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.

Enter Last Name

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?
What?
Fifteen people died?
Wow. Was that normal on these trips? Why did so many die?

William was lucky to make it safely to America!

Enter Last Name

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:

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Where in Ireland Are Your Irish Ancestors From? Search Newspapers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enter Last Name

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related Irish American Genealogy Articles:

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New York Archives: 586 Newspapers for Genealogy Research

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

photo of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor

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

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

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

Search New York Newspaper Archives (1733 – 1998)

Search New York Recent Obituaries (1986 – Current)

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

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

*Date Ranges may have selected coverage unavailable.

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

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GenealogyBank Is the Only Source of This Irish Passenger List Information

I am just amazed every time I see these Irish American passenger lists in GenealogyBank’s online newspapers and see that they tell me where these new arrivals had lived in Ireland, and where they were going to live in America. That information is NOT in any other passenger list source. How in the world did the editors of New York City’s Irish American newspapers find the time to interview and document the incoming Irish immigrants, and keep doing it for over a century?

passenger list, Irish Nation newspaper article 20 May 1882

Irish Nation (New York, New York), 20 May 1882, page 7

Irish American newspapers were diligent about reporting the great migration of Irish immigrants to America in the 19th and 20th centuries. Newspapers like the Irish Nation, Irish Voice, and Irish World regularly published lists of Irish passengers that came over on the passenger ships that week.

Genealogy Tip: What’s special about these Irish passenger lists for genealogists is the information provided: the passenger’s name; county of origin in Ireland; and their destination here in the United States.

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These published lists did not include every Irish immigrant – but for the tens of thousands that were interviewed and documented by the newspapers, these lists give us the critical place of origin and where they were heading, valuable information that is just not found in any other source. One of my colleagues, Duncan Kuehn, closely compared some of the passenger lists published in newspapers to the corresponding federal passenger lists. She found that for the passengers interviewed and listed by the newspapers, their names were often more complete – and often, additional names of accompanying family members were given in the newspaper account that didn’t appear in the federal lists. It would be even better if the newspapers had interviewed every single passenger, but we’re grateful for the excellent job they did on the ones that were documented. Genealogists must use these lists.

For example, in an issue of the Irish Nation from 1882, we see the following passenger lists.

passenger list, Irish Nation newspaper article 7 January 1882

Irish Nation (New York, New York), 7 January 1882, page 8

The first three passengers arriving on the steamer England on 29 December 1881 are:

  • Patrick Mitchel, from County Sligo – his destination was New York
  • Peter Judge, also from County Sligo, was heading to Baltimore, Maryland
  • Patrick Rourke, from County Clare, was going to Wisconsin

For genealogists having difficulty finding where in Ireland their Irish roots came from, this information tells them the answer. GenealogyBank is an imperative tool for Irish American research. Missing an Irish relative? Sign up for GenealogyBank today and find them. Start your 30-day trial now!

Click here to search GenealogyBank’s Irish American Newspaper Archives.

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Old Newspapers Tell the History of Two Manhattan Taverns

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 find the history of two taverns in Manhattan that archaeologists recently excavated.

I recently read an article on the website Archaeology about an archaeological dig in Lower Manhattan at 50 Bowery.* They have unearthed the remains of two historic taverns built on the same location.  The older of the two, the “Bull’s Head,” was from the colonial-era. It was “built in the 1740s by a butcher near New York City’s first slaughterhouse.” The second tavern, the “Atlantic Garden” which opened in 1858, was “a tourist destination in its day—it was known for its German food and beer, and as a place for music and parties.”

I wanted to know more about the history of the two taverns, so I turned to GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives to learn more.

Genealogy Tip: When searching through the newspaper archives, I entered phrases (enclosed in quotation marks) into the Include Keywords field to find the exact phrase in the newspaper articles. In this case I ran two searches, one with “Bull’s Head” and one with “Atlantic Garden.”

Interesting Tavern Tidbits

I found an article in a German American newspaper that discussed the origins of the area.

article about Manhattan's Bull's Head Tavern, New Yorker Volkszeitung newspaper article 23 November 1919

New Yorker Volkszeitung (New York, New York), 23 November 1919, page 14

I only have an elementary understanding of the language, so I went to Google Translate and typed in the German paragraph that I was interested in. A loose translation told me that the tavern was opened in 1760.

I also learned that:

Most of the guests were cattle drivers because of the proximity to the slaughter houses. However, Washington had rested there after the British troops marched along the Bowery Road to exit the city.

The abundance of cattle drivers explains all the newspaper notices I found announcing cattle and horse auctions taking place at the tavern, such as this ad from a 1780 newspaper.

ad for a livestock auction, Royal American Gazette newspaper advertisement 8 August 1780

Royal American Gazette (New York, New York), 8 August 1780, page 2

I also found an interesting reference to the story about George Washington, in another newspaper. This article explained that Washington had used the tavern as one of his headquarters during the Revolutionary War.

Atlantic Garden Changes Hands, New York Herald newspaper article 3 January 1895

New York Herald (New York, New York), 3 January 1895, page 10

Land History

Note that this article also reports: “It is said that $1,000,000 was offered for the property by the Third Avenue Railroad Company when the company was looking for ground for a new power house.” Assuming that the offer was made about 1880 and adjusting for inflation, the railroad was willing to pay about $17 million for the premium Manhattan location!

Enter Last Name










Then I found this well-written newspaper article, telling about the history of this plot of land in New York City.

Famous Old Tavern on Astor House Site, Worcester Daily Spy newspaper article 28 January 1902

Worcester Daily Spy (Worcester, Massachusetts), 28 January 1902, page 3

I learned that originally the land was owned by the Trinity Church. It was covered in trees and was a beautiful spot to build a gathering place for the local drovers (people who drive sheep or cattle to the market) as they came into town.

The old newspaper article provided this description:

The Bull’s Head [Tavern] was built in the old Dutch style, with plenty of solid bricks and gables; and it had a number of trees around it, under the shade of which, in fine weather, the worthy burghers and butchers smoked their pipes and swallowed their schnapps. The land on which the tavern stood belonged to Trinity church, then as now a wealthy corporation, and the tavern itself had for a time been a farm-house on the Trinity farm. But the trustees of the Church accepted Van der Burgh’s proposition to lease the farm-house for tavern purposes, and so the first prominent inn of the city was started—indirectly, at least—under the auspices of a church.

A church would seem to be an odd landlord for such a raucous establishment! The article says this of Adam Van der Burgh:

His voice was loud, but pleasant; his laugh contagious; his appearance emblematic of good cheer, and he knew almost everybody, especially the butchers and politicians—the two most needful classes for him to know.

As Van der Burgh’s tavern thrived, he soon attracted the ire of the local women “who went so far as to hold a meeting, and to protest against the alienating influences” of the place. He weathered that storm, but went too far when he built the first race track in New York immediately in front of his tavern. This drew the wrath of his landlord the Trinity Church. In response, Van der Burgh closed the race track “and, apparently from spite, abandoned the Bull’s Head tavern.”

The Tavern Keepers

This newspaper article explained that during the American Revolution, the tavern was owned by John Jacob Astor’s brother Henry.

The Astor Butcher Trust, Evening News newspaper article 19 October 1900

Evening News (San Jose, California), 19 October 1900, page 7

In addition to owning the Bull’s Head Tavern, Henry Astor was a butcher. A brilliant idea came to him: he beat the competing butchers by “riding far out along the Bowery land, meeting the drovers as they brought their cattle to town and buying their stock, which he sold to the other butchers at his own price.”

I found this illustration, showing what the Bull’s Head Tavern looked like in 1820.

illustration of Manhattan's Bull's Head Tavern, New York Herald-Tribune newspaper article 11 October 1894

New York Herald-Tribune (New York, New York), 11 October 1894, page 2

In 1825, the tavern was moved from the Bowery to Twenty-Fourth Street and Third Avenue. I learned this from the following newspaper article announcing the closing of the Bull’s Head Tavern. After 80 years in its second location, the tavern was closed down completely and the furnishings and fixtures were auctioned off.

Passing of Bull's Head Tavern, Springfield Republican newspaper article 24 May 1905

Springfield Republican (Springfield, Massachusetts), 24 May 1905, page 11

In the meantime, back at 50 Bowery, the spot was used as a stove factory before the Atlantic Garden was opened in 1858.

Enter Last Name










As the next newspaper article reported, soon after William Kramer opened the Atlantic Garden it became the recruiting station for the German regiments during the Civil War. Next door was the Thalia Theater where German language operas were sung. A passageway was built between the theater and the Garden to facilitate the opera patrons running over “for a bite and a sip between the acts.”

Atlantic Garden to Pass, Duluth News-Tribune newspaper article 20 June 1909

Duluth News-Tribune (Duluth, Minnesota), 20 June 1909, page 13

According to another newspaper article, Atlantic Garden became the center of German life in the city and was “a resort modeled after the amusement gardens of German cities.”

This old newspaper article also reported that the Atlantic Garden was about to be closed in 1911—slated to be torn down in preparation for a modern theatre and eight-story office building.

article about Manhattan's Atlantic Garden tavern, Grand Forks Daily Herald newspaper article 20 August 1911

Grand Forks Daily Herald (Grand Forks, North Dakota), 20 August 1911, page 7

Historical Professional Parallels

And that brings us back to the archaeology article I read recently, that spurred me to do this research. Just as the archaeologists dug through the earth to find “liquor bottles, plates, and mugs,” we dug through a few hundred years’ worth of newspaper articles to learn more about the people and buildings. Long-dead Van der Burgh, Astor, and Kramer left their mark in more ways than one. Their objects will fascinate those on-site. And a brief glimpse into their lives fascinates us. Well done, men!

Most genealogists know that newspapers help tell the stories of our ancestors’ lives—but, as this article has shown, newspapers also tell us about the times and places our ancestors lived in.

Genealogy Tip: Even though this research was about taverns in New York City, note the variety of states where relevant newspaper articles were found, including: California, Massachusetts, Minnesota and North Dakota. This is a reminder that you should begin your search with a broad geographical scope; you never know where a newspaper article was published that might be about your ancestor or area of interest.

_________

* “Historic Taverns Unearthed in New York City.” Archaeology.com. May 5, 2014. Accessed June 1, 2014. http://archaeology.org/news/2083-140505-bowery-tavern-beer.

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Our Ancestors’ Easter Parades & Spring Fashions

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” In this guest blog post, Gena searches old newspapers to learn about our ancestors’ spring fashions—and the popular Easter parades they strolled in to show off those fine new clothes.

What are your memories of Easter? Egg hunts, baskets overflowing with chocolate bunnies, posing for a photograph with an oversized rabbit, or maybe waking up early for church services? My Easter holiday memories revolve around food (probably not a surprise there): dyeing eggs, eating ham and of course chocolate. Judging from my Twitter and Facebook friends it would seem that one shared fond memory of Easter, especially for the women, is the new clothes they would receive for Easter.

The Easter Wardrobe

Easter is one of the ways we mark spring, which in turn marks the changing of the wardrobe from those heavy, bulky winter outfits to much lighter and more colorful spring ensembles. Easter was also a good time to pick out a nice dress that included all of the accessories like gloves and hats, as discussed in this 1891 New Jersey newspaper article.

Easter Dress Parade, Trenton Evening Times newspaper article 29 March 1891

Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, New Jersey), 29 March 1891, page 2

There’s no doubt that our ancestors could have perused the newspaper for ideas about what they wanted in a new Easter outfit. In this full-page article from a Minnesota newspaper, we see some examples of 1921 Easter fashion.

The New Easter Dresses, Duluth News-Tribune newspaper article 13 March 1921

Duluth News-Tribune (Duluth, Minnesota), 13 March 1921, page 3

Here are more Easter historical fashions, from 1938. New Easter clothes weren’t just reserved for the women—children and even men used that time as a good excuse to invest in a new suit of clothing.

ad for Easter dresses, Omaha World Herald newspaper advertisement 15 April 1938

Omaha World Herald (Omaha, Nebraska), 15 April 1938, page 2

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Everyone Loves an Easter Parade

Once you had your new Easter outfits, it was time to show them off—and what better way than a celebratory holiday parade? The tradition of Easter parades in the United States dates back to at least 1870, when the first New York City parade on Fifth Avenue began. This illustration from an 1892 New York newspaper article sums up the yearly New York event: “Beauty and Fashion Out in All the Glories of Fine Raiment to Celebrate the End of the Penitential Season.”

illustration of New York's Fifth Avenue Easter Parade, New York Herald newspaper article 18 April 1892

New York Herald (New York, New York), 18 April 1892, page 3

There’s no doubt that New York City’s Fifth Avenue parade was synonymous with an Easter parade. It is even immortalized in a 1933 Irving Berlin song and 1948 movie with the same title.

Easter Parade

In your Easter bonnet,

With all the frills upon it,

You’ll be the grandest lady

In the Easter Parade.

I’ll be all in clover,

And when they look you over,

I’ll be the proudest fella

In the Easter Parade.

On the avenue, Fifth Avenue,

The photographers will snap us,

And you’ll find that you’re

In the rotogravure.

Oh, I could write a sonnet,

About your Easter bonnet,

And of the girl I’m taking

To the Easter Parade.*

(The mention of a “rotogravure” in the above lyric refers to a printing process used by newspapers to print images.)

photo of the Fifth Avenue Easter Parade, New York City, 1900

Photo: Fifth Avenue Easter Parade, New York City, 1900. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the Bureau of Public Roads.

The whole idea behind an Easter parade is to see and be seen. Other cities also hosted Easter parades both as official events as well as impromptu group walks. Consider this 1915 Pennsylvania newspaper article from Wilkes-Barre, recalling the previous day’s parade. It starts by noting:

Were you in the Easter parade yesterday? If not, why not? The day was almost ideal, cool and breezy, but you could have worn your winter outfit with discretion and joined right in the procession.

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The old newspaper article goes on to comment on the women’s and men’s outfits.

Streets Crowded by Easter Parade in Wilkes-Barre, Wilkes-Barre Times-Leader newspaper article 5 April 1915

Wilkes-Barre Times-Leader (Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania), 5 April 1915, page 1

This description of the Atlantic City Easter Fashion Parade, from a 1922 Oregon newspaper article, is wonderful:

Under skies of azure blue with a bright sun beaming down 200,000 men, women and children decked out in all the glory of their spring finery strolled along Atlantic City’s famous board walk today…

This post-World War I parade even included a dignitary in the audience: General John J. Pershing, who led the American forces during the war.

200,000 in Parade of Easter Finery, Oregonian newspaper article 17 April 1922

Oregonian (Portland, Oregon), 17 April 1922, page 1

Share Your Easter Memories

Did your city have an Easter parade? Did you celebrate your new Easter outfits by strolling downtown for all to see? What are your Easter memories? Share them with us in the comments section below. Happy Easter to you and yours!

__________

* SongLyrics. Irving Berlin Always –Easter Parade Lyrics. Accessed 14 April 2014. http://www.songlyrics.com/irving-berlin-always/easter-parade-lyrics/.

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Who Really Invented the Steamboat? Fitch, Rumsey or Fulton?

Introduction: Mary Harrell-Sesniak is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background. In this guest blog post, Mary uses old newspapers to research the invention of the steamboat—and describes how much steamboats changed our ancestors’ world.

The invention of the steamboat radically changed our ancestors’ world. While researching your ancestors’ lives in historical newspapers, you will run across many mentions of steamboats. This blog article, including a fun quiz, will test your knowledge of the history of steamboats and help fill in some of the gaps for you.

Who Invented the Steamboat?

Although many, including the writer of this 1815 obituary, credit Robert Fulton (1765-1815) with the invention of the steamboat, it simply isn’t true.

obituary for Robert Fulton, American Beacon newspaper article 7 November 1815

American Beacon (Norfolk, Virginia), 7 November 1815, page 3

Perhaps you are an expert in steamboats; test your knowledge with this handy steamboat quiz and check your answers below.

a quiz about the history of steamboats

John Fitch

Most historians attribute the honor for the invention of the steamboat to John Fitch (1743-1798), who constructed the first steamboat in the United States.

As you can see from this 1786 announcement addressed “To the ENCOURAGERS of USEFUL ARTS,” Fitch “proposed a Machine for the improvement of Navigation” which was endorsed by a number of subscribers who thought that “it might be beneficial to the public.”

a proposal by John Fitch for a steamboat, Pennsylvania Journal newspaper article 4 January 1786

Pennsylvania Journal (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), 4 January 1786, page 1

Several state legislatures granted Fitch a 14-year monopoly on all steamboat travel on the inland waterways within their borders. This steamboat monopoly in turn helped him attract investors. His invention used steam to power oars, and in 1788 his commercial steamboat could carry up to 30 paying passengers per trip on the Delaware River. (See Wikipedia’s image of a woodcut by James Trenchard showing Fitch’s steamboat.)

James Rumsey (or Rumsy), Fitch’s Rival

As is the case with many inventions, other inventors worked on the concept of steam navigation simultaneously, including James Rumsey (1743-1792). His steamboat incorporated steam propulsion and was patented by several southern states.

After Rumsey went to Philadelphia in 1788 a pamphlet war arose with Fitch, with each claiming the right to make steamboats. This 1910 newspaper article reported that:

“George Washington had written a letter certifying that he had witnessed trials of the Rumsey boat, and that although he formerly had but little faith in it, he was then convinced that Rumsey had discovered the art of working boats by mechanism.”

history of the invention of the steamboat, Watertown Daily Times newspaper article 18 November 1910

Watertown Daily Times (Watertown, New York), 18 November 1910, page 5

This article also reported that Rumsey “had a controversy before his death with Fitch, whom he accused of ‘coming pottering around’ his shop.”

Several people tried in vain to get the two inventors to work together. It is reported that Fitch tried to secure a patent in England based upon Rumsey’s water-tube boiler. There was even a Rumseian Society formed in 1788 to assist Rumsey, but it was disbanded in 1792 after his death. I recommend you read about it on the Web and at http://jamesrumsey.org/. It is a very interesting story.

Robert Fulton

Although Fitch and Rumsey preceded Robert Fulton with their steamboat inventions, Fulton’s contributions to commercial steamboat operations should not be overlooked.

In 1801, he and partner Chancellor Robert Livingston (1746-1813) built the North River Steamboat, which was later named the Clermont.

Livingston was one of our nation’s Founding Fathers and, among other accomplishments, became the first United States Secretary for Foreign Affairs (1781-1783). As you can see from this early advertisement, Livingston and Fulton charged $7 for passage from New York City to Albany on the North River Steamboat.

ad for travel fares on the North River Steamboat, American Citizen newspaper advertisement 5 September 1807

American Citizen (New York, New York), 5 September 1807, page 2

This next historical newspaper account describes, in Fulton’s own words, how he traveled from New York to Clermont, and arrived at the seat (home) of Chancellor Livingston in 24 hours and also includes a nice portrait illustration of him. Clermont would later become the famous name of Fulton’s steamboat, and of course we should note that Chancellor Livingston was the uncle of Fulton’s wife, Harriet Livingston.

letter from Robert Fulton, Columbian Gazette newspaper article 1 September 1807

Columbian Gazette (Utica, New York), 1 September 1807, page 3

There is so much written about Fulton, I’ll leave more in-depth research to you. However, I would recommend reading the many charming accounts of how Robert Fulton wooed and won the hand of his bride Harriet. Some report that she was present at the trial run of his first steamboat. The following account, reported by Fulton’s grandson Robert Fulton Blight, states:

“‘Is it too presumptuous in me to aspire to the hand of your niece, Harriet Livingston?’ young Robert Fulton one day asked her uncle, Chancellor Robert L. Livingston.

“‘By no means,’ replied the distinguished Chancellor. ‘Her father may object because you are a humble and poor inventor and the family may object, but if Harriet doesn’t object, and she seems to have a world of good sense, go ahead and my best wishes and blessings go with you.’”

article about Robert Fulton and his wife Harriet, New York Herald newspaper article 25 October 1891

New York Herald (New York, New York), 25 October 1891, page 32

Genealogical Challenge

I was not able to locate Robert Fulton and Harriet Livingston’s marriage announcement in the newspapers. If any of our readers find it, please let us know and we will update this post to include it.

Update

A sharp-eyed reader, J. Hansen, found the following marriage announcement for Robert Fulton and Harriet Livingston; we are now able to update this Blog article with that newspaper article. Thank you, J. Hansen!

marriage announcement for Robert Fulton and Harriet Livingston, American Citizen newspaper article 9 January 1808

American Citizen (New York, New York), 9 January 1808, page 3

How Steamboats Changed the World

So how did steamboats change the world?

You may be surprised at some of the answers. The emergence of mechanical navigation meant that:

  • Commercial boating was no longer dependent upon the wind.
  • Boats could navigate in a straightforward manner, eliminating the need to tack with the wind. This made navigation in narrower waterways feasible.
  • Travel times were shortened by the steamboat, as seen in this 1808 newspaper article reporting that one could travel from Albany to New York in 35 hours.
notice about the arrival of the steamboat from Albany, New York, Columbian Centinel newspaper article 14 September 1808

Columbian Centinel (Boston, Massachusetts), 14 September 1808, page 2

In addition to the above improvements, there was another astounding way that steamboats changed our ancestors’ lives.

The bitter dispute between Fitch and Rumsey actually led to the formation of the Federal U.S. Patent Office. Starting on 10 April 1790, patents were no longer granted by individual states—they had to be issued on a national level.

Congress named the Patent Office legislation “An Act to Promote the Progress of Useful Arts.”

legislation to create the U.S. Patent Office, Daily Advertiser newspaper article 13 April 1790

Daily Advertiser (New York, New York), 13 April 1790, page 2

Dig into historical newspapers yourself to find out more about Fitch, Rumsey and Fulton, and learn how steamboats dramatically changed your American ancestors’ lives.

See related Blog article:

In Search of Our Early American Ancestors’ Patents on Inventions

George Washington Library & Research Center Opening Sept. 2013

Library Journal (New York City, New York), 14 August 2013, ran a lengthy article about a new library dedicated to researching the life and work of the first president of the United States, George Washington, scheduled to open 27 September 2013.

Our First President Receives the Most Recent Presidential Library, Library Journal article 14 August 2013

Credit: Library Journal

The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon is located in Mount Vernon, Virginia. Read the Library Journal’s full article here: http://bit.ly/15evwJS

Take a brief tour of the new building and learn more this important new presidential library in this video:

Tour of George Washington’s Library from Mount Vernon on Vimeo.

video of a tour of George Washington's Presidential LibraryCredit: Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon.

See an aerial view of the presidential library and the surrounding Mount Vernon site:

Aerial Tour of Mount Vernon and the Library from Mount Vernon on Vimeo.

video of an aerial tour of George Washington's Presidential LibraryCredit: Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon.

Irish American Newspapers for Genealogy at GenealogyBank

Irish American immigrants cut loose from the familiar surroundings of home were always hungry for the latest news from the old country, as well as news of their former neighbors now spread across the United States.

Irish American newspapers helped fill this need, and were subscribed to by Irish Americans across the U.S. and Canada…and these newspapers delivered the news their readers wanted.

Irish American Weekly Newspaper Obituaries 1800s

Irish American Weekly (New York City, New York), 12 January 1889, page 5

These Irish American newspapers give us great genealogical details like the name of the townland and county in Ireland where the person was born.

In the above Irish American obituaries, we have Mary Breen of Listowel, County Kerry, Ireland; John McAnally of County Tyrone, Ireland; and John J. Norton of Rathkeale, County Limerick, Ireland. It’s almost impossible to find the townland and county information in other genealogy sources. Almost all records generated in the U.S. simply say “Ireland.”

The availability of this critical information is why Irish American genealogists are so focused on the old Irish American newspapers.

Imagine if the obituaries simply said that Mary Breen, John McAnally and John J. Norton were born in “Ireland.” Readers of Irish American newspapers expected more information than that—and they got it.

For example, the Irish American Weekly devoted an entire page to news from every county in Ireland.

News from Ireland in Irish American Weekly Newspaper 1800s


Irish American Weekly (New York City, New York), 12 January 1889, page 6.

News, obituaries, marriages in Ireland—they’re all recorded on these pages.

Irish American Weekly News & Death Notices

Irish American Weekly (New York City, New York), 12 January 1889.

But wait—there’s more.

For example: there are passenger lists from Ireland to America in these Irish American newspapers.

Irish Nation Ship Passenger List - Irish Coming to America

Irish Nation (New York City, New York), 7 January 1882, page 8.

These Irish passenger lists were very popular—they assisted the readers, as the above headline suggests, to “Look Out for Coming Friends.”

The level of detail provided by these old newspaper passenger lists is important since the immigrant’s home county and destination in the United States is not recorded in the federal passenger lists that genealogists routinely consult.

These Irish American newspapers are the only source for these detailed passenger lists.

Irish American newspapers are invaluable for tracing your Irish ancestry and GenealogyBank has them!

Start searching our special Irish American newspaper archives to discover your Irish roots now.

Please note that each one of these Irish American newspapers was published in New York City, but their circulation extended around the country and up into Canada.

Irish American Newspaper Archives at GenealogyBank

List of Irish American Newspapers in GenealogyBank

Feel free to redistribute our Irish American newspaper archives list on your website or blog using the embed code below.

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Remembering ‘Roots’ Author Alexander Murray Palmer Haley

Alex Haley (1921-1992) was a famous African American author who had more impact on genealogy than any other person in the past 50 years. He was born 11 August 1921. Haley would be almost 92 years old if he were alive today.

After the release of his book Roots: The Saga of an American Family (New York City, New York: Doubleday) 37 years ago—on 17 August 1976—and the launch of the eight-part television mini-series on ABC-TV in January 1977, the genealogy world was forever changed.

He was 55 years old when Roots was published.

Alex Haley Roots Book Cover

Image credit: Wikipedia.org

From that point on the number of genealogical societies in the U.S. skyrocketed from 400 societies to over 4,000. Public libraries and state archives across the country were flooded with family history researchers using their book and microfilm collections.

Some major milestones to keep in mind: the first laptop wasn’t invented until 1981 (Osborne); Google was launched in 1995; and GenealogyBank was born 19 October 2006.

One man can make a big difference.

Recently Alex Haley’s nephew Christopher Haley participated in a DNA study and was surprised to learn about his Scottish roots. Hosted by Megan Smolenyak, this episode of Roots Television shows the family reunion of the Haley and Baff families: