Finding Irish Marriage Records

I have been researching my Irish roots for over 50 years.

When I want to search for an Irish marriage record, I go to FamilySearch and to GenealogyBank to get the details.

Painting: “The Wedding Register,” Edmund Blair Leighton, 1920

Painting: “The Wedding Register,” Edmund Blair Leighton, 1920. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

I use FamilySearch because it has the preeminent collection of Irish church and governmental registers, and GenealogyBank because it was common for Irish American newspapers to publish marriages solemnized in Ireland for the benefit and awareness of their newspaper readers here.

Recently, I was looking for the wedding of my cousin Anna Moore to James O’Grady in the mid-1850s – so I searched for information in both databases.

I found the details of their wedding using GenealogyBank, published in the Irish American Weekly.

wedding announcement for Anna Moore and James O’Grady, Irish American Weekly newspaper article 10 March 1850

Irish American Weekly (New York, New York), 10 March 1850, page 2

And here is the record of their marriage I found in FamilySearch.org

screenshot from FamilySearch of the marriage record for Anna Moore and James O’Grady

Source: “Ireland Marriages, 1619-1898” database, FamilySearch: accessed 24 December 2015, James Ogrady and Anna Moore, 05 Feb 1850; citing St George, Dub, Ire, reference 2:3PCGXJQ; FHL microfilm 101,316. There is no register image available online.

See: (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FG6C-TWR

Both sources tell us that they were married at St. George’s Church (Denomination: Church of Ireland) in Dublin, Ireland, on 5 February 1850.

The newspaper account adds that they were married “by Rev. Gibson Black, and afterwards according to the rites of the Roman Catholic Church.” Good information to have.

The record in FamilySearch gives the name of the groom’s father (James Ogrady) and both FamilySearch and GenealogyBank give us the name of the bride’s father (James Sinclair Moore) – with GenealogyBank adding the detail: “the late James Sinclair Moore, of Moorebrook, in the county of Armagh.”

The GenealogyBank account also adds that the groom lived at Mountjoy Square in Dublin.

Photo: “The South Side of Mountjoy Square, Dublin, Ireland, in the Snow of January 2010,” Bryan Butler

Photo: “The South Side of Mountjoy Square, Dublin, Ireland, in the Snow of January 2010,” Bryan Butler. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Per Wikipedia, construction of Mountjoy Square was begun in the early 1790s and completed in 1818. With its distinctive Georgian architecture, “the square has been home to many of Dublin’s most prominent people: lawyers, churchmen, politicians, writers and visual artists.”

This is a good clue that the “James O’Grady, Esq.” reference in the Irish American Weekly was a man of means or perhaps a lawyer.

Genealogy Tip: When searching for old Irish marriage records, it is essential that you check both the Ireland Marriages, 1619-1898 on FamilySearch and GenealogyBank’s collection of Irish American Newspapers (1810-2016). You will find important details and clues on one site that you will not find on the other. It’s a great day for genealogy!

Related Articles:

Newspapers Help Smash a Genealogy Brick Wall

Introduction: Duncan Kuehn is a professional genealogist with over nine years of client experience. She has worked on several well-known projects, such as “Who Do You Think You Are?” In this blog post, Duncan describes how she used old newspapers to help one of her clients smash through a brick wall blocking their family history research.

Recently a client contacted me for some help identifying the parents of his ancestor Samuel Langston (names have been changed). He had done an excellent job finding information about Samuel. He had looked for Sam in all the most likely places: census returns, vital records, city directories, etc. Impressively, he had kept detailed accounts of each record he found and the information it contained. However, he had reached a brick wall when it came to Samuel’s parents.

Photo: brick wall

Photo: brick wall. Credit: Pawel Wozniak; Wikimedia Commons.

Not one of the records he had located had provided the names of those elusive parents. The only information he had been able to find was their birthplaces, from Sam’s census returns. Supposedly, Sam’s father was born in New York and his mother was born in England.

Genealogy Tip: Keeping good research records will increase the likelihood that you can resolve a genealogy brick wall. Often the clue you need has already been found in the records you looked at. You just didn’t recognize it when you saw it. Keeping records that can be easily reviewed is priceless.

I got to work by confirming that he had located all the records possible, and discovered that two important records had not yet been found: a marriage certificate or license for Sam and his wife, and Sam’s obituary.

Marriage Certificate

I started by pulling the marriage records. The information in this record is provided by the bride and groom and would likely list the correct names of Sam’s parents. However, the marriage certificate I found only listed the names of the bride and groom and their marriage data. The witnesses were not obviously related, and no license was found.

Genealogy Tip: In the beginning it may not be obvious if the name found in a record refers to the person you are searching for or not. Don’t disregard these records. There may be clues that you find later that can confirm their identity.

Newspaper Obituary

The one good source for genealogy information that my client hadn’t exhausted was old newspapers, so I began searching GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives.

After finding the marriage certificate, I turned to old newspapers to search for Sam’s obituary. My client had found an obituary for Sam’s widow, Jenny, and he had ordered Sam’s death certificate. The death certificate was filled out by Sam’s son, who did not know his grandparents’ names. The obituary I found for Sam was written a few days after his death in 1927. More family members had gathered and there was an increased likelihood that someone could have provided the missing information. Sadly, Sam’s parents’ names were not recorded in the obituary either.

However, three other items of information were found in the obituary. First, it confirmed that Sam had been associated with a particular mine in Utah. Second, it agreed with the census returns in stating that Sam had been born in Illinois – and went even further by providing a birth town. Third, it provided the name of Sam’s only surviving family member, a sister, identified by initials (Mrs. J. F. Dennison). Two of these items of information were vitally important in cracking the case. And one of them was a red herring.

Genealogy Tip: Prior to the 1960s, look for women in newspapers under both their own name and their husband’s name. A woman may be listed as Sandra Smith or Mrs. Andrew Smith.

More Newspaper Articles Found

I continued to search the newspaper archives for any possible detail about Sam Langston. I found multiple articles about his business dealings with the mine. I found several about his association with a fraternal organization. I could not locate any articles that listed Sam’s parents’ names, but I did find one very short article 26 years prior to Sam’s death that mentioned a family reunion of sorts in 1901. Sam was identified by name and by his employment with the mine. Listed with him were three sisters, one of which was the Mrs. J. F. Dennison I had found in Sam’s obituary. Another sister was listed by her married name, Mrs. Abe Johnson. The last sister was a widow listed under her own name, Carrie Hatchet. Carrie’s name was the clue that broke the case open.

Genealogy Tip: Some old newspaper articles may not appear to be valuable at first glance, but become crucial later. Keep all articles that pertain to the individuals you are searching for. Many will contain small clues that can benefit your research later.

Widowed Sister’s Name Breaks Case Open

I was able to trace Carrie back through the census returns and other records to find her with her mother in northern Utah. I had found the mother’s name at last! Listed in the household were her two other sisters and Samuel. To ensure that this was in fact the correct family, I traced each of the sisters through the records to ensure that they were the same women that were listed in the 1901 reunion article I had found. Having confirmed that these three sisters were the correct people, I felt confident that the Sam who died in 1927 and was married to Jenny was the same person who appeared in the 1870 and 1880 census returns with his sisters and their mother.

Genealogy Tip: The easiest way to confirm a person’s identity is by their relationships. Historically, people could willfully or inadvertently alter names, ages, or other dates without difficulty. However, a sister is nearly always a sister.

Red Herring

So which clue was the red herring? It was the information in Sam’s obituary that gave his birth town in Illinois. As I went on to discover, Sam was not born in Illinois. In addition, his father was not born in New York – and Sam had been born a few years earlier than he stated in records after he married. Sorting through misinformation and throwing out the errors is an important part of genealogy.

With more research, I was able to prove that Sam was actually born in England, like his parents and most of his sisters. They had all immigrated to Utah in the mid 1860s and shortly after the family’s arrival, the parents had divorced – which is why it’s so hard finding records with the father’s name. As the children left home, the younger ones told the story that they were born in the United States and their father had been born in New York. It is unclear why the younger children chose to tell that story, though perhaps it was to claim U.S. citizenship.

It is also unclear what, if any, relationship Sam had with Illinois or why he claimed to be younger than he actually was. His mother had died shortly after the 1880 census and the siblings had only periodic contact. Fortunately, they did gather together in 1901 and the newspaper recorded a one-sentence announcement that led to the discovery of information about Sam’s parents.

Genealogy Tip: Don’t get stuck in the details. People lie and misremember information. People change details based on the situation and outside pressures. An underage girl may claim to be a year or two older in order to get married without parental consent. An immigrant may claim to be a native citizen. Look for trends and patterns.

Once again, information in newspapers was vital in breaking through a brick wall in my client’s research. Be sure to use old newspapers to help solve your own genealogy brick walls!

Related Newspaper Research Articles:

Maryland Archives: 125 Newspapers for Genealogy Research

One of the original 13 British Colonies that formed the United States, Maryland was named after Queen Henrietta Maria – who was the wife of England’s King Charles I. It became the new nation’s 7th state on 28 April 1788. Maryland is the 42nd largest state in the country and the 19th most populous.

Photo: Chesapeake Bay Bridge, connecting Maryland’s Eastern and Western Shores

Photo: Chesapeake Bay Bridge, connecting Maryland’s Eastern and Western Shores. Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture; Wikimedia Commons.

If you are researching your ancestry from Maryland, you will want to use GenealogyBank’s online MD newspaper archives: 125 titles to help you search your family history in the “Old Line State,” providing coverage from 1728 to Today. There are more than 9.6 million articles and records in our online Maryland newspaper archives!

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

Search Maryland Newspaper Archives (1728 – 1922)

Search Maryland Recent Obituaries (1990 – Current)

Illustration: Maryland state flag

Illustration: Maryland state flag. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Here is a list of online Maryland newspapers in the historical archives. Each newspaper title in this list is an active link that will take you directly to that paper’s search page, where you can begin searching for your ancestors by surnames, dates, keywords and more. The MD newspaper titles are listed alphabetically by city.

City Title Date Range * Collection
Annapolis West County News 11/14/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Annapolis South County Gazette 01/09/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
Annapolis Negro Appeal 02/16/1900 – 02/16/1900 Newspaper Archives
Annapolis Maryland Gazette 12/03/1728 – 11/22/1734 Newspaper Archives
Annapolis Maryland Gazette 03/25/1751 – 02/16/1832 Newspaper Archives
Annapolis Capital 01/02/1991 – Current Recent Obituaries
Annapolis Annapolis Gazette 09/28/1854 – 11/24/1874 Newspaper Archives
Annapolis, Glenburnie Maryland Gazette 03/06/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Arbutus Arbutus Times 03/10/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Baltimore Telegraphe and Daily Advertiser 05/14/1795 – 01/11/1807 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Sun 09/10/1990 – Current Recent Obituaries
Baltimore Sun 05/17/1837 – 12/31/1922 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore South 04/22/1861 – 02/17/1862 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Republican; or, Anti-Democrat 01/01/1802 – 01/14/1804 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Recorder; or, Summary of Foreign, Domestic, and Literary Intelligence 06/16/1810 – 06/16/1810 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Race Standard 01/02/1897 – 01/16/1897 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Palladium of Freedom; or the Baltimore Daily Advertiser 08/08/1787 – 08/08/1787 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore North American and Mercantile Daily Advertiser 01/11/1808 – 12/31/1808 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Mechanics’ Gazette; and Merchants Daily Advertiser 03/14/1815 – 09/13/1815 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Maryland Journal 08/20/1773 – 01/16/1797 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Katholische Volkszeitung 07/02/1870 – 07/15/1876 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Fell’s Point Telegraphe 03/06/1795 – 06/01/1795 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Federal Republican 07/04/1808 – 06/20/1812 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Federal Intelligencer 10/30/1794 – 12/30/1795 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Federal Gazette 01/01/1796 – 11/08/1823 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Edward’s Baltimore Daily Advertiser 10/29/1793 – 11/15/1794 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Dunlap’s Maryland Gazette, or, The Baltimore General Advertiser 05/02/1775 – 01/05/1779 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Democratic Republican 03/17/1802 – 08/13/1802 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Commonwealth 07/24/1915 – 09/04/1915 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore City Paper 01/14/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Baltimore Baltimore Telegraph 06/23/1814 – 03/29/1816 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Baltimore Price-Current 02/14/1803 – 12/30/1820 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Baltimore Patriot 12/28/1812 – 12/31/1834 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Baltimore Messenger 02/13/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Baltimore Baltimore Guide: South Baltimore Edition 03/25/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Baltimore Baltimore Guide 01/19/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Baltimore Baltimore Gazette and Daily Advertiser 01/02/1826 – 01/27/1838 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Baltimore Evening Post 07/13/1792 – 09/30/1793 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Baltimore Daily Intelligencer 10/28/1793 – 10/29/1794 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Baltimore Bulletin 04/20/1872 – 09/23/1876 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Baltimore American 01/01/1903 – 12/31/1922 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore American, and Baltimore Gazette 07/30/1803 – 02/28/1805 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore American Farmer 04/02/1819 – 12/26/1828 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore American Citizen 04/19/1879 – 04/19/1879 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore American and Commercial Daily Advertiser 01/31/1801 – 12/31/1853 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore American a Gazette for the Country 07/10/1802 – 07/10/1802 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore American 05/18/1799 – 03/01/1802 Newspaper Archives
Baltimore Afro-American 04/29/1893 – 03/26/1898 Newspaper Archives
Bel Air Southern Aegis 07/11/1857 – 12/26/1857 Newspaper Archives
Bel Air National American 09/05/1856 – 11/09/1866 Newspaper Archives
Bel Air Harford Gazette and General Advertiser 05/27/1848 – 05/21/1852 Newspaper Archives
Bowie Bowie Blade News 10/03/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cambridge Dorchester Star 06/30/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cambridge Banner 01/01/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Catonsville Catonsville Times 03/14/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Centreville Record Observer 08/04/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chestertown Kent County News 12/28/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chestertown Chestertown Transcript 11/10/1866 – 02/18/1876 Newspaper Archives
Chestertown Apollo; or, Chestertown Spy 03/26/1793 – 12/31/1793 Newspaper Archives
Columbia Jeffersonian 02/26/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Columbia Howard County Times 03/14/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Columbia Columbia Flier 01/31/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Crisfield Crisfield Times 01/03/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Crofton Crofton-West County Gazette 03/29/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cumberland Weekly Civilian 03/17/1859 – 09/21/1865 Newspaper Archives
Cumberland Phoenix Civilian 04/14/1835 – 01/04/1840 Newspaper Archives
Cumberland Cumberland Times-News 08/22/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cumberland Cumberland Impartialist 01/24/1809 – 01/24/1809 Newspaper Archives
Cumberland Cumberland Gazette 07/21/1814 – 07/21/1814 Newspaper Archives
Cumberland Cumberland Daily News 04/05/1871 – 04/02/1872 Newspaper Archives
Cumberland American Eagle 02/15/1809 – 02/15/1809 Newspaper Archives
Cumberland Allegany Freeman 12/04/1813 – 10/18/1817 Newspaper Archives
Denton Times Record 08/09/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Dundalk Dundalk Eagle 04/02/2015 – Current Recent Obituaries
Easton Sunday Star 11/13/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Easton Star Democrat 09/01/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Easton Republican Star 02/11/1800 – 06/12/1832 Newspaper Archives
Easton Maryland Herald, and Eastern Shore Intelligencer 05/11/1790 – 08/28/1804 Newspaper Archives
Easton Easton Star 01/02/1844 – 02/11/1862 Newspaper Archives
Easton Easton Journal 05/16/1874 – 05/16/1874 Newspaper Archives
Easton Easton Gazette 07/06/1818 – 06/28/1879 Newspaper Archives
Eldersburg Eldersburg Eagle 06/17/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Elkton Cecil Whig 08/14/1841 – 09/01/1866 Newspaper Archives
Elkton Cecil Whig 10/04/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Elkton Cecil Democrat 04/12/1845 – 11/11/1876 Newspaper Archives
Essex Avenue News 05/10/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Frankfort Freiheitsbothe 04/14/1810 – 04/14/1810 Newspaper Archives
Frederick Rights of Man 02/05/1794 – 11/05/1800 Newspaper Archives
Frederick Reservoir and Public Reflector 07/25/1826 – 07/28/1829 Newspaper Archives
Frederick Republican Gazette and General Advertiser 02/11/1801 – 09/28/1826 Newspaper Archives
Frederick Republican Citizen and State Advertiser 08/29/1823 – 12/30/1831 Newspaper Archives
Frederick Republican Advocate 12/06/1802 – 12/15/1808 Newspaper Archives
Frederick Maryland Chronicle, or Universal Advertiser 01/18/1786 – 05/28/1788 Newspaper Archives
Frederick Hornet 06/29/1802 – 06/29/1814 Newspaper Archives
Frederick General Staatsbothe 12/27/1811 – 12/27/1811 Newspaper Archives
Frederick Frederick News-Post 10/17/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Frederick Examiner 07/08/1857 – 12/29/1875 Newspaper Archives
Frederick Bartgis’s Marylandische Zeitung 02/18/1789 – 02/18/1789 Newspaper Archives
Frederick Bartgis’s Maryland Gazette 05/22/1792 – 01/23/1794 Newspaper Archives
Hagers-Town Washington Spy 01/04/1792 – 02/01/1797 Newspaper Archives
Hagers-Town Torch Light 01/03/1826 – 10/12/1837 Newspaper Archives
Hagerstown Maryland Herald and Hager’s-Town Weekly Advertiser 03/02/1797 – 12/28/1804 Newspaper Archives
Hagerstown Herald-Mail 11/11/1996 – Current Recent Obituaries
Halifax Hagers-town Gazette 05/23/1809 – 06/15/1813 Newspaper Archives
Hampstead, Manchester Advocate of Hampstead and Manchester 03/14/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hollywood County Times 05/05/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Laurel Laurel Leader 03/15/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Owings Mills Owings Mills Times 03/13/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Owings Mills Jewish Times 03/07/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Parkville, Carney Northeast Reporter 03/14/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Perry Hall, White Marsh Northeast Booster 05/09/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Potomac Potomac Almanac 02/26/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Prince Frederick Calvert Gazette 05/01/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Rockville True American and Farmers Register 03/10/1824 – 03/10/1824 Newspaper Archives
Rockville Centinel of Freedom 01/14/1820 – 01/14/1820 Newspaper Archives
Salisbury Salisbury Independent 05/29/2014 – Current Recent Obituaries
Stevensville Bay Times 08/02/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Towson Towson Times 02/14/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Towson North County News 03/13/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Uniontown Engine of Liberty and Uniontown Advertiser 10/21/1813 – 04/27/1815 Newspaper Archives
Westminster Westminster Eagle 07/07/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Westminster Community Times 11/10/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Westminster Carroll County Times 01/23/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Westminster Advocate of Westminster and Finksburg 04/28/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Westminster Advocate of Eldersburg and Sykesville 04/29/2009 – 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 Maryland newspaper links will be live.

Related Resource:

Finding Your Ancestor’s Story

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 about her Chatham ancestors in Texas.

Everyone loves a story – and a story is infinitely better when it involves your family. RootsTech presentations this week have been stressing the importance of telling the stories of our ancestors’ lives – but the government records and official documents we rely on often provide cold, dry facts and not a lot of information to fill in a story. Stories require context and detail.

That’s where a collection of newspapers, such as GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives, really helps a genealogist.

Photo: an Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway train, c. 1895

Photo: an Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway train, c. 1895. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

The Chathams of Bellville, Texas

I know that my paternal great-grandfather Joseph Chatham worked for the railroad. Where he grew up in Texas, the Santa Fe Railroad was a major employer. Not only did he work for the railroad once he married and started his family, but his brother Walter also made a career of the railroad. Instead of driving or riding on the train as an engineer, brakeman or conductor, both brothers spent at least some of their time working in the roundhouse. Joseph eventually moved his family north to Southern California because of health issues.

Joseph died in Northern California in 1940. I know about him because of stories from his grandchildren whom I’ve interviewed. Family members still living remember Joseph in his later years. I have spent time gathering documents about his life including marriage and death certificates, cemetery records, and copies from the family Bible where he noted the births and deaths of his parents, siblings, and children. Similarly, discussions with Walter’s descendants, a trip to Texas, and online research have unearthed documents about Walter’s life that I have gathered, including his will.

So how do I fill in some of the dates not covered by vital records, wills, and the census? How do I tell stories about a life when there isn’t a lot available to me?

Vital to any family history research is the newspaper. Newspapers make the difference – because it is there, in their pages, that our ancestors’ stories were told and can still be found today.

As I recently searched for anything on the Chathams of Texas, I came across this interesting newspaper article involving Walter under the headline “Doings of the Police.”

article about Walter Chatham, Houston Chronicle newspaper article 21 April 1902

Houston Chronicle (Houston, Texas), 21 April 1902, page 2

The article includes a note from Walter Chatham, a railroad “car inspector” in Bellville, Texas, regarding a missing 11-year-old boy named John Darnell. Prior to this article, the Houston police chief had reported in the newspaper the April 18th disappearance of John and asked anyone with information to contact him. Only a day later Walter wrote to Police Chief Ellis that the boy arrived in Bellville from a freight train on April 19th. He then spent the night in Bellville before heading north the next morning. Walter apparently spoke to the boy since he knew John was traveling to Marlin, Texas. The report ends with the police chief stating he would talk to John’s father about what he wanted to do next.

Now seemingly, you might look at this report and say “who cares?” John isn’t a member of the Chatham family and this short report doesn’t detail any event crucial to documenting Walter’s life.

Going beyond the BMD (Birth, Marriage, Death) Records

And yet, even a notice as brief as this one is helpful to family history research. For one thing, it brings to light a real incident from Walter’s life, as we imagine him interacting with the boy, then deciding to do the right thing and sitting down to write this letter to help the police in their search.

Also, there’s this important point: any mention of our ancestor in the newspaper accomplishes an important task – it situates that person in a time and place. This newspaper notice helps verify that Walter was working for the railroad as a car inspector in April 1902, and that he was in Bellville at this time. This is important information for our timeline of his life, but it also leads to other questions that can enhance telling his story – like what did a car inspector for the railroad do? What was it like to work for the railroad in 1902? What other records might exist that would tell us about his work during this time? And I have to admit, I’m curious why Walter didn’t hand John over to local law enforcement to be reunited with his family when he first met the boy. (I know; I always want answers to questions that would require a time machine.)

Further research about Walter’s time working for the railroad would lead me to local histories and additional newspapers articles.

Are you curious about what happened to John Darnell? I know I am. Unfortunately, I didn’t find any newspaper story about his travels after leaving Bellville, where Walter reported seeing him. So I’m not sure how this runaway story evolved. But after some Internet searching, it appears that he found his way home eventually. I’m sure his descendants would be interested in learning more about his solo road trip.

Newspaper articles provide a vital link to your research. The value they offer is found in the details and context they provide that assist you in telling your ancestor’s story. The government records and official documents you find should lead you to ask questions about your ancestor’s experiences and life story. Search out the answers to those questions in the newspaper.

Are you attending the RootsTech Genealogy Conference?

GenealogyBank is helping to sponsor the RootsTech conference. If you’re attending, come visit us at booth #523 to discuss genealogy in general, or any specific questions you have about your own family history research.

For more information about RootsTech, visit the website at: http://www.rootstech.org/?lang=eng

Related Newspaper Research Articles:

Her Father Was the ‘Rustic Bard’? Newspapers Tell the Story

I was looking at the marriage announcement for my cousins Isaac and Annis (Dinsmoor) Cochran, and was surprised to see the name of her father given as the “Rustic Bard.”

wedding notice for Isaac Cochran and Annis Dinsmoor, New Hampshire Sentinel newspaper article 23 March 1827

New Hampshire Sentinel (Keene, New Hampshire), 23 March 1827, page 3

The “Rustic Bard” – I wonder who that was?

So – I dug deeper into GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives and did a search for “Rustic Bard,” and found this poem.

poem referring to the "Rustic Bard," New Hampshire Patriot & State Gazette newspaper article 4 February 1822

New Hampshire Patriot & State Gazette (Concord, New Hampshire), 4 February 1822, page 1

This could be a clue.
The poem speaks of “The Bard of Windham hill” and refers to him as “The rustic Bard.”

Another poem dated 8 November 1828 was also published in the New Hampshire Patriot & State Gazette.

poem by the "Rustic Bard," New Hampshire Patriot & State Gazette newspaper article 24 November 1828

New Hampshire Patriot & State Gazette (Concord, New Hampshire), 24 November 1828, page 1

This poem was untitled and presented as a letter to the editor.
It looks like the poet’s initials were “R. D,” and he was identified as the “Rustic Bard.”

Looking further through the GenealogyBank search results I found this lengthy obituary for the poet R. D. (Robert Dinsmoor).

obituary for Robert Dinsmoor, New Hampshire Sentinel newspaper article 14 April 1836

New Hampshire Sentinel (Keene, New Hampshire), 14 April 1836, page 3

Genealogists love to find an obituary like this. It gives a lot of details of his life and talks about his ancestry right back into Scotland.

The obituary says that as a young man, Robert showed promise as a mathematician – but poetry soon became his chief interest.

excerpt from the obituary for Robert Dinsmoor, New Hampshire Sentinel newspaper article 14 April 1836

New Hampshire Sentinel (Keene, New Hampshire), 14 April 1836, page 3

Learning that Robert published a book of his poems in 1828, I went to the Internet Archive – the major online repository of digital books – and quickly found “Poems of Robert Dinsmoor, the Rustic Bard.”

photo of the book of poems by Robert Dinsmoor, from Internet Archive

Source: Internet Archive

See: https://archive.org/details/poemsofrobertdin00dins

I love it. Researching in GenealogyBank for my cousin’s marriage record, I was able to find this interesting story about Annis Dinsmoor’s father Robert Dinsmoor, the “Rustic Bard.”

Get the entire story.
Look at the clues in newspaper articles and go wherever they take you to get the complete picture of your ancestors’ lives.

Are You Attending the RootsTech Genealogy Conference?

GenealogyBank is helping to sponsor the RootsTech conference. If you’re attending, come visit us at booth #523 to discuss genealogy in general, or any specific questions you have about your own family history research.

For more information about RootsTech, visit the website at: http://www.rootstech.org/?lang=eng

Related Newspaper Research Articles:

Why Are Newspapers Vital to Your Genealogy Research?

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” In this blog article, Gena shows that searching old newspapers should be a vital part of every genealogist’s family history research.

I’m always surprised when family history researchers confess they haven’t searched newspapers for information about their brick wall ancestor. Sure, it’s a good idea to start your research project by searching the census and vital records. In addition to checking government records and official documents, part of your research plan should include newspapers – such as the collection in GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives.

Newspapers allow you to verify and add information to your family tree. They often complement the government documents that you are using to verify your ancestor’s event dates and places by adding stories that tell you more about your ancestor’s life and experiences.

Every family history project should involve ongoing newspaper research. Why? Consider the following reasons:

Newspapers Reported On Events as They Happened

While a newspaper article is not an original source for documenting events like a birth, marriage or death, it is an important addition to confirming or finding information. For example, you may not know the exact date of an ancestor’s death, but finding a newspaper obituary or probate notice might provide the clue you need to successfully find that original “official” death certificate.

obituary for Charlotte Kendtner, Seattle Daily Times newspaper article 27 January 1953

Seattle Daily Times (Seattle, Washington), 27 January 1953, page 21

What types of newspapers articles complement vital records? Birth notices; engagement, wedding and anniversary announcements; obituaries; and probate notices are just a few examples.

Newspapers Reported On Your Ancestor’s Life like No Other Document

There are some limitations to those vital record certificates that you are gathering to document your ancestor’s life. One of the big frustrations is the lack of detail, or even the additional questions they raise. Official government or church documents only provide so much information. They are meant to provide the basics, not tell a story. However, newspaper articles use the details to tell a story. Sure some of that detail may not seem as important, such as “The bride will wear a gown of white figured chiffon over white silk, with trimmings of Irish lace” – but every little detail helps give a deeper picture of your ancestor’s life.

Newspaper articles also provide genealogically relevant gems like relationships and names, occupations, and addresses. Consider this newspaper article about a 1910 New Jersey wedding. Aside from reporting on the wedding, we find the bride’s grandmother’s married name (Mrs. Wade H. Brown) and that she is giving the bride away. The article mentions that the bride is a member of the First Presbyterian Church, and that the groom works for Bell Telephone Company. The bride and groom’s residence at 62 South Hermitage Avenue is also mentioned.

What a goldmine! We now know the name of the bride’s grandmother (and grandfather), the bride’s religion and the groom’s employer, and where the newly married couple will live. Now we can take that information and search censuses, city directories, church records, and other genealogical records.

wedding notice for Pearl Dalrymple and Arthur Gilder, Trenton Evening Times newspaper article 9 June 1910d

Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, New Jersey), 9 June 1910, page 10

Newspaper Articles Help You Find Documents

Let’s face it, research is not easy and in some cases it can feel impossible to find a document that you know should be online or on that microfilm reel. Online content might be mis-indexed or simply not where we think it should be. In some cases even trying to find documents in a library, archive, or courthouse may prove unsuccessful.

One friend faced a problem when the probate of her grandfather seemed to not exist at the county courthouse. She knew there was a probate because her father had been the executor of the estate. Unfortunately, this courthouse does not allow patrons to search indexes, microfilm or older files. She had to pay a search fee only to be told that no probate file existed.

So she asked me what to do. I told her to go search the legal notices section of the local newspaper. The probate notice would help “prove” to the courthouse that a probate action had occurred. Sure enough she was able to easily find the probate notice in the newspaper. She showed it to the courthouse clerk who then found the missing file. Without that newspaper proof she would never had been able to obtain the document she needed.

probate notice for the estate of Roger Powell, Duluth News-Tribune newspaper article 25 January 1908

Duluth News-Tribune (Duluth, Minnesota), 25 January 1908, page 9

What’s the lesson here? Newspapers provide us with information that leads to other documents about our ancestors.

Newspapers Provide a Look at Our Ancestor’s Community

We don’t take the time to really read our ancestor’s newspaper. As researchers, we tend to be singularly focused on finding mentions of our own ancestor and not much else. I understand too well how addicting it is to enter an ancestor’s name into a search engine and get a result. But it is important to invest some time to read that ancestor’s hometown newspaper to learn more about their life, and what events or activities impacted them.

article about an earthquake, Cincinnati Daily Gazette newspaper article 19 June 1875

Cincinnati Daily Gazette (Cincinnati, Ohio), 19 June 1875, page 1

Don’t forget that your ancestor was part of a community. Their children went to school, they attended a church, and were active members of organizations. Those types of activities generate newspaper articles. So don’t conduct your family history research with blinders on.

One of the suggestions I always make to researchers is to create a timeline. In that timeline you are going to add the cradle-to-grave events of your ancestor’s life – but you should also add events that they may have been a part of or that might have affected them, like a natural disaster or military service during a time of war. These types of events help to fill out the story of their life, and one of the few places to get that type of information is the newspaper.

Newspaper Research Should Start Today

There’s no doubt that newspaper research is an important piece of your genealogical puzzle. Newspapers complement the genealogy documents that we use in documenting our ancestors. Their value lies in recreating the story that is uniquely your family’s.

Are You Attending the RootsTech Genealogy Conference?

GenealogyBank is helping to sponsor the RootsTech conference. If you’re attending, come visit us at booth #523 to discuss genealogy in general, or any specific questions you have about your own family history research.

For more information about RootsTech, visit the website at: http://www.rootstech.org/?lang=eng

Related Newspaper Research Articles:

Connecticut Archives: 179 Newspapers for Genealogy Research

One of the original 13 British Colonies that formed the United States, Connecticut technically became the new nation’s 5th state on 9 January 1788. The southernmost state in the New England region, Connecticut is the 3rd smallest state in the country and the 29th most populous.

Photo: Connecticut state capitol, Hartford, Connecticut

Photo: Connecticut state capitol, Hartford, Connecticut. Credit: Ragesoss; Wikimedia Commons.

If you are researching your ancestry from Connecticut, you will want to use GenealogyBank’s online CT newspaper archives: 179 titles to help you search your family history in the “Constitution State,” providing coverage from 1755 to Today. There are more than 25.6 million articles and records in our online Connecticut newspaper archives!

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

Search Connecticut Newspaper Archives (1755 – 2004)

Search Connecticut Recent Obituaries (1988 – Current)

Illustration: Connecticut state flag

Illustration: Connecticut state flag. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Here is a list of online Connecticut newspapers in the historical archives. Each newspaper title in this list is an active link that will take you directly to that paper’s search page, where you can begin searching for your ancestors by surnames, dates, keywords and more. The CT newspaper titles are listed alphabetically by city.

City Title Date Range * Collection
Ansonia, Derby, Seymour Valley Gazette 12/06/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Ansonia, Derby, Seymour Valley Gazette, The: Web Edition Articles 11/05/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bethany, Orange, Woodbridge Amity Observer 12/06/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bethany, Orange, Woodbridge Amity Observer: Web Edition Articles 11/05/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bridgeport American Telegraphe 04/08/1795 – 06/06/1804 Newspaper Archives
Bridgeport Bridgeport News 03/15/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bridgeport Bridgeport News, The: Web Edition Articles 03/14/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bridgeport Bridgeport Advertiser 06/05/1806 – 01/05/1809 Newspaper Archives
Bridgeport Bridgeport Gazette 06/27/1810 – 01/09/1811 Newspaper Archives
Bridgeport Bridgeport Herald 03/07/1805 – 01/09/1806 Newspaper Archives
Bridgeport Connecticut Courier 08/03/1814 – 06/14/1826 Newspaper Archives
Bridgeport Connecticut Post 09/18/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bridgeport Fairfield County Weekly 02/17/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bridgeport Republican Farmer 04/25/1810 – 08/11/1876 Newspaper Archives
Bridgeport Spirit of the Times 10/06/1830 – 09/26/1832 Newspaper Archives
Bridgeport Connecticut Post 05/21/2001 – 06/30/2002 Newspaper Archives
Bridgeport Humming Bird, or Herald of Taste 04/14/1798 – 07/14/1798 Newspaper Archives
Bridgeport Connecticut Post: Web Edition Articles 11/28/2015 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bristol Bristol Press 12/28/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Brooklyn Independent Observer 12/18/1820 – 05/13/1822 Newspaper Archives
Cheshire Cheshire Herald 10/22/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cheshire Cheshire Citizen 11/20/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Danbury Connecticut Intelligencer 01/31/1810 – 11/07/1810 Newspaper Archives
Danbury Danbury Gazette 08/03/1813 – 04/19/1814 Newspaper Archives
Danbury Day 05/19/1812 – 12/15/1812 Newspaper Archives
Danbury Republican Journal 10/03/1796 – 01/06/1800 Newspaper Archives
Danbury Republican Journal 07/01/1793 – 11/18/1793 Newspaper Archives
Danbury News-Times 02/02/1996 – Current Recent Obituaries
Danbury Republican Farmer 11/16/1803 – 12/25/1805 Newspaper Archives
Danbury Farmer’s Journal 03/18/1790 – 12/26/1791 Newspaper Archives
Danielson Windham County Transcript 07/02/1863 – 02/12/1890 Newspaper Archives
Darien Darien Daily Voice 05/28/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Darien Darien News-Review 10/15/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Darien Darien Times 06/19/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
Easton Easton Courier 12/01/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Easton Easton Daily Voice 06/30/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fairfield Fairfield Gazette 10/26/1786 – 09/23/1789 Newspaper Archives
Fairfield Fairfield Citizen News 01/17/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fairfield Fairfield Daily Voice 05/03/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fairfield Fairfield Sun 09/18/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Falls Village Housatonic Republican 01/10/1857 – 08/16/1862 Newspaper Archives
Glastonbury Rivereast News Bulletin 09/04/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Greenwich Greenwich Citizen 11/08/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Greenwich Greenwich Daily Voice 06/30/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Greenwich Greenwich Post 10/02/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
Greenwich Greenwich Time 08/08/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hamden Hamden Journal 12/07/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hartford American Mercury 07/12/1784 – 06/25/1833 Newspaper Archives
Hartford Connecticut Courant 10/29/1764 – 12/28/1876 Newspaper Archives
Hartford Connecticut Mirror 07/10/1809 – 12/15/1832 Newspaper Archives
Hartford Connecticut Observer 01/11/1825 – 10/03/1831 Newspaper Archives
Hartford Commercial Record 01/25/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hartford Hartford Daily Courant 02/03/1840 – 10/25/1914 Newspaper Archives
Hartford Hartford Gazette 01/13/1794 – 03/19/1795 Newspaper Archives
Hartford Hartford Times 02/06/1832 – 12/09/1833 Newspaper Archives
Hartford Hartford Times 08/10/1858 – 08/16/1864 Newspaper Archives
Hartford Hartford Advocate 11/07/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hartford Hartford Courant 07/09/1991 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hartford Hartford News 04/04/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hartford Patriot and Democrat 03/07/1835 – 12/30/1837 Newspaper Archives
Hartford Religious Inquirer 11/10/1821 – 11/07/1835 Newspaper Archives
Hartford Times 01/01/1817 – 09/02/1876 Newspaper Archives
Hartford Times and Weekly Advertiser 01/12/1829 – 12/28/1829 Newspaper Archives
Hartford Anti-Masonic Intelligencer 03/10/1829 – 12/18/1832 Newspaper Archives
Hartford Freeman’s Chronicle 09/01/1783 – 07/08/1784 Newspaper Archives
Hartford Independent Press 07/01/1833 – 09/22/1834 Newspaper Archives
Kensington Berlin Citizen 06/02/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Killingly Windham County Telegraph 03/08/1848 – 05/06/1858 Newspaper Archives
Litchfield Litchfield Gazette 03/16/1808 – 05/17/1809 Newspaper Archives
Litchfield Litchfield Journal 04/08/1818 – 10/20/1818 Newspaper Archives
Litchfield Litchfield Monitor 12/21/1784 – 07/01/1807 Newspaper Archives
Litchfield Litchfield Republican 05/19/1819 – 07/31/1822 Newspaper Archives
Litchfield Litchfield Republican 06/26/1847 – 06/13/1856 Newspaper Archives
Litchfield Sun 04/25/1835 – 04/13/1839 Newspaper Archives
Litchfield Witness 08/14/1805 – 06/24/1807 Newspaper Archives
Litchfield Litchfield Republican 09/24/1846 – 12/17/1846 Newspaper Archives
Manchester Journal Inquirer 03/08/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Meriden North Haven Citizen 03/18/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Meriden Record-Journal 12/08/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Middlefield Town Times 06/30/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Middletown Connecticut Spectator 04/20/1814 – 04/10/1816 Newspaper Archives
Middletown Constitution 12/29/1841 – 12/30/1879 Newspaper Archives
Middletown Daily Constitution 07/10/1872 – 08/05/1876 Newspaper Archives
Middletown Middlesex Gazette 11/08/1785 – 01/23/1834 Newspaper Archives
Middletown Sentinel & Witness 01/01/1823 – 08/07/1833 Newspaper Archives
Milford Milford Mirror 07/12/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Monroe Monroe Courier 03/08/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Mystic Mystic Pioneer 03/12/1859 – 03/02/1867 Newspaper Archives
Mystic Mystic River Press 01/11/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
New Britain Herald 12/01/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
New Canaan New Canaan Advertiser 08/08/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
New Canaan New Canaan Daily Voice 05/28/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
New Canaan New Canaan News-Review 11/05/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
New Canaan New Canaan Messenger 01/02/1904 – 09/17/1915 Newspaper Archives
New Haven Black Coalition Weekly 03/06/1972 – 09/14/1972 Newspaper Archives
New Haven Columbian Register 01/05/1813 – 12/30/1876 Newspaper Archives
New Haven Connecticut Gazette 09/20/1755 – 01/12/1767 Newspaper Archives
New Haven Connecticut Herald 11/01/1803 – 03/30/1889 Newspaper Archives
New Haven Connecticut Journal 10/23/1767 – 02/24/1835 Newspaper Archives
New Haven Daily Herald 03/12/1836 – 06/29/1846 Newspaper Archives
New Haven New Haven Palladium 07/19/1861 – 12/31/1863 Newspaper Archives
New Haven New Haven Register 10/23/1878 – 12/31/1900 Newspaper Archives
New Haven New-Haven Chronicle 04/25/1786 – 09/11/1787 Newspaper Archives
New Haven New-Haven Gazette 05/13/1784 – 02/09/1786 Newspaper Archives
New Haven New-Haven Gazette, and Connecticut Magazine 02/15/1786 – 06/18/1789 Newspaper Archives
New Haven New Haven Advocate 11/05/1998 – Current Recent Obituaries
New Haven New Haven Register 01/03/1988 – Current Recent Obituaries
New Haven Visitor 10/30/1802 – 11/08/1804 Newspaper Archives
New Haven Federal Gazetteer 02/22/1791 – 04/05/1797 Newspaper Archives
New Haven Messenger 01/16/1800 – 08/09/1802 Newspaper Archives
New Haven New-Haven Gazette 01/05/1791 – 06/29/1791 Newspaper Archives
New Haven Sun of Liberty 08/26/1801 – 12/03/1801 Newspaper Archives
New London Bee 06/14/1797 – 06/23/1802 Newspaper Archives
New London Connecticut Gazette 11/18/1763 – 05/29/1844 Newspaper Archives
New London Day, The: Archive 07/24/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
New London Morning News 11/08/1844 – 04/25/1848 Newspaper Archives
New London New London Daily Chronicle 04/26/1848 – 12/31/1864 Newspaper Archives
New London New London Daily Star 01/05/1857 – 09/24/1866 Newspaper Archives
New London New London Democrat 03/21/1845 – 04/12/1873 Newspaper Archives
New London New-London Summary 09/29/1758 – 09/23/1763 Newspaper Archives
New London People’s Advocate 08/26/1840 – 04/26/1848 Newspaper Archives
New London Republican Advocate 01/02/1822 – 12/10/1828 Newspaper Archives
New London True Republican 07/01/1807 – 02/24/1808 Newspaper Archives
New London Weekly Oracle 10/22/1796 – 12/30/1799 Newspaper Archives
New London New London Weekly Chronicle 05/03/1848 – 02/25/1869 Newspaper Archives
New Milford New Milford Spectrum 10/10/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
Newtown Newtown Bee 01/01/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Norwalk Independent Republican 06/17/1802 – 04/06/1803 Newspaper Archives
Norwalk Norwalk Citizen News 12/13/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Norwalk Norwalk Daily Voice 04/01/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Norwich Bulletin 01/28/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
Norwich Canal of Intelligence 02/21/1827 – 10/28/1829 Newspaper Archives
Norwich Connecticut Centinel 02/16/1802 – 10/13/1807 Newspaper Archives
Norwich Native American 03/04/1812 – 06/23/1813 Newspaper Archives
Norwich Norwich Aurora 05/15/1839 – 09/29/1876 Newspaper Archives
Norwich Norwich Courier 11/30/1796 – 08/16/1876 Newspaper Archives
Norwich Norwich Morning Bulletin 10/16/1860 – 08/13/1887 Newspaper Archives
Norwich Norwich Packet 11/11/1773 – 02/09/1802 Newspaper Archives
Norwich Norwich Republican 10/01/1828 – 04/15/1835 Newspaper Archives
Norwich Religious Messenger 06/11/1831 – 09/08/1832 Newspaper Archives
Norwich True Republican 06/20/1804 – 11/05/1806 Newspaper Archives
Norwich Weekly Register 11/29/1791 – 08/19/1795 Newspaper Archives
Norwich Norwich Evening Courier 07/11/1846 – 01/18/1853 Newspaper Archives
Oxford Oxford Gazette 03/06/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Redding Redding Pilot 01/01/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Ridgefield Ridgefield Press 06/12/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
Sharon Rural Gazette 06/09/1800 – 07/13/1801 Newspaper Archives
Shelton Shelton Extra 03/06/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Shelton Shelton Herald 12/06/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Southbury Voices 08/02/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Southington Plainville Citizen 08/27/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Southington Southington Citizen 05/14/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Stamford Advocate 01/17/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Stamford Stamford Advocate 04/05/1829 – 08/18/1904 Newspaper Archives
Stamford Stamford Daily Voice 06/30/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Stamford Daily Advocate 05/01/1979 – 12/31/2004 Newspaper Archives
Stamford Advocate, The: Web Edition Articles 12/01/2015 – Current Recent Obituaries
Stonington Impartial Journal 10/08/1799 – 03/06/1804 Newspaper Archives
Stonington Journal of the Times 10/10/1798 – 09/17/1799 Newspaper Archives
Stonington America’s Friend 07/29/1807 – 09/28/1808 Newspaper Archives
Stonington Yankee 02/16/1825 – 06/22/1825 Newspaper Archives
Stonington-Port Patriot 07/24/1801 – 02/11/1803 Newspaper Archives
Stratford Stratford Star 12/06/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Suffield Impartial Herald 06/14/1797 – 06/11/1799 Newspaper Archives
Torrington Register Citizen 10/25/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Trumbull Trumbull Times 12/06/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Waterbury Republican-American 06/25/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Watertown Town Times 08/31/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Weston Weston Forum 12/17/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Weston-Easton Weston-Easton Daily Voice 05/28/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Westport Westport Daily Voice 05/11/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Westport Westport News 09/18/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Willimantic Willimantic Journal 10/05/1865 – 12/13/1866 Newspaper Archives
Wilton Wilton Bulletin 05/22/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
Wilton Wilton Daily Voice 05/28/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Windham Advertiser 05/07/1818 – 03/11/1819 Newspaper Archives
Windham Political Visitant 05/15/1820 – 05/15/1820 Newspaper Archives
Windham Register 03/13/1817 – 01/01/1818 Newspaper Archives
Windham Windham Herald 03/12/1791 – 12/31/1812 Newspaper Archives

*Date Ranges may have selected coverage unavailable.

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

Related Resource:

Genealogy Research: Newspapers Round Out the Story

I was looking at the 1919 marriage certificate of my cousin George Henry Kemp and his wife Augusta Betty Ehlers.

marriage certificate for George Henry Kemp and Augusta Betty Ehlers

Source: Kemp family papers

From earlier research, I already had the basic genealogical information about them – their birth, marriage and death information.
What more could I learn about them from their marriage certificate?

Looking at the information for George, I saw that he was living at 1581 Mayflower Avenue in the Bronx at the time of their marriage. I wondered if that home is still standing? That would be interesting to know. So, I looked at Google Street View, typing in that address – it brought me right to it.

Photo: 1581 Mayflower Avenue, Bronx, New York

Photo: 1581 Mayflower Avenue, Bronx, New York. Source: Google Street View.

According to Zillow.com that home was built about 1920.
So this was probably their home.

The online List of Enrolled Voters: Borough of the Bronx for 1918 shows that George was enrolled as a Democrat and living at that address. His father John Kemp and step-mother Emily (Mulholland) Kemp are also listed as enrolled voters living at that address – but with no party affiliation designated.

George and August’s marriage certificate says that the wedding was performed in New York by “H. C. Stemp, Clergyman.”
Stemp. You don’t hear that surname very often.

Since he was a minister in New York City, I decided to search for any mention of him in GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives.
So I searched for H.C. Stemp – and generated zero search results.

That’s odd.
He was a minister – but there were no references to him in the old newspapers?

So – I Googled him.
Looking for: Rv. H.C. Stemp church New York City, I found only one or two references for him there – but one of the Google search results linked him to St. John’s Lutheran Church in New York City.

OK – let’s see if that works.
Hmm.
A few more searches in GenealogyBank’s old newspapers – but still nothing.

There must be something wrong with the spelling of that surname.

So I searched GenealogyBank again using only his initials and the reference to the Lutheran Church in New York.

I limited my search to 1919, the year he performed the wedding of my cousin. Since I was searching on the initials “H. C.” I also limited the search results to just New York and the immediate bordering states Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

screenshot of GenealogyBank's search box showing a search for the Lutheran Church in New York City

Source: GenealogyBank

That generated a reasonable four search results – including this one.

article about H. C. Steup, Springfield Republican newspaper article 13 September 1919

Springfield Republican (Springfield, Massachusetts), 13 September 1919, page 6

Bingo – that’s him – and look at that, his surname is spelled Steup not Stemp. Searching again with the correct spelling, I found this newspaper article about him. It turns out that the Steups were a tribe of pastors.

article about the five members of the Steup family who were ministers, Springfield Daily News newspaper article 2 March 1918

Springfield Daily News (Springfield, Massachusetts), 2 March 1918, page 3

That article included this photo of the Steup ministers.

photo of the five men of the Steup family who were ministers, Springfield Daily News newspaper article 2 March 1918

Springfield Daily News (Springfield, Massachusetts), 2 March 1918, page 3

I then searched the Internet for more information about St. John’s Lutheran Church.

I quickly found these photographs of the church.

Photo: St. John’s Lutheran Church, New York, New York

Photo: St. John’s Lutheran Church, New York, New York. Source: New York City Chapter of the American Guild of Organists
http://www.nycago.org/Organs/NYC/html/StJohnEvLuth.html

Photo: the altar in St. John’s Lutheran Church, New York, New York

Photo: the altar in St. John’s Lutheran Church, New York, New York. Source: New York City Chapter of the American Guild of Organists
http://www.nycago.org/Organs/NYC/html/StJohnEvLuth.html

According to this website:

The Federal-style building with a domed cupola, built in 1821-22 for the Eighth Presbyterian Church, is one of the oldest religious buildings in Greenwich Village. In 1842, the property was sold to St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, who worshiped here until 1858 when it was purchased for $13,000 by the German Lutherans. Victorian features were added in 1886 by Berg & Clark, and the pediment was inscribed, “Deutsche Evangelish-Lutherische St. Johannes Kirche.”

These contemporary photos of the church, showing the altar area, are likely very similar to the way the church would have looked in 1919 when their wedding was performed.

A German Lutheran Church. That makes sense – Augusta’s family had lived in the Bronx but moved to Stamford, Connecticut, in 1890 when her father bought a butcher shop on the corner of East Main Street and Maple Avenue there.

article about Gustav Ehlers, Stamford Advocate newspaper article 19 September 1890

Stamford Advocate (Stamford, Connecticut), 19 September 1890, page 1

Looking at Google Street View, I found the building.

Photo: the corner of East Main Street and Maple Avenue, Stamford, Connecticut

Photo: the corner of East Main Street and Maple Avenue, Stamford, Connecticut. Source: Google Street View.

Their home and butcher shop was right next door to George’s uncle, William Kemp!

I also found this article, showing that George’s father John Kemp, “a New York [City] policeman” was “having a fine dwelling house erected on the corner of Main street and Myrtle avenue.” That is just to the right of the red “Service and Parts” awning pictured above.

article about John Kemp, Stamford Advocate newspaper article 4 December 1885

Stamford Advocate (Stamford, Connecticut), 4 December 1885, page 2

This week when I started this research, I already had George and Augusta’s wedding certificate and their basic genealogical facts.

Armed with the insights from GenealogyBank’s newspapers and the Internet, I really got the rest of their story.

He lived at home with his parents in the Bronx and she lived with her family above their butcher shop in Stamford, Connecticut. By identifying the correct spelling of the minister’s name, I was able to find the church where they were married – and that is likely the church her family attended when they lived in New York City before they moved to Stamford.

With these essential online tools and a little elbow grease you can build your family history from home. It’s amazing what you can find in newspapers.

It’s a Great Day for Genealogy!

Are you attending the RootsTech Genealogy Conference?

GenealogyBank is helping to sponsor the upcoming RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, 3-6 February, 2016. If you’re attending, come visit us at booth #523 to discuss genealogy in general, or any specific questions you have about your own family history research.

For more information about RootsTech, visit the website at: http://www.rootstech.org/?lang=eng

Related Articles:

Explore Your Ancestors’ Lives in Old Newspapers

Introduction: Duncan Kuehn is a professional genealogist with over nine years of client experience. She has worked on several well-known projects, such as “Who Do You Think You Are?” In this blog post, Duncan shows how all the different types of articles found in old newspapers can be a great source of family history information.

Census and other government records are a good starting point for family history research – but to go beyond the names and dates, to learn more about your ancestors’ individual lives and find their stories, search an online newspaper collection like GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives.

montage of newspaper articles

Source: GenealogyBank.com

Which life events can be discovered or verified in newspaper articles?

It is said that each person gets 15 minutes of fame in his or her lifetime. If fame is based on the appearance of a person’s name in the newspaper, I submit that our ancestors got much more than 15 minutes. Here are a few of the events in a person’s life that could have appeared in the newspapers.

Births

Birth announcements were quickly discovered to be a financial benefit to newspapers. People loved to see their name in print and would buy the paper just to see it. Neighbors enjoyed reading the good news, which offset the daily shock and horror stories that often filled the newspaper. And birth announcements were quick and easy to report, which saved the newspaper from reporting expenses.

Marriages

Local papers were quick to publish the good news of their inhabitants. Although discovered later, marriage announcements proved to be as beneficial for newspapers as birth announcements – and for all the same reasons. Besides the “feel good” side of marriage announcements, many jurisdictions required a publication of marriage to prevent marriage fraud (bigamy).

Divorces

Articles relating to divorce can range from a full expose on the scandal to a simple line in the court case list. There may also appear articles announcing the cancellation of a wife’s line of credit under her husband’s name. While these cancellations don’t necessarily mean that a divorce occurred, they do provide a clue to look for one. In cases of abandonment, courts often required a posting in the newspaper so that the missing spouse might be located prior to judgment.

Deaths

Several different types of articles could be generated at the expiration of a life. If it was a particularly tragic event, such as the result of an accident or crime, several articles may appear in the paper – initially, and as follow-ups. Obituaries or death notices would run to alert friends and family of the funeral. The settlement of the descendant’s estate would also include running a newspaper notice in order to alert creditors to collect their dues.

Name Changes

Many courts required those wishing to change their name legally to publish an announcement in the newspaper for several weeks in order to alert any potential creditors to the new identity.

Employment

Advertisements for the sale of work equipment can provide clues to an ancestor’s employment. In addition, ads for the individual’s business may have run in the local paper to drum up new business or alert shoppers to sales. Reporting on business was big business to the newspapers. A change in ownership or location, or an alteration of the articles of incorporation, was routinely reported in the papers. Business people were a major sector of newspaper readers. Farmers needed to know the weather forecasts and the going price of grain. Insurance salesmen would use a local tragedy to encourage the neighbors to purchase insurance before it happened to them.

Addresses

Articles providing clues about the whereabouts of individuals can vary. Notices of uncollected letters at the post office or delinquent taxpayers can provide clues to your ancestors’ location. There are also ads for the sale and purchase of homes or land. Some newspapers would include farewell articles to well known residents when they moved out. Newspapers also ran ads promoting their own newspaper by listing the names of residents who moved away but still subscribed to the newspaper.

Significant Events

Even your (mostly) law abiding ancestors got speeding tickets, had things stolen from them, helped out in their neighbor’s barn fire, discovered missing livestock, etc. Of course for your less law-abiding ancestors, there were plenty of articles enumerating their crimes. All of these events and many more were reported in newspapers. Local events are the heart and soul of many newspapers.

Daily Life Events

Less significant events were also reported in newspapers, such as out-of-town visitors, church picnics, graduation parties, reorganization of the local Mason lodge, new officers in the PTA, and so on. Reporting on local events sold newspapers!

Court Cases

As mentioned with name changes, many court cases required notices to appear in the local newspapers. The court also functioned as a source of local entertainment during our ancestors’ time, and a list of that day’s hearings would run in the newspapers – much like TV listings did in the second half of the 1900s.

Immigration

Many newspapers in port towns would reprint ships’ passenger lists. This was intended to alert the locals of the arrival of friends and acquaintances. Passengers from the old country brought in news from home in addition to letters and other items. Included on the passenger list would also be names of important arriving businessmen that shrewd locals might want to be introduced to for reasons of commerce. Of course, ships also carried freight that would be of interest to the locals. Therefore, the coming and going of ships and their passengers made for promising material to sell newspapers.

There is far more family history information to be found in old newspapers than you may initially realize. Not only can they provide the vital statistics of birth, marriage, and death, they often provide more color and context for your ancestors than you would otherwise know.

Are you attending the RootsTech Genealogy Conference?

GenealogyBank is helping to sponsor the upcoming RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, 3-6 February, 2016. If you’re attending, come visit us at booth #523 to discuss genealogy in general, or any specific questions you have about your own family history research.

For more information about RootsTech, visit the website at: http://www.rootstech.org/?lang=eng

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You Know When They Married – Newspapers Give the Details of What Happened

I was searching for the marriage certificate for the wedding of Bessie M. Bryant and Henry L. Fitch – 23 November 1912, St. Albans, Vermont.

screenshot of a FamilySearch web page showing information for the wedding of Bessie M. Bryant and Henry L. Fitch

Source: FamilySearch

I went to FamilySearch and found confirmation of their marriage. That site does not have a copy of the actual wedding certificate – but does have a copy of the index card outlining the facts of the marriage. It gives me the essential who, what, when, where and how.

Could I find out more about their wedding – and about them?

Turning to GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives, I quickly found their wedding announcement and it brings these facts to life.

It was as if I were attending the wedding.

article about the wedding of Bessie M. Bryant and Henry L. Fitch, Saint Albans Daily Messenger newspaper article 25 November 1912

Saint Albans Daily Messenger (Saint Albans, Vermont), 25 November 1912, page 7

This newspaper article gives me more of the facts:

  • The middle names of the bride and groom
  • That the wedding took place at her father’s home on Congress Street
  • The wedding was at 8:30 p.m., in the parlor
  • About 35 guests attended – many of them are named along with the cities that they were from
  • The couple was going to live in Springfield, Massachusetts
  • The details of the wedding ceremony, how everyone was dressed, and the reception
  • The best man, maid of honor and others were named
  • The minister was named along with the name of his church

The article also provides these details:

…the bride and groom standing in the archway composed of asparagus ferns and white chrysanthemums.

The bride…was gowned in white chiffon with silver bead trimming, and made over white satin; she wore a veil, fastened with orange blossoms and jasmine, and carried a bouquet of bride roses and lilies-of-the-valley. Her ornament was a string of gold beads, the gift of the groom.

The details of the wedding go on and on in this article.

And so do the newspaper articles about them.

The bride Bessie was mentioned in dozens more newspaper articles that told of her activities or those of her family.

Only newspapers give these details. GenealogyBank is an essential tool in our search to document the lives of our ancestors.

Are you attending the RootsTech Genealogy Conference?

GenealogyBank is helping to sponsor the upcoming RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, 3-6 February, 2016. If you’re attending, come visit us at booth #523 to discuss genealogy in general, or any specific questions you have about your own family history research.

For more information about RootsTech, visit the website at: http://www.rootstech.org/?lang=eng

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