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.

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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

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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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Researching Kids with Vintage Newspaper Ads of 100 Years Ago

Introduction: Mary Harrell-Sesniak is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background. In this blog article, Mary shows how historical newspaper advertisements offer a fascinating insight into the stories of our ancestors’ lives – such as these old ads concerning children.

If you’re like most genealogists, you thrive by living vicariously through the lives of ancestors.

montage of ancestor photos with the caption: "Genealogists thrive on living vicariously through the lives of their ancestors."

We amass hordes of vital statistics on our ancestors – and then we look for detailed data about what happened in their lives. Who were their relatives, what did they do for a living, where did they live, when did all of this happen and why did they do what they did?

And for some of our ancestors, historical newspaper advertisements offer a fascinating insight into the personal stories of their lives.

Take, for instance, children.

Ads for Children

As every parent knows, we do our best to provide for our children – so it should come as no surprise to find old newspapers advertisements that are targeted toward children’s well-being. From schools to medical treatments, there is a wealth of information to be gleaned about what life was like back in their times.

Early American Schools

According to an article on the History of Public Schools at Wikipedia, by 1918 every U.S. state required students to complete elementary school. So what were parents to do if they wanted to arrange for more education beyond that level?

They turned to tutors and private educational institutions, such as the many featured in these 1915 Pennsylvania newspaper advertisements.

ads for schools and colleges, Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper advertisements 11 September 1915

Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), 11 September 1915, page 5

Of course, not every advertisement was for a traditional school, and not every ad was for children.

ad for the International School of Photo-Play Training, Oregonian newspaper advertisement 9 April 1915

Oregonian (Portland, Oregon), 9 April 1915, page 2

At the International School of Photo-Play Training in Portland, Oregon, you could learn movie acting. The allure of high salaries, such as Mary Pickford’s $2,000 a week or Charlie Chaplin’s $1,250 weekly pay, was a strong draw.

Mary Pickford was a huge star in 1915.

photo of Mary Pickford, Tulsa World newspaper article 7 February 1915

Tulsa World (Tulsa, Oklahoma), 7 February 1915, page 8

Juvenile Apparel (Clothing)

What would you guess your ancestors paid for their children’s clothing?

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I’m not certain what the average national salary was a hundred years ago. The Social Security Administration maintains a chart of average salaries in the U.S., starting in 1951 (when it was $2,799.16), so it couldn’t have been much back in 1915 (see http://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/AWI.html).

So in 1915 newspaper advertisements, when you see prices for juvenile apparel starting at a few dollars per item, that was considered expensive by many people. Note the Saturday specials for Joel Gutman & Company of Baltimore, Maryland, in the ad below:

  • Boys’ and girls’ footwear was on sale for $1.90, with high and lace shoes selling for $2.15
  • Boys’ suits were priced from $7.50 to $8.50, and overcoats from $10.00 to $13.00
  • Girls’ cloth dresses ranged from $1.67 to $2.85
  • Girls’ coats from $5.97 to $8.37
ad for children's clothing from Joel Gutman and Company, Sun newspaper advertisement 9 January 1915

Sun (Baltimore, Maryland), 9 January 1915, page 4

Medicine and Quackery

If you want to have a good laugh – or can handle being shocked at what happened in the past – take a look at the medical treatments available to our ancestors. Many of the medical treatments of yesteryear, such as the opiate paregoric (powdered opium), promised to cure everything from diarrhea to colic (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paregoric).

As seen in the ad below for castoria (castor oil) warning parents “Don’t Poison Baby,” the dangers of paregoric were known 100 years ago. Surprisingly, you could purchase it without a subscription until 1970, so it ended up in many household medicine cabinets.

ad for castoria (castor oil), Colorado Springs Gazette newspaper advertisement 7 July 1915

Colorado Springs Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colorado), 7 July 1915, page 5

If your children were “vertically challenged,” parents could arrange for magnetic wave treatments.

Dr. Charles I. White, who (in my humble opinion) should be added to the many lists of quack doctors, promised to double the growth of children by electrical treatment. Let’s hope none of your family was drawn in by the spurious medical advertisement shown below.

ad for the "magnetic wave" medical device, Riverside Independent Enterprise newspaper advertisement 16 January 1915

Riverside Independent Enterprise (Riverside, California), 16 January 1915, page 3

Delve into historical newspaper classified ads and let us know if you find information that helped with your family history research.

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A Native American Revolutionary War Veteran’s Final Request

When I am gone, beat the drum and fire the guns. ~ Captain and Chief Tishomingo

As we get closer to July 4th, we think back on the stories of our American ancestors who fought for our freedom in the Revolutionary War. This old newspaper obituary tells us about the story of one of those Revolutionary War veterans, whose heroic story deserves to be more widely known.

obituary for Chief Tishomingo, Evening Post newspaper article 24 June 1841

Evening Post (New York, New York), 24 June 1841, page 2

Chief Tishomingo was the last great chief of the Chickasaw Nation.

According to his obituary:

Although but little known beyond the limits of his nation, yet he was a man who had seen wars and fought battles; stood high among his own people as a brave and good man. He served under Gen. [Anthony] Wayne in the revolutionary war, for which he received a pension from the government of the United States; and in the late war with England [the War of 1812] he served under Gen. [Andrew] Jackson, and did many deeds of valor.

Chief Tishomingo was born in Tishomingo, Mississippi – the town was renamed in his honor. The early history of the 19th Century was not kind to Native Americans – even those like Chief Tishomingo who had “fought in nine battles for the United States.” He and his tribe were forced to relocate to Oklahoma. He died on the trip near Little Rock, Arkansas.

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The first capital of Oklahoma was located in Tishomingo, Oklahoma, which was also named in Captain Tishomingo’s honor.

Watch this video about Chief Tishomingo’s life that was produced by Chickasaw.tv https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PL9O9lNNzTk

Find your ancestors’ true life stories in more than one billion historical articles that cover over 300 years of American history from coast to coast. Start searching in GenealogyBank.com.

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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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Nevada Archives: 41 Newspapers for Genealogy Research

Nevada became a state in 1864 during the Civil War; in recognition of this, the banner on the state flag reads “Battle Born.” The 7th largest state in the country, Nevada – which is mostly desert – is the 35th most populous and the 9th least densely populated of the United States.

photo of Las Vegas, Nevada

Photo: Las Vegas, Nevada. Credit: Http2007; Wikimedia Commons.

If you are researching your ancestry from Nevada, you will want to use GenealogyBank’s online NV newspaper archives: 41 titles to help you search your family history in the “Silver State,” providing coverage from 1864 to Today. There are more than 270,000 articles and records in our online Nevada archives!

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

Search Nevada Newspaper Archives (1864 – 1922)

Search Nevada Recent Obituaries (1996 – Current)

illustration of the state flag of Nevada

Illustration: state flag of Nevada. Credit: Caleb Moore; Wikimedia Commons.

Here is a list of online Nevada 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 NV newspaper titles are listed alphabetically by city.

City Title Date Range* Collection
Austin Reese River Reveille 8/5/1864 – 8/11/1864 Newspaper Archives
Battle Mountain Battle Mountain Bugle 2/8/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Boulder City Boulder City View 8/7/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Boulder City Boulder City Review 11/5/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Caliente Lincoln County Record 6/14/2013 – Current Recent Obituaries
Carson City New Daily Appeal 9/14/1872 – 3/9/1873 Newspaper Archives
Carson City Nevada Appeal 7/4/2000 – 3/11/2013 Recent Obituaries
Elko Daily Independent 7/1/1885 – 2/19/1887 Newspaper Archives
Elko Elko Daily Free Press 1/30/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
Ely Ely Times 10/10/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Eureka Eureka Daily Sentinel 6/18/1871 – 8/24/1876 Newspaper Archives
Eureka Eureka Daily Republican 2/28/1878 – 3/20/1878 Newspaper Archives
Eureka Eureka Sentinel 8/7/2013 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hamilton Inland Empire 6/16/1869 – 9/21/1869 Newspaper Archives
Hawthorne Mineral County Independent-News 8/5/2013 – Current Recent Obituaries
Henderson Henderson View 4/24/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
Henderson Las Vegas Weekly 5/8/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Las Vegas Las Vegas Business Press 11/20/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Las Vegas Las Vegas Review-Journal 10/1/1996 – Current Recent Obituaries
Las Vegas Centennial View 4/14/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Las Vegas Paradise View 12/6/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Las Vegas Summerlin View 3/31/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
Las Vegas Summerlin South View 10/29/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
Las Vegas Southwest View 12/6/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Las Vegas Whitney View 4/8/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Las Vegas Las Vegas Sun: Blogs 2/14/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Las Vegas Sunrise View 5/5/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Las Vegas Las Vegas Sun 5/1/1996 – Current Recent Obituaries
Las Vegas Anthem View 6/6/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lovelock Lovelock Review-Miner 7/27/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Mesquite Mesquite Local News 4/14/2012 – 6/5/2014 Recent Obituaries
North Las Vegas North Las Vegas View 11/29/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Pahrump Pahrump Valley Times 10/12/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Pioche Daily Journal 1/1/1876 – 4/26/1876 Newspaper Archives
Reno Nevada State Journal 8/1/1893 – 6/6/1922 Newspaper Archives
Sparks Daily Sparks Tribune 6/23/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Treasure City White Pines News 6/15/1869 – 6/15/1869 Newspaper Archives
Unionville Humboldt Register 3/25/1865 – 3/25/1865 Newspaper Archives
Virginia City Territorial Enterprise 8/4/1874 – 12/31/1879 Newspaper Archives
Virginia City Comstock Chronicle 10/2/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Winnemucca Humboldt Sun 12/12/2010 – 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 Nevada newspaper links will be live.

Did you know?

The Territorial Enterprise (Virginia City, Nevada) is Nevada’s most important early newspaper and featured articles written by young staffer Samuel Clemens, later known as Mark Twain.

Also, Nevada was the first state to ratify the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave African American men the right to vote, on 1 March 1869.

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Frederic Haskin’s Answers to Questions: Like Google before Google

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” In this blog article, Gena profiles Frederic J. Haskin and his Question & Answer column that was syndicated in more than 100 newspapers during the 1920s.

Where did inquisitive minds seek answers to their questions 70 or more years ago, long before the age of the Internet and search engines like Google? Your immediate answer might be: the library. Librarians, then as now, are the great reference source (even when Google lacks an answer). In fact, the New York Public Library has recently reported the finding of old index cards of reference questions and answers from the 1940s to the early 1980s. Recently, they have started to add those index cards to their Instagram account (@nypl) each week.

Frederic J. Haskin’s Answer Column

But who else, aside from librarians, answered questions in the days before the Internet? The newspapers. While many different types of Question & Answer columns were printed in newspapers, one column was syndicated in more than 100 newspapers during the 1920s. Frederic J. Haskin of the Information Bureau is said, at one point, to have received 1,000 letters a day which he answered with the help of his staff.

According to Haskin’s 1926 book Answers to Questions, his work on the Q & A newspaper column started because:

the author of this book gradually developed a large mail from readers asking questions about subjects which he had discussed. Pleased by the questions that his writings had inspired, the author set out to answer the inquiries which he received. As this became known, his mail increased until he was forced to obtain funds from the newspaper which he represented to pay for the cost of additional research work.*

Each newspaper that ran his Q & A column would start with an invitation such as this:

Any reader can get the answer to any question by writing… information bureau Frederic J. Haskin, director, Washington D.C. Give full name and address and enclose two-cent stamp for return postage. Be brief. All inquiries are confidential, the replies being sent to each individual.

When printed in the newspaper, readers’ questions were always signed with only their initials, allowing them to ask pretty much any type of question.

Questions, Questions and More Questions

The questions asked by people ranged from the historical to current events, practical to trivial. Understandably, questions that affected people in the here and now were asked, like this May 1919 question about the length of military enlistment – six months after the official end of World War I.

a question and answer column by Frederic J. Haskin, Charlotte Observer newspaper article 1 May 1919

Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, North Carolina), 1 May 1919, page 7

In some cases, questions amounted to simple trivia – but for some of the questions, you may wonder what was the story behind the question that was asked. In this column from November 1922, the questions include “Why are some cranberries white?” and “Is China the most densely populated country?” to “Can a husband demand the delivery of mail addressed to his wife?”

For the latter question, the reply was:

Neither husband nor wife can control the delivery of mail addressed to the other against the wishes of the one to whom it is addressed. In the absence of instructions to the contrary, the wife’s letters will be placed with the husband’s mail unless they be known to live separately.

a question and answer column by Frederic J. Haskin, Fort Worth Star-Telegram newspaper article 6 November 1922

Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Fort Worth, Texas), 6 November 1922, page 15

Haskin was a prolific author on various topics. Some of his Q & A columns also ran with an advertisement for his informative booklets, like this one on Parliamentarian Law, and there were other topics as well – such as poetry and maps

ad for a booklet on Parliamentarian Law by Frederic J. Haskin, Omaha World Herald newspaper advertisement 12 November 1931

Omaha World Herald (Omaha, Nebraska), 12 November 1931, page 13

With a Touch of Genealogy Research

In his book Answers to Questions, the questions received from 5,000 newspaper readers and his answers are compiled and arranged according to topic. Chapters range from Agricultural and Aircraft to Criminology and Religion.

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Haskin understood the reference and educational value of his Q & A column. He wrote in his book:

It is also the most unusual school in the world. It costs nothing to go to it. It has millions of students. It offers a more diversified curriculum than any university. It spreads its knowledge through the daily press and the mails. It reaches the ditch digger and the captain of finance, the washerwoman and the social leader. It is open to anyone who can read and write. All a student is required to do is ask and it will answer. It is the school of universal information.**

It’s surprising how many of these old Q & A columns could be useful to today’s genealogist. And in some cases Haskin’s Information Bureau acted as a detective service. In a 1922 article about the Information Bureau that appeared in the periodical The American Magazine, it is recalled that one of the letters received was from a woman who wanted to know the whereabouts of her brother, a civil engineer, whom she had lost contact with. Using city directories, the Bureau researcher was able to give her an answer:

Your brother left Buffalo, probably in the year 1916. If he went to Detroit, he did not remain there permanently. As he was not enlisted in the army or navy during the way, though of draft age, he may have been married without your knowledge…

The researcher also recommends contacting the brother’s college alumni association. That article explains more about the Information Bureau and its team of expert researchers. And just like the traits of a good genealogist, it states:

Neither Haskin nor the people in his bureau pretend to know the answer to every question: But they do know where to find the answers.***

——————–

* Answers to Questions, by Frederic J. Haskin, p. 11. Hathi Trust http://hdl.handle.net/2027/uc1.$b287779.
** Answers to Questions, by Frederic J. Haskin, p. 12. Hathi Trust http://hdl.handle.net/2027/uc1.$b287779
*** “What People Are Inquisitive About,” by Fred C. Kelly. The American Magazine. Available from Google Books: https://books.google.com/books?id=UbQ7AQAAMAAJ&lpg=RA4-PA45&ots=wkIdv0TUA-&dq=newspaper%20information%20bureaus%20questions%20and%20answers&pg=RA4-PA45#v=onepage&q=newspaper%20information%20bureaus%20questions%20and%20answers&f=false

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Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy: Shot after Victory Speech

Only 4½ years after his older brother, President John F. Kennedy, was assassinated – and just two months after civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., had been gunned down – America awoke on 5 June 1968 to read the horrifying news that another of the nation’s young leaders had been attacked: Senator Robert F. Kennedy. He was shot three times by a Jordanian, Sirhan Sirhan, in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles right after giving a victory speech in the California Democratic presidential primary. Five others were wounded in the shooting as well.

photo of Robert F. Kennedy, 1964

Photo: Robert F. Kennedy, 1964. Credit: U.S. News & World Report; Library of Congress.

RFK had only entered the presidential primary in March, but was rapidly gaining momentum. Winning the California Democratic primary over his rival Senator Eugene J. McCarthy on June 4, Kennedy gave his victory speech to a gathering of about 2,000 buoyant supporters in the hotel’s ballroom. He ended his victory speech shortly after midnight and headed for the hotel’s kitchen, a shortcut to get to a press conference. At 12:15 a.m., 5 June 1968, Sirhan struck and Kennedy fell to the floor, bleeding and mortally wounded from the gunshots.

He clung to life for 26 difficult hours, but died early in the morning of June 6. He was 42 years old. America had lost another legendary leader, felled by an assassin. Sirhan later said he was angry over Kennedy’s support for Israel.

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Here is the shocking newspaper front page editorial that readers in the Seattle, Washington, area saw that day.

article about the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy, Seattle Times newspaper article 5 June 1968

Seattle Times (Seattle, Washington), 5 June 1968, page 1

The lead news story reports:

Robert Kennedy’s Condition Remains Extremely Critical

Associated Press and United Press International

Los Angeles—Senator Robert F. Kennedy emerged from more than three hours of surgery in extremely “critical condition” today after he was shot in the head by a mysteriously silent gunman early this morning. The shooting occurred after he had won the California Democratic presidential primary.

The gunman was identified at midmorning as Sirhan Sirhan, 23, a Jordanian born in Jerusalem.

Kennedy was shot down about 4½ years after his brother, President John F. Kennedy, was assassinated by a rifleman in Dallas, Tex.

An aide said all but a fragment of a bullet was removed from Kennedy’s brain and a second bullet, less serious, remains in the back of his neck.

Vital signs—pulse and breathing—are in good order, Frank Mankiewicz, Kennedy’s press secretary, told newsmen, but the next 24 to 36 hours will be critical. He said there “may have been some impairment of the blood supply to the center of the brain”—which controls pulse, blood pressure and tracking of the eye—but “not the thinking processes.”

A series of tests conducted on the senator “do not show measurable improvement” in his condition, which remains extremely critical, Mankiewicz reported at 2:15 p.m.

Mayor Samuel Yorty said identification of the gunman was made by the suspect’s brother, Adel Sirhan of Pasadena, who was traced through the death weapon.

The 42-year-old New York senator came from behind in California’s crucial primary to accrue a winning lead over Senator Eugene J. McCarthy around midnight. Kennedy had proclaimed his win to about 2,000 supporters at an Ambassador Hotel rally and was taking a shortcut through the kitchen to a meeting with newsmen when shots rang out.

With stunning rapidity at 12:15 a.m., a man police described as a Caucasian, 5 feet 6 inches and 140 pounds, with dark hair and complexion, emptied the chamber of an eight-shot .22-caliber pistol.

Kennedy fell, hit three times. Five others near him were wounded, none as badly as Kennedy.

Pandemonium broke loose. Roosevelt Grier, giant Negro tackle for the professional Los Angeles Rams, quickly grabbed the much smaller gunman, wrestled the gun from him and held him for police.

The man under arrest was arraigned secretly at 7 a.m. as John Doe and bail was set at $250,000. The arraignment was on six accounts of assault with intent to commit murder.

Police Chief Thomas Reddin said the man remained silent for hours, then broke that silence and proved to be “extremely articulate with an extensive vocabulary,” but he refused to identify himself or discuss the shooting.

Kennedy was taken first to Central Receiving Hospital, where a doctor said he was “practically dead” upon arrival.

Physicians there administered closed cardiac massage, oxygen and adrenalin. “At first he was pulseless,” a doctor who treated him said, “then his pulse came back and we began to hear a heartbeat and he began to breathe—a little erratically.”

The doctor, Victor Baz, said Ethel Kennedy, who accompanied her husband in the ambulance, was frightened. “She didn’t believe he was alive because she couldn’t see that he was responding. I put the stethoscope to her ears so she could listen and she was tremendously relieved.”

Kennedy was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital near downtown Los Angeles. There a team of six surgeons began brain surgery at 3:12 a.m. that lasted about 3 hours and 40 minutes.

Doctors said one bullet struck near the right ear and entered the brain. Another hit in the shoulder. A third apparently grazed his forehead.

The actual surgery here was performed by Drs. Maxwell Ambler of the University of California at Los Angeles Medical School and Nat Downes Reid and Henry Cuneo of the University of Southern California Medical School.

Kennedy’s brother, Edward, senator from Massachusetts, flew here from San Francisco and was taken by helicopter to Good Samaritan.

Wounds were suffered by Paul Schrade, 30, United Auto Workers official; William Weisel, 30, unit manager for the American Broadcasting Co.; Ira Goldstein, 19, a radio newsman; Irwin Stroll, 17; and Mrs. Elizabeth Evans. All but Weisel, of Washington, D.C., are from the Los Angeles area.

The gunman appeared in the kitchen area behind the bandstand of the Embassy Room, where Kennedy backers, including movie stars and students, were listening to their candidate’s light-hearted victory speech.

Kennedy finished his speech and began working his way off the platform and into the kitchen, followed by close associates and members of his family.

At that moment the gunman pushed through the throng, reached his arm around others in front of him and shot the senator.

Grier, the football player, grabbed the man’s arm. Joe LaHive, a local Kennedy campaigner, wrested the gun away. Grier and a former Olympic decathlon champion, Rafer Johnson, lifted the assailant and spread him on a steel kitchen table.

“Nobody hurt this man!” one of the athletes shouted. “We want to take him alive!”

Women were screaming, “Oh no!” “God, God, not again!”

Kennedy was stretched on the floor, his face covered with blood. “Give him room! Step back!” someone yelled.

Kennedy seemed to hear nothing. His face was blank, his eyes staring sightlessly.

Grier, Johnson and two or three others held the gunman on the table 10 feet away. Screams began to be heard in the ballroom as news of the shooting spread to the campaigners, who had been cheering their candidate two minutes before.

Kennedy was given emergency treatment by a doctor summoned from the ballroom.

The gunman, apparently unharmed, was rushed through the Ambassador lobby by police 10 minutes after the shooting. By this time the crowd knew that Kennedy had been shot.

“Kill him! Lynch him!” onlookers shouted. They milled forward to get at the man, but the police ran him down the stairs and got him to the central jail.

Learn more about Robert F. Kennedy’s life, political career and assassination in GenealogyBank’s newspaper archives: http://www.genealogybank.com/gbnk/?fname=robert+f.&lname=kennedy

RFK Family Tree Chart

family tree for Robert F. Kennedy

Download our free family tree chart template to create your own personalized family tree chart like the Robert F. Kennedy family tree chart featured above: http://blog.genealogybank.com/family-tree-template-free-download

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African American Slave Born in 1686 Dies at Age 116 in 1802!

While doing genealogy research recently in GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives, I came upon the obituary of a woman identified only as “a female slave named Alice,” who died at Bristol, Pennsylvania, at the remarkable age of 116!

obituary for a female slave named Alice, Newburyport Herald newspaper article 13 July 1802

Newburyport Herald (Newburyport, Massachusetts), 13 July 1802, page 3

Alice was only 10 when she was taken from her parents in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Bristol, Pennsylvania – where she lived in servitude as an African American slave the rest of her days. The newspaper article states that her parents were from Barbados.

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Philadelphia was founded in 1682 – so her family had to be among the first African American slaves brought to that area. Bristol township in Bucks County was founded in 1692.

Illustration: “Alice, a Female Slave, ca. 1802” from Eccentric Biography; or Memoirs of Remarkable Female Characters (Worcester, Mass., 1804), frontispiece

Illustration: “Alice, a Female Slave, ca. 1802” from Eccentric Biography; or Memoirs of Remarkable Female Characters (Worcester, Mass., 1804), frontispiece. Source: Image Reference NW0120, as shown on www.slaveryimages.org, sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the University of Virginia Library.

Because of her extreme old age and excellent memory, Alice served as a local historian for the community. According to her obituary:

Being a sensible, intelligent woman, and having a good memory, which she retained to the last, she would often make judicious remarks on the population and improvement of the city and country; hence her conversation became peculiarly interesting, especially to the immediate descendants of the first settlers, of whose ancestors she often related acceptable anecdotes.

The old news article relates some of the memories she shared with her neighbors:

She remembered the ground on which Philadelphia stands when it was wilderness, and when the Indians (its chief inhabitants) hunted wild game in the woods; while the panther, the wolf, and beasts of the forest, were prowling about the wigwams and cabins in which they lived.

She remembered William Penn, the proprietor of Pennsylvania; Thomas Story, James Logan, and several other distinguished characters of that day.

The old 1800s obituary also tells a wonderful story about Alice herself:

She was a worthy member of the Episcopal society, and attended their public worship as long as she lived. Indeed she was so zealous to perform this duty in proper season, that she has often been met on horseback in full gallop to church, at the age of 95 years.

The old newspapers in GenealogyBank’s archives have her remarkable life story.
Find 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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