent of being the official, collective, definitive publication documenting the activities of the federal government. Following the destruction of the Capitol in 1814 by the British, Congress became interested in publishing their records to make them more accessible and less vulnerable to loss.

In the early Federal period, printing of congressional documents had been haphazard, and the Serial Set was an effort designed to rectify that situation. Although initially there were no regulations concerning what should be included, several laws and regulations were promulgated over the years. The contents, therefore, vary depending on the year in question.

In 1831, 14 years after the Serial Set was begun, the printers Gales & Seaton proposed that a compilation of the documents from the first Congresses be printed. The secretary of the Senate and the clerk of the House were to direct the selection of those documents, 6,278 of which were published in 38 volumes between 1832 and 1861. This collection was known as the American State Papers.

Because it was a retrospective effort, these 38 volumes were arranged chronologically within 10 subject areas: Foreign Relations, Indian Affairs, Finance, Commerce & Navigation, Military Affairs, Naval Affairs, Post Office, Public Lands, Claims, and Miscellaneous.

Although not technically a part of the Serial Set, the volumes were certainly related, and therefore the volumes were designated with a leading zero so that these volumes would be shelved properly, i.e. before the volumes of the Serial Set. (1)

The Congressional Serial Set itself includes six distinct series: House and Senate journals (until 1953), House and Senate reports, House and Senate documents, Senate treaty documents, Senate executive reports, and miscellaneous reports. The journals provide information about the daily activities of each chamber. The House and Senate reports relate to public and private legislation under consideration during each session.

Documents generally relate to other investigations or subjects that have come to the attention of Congress. Nominations for office and military promotion appear in the Senate Executive Reports. Miscellaneous reports are just that­widely varied in subject matter and content. With the possible exception of the treaty documents, any of these can have some relevance for genealogists.

The documents and reports in the Serial Set are numbered sequentially within each Congress, no matter what their subject or origin. The documents were then collected into volumes, which were then given a sequential number within the Serial Set. The set currently stands at over 15,000 volumes, accounting for more than 325,000 individual documents and 11 million pages.

The Serial Set amounts to an incredible amount of documentation for the 19th century. Agency annual reports, reports on surveys and military expeditions, statistics and other investigations all appear and thoroughly document the activities of the federal government.

In 1907, however, the Public Printing and Binding Act provided guidelines for what should be included, resulting in many of these types of reports no longer being included as they were also issued separately by the individual agencies. The number of copies was also trimmed. With that stroke, the value of the Serial Set was lessened, but it nevertheless stands as a valuable genealogical resource for the 19th century.

So what is available for genealogists? The following examples are just some of the types of reports and information that are available.

Land Records
The Serial Set contains much information concerning land claims. These claims relate to bounty for service to the government as well as to contested lands once under the jurisdiction of another nation.

In House Report 78 (21-2), there is a report entitled “Archibald Jackson.” This report, from the House Committee on Private Land Claims, in 1831, relates to Jackson’s claim for the land due to James Gammons. Gammons, a soldier in the 11th U.S. Infantry, died on February 19, 1813, “in service of the United States.” The act under which he enlisted provided for an extra three month’s pay and 160 acres of land to those who died while in service to the United States. However, Gammons was a slave, owned by Archibald Jackson, who apparently never overtly consented to the enlistment but allowed it to continue. That Gammons was eligible for the extra pay and bounty land was not in dispute, but the recipient of that bounty was. Jackson had already collected the back pay in 1823 and was petitioning for the land as well. The report provides a decision in favor of Jackson, as he was the legal representative of Gammons, and as such entitled to all of his property. (2)

Land as bounty was one issue, and another was claims for newly annexed land as the country spread west. In 1838, the House of Representatives published a report related to Senate Bill 89 concerning the lands acquired through the treaty with Spain in 1819 that ceded East and West Florida to the United States. Claims to land between the Mississippi and the Perdido Rivers, however, were not a part of that treaty and had been unresolved since the Louisiana Purchase, which had taken the Perdido River as one of its limits. The report provides a background on the claims as well as lists of the claimants, the names of original claimants, the date and nature of the claim, and the amount of the land involved. (3)

Other land claims are represented as well. In 1820, the Senate ordered a report to be printed from the General Land Office containing reports of the land commissioners at Jackson Court House. These lands are located in Louisiana and include information that would help a genealogist locate their ancestor in this area. Included in this report is a table entitled “A List of Actual Settlers, in the District East of Pearl River, in Louisiana, prior to the 3d March, 1819, who have no claims derived from either the French, British, or Spanish, Governments.” The information is varied, but a typical entry reads: No. 14, present claimant George B. Dameson, original claimant Mde. Neait Pacquet, originally settled 1779, located above White’s Point, Pascag. River, for about 6 years. (4)

Annual Reports
Among the reports in the Serial Set for the 19th century are the annual reports to Congress from the various executive branch agencies. Congress had funded the activities of these organizations and required that each provide a report concerning their annual activities. Many of these are printed in the Serial Set, often twice: the same content with both a House and a Senate document number. Annual reports in the 19th century were very different from the public relations pieces that they tend to be today.

Besides providing information about the organization and its activities, many included research reports and other (almost academic) papers. In the annual reports of the Bureau of Ethnology, for instance, one can find dictionaries of Native American languages, reports on artifacts, and in one case, even a genealogy for the descendants of a chief. (5)

These reports can often serendipitously include information of interest to the family historian. For instance, the annual report of the solicitor of the Treasury would not necessarily be a place to expect to find family information. The 1844 report, however, does have some information that could be useful. For instance, pages 36 and 37 of this report contains a “tabular list of suits now pending in the courts of the United States, in which the government is a part and interested.”

Many on the opposite side of the case were individuals. An example is the case of Roswell Lee, late a lieutenant in the U.S. Army, against whom there has been a judgment for over $5,000 in 1838. Lee was sued in a court in Massachusetts and in 1844 still owed over $4,000. In a letter dated May 5, 1840, the district attorney informed the office (6)
that Mr. Lee is not now a resident of the district of Massachusetts, and that whether he ever returns is quite uncertain; that nothing, however, will be lost by his absence, as the United States have now a judgment against him, which probably will forever remain unsatisfied.

Another set of annual reports that appear in the Serial Set are those for the Patent Office. The annual reports of the commissioner of patents often include an index to the patents that were granted that year, arranged by subject and containing the names of the invention and the patentee and the patent number. The report included a further description of the patent, and often a diagram of it as well. Each year’s report also included an index by patentee.

Unfortunately, the numbers of patents granted in later years, as well as their complexity, led to more limited information being included in later reports. The 1910 report, for instance, simply contains an alphabetical list of inventions, with the entries listing the patentee, number, date, and where additional information can be found in the Official Patent Office Gazette. (7)

The Civil War gave rise to a number of medical enhancements and innovations in battlefield medicine, and the annual report for 1865, published in 1867, contains a reminder of that in the patent awarded to G. B. Jewett, of Salem, Massachusetts, for “Legs, artificial.” Patent 51,593 was granted December 19, 1865, and the description of the patent on page 990 provides information on the several improvements that Jewett had developed. The patent diagram on page 760 illustrated the text. (8)

This annual report relates to a report from May 1866, also published in the Serial Set that same session of Congress, entitled “Artificial Limbs Furnished to Soldiers.” This report, dated May 1866, came from the secretary of war in response to a congressional inquiry concerning artificial limbs furnished to soldiers at the government’s expense. Within its 128 pages are a short list of the manufacturers of these limbs, including several owned by members of the Jewett family in Salem, Massachusetts, New York, and Washington, D.C., as well as an alphabetical list of soldiers, detailing their rank, regiment and state, residence, limb, cost, date, and manufacturer. Constantine Elsner, a private in B Company of the 20th Massachusetts living in Boston, received a leg made by G. B. Jewett at a cost of $75 on April 8, 1865. 9 This may have been an older version of the one that Jewett would have patented later in the year, or it may have been an early model of that one. Either way, a researcher would have some idea not only of what Elsner’s military career was like, but also some sense of what elements of life for him would be like after the war.

Congress also was interested in the activities of organizations that were granted congressional charters. Many of the charters included the requirement that an annual report be supplied to Congress, and these were then ordered to be printed in the Serial Set.

One such organization is the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). As one would expect, the DAR annual reports contain a great deal of genealogical and family history information. The 18th annual report is no exception. Among other things, it includes, in appendix A, a list of the graves of almost 3,000 Revolutionary War soldiers. The list includes not just a name and location, but other narrative information as well:
Abston, John. Born Jan. 2, 1757; died 1856. Son of Joshua Abston, captain of Virginia militia; served two years in War of the American Revolution. Enlisted from Pittsylvania County, Va.; was in Capt. John Ellis’ company under Col. Washington. The evening before the battle of Kings Mountain, Col. Washington, who was in command of the starving Americans at this point, sent soldiers out to forage for food. At a late hour a steer was driven into camp, killed, and made into a stew. The almost famished soldiers ate the stew, without bread, and slept the sleep of the just. Much strengthened by their repast and rest, the next morning they made the gallant charge that won the battle of Kings Mountain, one of the decisive battles of the American Revolution. Washington found one of the steer’s horns and gave it to Abston, a personal friend, who carried it as a powder horn the rest of the war. (10)

Another organization whose annual reports appear is the Columbia Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, which later became Gallaudet University. These reports, found in the annual reports of the secretary of the interior, contain much of what one would expect: lists of faculty and students, enrollment statistics, and other narrative. While that information can help to provide information about one’s ancestor’s time there, there are other parts of the narrative that include information one would not expect to find.

For instance, the 10th annual report for 1867 has a section entitled “The Health of the Institution.” It concerns not the fiscal viability of the institution but rather the occurrences of illness and other calamities. One student from Maryland, John A. Unglebower, was seized with gastric fever and died: “He was a boy of exemplary character, whose early death is mourned by all who knew him.” Two other students drowned that year, and the circumstances of their deaths recounted, with the hope that “they were not unprepared to meet the sudden and unexpected summons.” (11) Both the faculty and the student body contributed their memorials to these two students in the report.

Other organizations represented in the Serial Set are the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America, Veterans of World War I of the United States, proceedings of the National Encampment, United Spanish War Veterans, the American Historical Association, and the National Convention of Disabled American Veterans.

Lists of Pensioners
The history of pensions provided by the federal government is beyond the scope of this article. However, the Serial Set is a source of information about who was on the rolls at various times. For instance, an 1818 letter from the secretary of war was published containing a list of the persons who had been added to the pension list since May 28, 1813. The list provides information on the likes of Susanna Coyle, certificate of pension no. 9, heiress of deceased soldier William Coyle, alias Coil, a private who received pay of four dollars per month. (12)

Sundry lists of pensions appeared in 1850, related to the regulation of Navy, privateer, and Navy hospital funds. The report included four lists: those placed in the invalid list who were injured while in the line of duty; those drawing pensions from wounds received while serving on private armed vessels; widows drawing pensions from their husbands who were engineers, firemen, and coal-heavers; and orphan children of officers, seamen, and marines pensioned under the act of August 11, 1848. (13)

One of the most widely consulted lists is that for 1883, “List of Pensioners on the Roll, January 1, 1883” (Senate Executive Document 84 [47-2]). This five-volume title, arranged by state and then county of residence, provides a list of each pensioner’s name, his post office, the monthly amount received, the date of the original allowance, the reason for the pension, and the certificate number.

An example is the case of Eli G. Biddle, who served in the 54th Massachusetts. Biddle can be found on page 439 of volume 5 of the “List,” and a researcher can learn several things without even having seen his pension file: his middle name is George, he was living in Boston in 1883, and he was receiving four dollars each month after having suffered a gunshot wound in the right shoulder. His pension certificate number is also provided 99,053­ and with that one could easily order the appropriate records from the National Archives.

Registers
The Serial Set serves as a source of military registers and other lists of government personnel as well. Both Army and Navy registers appear after 1896. The Army registers for 1848–1860 and the Navy registers for 1848–1863 are transcripts of the lists that appeared the preceding January and include pay and allowances, with corrections to that earlier edition for deaths and resignations.

The Official Register, or “Blue Book,” a biannual register of the employees of the federal government, appears for 10 years, from 1883 to 1893. If one’s ancestors were employees at this time, their current location and position, place from which they were appointed, date of appointment, and annual compensation can be gleaned from this source.

The Serial Set often provides unexpected finds, and the area of registers is no exception. There is a great deal of material on the Civil War, from the 130 volumes of the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion to other investigations and the aforementioned registers and lists of pensions. There are not, however, large amounts of compiled unit histories.

One exception, however, is the report from the adjutant general of Arkansas. Shortly after the Civil War, the adjutant general offices of the various Union states prepared reports detailing the activities of the men from their states. The same was done in Arkansas, but the state legislature there, “under disloyal control,” declined to publish the report. Senator Henry Wilson of Massachusetts, chairman of the Senate Committee on Military Affairs, brought it to the committee in 1867, and it was ordered to be printed in the Serial Set so that the loyal activities of these 10,000 men would be recognized. (14) The report includes brief histories of each unit as well as a roster of the unit and rank, enlistment date, and other notes on each soldier.

Accessing Information in the Serial Set
The indexing for the Serial Set has long been troublesome to researchers. Various attempts have been made to provide subject access, with varying degrees of success. Many of the indexes in the volumes themselves are primarily title indexes to the reports from that Congress and session. The Checklist of United States Public Documents, 1789–1909, does provide information about what reports listed therein do appear in the Serial Set, but the researcher has to know the name of the issuing agency in order to access that information. The Document Index provides some subject indexing by Congress, and other efforts such as those by John Ames and Benjamin Poore can also be used, but none index the tables and contents of many of the reports that have been discussed in this article. (15)

The best comprehensive print index is the Congressional Information Service’s (CIS) U.S. Serial Set Index, produced in conjunction with their microfilming of the volumes through 1969 beginning in the mid-1970s. In this index, a two-volume subject index covers groups of Congresses, with a third volume providing an index to individual names for relief actions, as well as a complete numerical list in each report/document category. The index, however, does not index the contents of the documents. For instance, although the title given for the Archibald Jackson land claim includes James Gammons’s name, the latter does not appear in the index to private relief actions. In addition, users must often be creative in the terms applied in order to be sure that they have exhausted all possibilities. In the mid-1990s CIS released these indexes on CD-ROM, which makes them somewhat easier to use, although the contents are essentially the same.

The indexing problems have been rectified by the digitization of the Serial Set. At least two private companies, LexisNexis and Readex, have digitized it and made it full-text searchable.

[The Serial Set and American State Papers are available in GenealogyBank. Click here to search them online]

This article can only hint at some of the genealogical possibilities that can be found in the Congressional Serial Set. It has not touched on the land survey, railroad, western exploration, or lighthouse keeper’s reports or many of the private relief petitions and claims. Nonetheless, the reports and documents in the Serial Set provide a tremendous and varied amount of information for researchers interested in family history.

Author
Jeffery Hartley is chief librarian for the Archives Library Information Center (ALIC). A graduate of Dickinson College and the University of Maryland’s College of Library and Information Services, he joined the National Archives and Records Administration in 1990.

Notes
1 For a more complete description of the American State Papers, and their genealogical relevance, see Chris Naylor, “Those Elusive Early Americans: Public Lands and Claims in the American State Papers, 1789–1837,” Prologue: Quarterly of the National Archives and Records Administration 37 (Summer 2005): 54–61.
2 H. Rept. 78 (21-2), 1831, “Archibald Jackson” (Serial 210).
3 H. Rept. 818 (25-2), 1838, “Land Claims between Perdido and Mississippi” Serial 335.
4 S. Doc. 3 (16-2), 1820, “Reports of the Land Commissioners at Jackson Court House” (Serial 42).
5 H. Misc. Doc. 32 (48-2), 1882, “3rd Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology” (Serial 2317).
6 H. Doc. 35 (28-1), 1844, “Annual Report of Solicitor of the Treasury” (Serial 441), p. 37. 7 H. Doc. 1348 (61-3), 1911, “Annual Report of the Commissioner of Patents for the Year 1910″ (Serial 6020).
8 H. Exec. Doc. 62 (39-1), 1867, “Annual Report of the Commissioner of Patents for the Year 1865″ (Serial 1257-1259).
9 H. Exec. Doc. 108 (39-1), 1866, “Artificial Limbs Furnished to Soldiers” (Serial 1263).
10 S. Doc. 392 (64-1), 1916, “Eighteenth Report of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, October 11, 1914, to October 11, 1915″ (Serial 6924), p.155. 11 H. Exec. Doc. 1 (40-2), “Tenth Annual Report of the Columbia Institution for the Deaf and Dumb” (Serial 1326), pp. 429–430.
12 H. Doc. 35 (15-1), 1818 (Serial 6), p. 17.
13 See H. Ex. Doc. 10 (31-2), 1850, “Sundry Lists of Pensioners” (Serial 597).
14 See S. Misc. Doc 53 (39-2), 1867, “Report of the Adjutant General for the State of Arkansas, for the Period of the Late Rebellion, and to November 1, 1866″ (Serial 1278).
15 A good discussion of how some of these indexes work can be found in Mary Lardgaard, “Beginner’s Guide to Indexes to the Nineteenth Century U.S. Serial Set,” Government Publications Review 2 (1975): 303–311.