Newspaper Genealogy Research Discoveries: 7 Brothers Meet at Last

Family reunions are special occasions, but the Jones family reunion in the fall of 1881 in Lewiston, Maine, was especially noteworthy: although they ranged in age from 47 to 72 years old, this reunion was the first time all seven Jones brothers were together in one place at the same time!

This happened because the oldest brother (Ebenezer, born in 1809) married Rebecca Adams in 1831 and settled in Newport, Vermont, while the rest of the family relocated to Lewiston, Maine, before the youngest brother (Luther) was born in 1833.

The family had tried several times over 40 years to have a complete family reunion, but they led busy lives and always one brother or another missed each reunion. Finally, the stars must have fallen into proper alignment, everything clicked into place, and the joyous family occasion happened at last.

Can you imagine the smiles on all the faces? At that remarkable—and long awaited—reunion of all the living members of the family, the seven brothers sat at the table in the order of their ages. To make the reunion complete, the brothers’ one remaining sister, Mrs. Albert Frost, joined them.

This heartwarming family reunion story illustrates two important points about using newspapers to research your genealogy. First of all: you never know what you will find once you start looking through a newspaper archive. Even if the Jones family is not related to you, little discoveries like this story—and newspapers are full of them—add the human touch to your genealogy pursuit, and make your research fun and interesting.

For the second point, look closely at the family reunion newspaper article below: notice that it was originally printed in the Lewiston Journal (Maine), but was reprinted in the Huntsville Gazette—an Alabama paper! This special family reunion story was so popular it was also reprinted by the Sun (Maryland) and Omaha Herald (Nebraska) newspapers as well. Perhaps the newspaper editors thought this amazing story would interest their readers, or maybe someone in those areas was related to the Jones family, and editors are always looking for news items that have connections to their readers.

The lesson here is to expand the geographic scope of your newspaper search if your initial search didn’t turn up enough information. The newspaper archive you’re looking in may not have the issue of the Lewiston Journal this article first appeared in, but it might have the Huntsville Gazette issue where the article was reprinted. It is a good thing that GenealogyBank has brought together the largest collection of U.S. newspapers available online—5,700 of them from all 50 states—with a powerful search engine, making it easy to search through this large newspaper archive to research your genealogy.

What will you discover?

This family reunion story, was printed by the Huntsville Gazette (Alabama), 5 November 1881, page 4.

Monthly Update: GenealogyBank Adds 7 Million Records in December!

Every day, GenealogyBank is working hard to digitize more newspapers and obituaries, expanding our online collection to give you the largest newspaper archives for family history research available anywhere.

Here are some details about our most recent additions (we actually added new content to thousands of titles, but the following is a representative sample):
A total of 149 titles from 24 states
Titles marked with an asterisk (*) are obituaries only and are new to our archive
Those marked with a plus sign (+) are historical newspapers new to our archive
We’ve shown the date ranges so that you can determine if the new content is relevant to your personal research

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

There is also an option available on the historical newspapers’ search form that gives you the ability to search only the new content added in the past month, two months, or three months.

State City Title Start Date End Date
AR Little Rock Arkansas State Press. 1941 to 1955
CA San Diego
Evening Tribune. 1928 to 1936
CA San Diego
San Diego Union. 1925 to 1934
CT Darien Daily New Canaan*. 2010 to Current
CT New Haven
Columbian Register. 1859 to 1876
CT New Haven
Connecticut Herald. 1834 to 1834
CT Norwalk
Daily Norwalk*. 2010 to Current
CT Stamford
Daily Stamford*. 2010 to Current
CT Weston
Daily Weston*. 2010 to Current
CT Westport
Daily Westport*. 2010 to Current
CT Wilton
Daily Wilton*. 2010 to Current
FL Tampa
Tampa Tribune. 1933 to 1936
GA Augusta
Augusta Chronicle. 1884 to 1917
GA Marietta
Marietta Journal. 1985 to 1988
GA Peachtree Cr.
Weekly*. 2004 to Current
IL Arlington Ht.
Arlington Heights Journal*. 2011 to Current
IL Buffalo Gr.
Buffalo Grove Journal*. 2010 to Current
IL Chicago
Broad Axe. 1917 to 1917
IL Chicago
Chicago Citizen*. 2008 to Current
IL Chicago
Hyde Park Herald*. 2011 to Current
IL Des Plaines
Des Plaines Journal*. 2010 to Current
IL Des Plaines
Mount Prospect Journal*. 2011 to Current
IL Des Plaines
Rosemont Journal*. 2011 to Current
IL Elk Grove V.
Elk Grove Journal*. 2011 to Current
IL Evanston
Daily Northwestern. 1910 to 1950
IL Evanston
Northwestern. 1881 to 1910
IL Evanston
Tripod. 1871 to 1880
IL Evanston
Vidette. 1878 to 1880
IL Glenview
Glenview Journal*. 2011 to Current
IL Niles
Niles Journal*. 2011 to Current
IL Palatine
Palatine Journal*. 2010 to Current
IL Park Ridge
Park Ridge Journal*. 2011 to Current
IL Prospect Ht.
Prospect Heights Journal*. 2011 to Current
IL Rockford
Morning Star. 1934 to 1934
IL Rolling Ms.
Rolling Meadows Journal*. 2011 to Current
IL Wheeling
Wheeling Journal*. 2011 to Current
IN Beech Grove
Southside Times*. 2008 to Current
LA Baton Rouge
Advocate. 192 to 5 1955
LA Baton Rouge
Daily Advocate. 1887 to 1903
LA Baton Rouge
Daily State. 1908 to 1910
LA Baton Rouge
State Times Advocate. 1909 to 1916
LA Baton Rouge
Weekly Advocate. 1899 to 1901
LA New Orleans Courrier de la Louisiane.
1821 to 1822
MA Auburn
Daily Auburn*. 2010 to Current
MA Boston
Boston Courier. 1854 to 1854
MA Boston
Boston Herald. 1899 to 1904
MA Grafton
Daily Grafton*. 2009 to Current
MA Holden
Daily Holden*. 2010 to Current
MA Leicester
Daily Leicester*. 2010 to Current
MA Millbury
Daily Millbury*. 2009 to Current
MA Northborough
Daily Northborough*. 2010 to Current
MA Northbridge
Daily Northbridge*. 2009 to Current
MA Shrewsbury
Daily Shrewsbury*. 2011 to Current
MA Springfield
Springfield Union. 1963 to 1987
MA Westborough
Daily Westborough*. 2010 to Current
MA Worcester
Massachusetts Spy. 1857 to 1857
MD Baltimore
Baltimore American. 1903 to 1904
MD Fredericktown
Political Intelligencer. 1817 to 1818
ME Portland
Portland Advertiser. 1832 to 1832
ME Sanford
Sanford News*. 2011 to Current
MI Grand Rapids
Cadence Advance*. 2007 to Current
MI Hudsonville
Grand Valley Advance*. 2007 to Current
MI Jackson
Jackson Citizen. 1898 to 1898
MI Jackson
Jackson Citizen Patriot. 1870 to 1904
MI Kalamazoo
Kalamazoo Gazette. 1896 to 1906
MI Kent City
Northwest Advance*. 2008 to Current
MI Kentwood
Southeast Advance*. 2008 to Current
MI Michigan
On-the-Town* 2009 to Current
MI Rockford
Northeast Advance*. 2007 to Current
MI Sparta
Northwest Advance*. 2008 to Current
MI Wayland
Penasee Globe*. 2007 to Current
MI Wyoming
Southwest Advance*. 2008 to Current
MO Kansas City
Kansas City Times. 1884 to 1885
NC Winston-Sal.
Winston-Salem Journal. 1917 to 1919
NE Omaha
Omaha World Herald . 1980 to 1981
NH Dover
Foster’s Daily Democrat*. 2011 to Current
NJ N. Brunswick
Jewish Journal 1956 to 1968
NJ Trenton
Trenton Evening Times. 1900 to 1922
NY Armonk
Daily Armonk*. 2011 to Current
NY Bedford
Daily Bedford*. 2011 to Current
NY Briarcliff
Daily Briarcliff*. 2011 to Current
NY Bronxville
Daily Bronxville*. 2011 to Current
NY Chappaqua
Daily Chappaqua*. 2011 to Current
NY Cortlandt
Daily Cortlandt*. 2011 to Current
NY Croton
Daily Croton* . 2011 to Current
NY Dobbs Ferry
Daily Dobbs Ferry*. 2011 to Current
NY Eastchester
Daily Eastchester*. 2011 to Current
NY Greenburgh
Daily Greenburgh*. 2011 to Current
NY Harrison
Daily Harrison*. 2011 to Current
NY Hastings
Daily Hastings*. 2011 to Current
NY Larchmont
Daily Larchmont*. 2011 to Current
NY Lewisboro
Daily Lewisboro*. 2011 to Current
NY Mamaroneck
Daily Mamaroneck*. 2011 to Current
NY Mt. Pleasant
Daily Mount Pleasant*. 2011 to Current
NY Mt. Kisco
Daily Mt. Kisco*. 2011 to Current
NY New Rochelle
Daily New Rochelle*. 2011 to Current
NY New York
Civil Liberties Reporter+. 1950 to 1952
NY New York
Commercial Advertiser. 1853 to 1873
NY New York
Daily People. 1908 to 1909
NY New York
Irish American Weekly. 1849 to 1892
NY New York
People. 1891 to 1901
NY New York
Socialist Call. 1937 to 1959
NY New York
Spectator. 1823 to 1851
NY North Salem
Daily North Salem*. 2011 to Current
NY Ossining
Daily Ossining*. 2011 to Current
NY Peekskill
Daily Peekskill*. 2011 to Current
NY Pelham
Daily Pelham*. 2011 to Current
NY Pleasantville
Daily Pleasantville*. 2011 to Current
NY Port Chester
Daily Port Chester*. 2011 to Current
NY Pound Ridge
Daily Pound Ridge*. 2011 to Current
NY Roslyn
Roslyn News*. 1997 to Current
NY Rye
Daily Rye*. 2011 to Current
NY Saratoga Sp.
Saratoga Sentinel. 1833 to 1833
NY Scarsdale
Daily Scarsdale*. 2011 to Current
NY Schenectady
Cabinet. 1813 to 1814
NY Sl. Hollow
Daily Sleepy Hollow*. 2011 to Current
NY Somers
Daily Somers* . 2011 to Current
NY Tarrytown
Daily Tarrytown*. 2011 to Current
NY White Plains
Daily White Plains*. 2011 to Current
NY Yorktown
Daily Yorktown*. 2011 to Current
OH Avon
Sun Sentinel*. 2010 to Current
OH Avon Park
Sun Sentinel*. 2010 to Current
OH Bay Village
West Shore Sun*. 2009 to Current
OH Beachwood
Sun Press*. 2008 to Current
OH Berea
News Sun*. 2007 to Current
OH Brunswick
Brunswick Sun*. 2007 to Current
OH Chagrin Falls
Chagrin Solon Sun*. 2009 to Current
OH Cleveland
Plain Dealer. 1878 to 1916
OH Gates Mills
Sun Messenger*. 2007 to Current
OH Lakewood
Sun Post-Herald*. 2009 to Current
OH Medina
Medina Sun*. 2009 to Current
OH Parma
Parma Sun Post*. 2008 to Current
OH Sandusky
Sandusky Register*. 2006 to Current
OH Solon
Chagrin Solon Sun*. 2009 to Current
OH Strongsville
Sun Star Courier*. 2009 to Current
OK Tulsa
Tulsa World. 1922 to 1922
PA Harrisburg
Old Warrior and…+. 1844 to 1844
PA Lancaster
Lancaster Journal. 1817 to 1817
PA Philadelphia
National Gazette. 1833 to 1833
PA Philadelphia
Philadelphia Inquirer. 1858 to 1859
PA Pittsburgh
National Labor Tribune. 1875 to 1958
TX Blanco
Blanco County News*. 2007 to Current
TX Dallas
Dallas Morning News. 1983 to 1983
VA Richmond
Virginia Patriot. 1815 to 1815
WI Green Bay
Sunday Advance+. 1884 to 1884
WI Hartford
Times Press*. 2011 to Current
WI Milwaukee
Milwaukee American. 1857 to 1857
To see our newspaper archive’s complete title list,
click here.

Springfield, Massachusetts, Newspapers for Your Family History Research

GenealogyBank’s huge newspaper archives of over 5,700 titles has plenty of newspapers for the Springfield, Massachusetts, area, with coverage spanning the years 1782 to Today. This valuable genealogical resource has thousands of news stories, obituaries, and birth and marriage notices to help you with your family history research.Our collection has 13 newspapers for Springfield, MA; 12 of them are historical newspapers that have been completely digitized, meaning you have access to every news story and obituary as well as all the comics, letters to the editor, advertisements, etc. The 13th newspaper, the Republican, has digitized copies of all that newspaper’s obituaries from 1988 to Today.

You can search both the historical Springfield, Mass., obituaries and newspapers (date range: 1782 to 1989) and the Republican’s obituaries (date range: 1988 to Today) easily online at our genealogy website.
Here is a complete title list for GenealogyBank’s Springfield, Mass., newspaper archives, with the starting and ending date for each newspaper’s coverage. Each title is an active link that will take you directly to that newspaper’s search form.

Let’s look closely at the extent of the news coverage that we get with the Springfield Daily Union. Here are the marriages and deaths reported in the 16 March 1864 issue, on page 3.

Discovering Thanksgiving Family History in Newspaper Articles

From the earliest days of the nation our presidents and governors have proclaimed annual days of “publick Thanksgiving and Prayer” in gratitude for their families, lives and success in the New World.Then as now we pause as families gather to give thanks.
Lucky for us many of these holiday family gatherings were recorded in newspapers, providing a valuable genealogical resource to trace our family histories and fill in details on our family trees.

Here is a newspaper article about a family gathering for Thanksgiving the year the American Civil War finally ended. It was originally printed by the Providence Press and reprinted by the New Hampshire Sentinel (Keene, New Hampshire), 28 December 1865, page 1.

This terrific newspaper article describes four generations of the McIntyre family that gathered to celebrate Thanksgiving Day in 1865, providing many family details. For example, we learn about the physical stature and ability of 82-year-old Daniel McIntyre of York, Maine (Only 72 pounds! No gray hair! Still works the fields! Still reads the newspaper without glasses!) and his good wife (“his bigger and better half”) who was more than three times his size. The newspaper article supplies interesting details such as the fact they had 12 children, 11 of whom were still living and 10 that attended the Thanksgiving gathering along with their children.

A quick search of familysearch.org shows that it was their first child, Nancy McIntyre (c. 1811-1838) who was the child mentioned in the newspaper article that had passed away. The newspaper article also speaks of Mary (Staples) McIntyre’s good cooking that was greatly enjoyed by the grandchildren. Clearly she liked her own cooking—and for those of you who might be thinking of cutting back over Thanksgiving, consider that Mary at 225 pounds outlived her good husband of 72 pounds by 11 years!

GenealogyBank has more articles about the McIntyres from York, Maine—there is Rufus McIntyre who served in Congress, and a George S. McIntyre whose “reputation for mathematics” caused him to be called a “born mathematician.” Guess over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend I’ll sort out how all of these McIntyres are related.

It is really amazing what you can find in GenealogyBank’s newspapers archive, with its 5,700 newspapers from all 50 states. With hundreds of millions of newspaper articles all digitized and easily searched, you can start uncovering your own family reunion articles: documenting each member of the family, the old family stories, the details of their lives, perhaps even some favorite family recipes!

A Good Woman Can Be Hard to Find…

When researching your family history, it can be very difficult to find information about women in the early 19th Century—finding genealogical resources that actually give women’s names and family details is challenging. It was common in the 19th Century for newspapers and government records to be brief and give only the basic information about a household in the census, or an entry in a birth register.From 1790 through 1840 the census only named one person from each household. This person was designated as the Head of the household. Most Americans—men and women alike—were simply not named in the early censuses.Birth and church registers often took the same approach as the census and only briefly recorded the facts of a birth.

A typical entry might be:
1812 July 28. A son, to Walter Hickenlooper.


What was the son’s or the mother’s name?
Because of these often-incomplete early records, genealogists have to dig deeper to find sources that give more information in order to fill in the missing details of our family trees. For the pre-1850 period newspapers are an import resource for that information, providing obituaries, birth and marriage notices, news reports, and other articles that provide stories and details about our ancestors’ lives often missing in government and church records.This Brundage obituary notice illustrates the point. It appeared in the
Hudson River Chronicle which was published in Sing Sing, New York, on 8 October 1839. The obituary appeared on page 3.


The 1820 Census records a John Brundage living in Bedford, New York, with his wife (unnamed) and family.

However, in the 1840 census neither husband nor wife were listed. Why? The census provides no answers—but this obituary notice does. It tells us that John has previously died and that his widow (Rachael Brundage) died on 26 September 1839 at age “about 44 years”—well before the 1840 census.

From this short obituary notice we have gained two important clues:

· Clue #1. Name: Rachael Brundage, a widow of John Brundage; her age; her date and place of death
· Clue #2. Name of husband: John Brundage, and the fact that he had predeceased her

In addition to the details about Rachael and John Brundage, the article has two other obituary notices. Look at the facts that we find about these women: Harriet Sutherland and Deborah Cornwell.

Harriet Sutherland
The notice tells us that Harriet Sutherland died on 25 September 1839 at “Middle Patent” (North Castle, New York), the widow of John Sutherland. It gives her age as “aged about 46 years.” Two very helpful clues here:

· Clue #1. Name: Harriet Sutherland, a widow of John Sutherland; her age; her date and place of death
· Clue #2. Name of husband: John Sutherland, and the fact that he had predeceased her
Deborah Cornwell
And in the third obituary notice we learn that “Miss Deborah Cornwell, daughter of the late Jonathan Cornwell” died 6 September 1839 in Henrietta, Monroe County, New York, at the “fiftieth year of her age” and that she was “formerly of New Castle (New York).”

Two valuable clues:

· Clue #1. Name: Deborah Cornwell, a daughter of Jonathan Cornwell; her age; her date and place of death; that she formerly lived in New Castle, New York
· Clue #2. Name of father: Jonathan Cornwell, and the fact that he had predeceased her.
It can be difficult to find a good woman in the early 19th Century—but newspapers are a terrific genealogical resource and GenealogyBank has more online newspapers than you will find anywhere else.

1883 U.S. Government Military Pension List Online

GenealogyBank is pleased to announce that it has the five-volume List of Pensioners-1883 online, to help with your family history research. These U.S. federal government military pension records are a valuable genealogy resource actively used by genealogists to trace family lineage. List of Pensioners on the Roll January 1, 1883; giving the name of each pensioner, the cause for which pensioned, the post office address, the rate of pension per month, and the date of original allowance. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1883. Senate Document. Serial Set Vol. No. 2078, Session Vol. No. 5; Report: S.Exec.Doc. 84 pt. 1-5.

The List of Pensioners-1883 lists the pensioners by U.S. state and county. Volume 5 includes the lists of pensioners that lived overseas.

List of Pensioners on the Roll. January 1, 1883…Vol. 5, page 638.

Each military pension record entry gives:
· Name of pensioner
· Pension certificate number
· Date of the original pension
· Reasons why the pensioner received the pension
· The monthly pension payment
· U.S. Post Office where the pensioner receives their mail

Types of military pension records included:
· Veteran disability pension records
· Army pension records
· Navy pension records
· War widows pension records
· War orphans pension records

Genealogy Tip: This is a crucial genealogical resource for identifying pensioners from all American wars still living in 1883 and it pinpoints where they were living—anywhere in the U.S. or around the world. This extensive U.S. military pension list includes pensioners from the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Civil War, and more—making it easier to trace your veteran ancestors and relatives who received survivor benefits.

Volume One
Connecticut; District of Columbia; Maine; Massachusetts; New Hampshire; New Jersey; Rhode Island; Vermont

Volume Two
New York; Pennsylvania

Volume Three
Illinois; Iowa; Ohio

Volume Four
Alaska; Arizona; California; Colorado; Dakota; Idaho; Indiana; Kansas; Michigan; Minnesota; Montana; Nebraska; Indian Territory (Oklahoma); Nevada; New Mexico; Oregon; Utah; Washington; Wisconsin; Wyoming

Volume Five
Alabama; Arkansas; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maryland; Mississippi; Missouri; North Carolina; South Carolina; Tennessee; Texas; Virginia; West Virginia

Countries of the World, including Hawaii (which was listed as the “Sandwich Islands.”)

Africa; Austria; Belgium; Brazil; Denmark; England; France; Germany; Ireland; Italy; Madeira Island (Portugal); Malta; Mauritius; Mexico; Netherlands; New Zealand; Norway; Peru; Romania; Russia; Scotland; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; Wales; West Indies; Foreign Address Unknown

Explore the List of Pensioners-1883 online at GenealogyBank and uncover your family’s past today!

Periódicos en Español—Hispanic American Newspapers Online

GenealogyBank has the largest collection of Hispanic American newspapers to explore Latino family ancestry online. Our extensive Hispanic American collection currently contains over 360 newspaper titles. This is an essential newspaper archive for genealogists, supplementing the other newspapers on our genealogy website and helping to make it one of the most comprehensive resources for Hispanic genealogical research online.

The oldest surviving Hispanic newspaper is El Misisipi, first published in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1808. A masthead in Spanish from an 1808 issue of El Misisipi is featured below. The newspapers in GenealogyBank’s Hispanic American newspapers archive are a virtual goldmine to genealogists, providing a terrific resource for researching your Hispanic genealogy. You can easily search in every Hispanic newspaper issue online to find birth, marriage and obituary announcements, news reports about events that affected your Hispanic ancestors—even the vintage advertisements can be a helpful genealogical resource.

Here is a Hispanic American death notice in Spanish printed by the Bejareño (San Antonio, Texas) newspaper on 17 May 1856, page 2.

Here is a birth announcement en español printed by the Cronista del Valle (Brownsville, Texas) newspaper on 20 April 1925, page 1.
And here is a Latino marriage announcement in Spanish printed by the Amigo del Hogar (Indiana Harbour, Indiana) newspaper on 23 June 1929, page 1.

Did your Hispanic American family run a business? Look for their ads in the local Latino newspapers to get a glimpse into the lives they led. The following Hispanic newspaper ads were printed by the Cronista del Valle (Brownsville, Texas) newspaper on 20 April 1925, page 5.

As these Latino birth, death and marriage announcements have shown, the Hispanic American newspapers in GenealogyBank’s historical newspaper archives are important to genealogists because of their editorial focus on covering the cultural, social, religious and personal news that was of high interest to the Hispanic American community.

Latino newspapers are also good at providing specific historical information that can aid in tracing your Hispanic family tree. These Hispanic newspapers tend to be especially good at covering community news and events, giving genealogists the opportunity to find information about their Hispanic ancestors interacting with their neighbors and participating at the local level—stories that don’t appear in censuses and other government records, providing personal details about your ancestors’ lives.

How to Find Ancestor’s Legal Name Change Records with Newspapers

Sometimes when researching your family history, it is difficult to find a relative—they just seem to have fallen off the face of the earth.

Did they go into the witness protection program?
Were they abducted by aliens?
Did they go on a cruise through the Bermuda Triangle?

Maybe they simply changed their name.
After all, many people did opt to change their identity to start anew.


Daily People. (New York, New York) 25 September 1901. page 1.

Russian immigrant Max Kaplansky decided he needed to legally change his name. He had become a naturalized citizen of the United States and a businessman, but found that his surname caused him “much annoyance in the society of Americans” and that he was “subjected to much ridicule.”
In 1901 he went to the New York Supreme Court to request that his name be changed to Max Kapell because “Kaplansky” had become an obstacle, costing him “many opportunities” both “in a business and social way.” Court Justice James Aloysius O’Gorman agreed with him and granted his petition to change his name.

Kaplansky’s experience was something many immigrants with foreign names went through as they tried to fit in to turn-of-the century America. If your ancestor arrived in America around this time, perhaps he legally changed his name for the same reasons Kaplansky did.

Sometimes entire families legally changed their names. In 1848, members of the Dore family petitioned the New Hampshire State Legislature to change their surname from Dore to Richmond. There were a number of other people in New Hampshire who wanted to change their names at this time, as shown in the following historical newspaper article.

This name change record was printed by the New Hampshire Patriot & State Gazette (Concord, New Hampshire), 6 July 1848, page 3.

I have even found name change records examples where a person applied to have only their middle name legally changed.

Take a look at this old name change record example. It was printed by the Salem Register (Salem, Massachusetts), 8 August 1870, page 3.

In 1870, Hannah A. Simonds, mother of Thomas Batchelder Simonds petitioned her local Probate Court to have her son’s name legally changed to Thomas Stanley Simonds. Interestingly the court required her to inform the public of this name change by “publish[ing] this decree once a week for three successive weeks in the newspaper called the Salem Register, printed in Salem…” and then report back to the court “under oath that such notice has been given.”
So our ancestors often did change their names and over the years they could apply to various courts or levels of government to request this change. In these three legal name change examples the petitioners applied to their State Supreme Court, a state legislature and to a local probate court.

The key for genealogists is that legal name changes have been routinely reported in the local newspaper and in the case of the Probate Court of Salem, Massachusetts in 1870 – it required that an announcement of the the identity change be published in the local newspaper.

It’s amazing the genealogical information you can discover in newspaper archives to help you find missing family members.

Memorial Day

Every Memorial Day we see the familiar poppies and remember our nation’s war dead. Recalling those that died from the Revolutionary War down through today.

In Flanders fields the poppies grow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie,

in Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

Click here to see the news of his death during World War I and burial there in Belgium. Printed in the Kansas City Star. 5 February 1918, page 10

Editor has fun with marriage announcement – 1835

The newspaper editor of the Norfolk Advertiser had a little fun with this marriage announcement.

The last marriage reads:

Notice that this Dedham, Massachusetts newspaper published announcements of marriages from a wide area. Barnstable, Cambridge, Dorchester, and Salem Massachusetts – and as far away as Onondaga Hollow – Syracuse, New York.

Google Maps.

It was good for business.

The wider the newspaper’s net to pull in birth, marriage and obituary notices, the wider their circulation would be.

The same principle applies to genealogy research.

TIP: There may be precious little written about your ancestor – so like Sier & Precious Patterson – make up your mind to cast a wide net and look beyond your local newspaper to find the facts about your ancestor’s lives.

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