January Update: GenealogyBank Just Added 27 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 27 million more U.S. genealogy records, vastly increasing our content coverage from coast to coast!

screenshot of GenealogyBank's home page showing the Monthly Update for January of 27 million new records

Here are some of the details about our most recent U.S. newspaper additions:

  • A total of 13 newspaper titles from 5 U.S. states
  • 9 of these titles are newspapers added to GenealogyBank for the first time
  • 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

To see our newspaper archives’ complete title lists, click here.

State City Title Coverage Added Collection
California Riverside Riverside Daily Press 01/01/1941 – 01/28/1941 Newspaper Archives
Louisiana New Orleans Louisiana Advertiser 08/18/1826 – 08/18/1826 Newspaper Archives
Louisiana New Orleans Times-Picayune 11/02/1850 – 03/28/1922 Newspaper Archives
Minnesota Faribault Faribault Daily News New! 07/10/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
New York Brooklyn Bay News & Brooklyn Graphic New! 05/02/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
New York Brooklyn Bay Ridge Courier New! 08/11/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
New York Brooklyn Brooklyn Courier New! 05/02/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
New York New York East Villager New! 12/16/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
New York Brooklyn Kings Courier New! 09/30/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
New York Brooklyn Mill-Marine Courier New! 05/02/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Wisconsin Milwaukee Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel 06/09/1964 – 07/15/1964 Newspaper Archives
Wisconsin Minocqua Lakeland Times New! 03/13/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
Wisconsin Rhinelander Northwoods River News New! 11/15/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries

Genealogy Tip: One of the ways to take advantage of the fact that Genealogy is constantly adding new content is to use a feature on the newspapers’ search box that lets you search just on the content added since a certain time:

screenshot of GenealogyBank's search box showing ability to search only on newest added content

GenealogyBank adds millions of new records monthly, so keep searching. And good luck with your family history research!

Anniversary of President McKinley’s Assassination

Suddenly, President William McKinley (1897-1901) – one of only four American presidents killed in office – is in the news again. This week, his name was removed from North America’s highest mountain peak, located in Alaska.

This weekend, Americans will be marking the anniversary of the assassination of President McKinley, who was shot by “anarchist” Leon Czologsz at the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, on 6 September 1901. The nation was traumatized as they had been with the murder of President Lincoln just 36 years before. With the shock of both shootings – and that of President Garfield in 1881 – still firmly in their minds, Americans looked to their daily newspapers to learn the latest news of McKinley’s condition.

article about the assassination of President William McKinley, Plain Dealer newspaper article 7 September 1901

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 7 September 1901, page 1

McKinley lingered, then passed away the following week on 14 September 1901.

When national leaders such as Presidents Lincoln, McKinley and Kennedy, and Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., are assassinated, the nation responds by renaming streets, schools and monuments for our fallen leaders.

photo of Mt. McKinley (now Denali), Alaska

Photo: Mt. McKinley (now Denali), Alaska. Source: National Park Service.

In 1917 President Woodrow Wilson honored McKinley’s memory by signing “the Mount McKinley National Park Act, which required the park to be ‘dedicated and set apart as a public park for the benefit and enjoyment of the people under the name of the Mount McKinley National Park.’” (USA Today, 31 August 2015).

But Mount McKinley is no more. On Aug. 30, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced that the name of North America’s highest mountain is being changed back to its original name, Denali, which in the Athabaskan languages of Alaska Natives means “the high one.”

Related Assassination Articles:

June 2015 Update: GenealogyBank Just Added 37 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 37 million more U.S. genealogy records, vastly increasing our content coverage from coast to coast!

screenshot of GenealogyBank's home page showing the announcement of 37 million records recently added to GenealogyBank's archives

Here are some of the details about our most recent U.S. newspaper additions:

  • A total of 46 newspaper titles from 20 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia
  • 26 of these titles are newspapers added to GenealogyBank for the first time
  • Newspaper titles marked with an asterisk (*) are new to our online archives
  • 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

To see our newspaper archives’ complete title lists, click here.

State City Title Date Range Collection
Alaska Anchorage Arctic Sounder* 06/28/2013–Current Recent Obituaries
California San Francisco San Francisco Chronicle 2/21/1982–2/23/1982 Newspaper Archives
California San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo Daily Telegram 11/1/1952–10/30/1954 Newspaper Archives
California Stockton Record, The* 02/20/2015–Current Recent Obituaries
District of Columbia Washington (DC) Washington Times 8/14/1984–11/1/1989 Newspaper Archives
Florida Miami Miami Herald 10/11/1928–9/22/1929 Newspaper Archives
Georgia Columbus Columbus Daily Enquirer 3/19/1941–4/5/1943 Newspaper Archives
Georgia Macon Macon Telegraph 7/1/1944–10/31/1945 Newspaper Archives
Idaho Boise Idaho Statesman 1/7/1957–10/13/1957 Newspaper Archives
Illinois Rockford Register Star 10/1/2007–4/30/2008 Newspaper Archives
Indiana Evansville Evansville Courier and Press 1/2/1931–12/31/1937 Newspaper Archives
Kentucky Lexington Lexington Herald 4/1/1939–10/15/1973 Newspaper Archives
Kentucky Lexington Lexington Leader 7/1/1901–8/27/1975 Newspaper Archives
Kentucky Lexington Lexington Leader* 3/1/1912–8/30/1975 Newspaper Archives
Louisiana Baton Rouge Advocate Extra, The* 10/09/2014–Current Recent Obituaries
Louisiana Clinton Watchman, The* 12/18/2014–Current Recent Obituaries
Louisiana Greensburg St. Helena Echo* 12/18/2014–Current Recent Obituaries
Louisiana St. Francisville St. Francisville Democrat* 12/18/2014–Current Recent Obituaries
Louisiana Zachary Zachary Advocate and Plainsman, The* 10/09/2014–Current Recent Obituaries
Maryland Baltimore Sun 2/5/1903–12/19/1917 Newspaper Archives
Minnesota Wayzata Lakeshore Weekly News* 07/17/2014–Current Recent Obituaries
Mississippi Biloxi Daily Herald 1/1/1946–3/28/1953 Newspaper Archives
National National UPI NewsTrack* 04/26/2013–Current Recent Obituaries
New Hampshire Chester, Hampstead, Sandown Tri-Town Times: Web Edition Articles* 02/28/2013–Current Recent Obituaries
New Jersey Absecon, Pleasantville Current of Pleasantville, The* 04/23/2013–Current Recent Obituaries
New Jersey Atlantic City Atlantic City Weekly* 03/10/2005–Current Recent Obituaries
New Jersey Cape May Cape May Gazette, The* 09/09/2010–Current Recent Obituaries
New Jersey Egg Harbor Current of Downbeach, The* 05/19/2010–Current Recent Obituaries
New Jersey Egg Harbor Township Current of Egg Harbor Township, The* 06/02/2010–Current Recent Obituaries
New Jersey Galloway Current of Galloway Township, The* 04/08/2010–Current Recent Obituaries
New Jersey Hamilton Current of Hamilton Township, The* 05/26/2010–Current Recent Obituaries
New Jersey Linwood, Somers Point, Northfield Current of Linwood, Somers Point, Northfield* 07/20/2010–Current Recent Obituaries
New Jersey Middle Township Middle Township Gazette, The* 01/05/2011–Current Recent Obituaries
New Jersey Ocean City Ocean City Gazette, The* 04/12/2010–Current Recent Obituaries
New Jersey Upper Township Upper Township Gazette* 11/11/2010–Current Recent Obituaries
New Jersey Wildwood Wildwood Leader, The* 05/24/2010–Current Recent Obituaries
New York Middletown Times Herald-Record, The* 02/18/2015–Current Recent Obituaries
North Carolina Charlotte Charlotte Observer 1/1/1934–12/6/1935 Newspaper Archives
North Carolina Robbinsville Graham Star* 01/28/2009–Current Recent Obituaries
Oregon Medford Mail Tribune* 02/23/2015–Current Recent Obituaries
Pennsylvania State College Centre Daily Times 10/1/1982–11/30/1983 Newspaper Archives
South Carolina Charleston Charleston News and Courier 7/12/1971–9/30/1991 Newspaper Archives
South Carolina Charleston Evening Post 3/18/1971–3/19/1971 Newspaper Archives
South Carolina Charleston Post and Courier 9/1/1984–2/29/1996 Newspaper Archives
Washington Bellingham Bellingham Herald 5/1/1947–8/31/1948 Newspaper Archives
Washington Olympia Morning Olympian 1/1/1951–4/30/1952 Newspaper Archives

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

Related Article:

My Ancestor’s Trip to America: Newspapers Tell the Story

I knew my ancestor William Kemp had come to America – but I didn’t know anything about the trip itself. What was it like for him as an immigrant traveling by passenger ship across the ocean to the new frontier?

Could GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives help me find the answer?

I knew that William came to America on board the ship Benjamin Adams, arriving 21 October 1853. He left from Liverpool, England, and arrived in New York City.

painting: “The Bay and Harbor of New York” by Samuel Waugh (1814-1885)

Painting: “The Bay and Harbor of New York” by Samuel Waugh (1814-1885). Source: Wikipedia.

Since I knew that shipping was big business, I wondered if newspapers could tell me more about the movements of the Benjamin Adams and William’s trip to America.

In testing my search I found that the name of the passenger ship appeared multiple ways in various newspaper articles – so I strategized that I needed to search every possible variation for any mention of the Benjamin Adams, from the spring to the fall of 1853, to make sure I didn’t miss any articles.

To find all of the articles I needed to search GenealogyBank’s archives using:

  • Benjamin Adams
  • Adams
  • Benj. Adams
  • Benj Adams
  • B. Adams
  • B Adams

This should give me all references to the passenger ship and William’s voyage to America.

Here’s what I found.

This Maine newspaper told me that by 23 August 1853, the passengers had boarded the Benjamin Adams and the ship was positioned “outward bound” in the Mersey River in Liverpool.

shipping news about the ship "Benjamin Adams," Portland Weekly Advertiser newspaper article 13 September 1853

Portland Weekly Advertiser (Portland, Maine), 13 September 1853, page 3

This Massachusetts newspaper gave me the critical fact that the ship sailed the next day – 24 August 1853. Wow – good to know.

shipping news about the ship "Benjamin Adams," Daily Atlas newspaper article 10 September 1853

Daily Atlas (Boston, Massachusetts), 10 September 1853, page 2

Next I looked for reports of the passenger ship arriving in America.

Here it is – this New York newspaper reported that the ship had docked in New York on 21 October 1853.

shipping news about the ship "Benjamin Adams," Weekly Herald newspaper article 22 October 1853

Weekly Herald (Albany, New York), 22 October 1853, page 344

The trip to New York took 56 days. There were 620 passengers – but here’s where the news turned more somber.

The old newspaper article reported:

Sept. 10, while laying to under a close reefed topsail in a heavy gale from the NW, lost all three topgallant masts, closed reefed mizzen topsail, foresail, mainsail, stern boat, and received other damage.

The ship was damaged in a fierce storm just 17 days after leaving Liverpool. The passengers must have been terrified – wondering if they were going to make it.

But there was more bad news:

Had 15 deaths on the passage.

Significant storm damage to the ship and 15 people died?
Fifteen people died?
Wow. Was that normal on these trips? Why did so many die?

William was lucky to make it safely to America!

In a follow-up article a week later, the Weekly Herald explained why so many had died on the passage. These passengers just didn’t die of random causes – they died from an outbreak of cholera, which struck  many ships.

…it is pretty certain that the disease which carried them off was cholera. ….The sickness on the Benjamin Adams was decidedly cholera.

shipping news about the ship "Benjamin Adams," Weekly Herald newspaper article 29 October 1853

Weekly Herald (Albany, New York), 29 October 1853, page 350

This was a tough trip.

GenealogyBank’s newspapers continued to tell me more about William’s trip.

This New York newspaper mentioned that the ship Benjamin Adams had arrived “from Syria.”

shipping news about the ship "Benjamin Adams" and cholera, Albany Evening Journal newspaper article 22 October 1853

Albany Evening Journal (Albany, New York), 22 October 1853, page 2

From Syria?
I thought they left from Liverpool?

They did – but before arriving in Liverpool, the ship had been in Syria.

This Massachusetts newspaper told me that the Benjamin Adams had docked in Beirut, Syria, on 25 July 1853, before it went to Liverpool to pick up William Kemp and the other 619 passengers.

shipping news about the ship "Benjamin Adams," Daily Atlas newspaper article 1 September 1853

Daily Atlas (Boston, Massachusetts), 1 September 1853, page 2

The reason for the trip to the Holy Land was explained in this Massachusetts newspaper. The Benjamin Adams picked up artifacts there to display at the World’s Fair:  “an Arab plough and other agricultural implements for the World’s Fair…canes from the banks of the Jordan, branches from the Mount of Olives and cedars of Lebanon…” and apparently somewhere along the way it picked up cholera.

shipping news about the ship "Benjamin Adams," Springfield Republican newspaper article 25 October 1853

Springfield Republican (Springfield, Massachusetts), 25 October 1853, page 2

GenealogyBank doesn’t just give you the names, dates and places for your family tree – it gives you the stories of our ancestors’ lives.

You know when your ancestors arrived in America – dig in GenealogyBank and find out the rest of their stories.

Genealogy Tip: Search Wide Geo Areas

Did you notice a pattern with the newspaper articles in this blog post?

There were newspapers in Maine, New York, Massachusetts and beyond that reported on the Benjamin Adams. You want to search for this type of article and for the articles about your ancestors across all 8,000 of GenealogyBank’s newspapers. To find these articles, you cannot limit your search to only the newspapers of one or two states. If you limit your search geographically, you might miss an article critical to the telling of your ancestor’s story.

Related Articles:

List of 450+ Historical Newspapers Just Added Continued – Page 4

We just made a major addition of more than 450 historical newspapers, all of them new to our online newspaper archives.This is a continuation of our complete list of 450+ historical newspapers just added to GenealogyBank. You are currently viewing page 4 which lists newspapers 301 to the end.

State City Title Date Range


301 New Mexico> Santa Fe Santa Fe Daily New Mexican 12/9/1869–12/31/1877 Newspaper Archives
302 New Mexico> Silver City Southwest Sentinel 11/03/1887–03/28/1888 Newspaper Archives
303 New York Canandaigua Ontario Messenger 11/25/1806–10/16/1810 Newspaper Archives
304 New York Kingston Ulster County Whig 09/17/1834–11/16/1836 Newspaper Archives
305 New York New York Argus 1/2/1797–3/8/1800 Newspaper Archives
306 New York New York Evening Star 10/10/1833–7/6/1840 Newspaper Archives
307 New York New York Frank Leslie’s Illustrirte Zeitung 01/02/1858–01/27/1866 Newspaper Archives
308 New York New York National Advocate for the Country 3/3/1813–12/25/1827 Newspaper Archives
309 New York New York National Police Gazette 11/07/1846–12/21/1876 Newspaper Archives
310 New York New York New York Aurora 5/26/1807–6/7/1809 Newspaper Archives
311 New York New York New York Semi-Weekly Express 8/26/1862–7/12/1867 Newspaper Archives
312 New York New York New-York Gazette 5/11/1730–5/26/1740 Newspaper Archives
313 New York New York New-York Gazette, or Weekly Post-Boy 07/25/1743–01/12/1747 Newspaper Archives
314 New York Ossining Westchester Herald 1/2/1821–12/23/1856 Newspaper Archives
315 New York Poughkeepsie New-York Journal, or, General Advertiser 7/20/1778–11/19/1781 Newspaper Archives
316 New York Troy Farmer’s Oracle 02/28/1797–04/17/1798 Newspaper Archives
317 New York Troy Federal Herald 04/28/1788–06/07/1790 Newspaper Archives
318 New York Troy Lansingburgh Gazette 9/18/1798–10/23/1827 Newspaper Archives
319 New York Westfield Chautauque Phenix 10/03/1828–11/01/1831 Newspaper Archives
320 North Carolina Edenton Edenton Gazette 2/26/1806–2/26/1821 Newspaper Archives
321 North Carolina Fayetteville North Carolina Chronicle or Fayetteville Gazette 02/01/1790–07/19/1790 Newspaper Archives
322 North Carolina Lincolnton Lincoln Courier 5/2/1846–2/15/1851 Newspaper Archives
323 North Carolina Lincolnton Lincoln Republican 01/23/1840–05/25/1842 Newspaper Archives
324 North Carolina Milton Milton Gazette and Roanoke Advertiser 05/03/1822–04/21/1825 Newspaper Archives
325 North Carolina Murfreesboro Hornets’ Nest 10/01/1812–07/22/1813 Newspaper Archives
326 North Carolina New Bern North-Carolina Gazette 03/24/1775–07/14/1775 Newspaper Archives
327 North Carolina Raleigh North-Carolina Minerva 05/16/1803–12/31/1804 Newspaper Archives
328 North Carolina Raleigh Raleigh Register 06/04/1819–12/28/1821 Newspaper Archives
329 North Carolina Raleigh Semi-Weekly Standard 01/14/1852–12/31/1853 Newspaper Archives
330 North Carolina Raleigh Star 02/13/1850–09/29/1852 Newspaper Archives
331 North Carolina Tarboro Tarboro Press 01/04/1840–03/02/1844 Newspaper Archives
332 North Carolina Washington American Recorder 4/28/1815–5/27/1825 Newspaper Archives
333 North Carolina Wilmington True Republican or American Whig 01/03/1809–11/07/1809 Newspaper Archives
334 North Carolina Wilmington Wilmington Centinel and General Advertiser 06/18/1788–06/18/1788 Newspaper Archives
335 North Carolina Wilmington Wilmington Gazette 01/01/1801–/01/1816 Newspaper Archives
336 North Dakota Fort Rice Frontier Scout 06/15/1865–10/12/1865 Newspaper Archives
337 North Dakota Mandan Daily Pioneer 1/4/1883–12/29/1883 Newspaper Archives
338 North Dakota Mandan Sunday Pioneer 11/11/1883–12/23/1883 Newspaper Archives
339 North Dakota Tower City Tower City Herald 05/02/1884–02/06/1885 Newspaper Archives
340 Ohio Chillicothe Ohio Herald 07/27/1805–11/15/1806 Newspaper Archives
341 Ohio Cincinnati Centinel of the North-Western Territory 5/23/1795–3/5/1799 Newspaper Archives
342 Ohio Cincinnati Liberty Hall 12/23/1805–12/30/1814 Newspaper Archives
343 Ohio Lebanon Western Star 02/13/1807–06/08/1811 Newspaper Archives
344 Ohio Marietta American Friend 4/24/1813–6/19/1818 Newspaper Archives
345 Ohio Steubenville Jefferson Democrat and Farmers’ and Mechanics’ Advocate 05/25/1831–02/06/1833 Newspaper Archives
346 Ohio Warren Trump of Fame 11/01/1816–08/07/1861 Newspaper Archives
347 Ohio Xenia Greene County Torch-Light 07/31/1845–12/26/1850 Newspaper Archives
348 Oklahoma Caddo Caddo Free Press 11/01/1878–11/01/1878 Newspaper Archives
349 Oklahoma Doaksville Choctaw Intelligencer 04/02/1851–04/02/1851 Newspaper Archives
350 Oklahoma Fort Washita Chickasaw Intelligencer 04/21/1855–04/21/1855 Newspaper Archives
351 Oregon Corvallis Oregon Statesman 10/13/1855–12/08/1855 Newspaper Archives
352 Oregon Oregon City Oregon Spectator 02/10/1848–05/12/1854 Newspaper Archives
353 Oregon Oregon City Oregon Statesman 01/06/1852–02/26/1853 Newspaper Archives
354 Oregon Portland Oregon Weekly Times 12/25/1852–03/03/1860 Newspaper Archives
355 Pennsylvania Carlisle Cumberland Register 09/20/1805–06/22/1814 Newspaper Archives
356 Pennsylvania Germantown Pensylvanische Berichte 1/16/1746–12/24/1757 Newspaper Archives
357 Pennsylvania Lancaster Hive 07/06/1803–06/12/1805 Newspaper Archives
358 Pennsylvania Lancaster Lancaster Inquirer 7/7/1863–2/13/1864 Newspaper Archives
359 Pennsylvania Philadelphia Complete Counting House Companion 5/28/1785–10/30/1790 Newspaper Archives
360 Pennsylvania Philadelphia Pennsylvania Gazette 1/3/1776–12/18/1793 Newspaper Archives
361 Pennsylvania Philadelphia Philadelphische Zeitung 05/06/1732–06/24/1732 Newspaper Archives
362 Pennsylvania Philadelphia Press 1/1/1859–12/31/1865 Newspaper Archives
363 Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Gazette 8/12/1786–9/23/1831 Newspaper Archives
364 Pennsylvania Tunkhannock Wyoming Democrat 09/24/1850–09/24/1850 Newspaper Archives
365 Pennsylvania Washington Western Telegraphe 08/17/1795–07/04/1807 Newspaper Archives
366 Rhode Island Providence Independent Inquirer 8/28/1823–8/20/1830 Newspaper Archives
367 Rhode Island Providence Microcosm 01/08/1831–03/30/1833 Newspaper Archives
368 Rhode Island Providence New Age and Constitutional Advocate 11/20/1840–3/8/1842 Newspaper Archives
369 Rhode Island Providence Rhode Island Press 06/29/1861–12/29/1877 Newspaper Archives
370 Rhode Island Providence Rhode-Island Farmer 08/09/1804–01/31/1805 Newspaper Archives
371 South Carolina Beaufort Free South 01/10/1863–04/16/1864 Newspaper Archives
372 South Carolina Charleston Carolina Weekly Messenger 8/11/1807–11/7/1809 Newspaper Archives
373 South Carolina Charleston Charleston Mercury 6/4/1831–11/14/1868 Newspaper Archives
374 South Carolina Charleston Charleston Spectator 08/09/1806–12/05/1806 Newspaper Archives
375 South Carolina Charleston Royal Gazette 02/09/1782–02/09/1782 Newspaper Archives
376 South Carolina Charleston Royal South Carolina Gazette 06/08/1780–07/16/1782 Newspaper Archives
377 South Carolina Charleston South-Carolina Gazette 1/11/1735–12/29/1737 Newspaper Archives
378 South Carolina Charleston South-Carolina and American General Gazette 03/11/1768–10/01/1778 Newspaper Archives
379 South Carolina Pendleton Miller’s Weekly Messenger 01/03/1821–04/02/1841 Newspaper Archives
380 South Dakota Artesian Diana Sentinel 11/23/1883–08/01/1884 Newspaper Archives
381 South Dakota Fort Randall Independent 01/18/1865–12/20/1865 Newspaper Archives
382 South Dakota Pierre Pierre Daily Capital 8/20/1890–3/31/1891 Newspaper Archives
383 Tennessee Knoxville Knoxville Register 8/10/1816–10/22/1839 Newspaper Archives
384 Tennessee Knoxville Press and Messenger 01/08/1873–12/15/1875 Newspaper Archives
385 Tennessee Memphis Memphis Evening Post 04/27/1868–05/31/1869 Newspaper Archives
386 Tennessee Nashville Nashville Clarion 2/16/1808–7/20/1819 Newspaper Archives
387 Tennessee Nashville Nashville Examiner 09/29/1813–05/25/1814 Newspaper Archives
388 Texas Corpus Christi Corpus Christi Gazette 01/08/1846–04/02/1846 Newspaper Archives
389 Texas Houston Morning Star 04/15/1839–03/12/1846 Newspaper Archives
390 Texas Houston National Banner 04/25/1838–04/25/1838 Newspaper Archives
391 Texas Houston National Intelligencer 03/01/1839–07/04/1839 Newspaper Archives
392 Texas Houston Weekly Houstonian 05/27/1841–07/22/1841 Newspaper Archives
393 Texas Paris Texas Vindicator 10/29/1867–06/21/1871 Newspaper Archives
394 Texas Pittsburg Pittsburg Gazette 01/06/1887–12/30/1892 Newspaper Archives
395 Texas San Luis San Luis Advocate 09/04/1840–05/11/1841 Newspaper Archives
396 Utah Ogden Ogden Junction 3/12/1870–8/19/1876 Newspaper Archives
397 Utah Salt Lake City Kirk Anderson’s Valley Tan 12/3/1858–1/25/1860 Newspaper Archives
398 Utah Salt Lake City Telegraph 12/19/1864–05/17/1866 Newspaper Archives
399 Vermont Bellows Falls Vermont Intelligencer 01/01/1821–12/30/1822 Newspaper Archives
400 Vermont Bennington Bennington Banner 2/27/1841–12/31/1885 Newspaper Archives
401 Vermont Burlington Burlington Mercury 6/3/1796–3/24/1797 Newspaper Archives
402 Vermont Montpelier Freemen’s Press 08/25/1809–08/27/1812 Newspaper Archives
403 Vermont Montpelier State Journal 10/25/1832–10/25/1832 Newspaper Archives
404 Vermont Montpelier Watchman 11/20/1807–12/31/1873 Newspaper Archives
405 Vermont Westimnster Vermont Gazette or Green-Mountain Post-Boy 04/02/1781–09/27/1871 Newspaper Archives
406 Vermont Windsor Vermont Republican 08/08/1829–10/09/1834 Newspaper Archives
407 Vermont Woodstock Woodstock Observer 1/7/1823–6/5/1832 Newspaper Archives
408 Virginia Alexandria Local News 10/07/1861–02/10/1862 Newspaper Archives
409 Virginia Charlottesville Virginia Advocate 08/25/1827–04/02/1830 Newspaper Archives
410 Virginia Fredericksburg New Era 05/23/1865–06/29/1866 Newspaper Archives
411 Virginia Lynchburg Lynchburg Star 2/27/1806–1/8/1812 Newspaper Archives
412 Virginia Norfolk American Beacon 11/02/1821–02/28/1827 Newspaper Archives
413 Virginia Norfolk American Gazette and Norfolk and Portsmouth Weekly Advertiser 10/10/1792–08/28/1795 Newspaper Archives
414 Virginia Norfolk New Regime 03/08/1864–04/16/1864 Newspaper Archives
415 Virginia Richmond Observatory, or A View of the Times 3/1/1798–11/26/1798 Newspaper Archives
416 Virginia Richmond Sentinel 6/19/1863–1/3/1866 Newspaper Archives
417 Virginia Richmond Virginia Federalist 06/01/1799–03/01/1800 Newspaper Archives
418 Virginia Richmond Virginia Independent Chronicle 05/23/1787–04/01/1789 Newspaper Archives
419 Virginia Winchester Virginia Gazette and Winchester Advertiser 08/29/1787–10/14/1789 Newspaper Archives
420 Washington Olympia Echo 07/29/1876–07/29/1876 Newspaper Archives
421 Washington Olympia Pioneer and Democrat 02/11/1854–11/16/1860 Newspaper Archives
422 Washington Port Townsend Puget Sound Weekly Argus 08/04/1870–04/26/1883 Newspaper Archives
423 Washington Steilacoom Puget Sound Express 10/22/1874–08/070/1880 Newspaper Archives
424 West Virginia Charles Town Farmers’ Repository 12/15/1824–11/15/1826 Newspaper Archives
425 West Virginia Martinsburg Potomak Guardian and Berkeley Advertiser 9/3/1792–4/2/1800 Newspaper Archives
426 West Virginia Shepherdstown Potowmac Guardian and Berkeley Advertiser 12/27/1791–12/27/1791 Newspaper Archives
427 Wisconsin Galesville Galesville Independent 11/5/1874–8/30/1889 Newspaper Archives
428 Wisconsin Green Bay Green-Bay Intelligencer and Wisconsin Democrat 12/11/1833–06/01/1836 Newspaper Archives
429 Wisconsin Green Bay Wisconsin Free Press 10/03/1835–03/30/1836 Newspaper Archives
430 Wisconsin Lancaster Grant County Herald 03/18/1843–12/05/1850 Newspaper Archives
431 Wisconsin Madison Daily Argus and Democrat 01/03/1854–07/21/1854 Newspaper Archives
432 Wisconsin Milwaukee Milwaukee Advertiser 07/14/1836–03/20/1841 Newspaper Archives
433 Wisconsin New Lisbon Juneau County Argus 11/8/1858–12/6/1894 Newspaper Archives
434 Wisconsin Oshkosh Oshkosh True Democrat 02/09/1849–05/12/1857 Newspaper Archives
435 Wisconsin Racine Weekly Racine Advocate 1/8/1851–4/25/1866 Newspaper Archives
436 Wisconsin Sheboygan Sheboygan Nieuwsbode 10/06/1849–11/07/1850 Newspaper Archives
437 Wyoming Cheyenne Cheyenne Argus 11/14/1867–11/14/1867 Newspaper Archives
438 Wyoming Cheyenne Cheyenne Daily Argus 04/02/1868–04/05/1868 Newspaper Archives
439 Wyoming Cheyenne Cheyenne Daily Leader 04/03/1868–04/03/1868 Newspaper Archives
440 Wyoming Evanston Evanston Age 10/03/1876–10/03/1876 Newspaper Archives
441 Wyoming Laramie Laramie Daily Sentinel 10/21/1876–10/21/1876 Newspaper Archives

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

The 100th Anniversary of the Sinking of the RMS Lusitania

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” In this blog article, Gena searches old newspapers to learn more about the tragic sinking of the passenger ship Lusitania by a German submarine, an act which almost propelled the neutral U.S. into World War I.

First launched in 1906, the RMS Lusitania was part of the British Cunard line of luxury passenger ships. For a short time, the Lusitania was the fastest ship in the world, with such amenities as electric lights and the wireless telegraph. On 1 May 1915, with World War I raging in Europe, the Lusitania set sail from New York to Liverpool, England, filled with passengers.

Warning Issued before Lusitania Departed

But – most likely unknown to most of those passengers – the Lusitania was also carrying supplies and ammunition for the British war effort. After 101 roundtrip crossings, this journey may not have seemed too different from the previous ones – except for a warning directed to all those on board. However, this crossing will forever remain different in the annals of history – for the Germans sank the Lusitania on 7 May 1915, nearly drawing the neutral U.S. into WWI.

Illustration: sinking of the Lusitania; engraving by Norman Wilkinson for the 15 May 1915 issue of “The Illustrated London News"

Illustration: sinking of the Lusitania; engraving by Norman Wilkinson for the 15 May 1915 issue of “The Illustrated London News.” Source: Wikimedia Commons.

New York newspapers had carried a warning from the German embassy alerting potential Lusitania passengers that sailing through a war zone under the flags of Great Britain or its allies could mean possible destruction of the ship. Civilian passengers on board would be traveling at their own risk. Perhaps those who purchased passage on the Lusitania thought the warning was an idle threat, figuring that civilians could simply not be in danger from military actions.

According to this South Dakota newspaper article about the German warning: “Not a single passenger cancelled his sailings.” While the old newspaper article reports that the U.S. State Department took the warning seriously, it goes on to say that: “The Cunarder [sic] officials laughed at the passengers’ fears.” Referring to the speed of the ship, the officials stated that: “the Lusitania could show her heels to any submarine.”

article about the warning Germany gave before the Lusitania departed from New York, Aberdeen Daily News newspaper article 1 May 1915

Aberdeen Daily News (Aberdeen, South Dakota), 1 May 1915, page 1

The Sinking of the Lusitania

Six days after departing from New York, on May 7th off the coast of Ireland, a German submarine U-20 under the command of Walther Schweiger fired a torpedo at the Lusitania.

article about Germany sinking the Lusitania, Lexington Herald newspaper article 8 May 1915

Lexington Herald (Lexington, Kentucky), 8 May 1915, page 1

Unlike the Titanic disaster just three years prior, the Lusitania sank very quickly in only 18 minutes – not enough time for her nearly 2,000 passengers to climb safely into lifeboats. Only 767 of the 1,960 people aboard survived. The torpedoed ship tragedy took the lives of approximately 128 out of 139 Americans on board. Only 37.7% of passengers survived the sinking, leaving a large number of women and children among the dead.* A list and biographies of the passengers and crew aboard the Lusitania can be found on The Lusitania Resource website.

article about Germany sinking the Lusitania, Gulfport Daily Herald newspaper article 8 May 1915

Gulfport Daily Herald (Gulfport, Mississippi), 8 May 1915, page 1

One of those who perished was American genealogist Lothrop Withington, who was returning to England on the Lusitania to continue researching a 17th century registry of wills.

article about Germany sinking the Lusitania, Plain Dealer newspaper article 9 May 1915

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 9 May 1915, page 6

Sinking Almost Draws U.S. into WWI

After pressure from President Woodrow Wilson, Germany promised to only sink passenger ships after proper warning and safeguards for passengers. English, Irish and eventually U.S. propaganda posters evoked the needless drowning of women and children to encourage or guilt men into joining the military.

Here’s an example of such a recruitment poster, showing a heartbreaking scene of a woman Lusitania passenger drowning with her infant child.

photo of a U.S. WWI enlistment poster spurred by Germany's sinking of the Lusitania

Photo: U.S. WWI enlistment poster spurred by sinking of the Lusitania. Source: U.S. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

While England was hoping this tragedy would bring the United States into the war, it would be another two years before President Wilson decided to send Americans to fight. Wilson had won a second presidential term running with the slogan “He kept us out of war.” This slogan didn’t resonate with everyone, as this political commentary shows. Among its many grievances, this editorial includes anger over the sinking of the Lusitania.

editorial opposed to President Woodrow Wilson running for a second term, Tucson Daily Citizen newspaper article 15 July 1916

Tucson Daily Citizen (Tucson, Arizona), 15 July 1916, page 4

After events like the sinking of the Lusitania and the intercepted Zimmerman Telegram, which revealed that Germany offered U.S. territory to Mexico in return for assisting Germany in the war effort, the United States finally entered the war on 6 April 1917.

article about the U.S. declaring war on Germany and entering WWI, Patriot newspaper article 22 March 1917

Patriot (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania), 22 March 1917, page 1

Were any of your ancestors on board the Lusitania when it was sunk by a German submarine? If so, please tell us about it in the comments section


* Passenger and Crew Statistics. The Lusitania Resource. http://www.rmslusitania.info/people/statistics/. Accessed 5 May 2015.

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Ghost Stories & Séances: History and True Life Paranormal Events

Introduction: Mary Harrell-Sesniak is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background. In this blog article, Mary searches old newspapers for stories about ghosts, séances and psychics – and tells two related stories from her own family’s history.

Starting in the Victorian Era, séances, psychics and spiritualists seemed to be everywhere, as more and more people believed they could talk to – or receive messages from – the spirit world, and thereby communicate with their departed spouse or child.

photo of a séance conducted by John Beattie, Bristol, England, 1872, from the Eugène Rochas Papers held at the American Philosophical Society Library

Photo: séance conducted by John Beattie, Bristol, England, 1872, from the Eugène Rochas Papers held at the American Philosophical Society Library. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

The interest in séances and ghosts carried over into the early 20th century. This 1916 newspaper article reports there will be an “independent message séance” at the First Independent Spiritual Church, and another “message séance” at the home of Mrs. Jennie Cook – “held under the auspices of the Ladies’ Auxiliary.”

article about séances, Miami Herald newspaper article 23 July 1916

Miami Herald (Miami, Florida), 23 July 1916, section 2, page 12

Reactions to séances have been mixed throughout history. Some who turned to spiritual psychic mediums were true believers; others went out of curiosity or on a lark. And then there were the doubters who went to great lengths to debunk what they considered outrageous fraud.

Perhaps your ancestors were among those who attended séances; I know mine were – but whatever their reasons, marvelous reports of séances and ghosts filter through historical newspapers!

Genuine Manifestation Award

In 1937, a $10,000 reward was put up by “medium exposer” Joseph Dunninger for anyone who could provide a “genuine manifestation” – a contact with the spirit world. Spirit Medium Stanley K. Werner struggled and strained to produce a message from the ghost of deceased magician Howard Thurston, but failed. His wife had no better success.

photo of a séance, Heraldo de Brownsville newspaper article 22 July 1937

Heraldo de Brownsville (Brownsville, Texas), 22 July 1937, page 8

Mrs. Huntoon’s Ruse

This historical newspaper article from 1898 reports that Mrs. Huntoon, a well-known spiritualist, put on quite a show. For 50¢, her customers got to see spirits move, tin cans rattling and hands jingling bells from behind a curtain. Sometimes messages from the other side were received. One man heard from his dear departed wife, who wrote on a piece of paper: “My darling husband.” Mrs. Huntoon’s séances were elaborate ruses which many fell victim to.

article about a séance, Argus and Patriot newspaper article 19 January 1898

Argus and Patriot (Montpelier, Vermont), 19 January 1898, page 2

The journalist apparently agreed. He examined the written messages and reported that “the writing was a horrible hieroglyphic and all strangely alike.” The end of the old news article reports:

One of the men attending the séance said that Mrs. Huntoon was not so good now as she used to be.

Got It Wrong

The story from this next newspaper article has a humorous twist. At this séance in 1909, one of the participants asked the medium about his “very good friend who did all our work,” and who had departed several years earlier. He left out the part about this “friend” being in reality an old horse. The spiritualist “made a few mysterious motions and rapped on the table,” then reported good news: “Your friend is still in the west of Ireland and is married to a rich woman!”

article about a séance, Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper article 26 December 1909

Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), 26 December 1909, page 3

My Family’s Ghost Stories

Now before we end, I have to tell you about two true life ghost stories in my family’s history.

The first has to do with a condemned government building in Indianapolis, Indiana. The locals believed it was haunted, so they tore it down.

As far as I know, my ancestor, David Macy of Indianapolis, didn’t believe in ghosts. He did, however, recognize a bargain when he saw it. The story is that he purchased the demolished building’s materials and used them to build his own home. Apparently, the ghosts didn’t follow the haunted lumber to his new house. You can see from this photo that Mary Ann (Patterson) Macy and her granddaughter were not a bit afraid to enjoy their front porch!

photo of Mary Ann (Patterson) Macy and her granddaughter

Photo: Mary Ann (Patterson) Macy and her granddaughter. Credit: from the personal collection of Mary Harrell-Sesniak.

The second family ghost story has to do with my Scott ancestors who lived in Saratoga, New York.

Their son was often sent by his mother Sophronia to deliver items to a neighbor named Sally Wheeler. Sally had a reputation for being a stern, old woman who lived with a servant. Once she told Sophronia that if anything ever happened to her, she should look in the clock to find money hidden there.

Well, eventually Sally Wheeler did pass away – but when the clock was examined, the money was gone. Afterward, Sophronia visited the estate’s lawyer and asked him about the money in the clock. The family story is that he became white as a ghost and shortly thereafter committed suicide.

Many years later, my grandmother wrote a letter about this. She reported that the story had virtually been forgotten until she and her parents went to a séance. At the end, the medium turned to my great grandfather and told him that she could see him as a frightened little boy outside the door of an old woman’s house. He knocked, the door opened, and the old woman took the items he was delivering to her. Believe it or not, but that is what my grandmother reported!

Now, as every good genealogist knows, you need to check the provenance of the ghost story.

Were these people real?

Yes, A. H. and Sophronia Scott are recorded living in dwelling house #188 on the 1860 U.S. Federal Census for Greenfield, Saratoga, New York. Eight family members were in the household. He was a farmer, as were two of his sons, including the one from the story.

Sarah “Sally” Wheeler was also real. She was age 52 and living in household #185 with her sister Syrissa Wheeler, age 57. With them were three men engaged in farming, or farm laborers. The sisters each owned $3,000 in real estate and $500 in personal property. Interestingly, Sarah and Syrissa Wheeler are buried in the Scott cemetery, although my Scotts are buried in Bailey Cemetery. (The links will direct you to the Wheeler memorials at Findagrave.)

Was the money ever found?

No, but the clock is real. It was given to my ancestor and is still owned by a family member. We all call this heirloom the Sally Wheeler clock.

Was there an estate lawyer who committed suicide?

There probably was a lawyer in Greenfield, but I have no idea who he was. If a kind reader can locate a corresponding death notice from 1894 or 1895 from the Greenfield area, please let me know.

If you have any séance or ghost stories to share, please send them along!

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The Nelson Shipwreck & Captain Hagney: Name Research Tips

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

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

The Story of the Sinking of the Nelson

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

My Search for the Captain

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

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

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

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

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

This article refers to Captain “Haganney.”

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

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

This historical newspaper article refers to Captain “Hagney.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Captain Searches for His Family

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

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

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

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

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

The doctors class his trouble as nervousness and insomnia.

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

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

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

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

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

The Previous Life of Captain Hagney

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Post-Shipwreck Life of Captain Hagney

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

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

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

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

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

Genealogy Tips:

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

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


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

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New York Archives: 586 Newspapers for Genealogy Research

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

photo of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor

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

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

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

Search New York Newspaper Archives (1733 – 1998)

Search New York Recent Obituaries (1986 – Current)

Here is a partial list of online New York newspapers in the archives (there are too many links to fit into one Blog posting; we cannot present a complete list). Each newspaper title in this list is an active link that will take you directly to that paper’s search page, where you can begin searching for your ancestors by surnames, dates, keywords and more. The NY newspaper titles are listed alphabetically by city.

City Title Date Range* Collection
Albany Albany Evening Journal 6/12/1834 – 12/30/1876 Newspaper Archives
Albany Albany Argus 1/26/1813 – 4/17/1855 Newspaper Archives
Albany Daily Albany Argus 1/6/1826 – 12/29/1876 Newspaper Archives
Albany Albany Register 4/6/1789 – 11/25/1822 Newspaper Archives
Albany Albany Centinel 7/4/1797 – 12/31/1805 Newspaper Archives
Albany Albany Gazette 1/3/1788 – 3/23/1821 Newspaper Archives
Albany Albany Daily Advertiser 9/25/1815 – 3/24/1817 Newspaper Archives
Albany Balance 1/4/1809 – 12/24/1811 Newspaper Archives
Albany Republican Crisis 11/11/1806 – 12/27/1808 Newspaper Archives
Albany New-York Statesman 5/16/1820 – 9/21/1821 Newspaper Archives
Albany Albany Chronicle 9/19/1796 – 4/9/1798 Newspaper Archives
Albany Signs of the Times 10/13/1827 – 11/8/1828 Newspaper Archives
Albany Plough Boy 6/5/1819 – 12/30/1820 Newspaper Archives
Albany New-York Gazetteer, or, Northern Intelligencer 7/15/1782 – 5/1/1784 Newspaper Archives
Albany Sojourner-Herald 4/1/1995 – 11/1/1998 Newspaper Archives
Albany Guardian 11/21/1807 – 11/12/1808 Newspaper Archives
Albany Albany Journal, or, the Montgomery, Washington and Columbia Intelligencer 2/2/1788 – 5/11/1789 Newspaper Archives
Albany Geographical and Military Museum 2/28/1814 – 6/6/1814 Newspaper Archives
Albany Northern Star and Freeman’s Advocate 2/3/1842 – 1/2/1843 Newspaper Archives
Albany Temperance Recorder 5/7/1833 – 11/5/1833 Newspaper Archives
Albany Times Union 3/8/1986 – Current Recent Obituaries
Albany Knickerbocker News 3/12/1986 – 4/15/1988 Recent Obituaries
Auburn Auburn Daily Bulletin 2/16/1870 – 12/30/1876 Newspaper Archives
Auburn Auburn Journal and Advertiser 5/31/1837 – 12/30/1846 Newspaper Archives
Auburn Cayuga Chief 1/4/1849 – 7/15/1856 Newspaper Archives
Auburn Cayuga Tocsin 6/2/1813 – 7/6/1814 Newspaper Archives
Auburn Cayuga Republican 3/31/1819 – 1/16/1833 Newspaper Archives
Auburn Cayuga Patriot 11/21/1827 – 4/2/1834 Newspaper Archives
Auburn Citizen 7/9/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Ballston Spa Independent American 9/27/1808 – 5/6/1818 Newspaper Archives
Ballston Spa Ballston Spa Gazette 10/17/1821 – 10/4/1825 Newspaper Archives
Ballston Spa Saratoga Advertiser 11/12/1804 – 3/10/1812 Newspaper Archives
Ballston Spa Saratoga Patriot 8/19/1812 – 12/28/1813 Newspaper Archives
Ballston Spa Saratoga Journal 2/1/1814 – 6/11/1817 Newspaper Archives
Ballston Spa Saratoga Courier 12/6/1815 – 10/15/1817 Newspaper Archives
Ballston Spa People’s Watch-Tower 5/13/1818 – 4/5/1820 Newspaper Archives
Ballston Spa Saratoga Farmer 1/17/1821 – 2/7/1821 Newspaper Archives
Ballston Spa Saratoga Register, or, Farmer’s Journal 9/5/1798 – 11/21/1798 Newspaper Archives
Ballston Spa Rural Visiter, and Saratoga Advertiser 5/5/1812 – 6/23/1812 Newspaper Archives
Batavia Republican Advocate 11/16/1811 – 11/23/1827 Newspaper Archives
Batavia Batavian 4/25/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Batavia Daily News 3/24/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Binghamton Broome County Patriot 11/10/1812 – 5/18/1813 Newspaper Archives
Binghamton Political Olio 5/25/1813 – 4/5/1814 Newspaper Archives
Binghamton Binghamton University Pipe Dream 11/1/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Brooklyn Long-Island Star 6/8/1809 – 12/27/1820 Newspaper Archives
Brooklyn Espana Libre 11/3/1939 – 12/25/1942 Newspaper Archives
Brooklyn Curioso 4/7/1934 – 6/1/1935 Newspaper Archives
Brooklyn Brooklyn Minerva, and Long-Island Advertiser 10/21/1807 – 12/9/1807 Newspaper Archives
Brooklyn Guaimaro 9/26/1895 – 1/2/1896 Newspaper Archives
Brooklyn Long Island Weekly Intelligencer 7/3/1806 – 1/1/1807 Newspaper Archives
Brooklyn Caribe 9/8/1923 – 10/6/1923 Newspaper Archives
Brooklyn Colonia Latina 1/8/1938 – 1/8/1938 Newspaper Archives
Brooklyn Canarsie Courier 12/21/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Brooklyn BrooklynEagle.com 11/26/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
Brooklyn Greenpoint Star & Weekly Northside News 11/17/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Brooklyn Haitian Times 1/25/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Brooklyn Our Time Press 9/13/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Buffalo Niagara Journal 7/4/1815 – 7/6/1819 Newspaper Archives
Buffalo Buffalo News 1/1/1989 – Current Recent Obituaries
Ithaca Ithaca Journal 7/16/1823 – 12/28/1831 Newspaper Archives
Ithaca American Journal 8/20/1817 – 7/16/1823 Newspaper Archives
Ithaca Ithaca Herald 8/31/1836 – 10/4/1837 Newspaper Archives
Ithaca Republican Chronicle 9/6/1820 – 12/25/1822 Newspaper Archives
Ithaca Ithaca Gazette and Religious Intelligencer 6/5/1817 – 6/5/1817 Newspaper Archives
Ithaca Seneca Republican 10/21/1815 – 10/21/1815 Newspaper Archives
Kingston Rondout Freeman 7/19/1845 – 9/18/1847 Newspaper Archives
Kingston Plebeian 8/3/1803 – 12/27/1805 Newspaper Archives
Kingston Rising Sun 12/14/1793 – 1/13/1798 Newspaper Archives
Kingston Ulster Gazette 7/24/1802 – 5/30/1821 Newspaper Archives
Kingston Farmer’s Register 10/6/1792 – 9/14/1793 Newspaper Archives
Long Island Herald Community Newspapers 8/17/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Long Island Newsday 1/1/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Long Island Queens Gazette 5/9/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
New York Evening Post 11/16/1801 – 12/30/1876 Newspaper Archives
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New York Youth’s News Paper 9/30/1797 – 11/4/1797 Newspaper Archives
New York Artistas Hispanos 6/21/1948 – 6/21/1948 Newspaper Archives
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New York New-York Statesman 10/31/1825 – 11/10/1826 Newspaper Archives
New York Observateur Impartial, et Messager de L’union 2/6/1808 – 2/6/1808 Newspaper Archives
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New York Black Republican and Office-Holder’s Journal 8/10/1865 – 8/10/1865 Newspaper Archives
New York Republicas Hispanas Unidas 12/18/1943 – 12/18/1943 Newspaper Archives
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New York Metro – New York 11/20/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
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Plattsburgh Plattsburgh Republican 4/12/1811 – 6/22/1861 Newspaper Archives
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Poughkeepsie Poughkeepsie Journal 7/14/1789 – 12/13/1845 Newspaper Archives
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Poughkeepsie Country Journal 12/15/1785 – 7/7/1789 Newspaper Archives
Poughkeepsie Ulster Republican 1/6/1836 – 11/18/1836 Newspaper Archives
Schenectady Cabinet 7/24/1810 – 6/1/1858 Newspaper Archives
Schenectady Mohawk Mercury 2/9/1795 – 3/13/1798 Newspaper Archives
Schenectady Western Budget 7/25/1807 – 5/8/1810 Newspaper Archives
Schenectady Daily Gazette 8/16/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
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Syracuse Northern Christian Advocate 1/9/1879 – 12/23/1909 Newspaper Archives
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Syracuse Post-Standard, The: Web Edition Articles 10/21/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
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Syracuse Syracuse Herald-Journal 12/8/1986 – 8/30/2001 Recent Obituaries
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Syracuse Syracuse Herald American 12/7/1986 – 9/23/2001 Recent Obituaries
Troy Times 7/25/1863 – 3/31/1903 Newspaper Archives
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Utica Columbian Gazette 1/7/1805 – 1/30/1821 Newspaper Archives
Utica Patriot 2/28/1803 – 12/26/1820 Newspaper Archives
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Utica Whitestown Gazette and Cato’s Patrol 9/3/1798 – 2/21/1803 Newspaper Archives
Utica Utica Club 8/25/1814 – 5/15/1815 Newspaper Archives
Utica Observer-Dispatch 12/21/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Watertown Watertown Daily Times 1/5/1870 – 12/30/1922 Newspaper Archives
Watertown New-York Daily Reformer 4/22/1861 – 12/31/1869 Newspaper Archives
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Watertown Watertown Daily Times 1/20/1988 – Current Recent Obituaries
Yonkers Eastchester Rising 10/31/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
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Yonkers North Castle Rising 1/23/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
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*Date Ranges may have selected coverage unavailable.

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His Life for His Son’s: The Story of My Cousin Isaac Smith

I recently found compelling newspaper articles about a local New York baker who lost his life while saving his drowning son.

A distant cousin wrote me last week and mentioned that a mutual cousin of ours, Isaac Smith, had died while trying to rescue his son back in the 1800s. I thought, that sounds like a story that a newspaper would pick up – so I headed to GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives to find the rest of that story.

I quickly found not one – but three articles on this tragedy.

article about W. Isaac Smith drowning while strying to save his son, New York Herald newspaper article 24 June 1895

New York Herald (New York, New York), 24 June 1895, page 5

The drowning happened at a company picnic at Oakland Beach in Rye, New York.

According to the newspaper article, Isaac never took time off from his bakery. The picnic he organized was his first break from work in ten years. The news article goes on to describe the grim details of his death while rescuing his drowning son.

article about W. Isaac Smith drowning while trying to save his son, Watertown Daily Times newspaper article 24 June 1895

Watertown Daily Times (Watertown, New York), 24 June 1895, page 1

According to the other two articles I found, Isaac died of a heart attack – likely brought on by the urgency, fear and stress of finding and rescuing his son Gordon Smith, who was 15 years old.

Thanks to these old newspaper articles, my connection to William Isaac Smith went beyond the dates and places. The details and people involved in saving Gordon Smith’s life helped me see into the lives of my relatives in a unique way that is now preserved forever. These newspaper articles provided more than the “facts” so that I could see my relatives as they lived – and died. I got the details of this tragedy – but also sprinkled through there were the details of William Isaac Smith’s character, work ethic and business success that led him to open not just one bakery, but two more in neighboring towns.

article about W. Isaac Smith drowning while trying to save his son, New York Herald Tribune newspaper article 24 June 1895

New York Herald Tribune (New York, New York), 24 June 1895, page 7

Isaac ran a “wholesale bakery” in White Plains that branched out with bakeries in Tarrytown and Port Chester. By the young age of 43, he had provided financial security for his wife and children, and served his employees faithfully. These newspaper clippings on the accident provide amazing details that I would not have found anywhere else – describing not just this tragic incident, but details of the character of my cousin.

GenealogyBank has become a core “go-to,” reliable resource for learning about and writing the history of your family. Newspapers are the only place that genealogists can find the stories of their relatives.

Beyond the dates and places and news of the day are the stories of our grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles. Only GenealogyBank provides access to over 1.7 billion newspaper records that tell the stories our ancestors cannot. Thanks to our digital archival technology, our records can be made available to you at the click of a mouse. Sign up today and discover stories you might otherwise never have known about your family. Start your 30-day trial now!

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