Revolutionary War Ancestry: Our Top 6 How-to Posts

With the Fourth of July approaching, America prepares to celebrate Independence Day – and genealogists’ thoughts turn to their Revolutionary War ancestry. There are many good sources of information about this crucial period in American history, including historical newspaper archives, museums, and various Revolutionary War and military websites that can tell you about the times your ancestors lived in, the roles they played, and details of their individual lives.

This blog post highlights some of the past articles we’ve published on the GenealogyBank Blog about researching Revolutionary War ancestors. Just click on the title of any article that interests you to read the full blog post. Also, please note that in addition to the 27 Colonial newspapers listed in the graphic below, we just added 450+ newspaper titles from the 1700s and 1800s to GenealogyBank’s archives, creating one of the most comprehensive online resources for researching your Colonial and Revolutionary period ancestry on the web.

list showing 27 Colonial American newspapers in GenealogyBank's online collection

Painting: "Washington Crossing the Delaware," by Emanuel Leutze (1851)

Painting: Washington Crossing the Delaware, by Emanuel Leutze (1851). Source: Wikimedia Commons.

screenshot of the Daughters of the American Revolution website

Source: Daughters of the American Revolution

photo of Philipse Manor

Photo: Philipse Manor. Source: Library of Congress.

obituary for Isaac Van Wart, Barre Gazette newspaper article 31 July 1840

Barre Gazette (Barre, Massachusetts), 31 July 1840, page 2

obituary for Mary Wyckoff, Minerva newspaper article 29 May 1797

Minerva (New York, New York), 29 May 1797, page 3

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Lieutenant Colonel Custer’s Infamous ‘Last Stand’ at Little Big Horn

On 25 June 1876 a force of around 2,000 Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho warriors, fiercely defending their combined village on the Little Bighorn River in Montana Territory, stopped a surprise attack from 600 men of the U.S. 7th Cavalry led by Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer. When the dust finally settled from the furious fighting, Custer and every man of the five companies he was leading lay dead, with the 7th Cavalry’s other seven companies pinned down and unable to come to his aid.

Painting: “The Custer Fight” by Charles Marion Russell

Painting: “The Custer Fight” by Charles Marion Russell. Lithograph. Shows the Battle of Little Bighorn, from the Indian side. Source: Library of Congress.

U.S. forces lost 268 men that day, including 31 officers and 10 scouts, and another 55 were wounded in the legendary battle. History will never know how many Indians died during the fighting, with estimates ranging from 40 to 140. One thing is certain, however: the Battle of the Little Bighorn was a complete disaster for Custer, and is known as “Custer’s Last Stand.”

The battle remains one of the most famous in American history, and one of the most controversial. Was Custer the victim of bad luck, overwhelmed by superior numbers through no fault of his own? Or did he cause the deaths of his men because he was proud and vain, recklessly attacking a much larger force because he wanted the glory and credit of defeating the enemy before approaching reinforcements from General Terry and Colonel Gibbon could arrive?

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The following two 1800s newspaper articles give an indication of how a shocked America learned the news of Custer’s annihilation, just days after the nation had jubilantly celebrated its centennial on 4 July 1876. The first old news article is an editorial that, while acknowledging Custer’s bravery and touting his remarkable Civil War record, nonetheless calls him “not well balanced” and speaks of his “rashness.” The second historical news article presents some of the first news the outside world learned of the disaster, conveyed by a scout who arrived on the scene with Colonel Gibbon after the battle and surveyed the carnage on the battlefield.

Gen. Custer's Disaster and Death, Boston Journal newspaper article 6 July 1876

Boston Journal (Boston, Massachusetts), 6 July 1876, page 2

This historical newspaper editorial states:

Gen. Custer’s Disaster and Death

The tidings of Gen. Custer’s fatal encounter with the Indian camp on the Little Horn River will be received by the public with mingled sorrow and indignation, and we may add with profound astonishment. The American people have known what it is to contend with the wily savage in his native forests from the days of Bradstreet’s terrible defeat to those of the Modoc war. Perhaps no amount of experience can guard disciplined troops against all danger of bloody surprises on the part of a foe whose cunning is equal to his ferocity. But here there seems to have been nothing of the kind. Gen. Custer directly and without a particle of excuse, so far as we now know, charged into the very jaws of destruction. He came upon an Indian camp, three or four miles long, occupied by from 2500 to 4000 warriors, and he attacked it in the very centre – amid grounds presumably chosen, as Indian camping places always are, for their advantages for defence – he attacked, we say, this overpowering force with 315 men! True, seven companies under General Reno were to make an attack in another quarter, and three companies were placed on a distant hill as a reserve, but these could render no assistance to Custer’s force, who, to a man, were simply butchered in cold blood! It is the most outrageous story that is yet on record in the annals of our regular army. We sincerely trust that some mitigating circumstances will come to light which will enable the American people to throw the mantle of charity over the fallen form of a brave officer who rendered some most excellent service in his time. Were he and his memory alone concerned we might say that he had paid the penalty of his rashness with his life, but the undeserved fate of his three hundred brave comrades who followed him to the slaughter, the bereavement of their families and the loss to their country, will not allow us to dismiss the matter thus lightly.

General George A. Custer, who, with two of his brothers and two other relatives, has thus fallen so suddenly and recklessly, was born in Ohio in 1840, so that he was only thirty-six years old at the time of his death. He graduated at West Point in 1861 and entered at once into active service in the war of the rebellion. He was in the Battle of Bull Run, in McClellan’s Peninsula campaign, in the battles of South Mountain and Antietam, in the Rappahannock campaign of 1863, in the battle of Gettysburg and the minor engagements connected therewith; he went through the whole of the Wilderness campaign and the Shenandoah campaign, and he bore a conspicuous part in the winding up operations at Five Forks and Appomattox Court House. It was a glorious career of service, and it raised its actor from Second Lieutenant of cavalry to brevet Major General. After the war Gen. Custer was put in command of the cavalry division of the Southwest and the Gulf, and in 1865-6 he was chief of cavalry in the Department of Texas. Since then he has been mainly on Western frontier duty.

Gen. Custer was preeminently the embodiment of the phrase, “a dashing cavalry officer.” His bravery was perfect, his energy was remarkable though not always sustained, and when under wise direction few officers were more effective and brilliant. But he was not well balanced, and Gen. Grant, whose judgment of army officers at least will never be questioned, deposed him from the chief command of the expedition against the Indians which has now so disastrously commenced operations. The act was largely attributed by a partisan press to personal and political prejudices, and Gen. Custer was ultimately allowed to go as commander of his regiment. It is of little use to bewail what is now past; we can only hope that Gen. Terry, who has the confidence of all, will retrieve the errors and fatalities which have thus far thrown a shadow over the expedition, and will bring it out successful in the end.

Custer's Death, Cincinnati Daily Gazette newspaper article 6 July 1876

Cincinnati Daily Gazette (Cincinnati, Ohio), 6 July 1876, page 1

This article reports:

Custer’s Death

The Fearful Tale of an Army Scout

An Indian Camp of Two Thousand Lodges Attacked by the Troops

General Custer and His Command Perish to the Last Man

Three Hundred Soldiers Killed and Thirty-one Wounded

Seventeen Commissioned Officers Surrender Their Swords to Death

Salt Lake, July 5. – A special correspondent of the Helena (Montana) Herald writes from Stillwater, Montana, on July 2d:

Muggins Taylor, scout for General Gibbon, got there last night direct from Little Horn River. General Custer found the Indian camp, of about 2,000 lodges, on the Little Horn, and immediately attacked the camp. Custer took five companies and charged the thickest portion of the camp. Nothing is known of the operations of the detachment, only as they trace it by the dead. Major Reno commanded the other seven companies, and attacked the lower portion of the camp. The Indians poured in a murderous fire from all directions, besides the greater portion fought on horseback. Custer, his two brothers, nephew, and brother-in-law were all killed, and not one of his detachment escaped. Two hundred and seven men were buried in one place, and the killed are estimated at three hundred, with only thirty-one wounded. The Indians surrounded Reno’s command, and held him one day in the hills, cut off from water, until Gibbon’s command came in sight, when they broke camp in the night and left. The Seventh fought like tigers, and were overcome by mere brute force. The Indian loss can not be estimated, as they bore off and cached most of their killed. The remnant of the 7th Cavalry and Gibbon’s command are returning to the mouth of Little Horn, where a steamboat lies. The Indians got all the arms of the killed soldiers. There were seventeen commissioned officers killed. The whole Custer family died at the head of their columns. The exact loss is not known, as both the Adjutants and the Sergeant-Major were killed. The Indian camp was from three to four miles long, and was twenty miles up the Little Horn from its mouth. The Indians actually pulled men off their horses in some instances. I give this as Taylor told me, as he was over the field after the battle. The above is confirmed by other letters which say that Custer has met with a fearful disaster.

(Another account.)

Bozeman, Montana, July 3 – 7:00 P.M. – Mr. Taylor, bearer of dispatches from Little Horn to Fort Ellis, arrived this evening and reported the following:

The battle was fought on the 25th, thirty or forty miles below the Little Horn. Custer attacked the Indian village, from 2,500 to 4,000 warriors, on one side, and Col. Reno was to attack it on the other. Three companies were placed on a hill as a reserve. Gen. Custer and fifteen officers and every man belonging to the five companies were killed. Reno retreated under the protection of the reserve. The whole number of killed was 315. When General Gibbon joined Reno the Indians left. The battleground looked like a slaughter pen, as it really was, being in a narrow ravine. The dead were much mutilated. The situation now looks serious. Gen. Terry arrived at Gibbon’s camp on a steamboat, and crossed the command over and accompanied it to join Custer, who knew it was coming before the fight occurred. Lieut. Crittenden, son of Gen. Crittenden, was among the killed.

(The scene of this reported fight is near the Crow Indian Reservation. The correspondent of the Chicago Tribune, accompanying Gen. Crook’s expedition, writes on June 9 as follows.)

It is getting very monotonous in camp, and we use up a good portion of the time discussing the general plan of the campaign, and the whereabouts of the Sioux. The most generally-accepted opinion appears to be that all the Indians have left this part of the country, and are now on the Yellowstone, watching Gibbon, and skirmishing after Terry. Supporters of this theory base their opinion mainly on the fact that we have not been molested; that none of our camps have been fired into; and that our column, starting from Fetterman so long after Gibbon and Terry had taken the field, concentrated the vigilance of the savages on them alone, and consequently they are not yet aware of our invasion of their country, which, by the way, is not their country, but “Absaroka,” or the country of the Crows, from which tribe the Sioux have taken it.

(If this reported engagement [i.e., Custer’s fight] should prove true, it would seem to prove the correctness of the correspondent’s opinion, as the Indian camp is represented as being immense in size, and was pitched on the land of the Crow Reservation.)

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You Can Find the Names of Your Ancestors’ Ancestors in Obituaries

Joanna (Kellogg) Goodman’s (1742-1831) obituary does just this – it provides the name of her ancestor from 170 years before her. Her old 1800s obituary states:

She was a great-grand daughter of Joseph Kellogg [1626-1708], one of the first settlers of Hadley, and she and her ancestors lived on the narrow lot, south of the road to Northampton, which was granted to Joseph Kellogg, 170 years ago.

obituary for Joanna (Kellogg) Goodman, Boston Recorder newspaper article 7 September 1831

Boston Recorder (Boston, Massachusetts), 7 September 1831, page 143

These are some great details about her family history – telling us about her ancestor Joseph Kellogg, and that she lived on the same property that had been in the family for 170 years.

Joanna’s gravestone still stands in the Old Hadley Cemetery in Hadley, Massachusetts.
Click here to see it.

Note this old obituary calls her the “relict” of her husband Stephen Goodman – a once-common term for “widow.”

Enter Last Name

Our obituary archives can give you the names of your ancestors’ ancestors, allowing you to trace your family tree centuries back. Find and document the lives of your ancestors in GenealogyBank’s Historical Obituary Archives (1704–1999) and Recent Obituary Archives (1977–Today) now.

Find and document your ancestors’ stories – don’t let them be lost to your family.

Note: FamilySearch International (FamilySearch.org) and GenealogyBank are partnering to make over a billion records from recent and historical obituaries searchable online. The tremendous undertaking will make a billion records from over 100 million U.S. newspaper obituaries readily searchable online. The newspapers are from all 50 states and cover the period 1730 to the present.  Find out more at: http://www.genealogybank.com/family-search/

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Georgia Archives: 141 Newspapers for Genealogy Research

The last of the original Thirteen Colonies and named after Great Britain’s King George II, Georgia was established in 1732. Its most populous city is Atlanta, the state capital. Georgia is the nation’s 24th largest state, and the 8th most populous.

photo of the Georgia State Capitol building in Atlanta, Georgia

Photo: Georgia State Capitol building in Atlanta, Georgia. The dome is covered with gold leaf mined from the north Georgia city of Dahlonega. Credit: J. Glover (AUtiger); Wikimedia Commons.

If you are researching your ancestry from Georgia, you will want to use GenealogyBank’s online GA newspaper archives: 141 titles to help you search your family history in the “Peach State,” providing coverage from 1763 to Today. There are more than 69 million articles and records in our online Georgia archives!

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

Search Georgia Newspaper Archives (1763 – 2003)

Search Georgia Recent Obituaries (1985 – Current)

illustration of the state flag of Georgia

Illustration: state flag of Georgia. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

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

City Title Date Range* Collection
Acworth Bright Side, The [Kennesaw-Acworth Edition] 6/1/2011 – 12/1/2013 Recent Obituaries
Albany Albany Herald 10/20/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Alpharetta, Roswell Revue & News 1/5/2006 – 10/14/2009 Recent Obituaries
Americus Americus Times-Recorder 6/23/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Athens Southern Banner 3/23/1833 – 1/4/1865 Newspaper Archives
Athens Athens Banner-Herald 6/10/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
Atlanta Jeffersonian 6/17/1909 – 11/17/1910 Newspaper Archives
Atlanta Weekly Defiance 10/24/1882 – 2/24/1883 Newspaper Archives
Atlanta Atlanta Age 1/13/1900 – 1/13/1900 Newspaper Archives
Atlanta Atlanta Daily World 2/23/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Atlanta Emory Wheel, The: Emory University 8/25/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Atlanta Atlanta Jewish Times 4/28/2006 – 3/13/2009 Recent Obituaries
Atlanta Atlanta Journal-Constitution 1/1/1985 – Current Recent Obituaries
Atlanta Maroon Tiger, The: Morehouse College 8/25/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Augusta Augusta Chronicle 1/7/1792 – 11/30/2003 Newspaper Archives
Augusta Daily Constitutionalist 3/19/1833 – 12/31/1869 Newspaper Archives
Augusta Augusta Herald 7/17/1799 – 12/28/1815 Newspaper Archives
Augusta Southern Centinel, and Universal Gazette 11/28/1793 – 5/31/1798 Newspaper Archives
Augusta Mirror of the Times 10/31/1808 – 10/28/1811 Newspaper Archives
Augusta Weekly Constitutionalist 9/26/1860 – 1/12/1876 Newspaper Archives
Augusta Loyal Georgian 1/20/1866 – 2/15/1868 Newspaper Archives
Augusta Georgia Gazette and General Advertiser 2/5/1816 – 3/11/1816 Newspaper Archives
Augusta Colored American 12/30/1865 – 1/13/1866 Newspaper Archives
Augusta Augusta Union 1/27/1900 – 1/27/1900 Newspaper Archives
Augusta Augusta Chronicle 1/1/1994 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bainbridge Bainbridge Post-Searchlight 10/3/2014 – Current Recent Obituaries
Blue Ridge News Observer 3/28/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Canton Cherokee Tribune 11/21/1998 – Current Recent Obituaries
Carrollton Times-Georgian 5/8/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cartersville Bartow Neighbor 12/30/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cartersville Daily Tribune News 8/11/1998 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chatsworth Chatsworth Times 11/17/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Clayton Clayton Tribune 11/21/2013 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cleveland White County News 7/19/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Columbus Columbus Daily Enquirer 9/24/1858 – 12/13/1945 Newspaper Archives
Columbus Columbus Ledger 1/3/1903 – 12/31/1922 Newspaper Archives
Columbus Columbus Daily Sun 9/1/1865 – 2/28/1873 Newspaper Archives
Columbus Columbus Tri-Weekly Enquirer 11/27/1855 – 9/21/1858 Newspaper Archives
Columbus Sunday Herald 10/17/1897 – 5/12/1900 Newspaper Archives
Columbus Columbus Weekly Enquirer 1/3/1887 – 5/6/1899 Newspaper Archives
Columbus Columbus Weekly Ledger 5/21/1903 – 6/4/1903 Newspaper Archives
Columbus Columbus Chronicle 1/27/1900 – 1/27/1900 Newspaper Archives
Columbus Ledger-Enquirer 6/8/1993 – Current Recent Obituaries
Columbus Ledger-Enquirer: Blogs 8/3/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Conyers Rockdale Citizen 2/28/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cordele Cordele Dispatch 12/16/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cornelia Northeast Georgian 4/12/2013 – Current Recent Obituaries
Covington Newton Citizen 11/16/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cumming Forsyth County News 2/16/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cumming Forsyth Herald 3/23/2006 – 11/30/2009 Recent Obituaries
Dahlonega Dahlonega Nugget 1/4/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Dallas Paulding County Sentinel 7/8/2009 – 4/9/2010 Recent Obituaries
Dalton Daily Citizen 9/29/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Darien Darien Gazette 1/4/1819 – 9/2/1828 Newspaper Archives
Dawsonville Dawson News & Advertiser 6/5/2013 – Current Recent Obituaries
Decatur Decaturish.com 11/6/2013 – Current Recent Obituaries
Decatur DeKalb Neighbor 4/22/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Douglasville Douglas County Sentinel 5/21/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Douglasville Douglas Neighbor 3/2/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Duluth Johns Creek Herald 1/5/2006 – 12/10/2009 Recent Obituaries
Dunwoody Dunwoody Crier 3/3/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Elberton Elberton Star & Examiner 8/2/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fayetteville Today in Peachtree City 5/2/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fayetteville Fayette Chronicle 8/25/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fayetteville Fayette County News 12/2/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Griffin Daily Chattanooga Rebel 6/9/1864 – 9/17/1864 Newspaper Archives
Griffin Griffin Daily News 5/17/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hartwell Hartwell Sun 7/7/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Jackson Jackson Progress-Argus 10/23/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Jasper Pickens County Progress 10/7/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Jesup Press-Sentinel 9/13/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Jonesboro Clayton News Daily 10/10/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
LaGrange LaGrange Daily News 1/1/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lake Lanier Lakeside on Lanier 8/1/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lavonia Franklin County Citizen 8/2/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lawrenceville Gwinnett Daily Post 3/16/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Loganville Loganville Tribune 7/25/2007 – 10/21/2009 Recent Obituaries
Louisville Louisville Gazette 5/12/1802 – 3/2/1811 Newspaper Archives
Louisville Louisville Courier 8/21/1811 – 10/30/1811 Newspaper Archives
Louisville American Standard 5/14/1812 – 5/14/1812 Newspaper Archives
Macon Macon Telegraph 2/1/1860 – 12/31/1945 Newspaper Archives
Macon Macon Weekly Telegraph 11/1/1826 – 6/30/1909 Newspaper Archives
Macon Georgia Messenger 1/4/1825 – 8/28/1845 Newspaper Archives
Macon Macon Sentinel 1/27/1900 – 1/27/1900 Newspaper Archives
Macon Macon Daily Herald 5/8/1865 – 5/8/1865 Newspaper Archives
Macon Macon Telegraph 8/18/1994 – Current Recent Obituaries
Marietta Marietta Journal 9/18/1868 – 10/31/1998 Newspaper Archives
Marietta Cobb County Times 10/5/1916 – 3/26/1925 Newspaper Archives
Marietta Chattanooga Daily Rebel 2/23/1864 – 4/22/1864 Newspaper Archives
Marietta Marietta Daily Journal 12/7/1998 – Current Recent Obituaries
McDonough Henry Daily Herald 10/10/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Milledgeville Georgia Journal 12/12/1809 – 9/22/1835 Newspaper Archives
Milledgeville Southern Recorder 2/13/1821 – 3/21/1865 Newspaper Archives
Milledgeville Reflector 11/12/1817 – 2/2/1819 Newspaper Archives
Milledgeville Georgia Argus 7/5/1808 – 2/14/1816 Newspaper Archives
Milledgeville Milledgeville Republican 3/20/1816 – 3/27/1816 Newspaper Archives
Milledgeville Union-Recorder 10/24/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Monroe Walton Tribune 1/1/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Moultrie Moultrie Observer 7/5/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Mt. Zion Missionary 1/28/1820 – 5/16/1825 Newspaper Archives
Newnan Newnan Times-Herald 10/12/1996 – Current Recent Obituaries
Peachtree Corners Weekly 6/5/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Richmond Hill Bryan County Now 3/22/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Sandy Springs Sandy Springs Neighbor 10/27/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Savannah Columbian Museum 3/22/1796 – 10/3/1822 Newspaper Archives
Savannah Savannah Tribune 12/4/1875 – 12/28/1922 Newspaper Archives
Savannah Georgian 1/4/1819 – 1/1/1833 Newspaper Archives
Savannah Savannah Republican 3/21/1807 – 12/31/1851 Newspaper Archives
Savannah Savannah Daily Advertiser 12/8/1868 – 4/23/1875 Newspaper Archives
Savannah Georgia Gazette 4/7/1763 – 11/25/1802 Newspaper Archives
Savannah Public Intelligencer 4/18/1807 – 10/18/1808 Newspaper Archives
Savannah Royal Georgia Gazette 8/12/1779 – 12/27/1781 Newspaper Archives
Savannah Southern Patriot 7/26/1805 – 3/24/1806 Newspaper Archives
Savannah Georgia Republican and State Intelligencer 9/4/1802 – 10/22/1805 Newspaper Archives
Savannah Savannah Wholesale Prices Current 3/18/1819 – 5/18/1820 Newspaper Archives
Savannah Savannah Weekly Echo 8/26/1883 – 2/10/1884 Newspaper Archives
Savannah Georgia Journal and Independent Federal Register 12/25/1793 – 1/1/1794 Newspaper Archives
Savannah Gazette of the State of Georgia 2/13/1783 – 2/13/1783 Newspaper Archives
Savannah Savannah Tribune 8/13/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Savannah West Chatham Neighbor 4/28/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Savannah Coastal Senior 6/1/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Savannah Business in Savannah 3/31/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Savannah Coastal Antiques and Art 7/1/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Savannah Savannah Morning News 7/1/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
Savannah Closeup 11/11/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
Senoia East Coweta Journal 11/11/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Sparta Farmer’s Gazette 6/17/1803 – 8/8/1807 Newspaper Archives
Springfield Effingham Now 10/26/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
St. Mary’s Tribune & Georgian 11/3/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Thomaston Thomaston Times 10/9/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Thomasville Thomasville Times-Enterprise 11/14/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Thomson Jeffersonian 12/1/1910 – 10/8/1914 Newspaper Archives
Tifton Tifton Gazette 7/25/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Toccoa Toccoa Record 6/24/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Valdosta Valdosta Daily Times 9/5/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Washington Monitor 10/7/1800 – 8/6/1814 Newspaper Archives
Washington News 2/23/1816 – 4/9/1819 Newspaper Archives
Waycross Waycross Journal-Herald 8/25/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
West Point West Point Times-News 10/6/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Winder Barrow County News 2/3/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Woodstock Cherokee Ledger-News 8/18/2010 – 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 Georgia newspaper links will be live.

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True Love Stories: 3 Married Couples with Lasting Bonds

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 searches GenealogyBank’s recent obituaries collection and uncovers three heartwarming stories of couples who were married a very long time together – and died within hours of one another.

Being married for decades is a marvelously romantic experience. Few things are as adorable as seeing an elderly couple shuffling hand-in-hand down the sidewalk. Many elderly couples have been together longer than they were single. They form an inseparable bond and friends can’t think of one without the other. The death of one of them is devastating to the other.

For an astonishing percentage of long-married couples, the loss of one spouse means the other is soon to follow. Sometimes this even occurs when the second is unaware of the passing of the first. Here are three of these beautiful love stories that I found while looking through GenealogyBank’s online collection of Recent Newspaper Obituaries.

John and Marilyn Jenkins

John Jenkins served in the Navy during World War II. After returning home at the age of 19, he asked his mother to give legal permission for him to marry his high school sweetheart, Marilyn. The young couple worked at her parents’ grocery store for a time. John then got a job working at the post office. The work did not suit him and he quit without informing his wife. As many spouses can understand, this did not go over well with Marilyn when she later found out, and the couple argued. But eventually they worked things out and John found work in the insurance industry, while Marilyn worked as an elementary school teacher. John returned to the Navy for the Korean War.

obituary quote about an elderly couple who had their chairs moved together so that they could hold hands

The couple was quite social and loved to play games, square dance, and go camping. Even into their 70s, they were pulling a camper to Clearwater, Florida, to enjoy the outdoors. They also attended the Centenary Methodist Church and it played a big role in their lives. They had three children together.

However, their health eventually declined and they needed 24-hour care. John remained upbeat and optimistic, but Marilyn was in terrible pain.

According to their joint obituary:

Despite poor health and advancing years, [daughter Sue] Thomure believed her parents’ relationship remained an “epic” love story. “They were both very affectionate people,” she said. “They always loved hugs and kisses. They were outwardly affectionate with each other and with us. In fact, when they first started getting ill and elderly, their chairs were apart. We had to move their chairs next to each other so they could hold hands.”

obituary for John and Marilyn Jenkins, Daily Journal newspaper article 14 March 2015

Daily Journal (Park Hills, Missouri), 14 March 2015

After 67 years together, Marilyn died on 26 February 2015. Upon hearing the news, John replied: “Well, we done good and I’ll be along shortly.” By the next morning, he had indeed joined her in death.

Enrique and Emma Flores

Enrique and Emma dated for six years and were engaged for six years before finally marrying in 1953. Before marrying, they were able to save up for and completely furnish a home. Enrique served in the Army during the Korean War and made a career in the military, retiring in 1983. Emma spent most of her time raising their three children, but was also a substitute teacher. Although neither attended college, they valued education. Enrique even served as PTA president for their children’s school.

quote from an obituary about a loving couple that died within hours of each other

Religion played a major role in their lives. They said the rosary daily and it was one of the few things that Enrique could recall after dementia set it. Emma tried to care for Enrique but she struggled to care for his needs while battling through a second round of cancer, and he had to go into a nursing home. Her daughter took Emma to visit Enrique as often as she could.

According to their joint obituary, Enrique loved Emma’s visits:

[Enrique] would get so excited to see her and would always clap his hands. And he would repeatedly tell her, “I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you.”

These two long-time lovers were married for 69 years.

obituary for Enrique and Emma Flores, Corpus Christi Caller-Times newspaper article 2 March 2015

Corpus Christi Caller-Times (Corpus Christi, Texas), 2 March 2015

Sadly, it was Emma who died first on 1 March 2015. But within an hour of her death, the family was informed that Enrique had died at the nursing home without having received the news of his wife’s passing.

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Marcus and Madelyn Yensen

I found a similarly touching love story in yet another joint obituary, this one for Marcus and Madelyn Yensen, a Salt Lake City couple that had been married for more than 74 years:

The pair met each other in 1940 at a dance studio when Marcus took a dance lesson from Madelyn. Just one month later, after a “whirlwind of romance’ – which included a date that ran past curfew and infuriated Madelyn’s mother – they were married, said their youngest son, Byron Yensen. “They were always together, and they were always very happy with each other,” [their daughter Carol] Bradford said.

obituary for Marcus and Madelyn Yensen, Deseret News newspaper article 25 April 2015

Deseret News (Salt Lake City, Utah), 25 April 2015

Marcus served in the Navy during WWII and then built a career as an engineer on the railroad. They had three children together. Madelyn was the social one while the more-quiet Marcus usually kept his thoughts to himself.

quote from an obituary about a loving couple that died within hours of each other

According to their obituary:

In his last months, Marcus had been fighting heart failure. Nurses told him he would die in March, but he clung to life, determined to at least live until April 1 so he could collect pension money for his wife, their youngest son said.

Marcus made it to April, clinging to life in a nursing home, but Madelyn died at home on April 7. Bradford went to the nursing home to tell her dad the sad news:

“I leaned over and whispered in his ear, ‘Mom has passed, and she’s waiting for you in heaven.’ I think after that, he knew he had accomplished what he needed, and he felt that he could let go.”

Marcus Yensen died at 9:30 that night.

“Being the gentlemen he always was, and showing the eternal love they had together, Marcus held the gates of heaven open so Madelyn could walk in first, then followed her.”

What is the longest marriage in your family tree? Do you have any heartwarming romantic stories to share? Tell us in the comments.

Note: FamilySearch International (FamilySearch.org) and GenealogyBank are partnering to make over a billion records from recent and historical obituaries searchable online. The tremendous undertaking will make a billion records from over 100 million U.S. newspaper obituaries readily searchable online. The newspapers are from all 50 states and cover the period 1730 to the present.  Find out more at: http://www.genealogybank.com/family-search/

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Genealogy Research with Military Records in Newspapers

Ever since the Revolutionary War, military records have been published in the nation’s newspapers – and researching these records can help you learn more about your ancestors and fill in details on your family tree.

This blog post highlights some of the past articles we’ve published on the GenealogyBank Blog about researching military records in newspapers. Just click on the title of any article that interests you to read the full blog post.

WWII casualty list, Plain Dealer newspaper article 22 February 1945

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 22 February 1945, page 11

article about WWI draft dodgers, Trenton Evening Times newspaper article 25 May 1921

Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, New Jersey), 25 May 1921, page 1

Civil War roster list for Seventeenth Pennsylvania Cavalry, Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper article 21 November 1862

Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), 21 November 1862, page 2

montage of Revolutionary War records from old newspaper articles

montage of Revolutionary War records from old newspaper articles

article about the Mexican-American War, Charleston Courier newspaper article 24 June 1847

Charleston Courier (Charleston, South Carolina), 24 June 1847, page 2

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Father’s Day & Father of the Year

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” In this blog article, Gena writes about the origins of Father’s Day as a national holiday, and the special honor “Father of the Year.”

What are your plans this Sunday for Father’s Day? You might be surprised to learn that Father’s Day is actually a fairly recent holiday. Although a celebration of fathers was held on 19 June 1910 in Spokane, Washington, it wasn’t until President Richard Nixon signed a proclamation in 1972 that the third Sunday of June was permanently set aside as Father’s Day, a national holiday.

Sonora Smart Dodd Starts Movement to Honor Fathers

The idea for Father’s Day is credited to Sonora Smart Dodd who, after listening to a Mother’s Day sermon at church, believed that her father William Jackson Smart – a Civil War veteran and young widower who raised 6 children – should also be honored.

article about Sonora Smart Dodd promoting "Father's Day," Cincinnati Post newspaper article 25 May 1911

Cincinnati Post (Cincinnati, Ohio), 25 May 1911, page 5

She encouraged Spokane churches to set aside a Sunday sermon in honor of Father’s Day. They did that in June 1910 and preached about the importance of fathers. The movement grew from there and was discussed in newspapers across the country.

Movement Spreads for "Father's Day," Tucson Daily Citizen newspaper article 14 June 1910

Tucson Daily Citizen (Tucson, Arizona), 14 June 1910, page 1

As the idea for Father’s Day took off, others joined the effort to make a permanent national holiday honoring dads. The Father’s Day Council was established in 1931 by concerned citizens and leaders who wanted to help achieve the “universal observance” of a Father’s Day holiday. Later it was renamed the Father’s Day/Mother’s Day Council.

Father of the Year

In 1942 the Father’s Day Committee was established, whose “sole purpose was to confer Father of the Year honors on leaders of society.”

The Father’s Day Committee set about choosing “lifestyle leaders” each year for their honorees. Starting in 1942 a select few dads were honored with the title Father of the Year. So who are some of the winners of this honor?

Probably not surprisingly considering that World War II was happening, the first honoree was General Douglas MacArthur. One of the fathers awarded the next year, 1943, was another general: Dwight D. Eisenhower.

General Eisenhower Wins Designation as No. 1 Father, Sacramento Bee newspaper article 16 June 1943

Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, California), 16 June 1943, page 22

Eisenhower was bestowed the honor of number one father “because of the brilliant victory of the United Nations forces, because of their stirring example in fortitude, because of their value to the cause for which we are fighting – the protection of our homes and our liberty – and because of your sterling qualities of leadership and inspiration to the youth of today and all future generals.” At the time of this award Eisenhower and his wife Mamie had a son, John D. Eisenhower, who was a cadet at the U.S. Military Academy.

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Through the years, all kinds of celebrities and famous men were given the honor of the nation’s #1 father. Presidents, movie stars, soldiers, ministers, athletes, musicians, and lawyers were honored. The title of Father of the Year was given to several men each year, all representing different walks of life. In 1960 Pat Boone was named Television Father of the Year, with additional awards going to Robert F. Kennedy, Charlton Heston, John Unitas (quarterback for the NFL’s Baltimore Colts) and Art Linkletter.

Pat Boone, 'TV's Father of the Year,' Daily Illinois State Journal newspaper article 11 June 1960

Daily Illinois State Journal (Springfield, Illinois), 11 June 1960, page 31

Every year the Father of the Year charity luncheon is held in the nominees’ honor. This year’s honorees include President George W. Bush, Morris Goldfarb and Ashok Sani. You can read more about this year’s ceremony and The Father’s Day/Mother’s Day Council on their website.

Step Away from That Tie!

While your dad may never be officially named Father of the Year, he’s probably number one in your life. Father’s Day is a great way to show him how much you care, but let’s face it – dads probably get the short end of the stick when it comes to gifts. Even before there was an official holiday, retailers were coming up with ideas about what to get dad for his special day. In this 1919 advertisement for the John Bressmer Company, gift-giving suggestions include a humidor and an Edison phonograph – but it wasn’t too long before ties were the suggested gift.

Sunday, June 1 Is Father's Day, Daily Illinois State Journal newspaper advertisement 29 May 1919

Daily Illinois State Journal (Springfield, Illinois), 29 May 1919, page 3

Probably the real problem with finding a special gift for dad is that moms are just easier to shop for. After all, moms are more associated with sentimental gifts. As this 1930 Mississippi newspaper article points out:

article about gifts for Father's Day, Daily Herald newspaper article 11 June 1930

Daily Herald (Biloxi, Mississippi), 11 June 1930, page 5

It would seem that gifting a tie has a long tradition.

That same newspaper article provided two poems for Father’s Day:

poem for Father's Day, Daily Herald newspaper article 11 June 1930

Daily Herald (Biloxi, Mississippi), 11 June 1930, page 5

poem for Father's Day, Daily Herald newspaper article 11 June 1930

Daily Herald (Biloxi, Mississippi), 11 June 1930, page 5

Spend some time making family memories with your dad. Honor those dads who have passed by writing and sharing their stories. Happy Father’s Day!

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Family Reunites after 90-Year Mystery in Springfield Solved

In this video, librarian Irene Nolan (Hamden Public Library, Connecticut) shares the story of how a family – separated for more than 90 years – was brought together once again with information from GenealogyBank.

This librarian was helping a family research their family tree. They had their grandfather’s first and last names. That was enough for Nolan to begin her search in GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives. Within 10 minutes she had located valuable genealogical information about the grandfather and his surviving relatives that facilitated the family’s reunion after nine decades of separation.

Enter Last Name

We can do this.
Start now and find your family – all of them – by finding their stories in old newspapers.

Tell us what you find out about your family in the comments section.

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June 2015 Update: GenealogyBank Just Added 37 Million More Records!

Every day, GenealogyBank is working hard to digitize more newspapers and obituaries, expanding our collection to give you the largest newspaper archives for family history research available online. We just completed adding 37 million more U.S. genealogy records, vastly increasing our content coverage from coast to coast!

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

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

  • A total of 46 newspaper titles from 20 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia
  • 26 of these titles are newspapers added to GenealogyBank for the first time
  • Newspaper titles marked with an asterisk (*) are new to our online archives
  • We’ve shown the newspaper issue date ranges so that you can determine if the newly added content is relevant to your personal genealogy research

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

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

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

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Thurgood Marshall Nominated: First Black Supreme Court Justice

This past weekend marked the anniversary of an important event in American history: on 13 June 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson announced his historic nomination of Thurgood Marshall, whose great-grandfather had been a slave, to be the first African American Supreme Court justice in the nation’s history.

photo of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall

Photo: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Source: U.S. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

As expected there was opposition to this bold move, especially from such conservative Southern politicians as Senator Strom Thurmond, R-S.C. However, Marshall’s impressive qualifications were too strong to be denied, and on August 30 the Senate confirmed him as an associate justice of the Supreme Court by a vote of 69-11. Marshall went on to serve the Court for 24 distinguished years.

His qualifications included serving as counsel for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for a quarter-century, 23 of those years as chief legal officer. During that time his reputation as a keen legal mind was cemented by winning the monumental Brown v. Board of Education case in 1954, the Supreme Court case that ruled school segregation was unconstitutional. Marshall argued more cases before the Supreme Court than any other lawyer in history.

In 1961 President John F. Kennedy appointed Marshall as a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. After serving on that bench for four years, Marshall was appointed the U.S. solicitor general by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965—the 32nd U.S. solicitor general, and the first African American to hold that position. This was the post he occupied when President Johnson nominated him to the Supreme Court.

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During his tenure on the bench of the Supreme Court, Marshall earned a reputation as a tireless supporter of minority rights, civil liberties, and protection of the downtrodden in American society. He relied heavily on constitutional protections of individual rights, supported abortion, and opposed the death penalty.

When he retired due to failing health in 1991, Marshall was succeeded by Justice Clarence Thomas, the nation’s second African American Supreme Court justice. Marshall died at the age of 84 on 24 January 1993.

First Negro Named to Supreme Court: Thurgood Marshall Appointed, Seattle Daily Times newspaper article 13 June 1967

Seattle Daily Times (Seattle, Washington), 13 June 1967, page 1

This historical newspaper article reports:

Washington—(UPI)—President Johnson today named Thurgood Marshall to be the first Negro justice of the United States Supreme Court.

Mr. Johnson personally announced the selection to newsmen at the White House. Marshall stood beside him.

Marshall will succeed Justice Tom C. Clark on the court.

Justice Clark announced his retirement after his son, Ramsey Clark, was named attorney general.

The elder Clark ended his active service on the high tribunal after the court adjourned its term yesterday.

Marshall has been a trailblazer among Negroes throughout his career. His appointment as solicitor general in August 1965 was unprecedented for a member of his race.

Prior to that, the late President John F. Kennedy had appointed Marshall in 1962 as a judge of the United States Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia.

The new justice is the great-grandson of a slave who was brought to the United States from The Congo. His father was a steward at a fashionable Chesapeake Bay country club.

Before taking the government posts, Marshall won a widespread legal reputation in battling civil rights causes in the courts.

In 1935, Marshall compelled the admission of a Negro law student at the University of Maryland—a school where he himself had been denied entry.

In 1936, Marshall joined the legal staff of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and two years later became head of its legal operations.

Marshall’s biggest triumph came in 1954 when he won the historic United States Supreme Court case declaring school segregation unconstitutional.

Attorney General Ramsey Clark said Marshall’s elevation to the Supreme Court would add “a wealth of legal experience rarely equaled in the history of the court.”

The new justice was born in Baltimore July 2, 1908, and graduated cum laude from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania but only after having been expelled in his sophomore year for hazing freshmen.

Marshall then entered Howard University Law School in Washington. He recalls: “I got the horsin’ around out of my system. I heard lawbooks were to dig in. So I dug, way deep.”

The 58-year-old nominee is a six-footer who weighs around 210 pounds. His wife is the former Cecilia Suyat. They have two sons.

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