Ghost Stories & Séances: History and True Life Paranormal Events

Introduction: Mary Harrell-Sesniak is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background. In this blog article, Mary searches old newspapers for stories about ghosts, séances and psychics – and tells two related stories from her own family’s history.

Starting in the Victorian Era, séances, psychics and spiritualists seemed to be everywhere, as more and more people believed they could talk to – or receive messages from – the spirit world, and thereby communicate with their departed spouse or child.

photo of a séance conducted by John Beattie, Bristol, England, 1872, from the Eugène Rochas Papers held at the American Philosophical Society Library

Photo: séance conducted by John Beattie, Bristol, England, 1872, from the Eugène Rochas Papers held at the American Philosophical Society Library. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

The interest in séances and ghosts carried over into the early 20th century. This 1916 newspaper article reports there will be an “independent message séance” at the First Independent Spiritual Church, and another “message séance” at the home of Mrs. Jennie Cook – “held under the auspices of the Ladies’ Auxiliary.”

article about séances, Miami Herald newspaper article 23 July 1916

Miami Herald (Miami, Florida), 23 July 1916, section 2, page 12

Reactions to séances have been mixed throughout history. Some who turned to spiritual psychic mediums were true believers; others went out of curiosity or on a lark. And then there were the doubters who went to great lengths to debunk what they considered outrageous fraud.

Perhaps your ancestors were among those who attended séances; I know mine were – but whatever their reasons, marvelous reports of séances and ghosts filter through historical newspapers!

Enter Last Name

Genuine Manifestation Award

In 1937, a $10,000 reward was put up by “medium exposer” Joseph Dunninger for anyone who could provide a “genuine manifestation” – a contact with the spirit world. Spirit Medium Stanley K. Werner struggled and strained to produce a message from the ghost of deceased magician Howard Thurston, but failed. His wife had no better success.

photo of a séance, Heraldo de Brownsville newspaper article 22 July 1937

Heraldo de Brownsville (Brownsville, Texas), 22 July 1937, page 8

Mrs. Huntoon’s Ruse

This historical newspaper article from 1898 reports that Mrs. Huntoon, a well-known spiritualist, put on quite a show. For 50¢, her customers got to see spirits move, tin cans rattling and hands jingling bells from behind a curtain. Sometimes messages from the other side were received. One man heard from his dear departed wife, who wrote on a piece of paper: “My darling husband.” Mrs. Huntoon’s séances were elaborate ruses which many fell victim to.

article about a séance, Argus and Patriot newspaper article 19 January 1898

Argus and Patriot (Montpelier, Vermont), 19 January 1898, page 2

The journalist apparently agreed. He examined the written messages and reported that “the writing was a horrible hieroglyphic and all strangely alike.” The end of the old news article reports:

One of the men attending the séance said that Mrs. Huntoon was not so good now as she used to be.

Got It Wrong

The story from this next newspaper article has a humorous twist. At this séance in 1909, one of the participants asked the medium about his “very good friend who did all our work,” and who had departed several years earlier. He left out the part about this “friend” being in reality an old horse. The spiritualist “made a few mysterious motions and rapped on the table,” then reported good news: “Your friend is still in the west of Ireland and is married to a rich woman!”

article about a séance, Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper article 26 December 1909

Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), 26 December 1909, page 3

My Family’s Ghost Stories

Now before we end, I have to tell you about two true life ghost stories in my family’s history.

Enter Last Name

The first has to do with a condemned government building in Indianapolis, Indiana. The locals believed it was haunted, so they tore it down.

As far as I know, my ancestor, David Macy of Indianapolis, didn’t believe in ghosts. He did, however, recognize a bargain when he saw it. The story is that he purchased the demolished building’s materials and used them to build his own home. Apparently, the ghosts didn’t follow the haunted lumber to his new house. You can see from this photo that Mary Ann (Patterson) Macy and her granddaughter were not a bit afraid to enjoy their front porch!

photo of Mary Ann (Patterson) Macy and her granddaughter

Photo: Mary Ann (Patterson) Macy and her granddaughter. Credit: from the personal collection of Mary Harrell-Sesniak.

The second family ghost story has to do with my Scott ancestors who lived in Saratoga, New York.

Their son was often sent by his mother Sophronia to deliver items to a neighbor named Sally Wheeler. Sally had a reputation for being a stern, old woman who lived with a servant. Once she told Sophronia that if anything ever happened to her, she should look in the clock to find money hidden there.

Well, eventually Sally Wheeler did pass away – but when the clock was examined, the money was gone. Afterward, Sophronia visited the estate’s lawyer and asked him about the money in the clock. The family story is that he became white as a ghost and shortly thereafter committed suicide.

Many years later, my grandmother wrote a letter about this. She reported that the story had virtually been forgotten until she and her parents went to a séance. At the end, the medium turned to my great grandfather and told him that she could see him as a frightened little boy outside the door of an old woman’s house. He knocked, the door opened, and the old woman took the items he was delivering to her. Believe it or not, but that is what my grandmother reported!

Now, as every good genealogist knows, you need to check the provenance of the ghost story.

Were these people real?

Yes, A. H. and Sophronia Scott are recorded living in dwelling house #188 on the 1860 U.S. Federal Census for Greenfield, Saratoga, New York. Eight family members were in the household. He was a farmer, as were two of his sons, including the one from the story.

Sarah “Sally” Wheeler was also real. She was age 52 and living in household #185 with her sister Syrissa Wheeler, age 57. With them were three men engaged in farming, or farm laborers. The sisters each owned $3,000 in real estate and $500 in personal property. Interestingly, Sarah and Syrissa Wheeler are buried in the Scott cemetery, although my Scotts are buried in Bailey Cemetery. (The links will direct you to the Wheeler memorials at Findagrave.)

Was the money ever found?

No, but the clock is real. It was given to my ancestor and is still owned by a family member. We all call this heirloom the Sally Wheeler clock.

Was there an estate lawyer who committed suicide?

There probably was a lawyer in Greenfield, but I have no idea who he was. If a kind reader can locate a corresponding death notice from 1894 or 1895 from the Greenfield area, please let me know.

If you have any séance or ghost stories to share, please send them along!

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The Nelson Shipwreck & Captain Hagney: Name Research Tips

Introduction: Duncan Kuehn is a professional genealogist with over eight years of client experience. She has worked on several well-known projects, such as “Who Do You Think You Are?” and researching President Barack Obama’s ancestry. In this blog post, Duncan searches old newspapers to learn more about Captain Hagney and the sinking of the schooner “Nelson” on Lake Superior in 1899, using various search tips to get good results.

Searching newspapers for an ancestor’s name that doesn’t seem to have a standard spelling can be a challenge for family historians. Here is an interesting case study about the captain of a sunken ship that may help you research those difficult ancestor names. Recently this ship, the schooner Nelson, was found under more than 200 feet of water in Lake Superior. There were several newspaper articles about the shipwreck discovery, but they had various spellings of the captain’s name – including “Haganey” and “Hagginey.”

The Story of the Sinking of the Nelson

The shipwreck story goes like this. On 15 May 1899, the schooner Nelson was overloaded with coal, in addition to the 10 people on board. There was a terrific storm on Lake Superior and ice accumulated on the ship, causing it to sit even lower in the water. The waves began to crash over the edges of the ship. The Nelson was being towed by the steamer A Folsom along with the Mary B Mitchell. At some point the towing line either broke or was cut. Shortly after, the Nelson tilted and the stern popped up out of the water as the entire vessel almost immediately went under. The captain placed his crew, his wife, and his toddler son into the lifeboat. Then he dove into the water to join them. Unfortunately, the lifeboat was still tethered to the Nelson and it was dragged down to the bottom of the lake by the sinking ship. The captain, who never reached the lifeboat, watched helplessly as his ship and family were lost. He clung to a piece of the wreckage and was found unconscious along the shore. The storm’s violent 50 mile-per-hour winds prevented any rescue efforts by the other two ships. Nine lives were lost; only the captain survived.

My Search for the Captain

This is a compelling story of a heroic effort by the captain of the Nelson that just wasn’t enough to save his family or crew, and I wanted to learn more details.

As always, I searched for contemporary records to find out more. I started by looking into GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives. I ran this search:

screenshot of GenealogyBank's search box showing a search for the schooner "Nelson"

I entered the name of the ship in quotation marks as a keyword. You do not necessarily need to use a person’s name to search on GenealogyBank – a keyword search is often effective. I also entered a date range from the date of the accident to several months after the event. When the search results came back I sorted the results with the oldest article first, as I prefer to read articles in chronological order.

I found many newspaper articles from all over the United States telling the story of the accident. Here are three of those articles.

This article refers to Captain “Haganney.”

article about the shipwreck of the schooner "Nelson," Elkhart Weekly Review newspaper article 17 May 1899

Elkhart Weekly Review (Elkhart, Indiana), 17 May 1899, page 1

This historical newspaper article refers to Captain “Hagney.”

article about the shipwreck of the schooner "Nelson," Anaconda Standard newspaper article 15 May 1899

Anaconda Standard (Anaconda, Montana), 15 May 1899, page 1

This old news article also refers to Captain “Hagney.”

article about the shipwreck of the schooner "Nelson," Bay City Times newspaper article 15 May 1899

Bay City Times (Bay City, Michigan), 15 May 1899, page 3

Using these old newspaper articles, I discovered that much of the information in the present-day articles about the discovery of the shipwreck reflected the information given in those 1899 articles. However, I found some inconsistencies as well. Perhaps most importantly, the old articles make no mention of the captain’s heroic effort to save his family and crew. A typical comment from those 1899 articles is that “The Nelson disappeared as suddenly as one could snuff a candle,” suggesting that the captain did not have time to do anything. I also find that Captain Haganey/Hagginey (as spelled in the modern newspaper articles) is spelled differently in the 1899 articles:  “Haganney” and “Hagney.”

Enter Last Name

After learning about the shipwreck, I now wanted to know more about the captain himself – but there were so many spellings of his name I wasn’t sure which was correct. A quick search of census records on FamilySearch.org told me that he was the son of John and Mary Hagney from Oswego, New York. He also had siblings: Ellen, Thomas, William, and Mary.

Going back to GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives, I narrowed my search using the name as it appeared in the census: “Hagney.” This search turned up several articles that told me a great deal about the captain.

One of the first I found was this very sad newspaper article. It appears that on the same day the Nelson when down with Captain Hagney’s entire family, his friends from New York were frantically trying to reach him with the sad news that his mother had just died. The unfortunate man lost his one remaining parent and his wife and child.

article about the shipwreck of the schooner "Nelson," Saginaw News newspaper article 15 May 1899

Saginaw News (Saginaw, Michigan), 15 May 1899, page 6

The Captain Searches for His Family

Immediately after the Nelson accident, Captain Hagney refused to give up hope. As this old news article explains, he wasn’t willing to give up on his family – and spent hours and days combing the beach for any sign of his loved ones:

Capt. Hagney is now engaged in patrolling the beach with the help of the crews of life saving stations here and at Deer Park. The broken yawl, some parts of the cabin, a lady’s hat, a man’s cap and a mattress are all that have yet been found.

article about the shipwreck of the schooner "Nelson," Plain Dealer newspaper article 19 May 1899

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 19 May 1899, page 10

Hagney was understandably distraught, as reported in these next two newspaper articles. This Ohio newspaper article’s headline, “Capt. Hagney in Bad Shape,” says it all, and reports that he had been hospitalized:

The doctors class his trouble as nervousness and insomnia.

article about Captain Hagney's trauma after the shipwreck of the schooner "Nelson," Plain Dealer newspaper article 24 May 1899

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 24 May 1899, page 8

This Michigan newspaper article reports that Hagney’s condition is serious.

article about Captain Hagney's trauma after the shipwreck of the schooner "Nelson," Saginaw News newspaper article 24 May 1899

Saginaw News (Saginaw, Michigan), 24 May 1899, page 2

The Previous Life of Captain Hagney

The 1900 census shows him safely ensconced at the home of a family member in Toledo, Ohio, where he was working as an agent for the seamen’s union.* As tragic as all of this was, I still wanted to know more about Hagney. He had a life before the shipwreck of the Nelson and one after, so I ran some more searches. I started with changing the spelling from Hagney to Hageny. I figured this would be a common misspelling even though I hadn’t seen it in any of the records so far. This search did produce results, and I found a series of articles about his life back in New York a decade before the accident.

Enter Last Name

Ten years previously, in 1889, Andrew got into some difficulty with the law. As this New York newspaper reports, there was a trial after some union trouble involving strikes, “scabs” and violence:

Andrew Hageny, William Putman, and Michael Donovan were charged with a murderous assault upon Jesse Josephs, mate of the schooner John Scheutte of Toledo, at the dock in this port…Josephs was dragged a mile into the suburbs, pounded with belaying pins and thrown into the cellar of a burned house; he managed to crawl to an adjoin house.

They were all found guilty of assault in the second degree, with a second, upcoming trial for coercion and conspiracy in forcing some “scabs” to leave another ship.

article about Andrew Hagney being convicted for assault, Watertown Daily Times newspaper article 20 July 1889

Watertown Daily Times (Watertown, New York), 20 July 1889, page 5

This “Andrew Hageny” seems to be the same man as the later Captain Andrew Hagney of the Nelson, based on location, occupation, and name, but more evidence is always wanted – so I kept searching the archives. I found this earlier newspaper article about the assault on sailor Jesse Josephs, and learned that Andrew Hageny’s brother Thomas was also involved. This lends credence to the belief that this Andrew Hageny is the same as the later Captain Andrew Hagney, since I knew from my earlier research on the census that Andrew Hagney had a brother named Thomas.

article about Thomas Hagney being charged for assault, Watertown Daily Times newspaper article 17 May 1889

Watertown Daily Times (Watertown, New York), 17 May 1889, page 3

But how did Andrew become a ship’s captain with this background of conviction for assault, especially when we find that he had been sentenced to four years in prison?

Intrigued, I kept searching for answers – and found this newspaper article two years into Andrew’s prison sentence, indicating that Governor Hill had promised to pardon him.

article about Andrew Hagney being pardoned by Governor Hill, Watertown Daily Times newspaper article 25 November 1891

Watertown Daily Times (Watertown, New York), 25 November 1891, page 8

And that was indeed what happened – Governor Hill pardoned him. So that was how he got out of prison early, and presumably set about setting his affairs in order. I was unable to find any newspaper articles reporting Andrew getting in trouble with the law again. He must have worked hard and stayed out of trouble, because in a few years he was entrusted as a ship’s captain.

The Post-Shipwreck Life of Captain Hagney

But what happened to Captain Andrew Hagney after the shipwreck of the Nelson? Was he able to recover from the trauma? It took some searching to find a newspaper article to answer this question. I had to go back to the other spellings of his name, and eventually found his obituary by searching under the spelling “Haganey.”

obituary for Andrew Hagney, Cleveland Leader newspaper article 23 February 1912

Cleveland Leader (Cleveland, Ohio), 23 February 1912, page 10

Captain Andrew Hagney appears to have remained in Toledo for the rest of his short life. He remarried and fathered three more children. He died at age 52 in 1912, while visiting his in-laws in New Mexico.

Captain Hagney’s life was full of tragic and challenging experiences. While it must have been difficult to live, searching for his life story provides an opportunity for us to learn about ancestor name search tips, and demonstrates how much we can learn about the lives of our ancestors simply by continuing to dig in the archives..

Genealogy Tips:

Many of us have ancestors with unusual names, or names that appear in records with different spellings. When searching on GenealogyBank, the search engine will look for exactly what you type. Therefore, if you know of an alternative spelling of your ancestor’s name – or if you can guess at one – you may end up finding even more articles. And if you stumble across an article that seems to be about your ancestor, but the name was spelled differently than you thought, it could still be them. Keep searching for additional information to help you determine if that record or article is the right person.

Another thing you might notice is the location of these articles. They appear from places all over the United States: Cleveland, Ohio; Saginaw, Michigan; Watertown, New York; Elkhart, Indiana; Anaconda, Montana; and Bay City, Michigan. While some of these locations make sense because Andrew had a connection with them, some do not – such as Montana and Indiana. Keep in mind that news travels, and reports about the ancestor you are looking for could be in any newspaper in the country. If you don’t find what you are looking for in your ancestor’s local area, don’t hesitate to search nationwide. This is always a good approach to take, even if your initial searches do find articles in your ancestor’s hometown, because many more articles might be out there. Best of luck in your family history searches!

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* “United States Census, 1900,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MMD2-KFQ: accessed Dec. 2014), Andrew Hagney in household of Robert V. French, Port Lawrence Township, Precinct F Toledo city Ward 10, Lucas, Ohio, United States; citing sheet 8A, family 159, NARA microfilm publication T623, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.; FHL microfilm 1241298.

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New York Archives: 586 Newspapers for Genealogy Research

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

photo of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor

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

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

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

Search New York Newspaper Archives (1733 – 1998)

Search New York Recent Obituaries (1986 – Current)

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

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

*Date Ranges may have selected coverage unavailable.

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

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His Life for His Son’s: The Story of My Cousin Isaac Smith

I recently found compelling newspaper articles about a local New York baker who lost his life while saving his drowning son.

A distant cousin wrote me last week and mentioned that a mutual cousin of ours, Isaac Smith, had died while trying to rescue his son back in the 1800s. I thought, that sounds like a story that a newspaper would pick up – so I headed to GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives to find the rest of that story.

I quickly found not one – but three articles on this tragedy.

article about W. Isaac Smith drowning while strying to save his son, New York Herald newspaper article 24 June 1895

New York Herald (New York, New York), 24 June 1895, page 5

The drowning happened at a company picnic at Oakland Beach in Rye, New York.

According to the newspaper article, Isaac never took time off from his bakery. The picnic he organized was his first break from work in ten years. The news article goes on to describe the grim details of his death while rescuing his drowning son.

article about W. Isaac Smith drowning while trying to save his son, Watertown Daily Times newspaper article 24 June 1895

Watertown Daily Times (Watertown, New York), 24 June 1895, page 1

According to the other two articles I found, Isaac died of a heart attack – likely brought on by the urgency, fear and stress of finding and rescuing his son Gordon Smith, who was 15 years old.

Enter Last Name

Thanks to these old newspaper articles, my connection to William Isaac Smith went beyond the dates and places. The details and people involved in saving Gordon Smith’s life helped me see into the lives of my relatives in a unique way that is now preserved forever. These newspaper articles provided more than the “facts” so that I could see my relatives as they lived – and died. I got the details of this tragedy – but also sprinkled through there were the details of William Isaac Smith’s character, work ethic and business success that led him to open not just one bakery, but two more in neighboring towns.

article about W. Isaac Smith drowning while trying to save his son, New York Herald Tribune newspaper article 24 June 1895

New York Herald Tribune (New York, New York), 24 June 1895, page 7

Isaac ran a “wholesale bakery” in White Plains that branched out with bakeries in Tarrytown and Port Chester. By the young age of 43, he had provided financial security for his wife and children, and served his employees faithfully. These newspaper clippings on the accident provide amazing details that I would not have found anywhere else – describing not just this tragic incident, but details of the character of my cousin.

GenealogyBank has become a core “go-to,” reliable resource for learning about and writing the history of your family. Newspapers are the only place that genealogists can find the stories of their relatives.

Beyond the dates and places and news of the day are the stories of our grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles. Only GenealogyBank provides access to over 1.7 billion newspaper records that tell the stories our ancestors cannot. Thanks to our digital archival technology, our records can be made available to you at the click of a mouse. Sign up today and discover stories you might otherwise never have known about your family. Start your 30-day trial now!

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GenealogyBank Is the Only Source of This Irish Passenger List Information

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

passenger list, Irish Nation newspaper article 20 May 1882

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

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

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

Enter Last Name

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

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

passenger list, Irish Nation newspaper article 7 January 1882

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

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

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

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

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

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January 2015 Update: GenealogyBank Just Added 8 Million Records!

Every day, GenealogyBank is working hard to digitize more U.S. newspapers and obituaries, expanding our burgeoning collection to give you the largest newspaper archives for family history research available online from the 1600s up to today. We’re getting off to a great start this 2015, just completing the addition of 8 million more U.S. genealogy records, vastly increasing our content coverage from coast to coast!

screenshot of GenealogyBank's home page announcing the addition of eight million more records

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

  • A total of 52 newspaper titles from 18 U.S. states
  • 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
Arkansas Denson Denson Tribune* 03/19/1943–06/02/1944 Newspaper Archives
California Manzanar Manzanar Free Press 07/14/1943–09/06/1944 Newspaper Archives
California Newell Newell Star 02/15/1945–02/15/1945 Newspaper Archives
California Newell Tulean Dispatch 03/31/1943–03/31/1943 Newspaper Archives
California San Francisco Corriere del Popolo 10/8/1918–12/6/1928 Newspaper Archives
California San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo Daily Telegram 1/1/1951–10/31/1952 Newspaper Archives
Colorado Amache Granada Pioneer 06/09/1943–06/09/1943 Newspaper Archives
Florida Miami Miami Herald 6/13/1926–9/19/1928 Newspaper Archives
Florida Winter Garden West Orange Times, The* 02/06/2014–Current Recent Obituaries
Georgia Columbus Columbus Daily Enquirer 12/30/1940–6/28/1941 Newspaper Archives
Georgia Jesup Press-Sentinel, The* 09/13/2007–Current Recent Obituaries
Georgia Macon Macon Telegraph 5/14/1934–2/29/1944 Newspaper Archives
Kansas Wichita Wichita Eagle 11/2/1973–12/31/1974 Newspaper Archives
Kentucky Lexington Lexington Herald 2/6/1938–3/28/1939 Newspaper Archives
Maryland Baltimore Sun 4/4/1920–4/23/1920 Newspaper Archives
Missouri St. Louis Westliche Post* 03/13/1932–03/13/1932 Newspaper Archives
New York Adams Jefferson County Journal* 08/27/2014–Current Recent Obituaries
New York New York Courrier des Etats-Unis 6/22/1850–7/31/1890 Newspaper Archives
New York New York Cristoforo Colombo 01/08/1891–05/24/1892 Newspaper Archives
New York New York Gaelic American 10/20/1906–10/27/1906 Newspaper Archives
New York New York Jewish Messenger 1/10/1862–12/26/1902 Newspaper Archives
New York New York New Yorker Volkszeitung 01/24/1920–01/25/1920 Newspaper Archives
New York New York Vorwarts 06/18/1921–09/30/1922 Newspaper Archives
North Carolina Andrews Andrews Journal, The* 12/04/2008–Current Recent Obituaries
North Carolina Charlotte Charlotte Observer 11/1/1933–6/29/1934 Newspaper Archives
North Carolina Clemmons Clemmons Courier, The* 01/06/2011–Current Recent Obituaries
North Carolina Hillsborough News of Orange County, The* 08/27/2003–Current Recent Obituaries
North Carolina Littleton Lake Gaston Gazette-Observer* 07/08/2003–Current Recent Obituaries
North Carolina Mebane Mebane Enterprise, The* 09/17/2003–Current Recent Obituaries
North Carolina Murphy Cherokee Scout* 04/20/2007–Current Recent Obituaries
North Carolina Troy Montgomery Herald* 06/20/2003–Current Recent Obituaries
North Carolina Warrenton Warren Record, The* 07/08/2003–Current Recent Obituaries
North Carolina Yanceyville Caswell Messenger, The* 08/27/2003–Current Recent Obituaries
North Dakota Bismarck Staats-Anzeiger* 07/07/1931–07/07/1931 Newspaper Archives
Ohio Toledo Toledo Express* 03/31/1932–03/31/1932 Newspaper Archives
Pennsylvania Erie Erie Tageblatt 4/22/1903–10/31/1904 Newspaper Archives
Pennsylvania Philadelphia Philadelphia Demokrat* 12/21/1907–12/21/1907 Newspaper Archives
Pennsylvania Reading Der Pilger Durch Welt und Kirche 12/31/1870–12/26/1874 Newspaper Archives
Pennsylvania Reading Readinger Postbothe und Berks, Schuylkill und Montgomery Caunties Advertiser* 08/03/1816–07/27/1822 Newspaper Archives
Pennsylvania State College Centre Daily Times 3/1/1982–2/28/1983 Newspaper Archives
Utah Topaz Topaz Times 10/30/1942–2/9/1943 Newspaper Archives
Virginia Altavista Altavista Journal* 10/08/2003–Current Recent Obituaries
Virginia Appomattox Times-Virginian* 10/08/2003–Current Recent Obituaries
Virginia Brookneal Union Star, The* 10/02/2003–Current Recent Obituaries
Virginia Chatham Star-Tribune* 10/02/2003–Current Recent Obituaries
Virginia Emporia Independent-Messenger* 07/08/2003–Current Recent Obituaries
Virginia Lawrenceville Brunswick Times-Gazette* 07/08/2003–Current Recent Obituaries
Virginia South Hill South Hill Enterprise* 01/07/2004–Current Recent Obituaries
Virginia Wirtz Smith Mountain Eagle* 10/06/2004–Current Recent Obituaries
Washington Bellingham Bellingham Herald 9/3/1945–4/28/1947 Newspaper Archives
Washington Olympia Morning Olympian 7/23/1950–5/30/1952 Newspaper Archives
Wisconsin Milwaukee Wahrheit 06/22/1895–04/26/1902 Newspaper Archives

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Revolutionary Patriot George Shell Fought Two Wars Simultaneously

When Revolutionary War patriot George Shell died in 1818, newspapers in Maine, Massachusetts, and New York carried the news – but they each gave him a single-line obituary.

obituary for George Shell, Weekly Eastern Argus newspaper article 25 August 1818

Weekly Eastern Argus (Portland, Maine), 25 August 1818, page 3

obituary for George Shell, Salem Gazette newspaper article 18 August 1818

Salem Gazette (Salem, Massachusetts), 18 August 1818, page 3

obituary for George Shell, Columbian newspaper article 15 August 1818

Columbian (New York, New York), 15 August 1818, page 3

However, Revolutionary War veteran George Shell deserved much more; the man fought two wars simultaneously, as detailed in this longer obituary found in another old newspaper.

obituary for George Shell, Albany Gazette newspaper article 15 August 1818

Albany Gazette (Albany, New York), 15 August 1818, page 2

Shell faithfully served in his local Albany, New York, regiment – against the wishes of his father, “who was attached to the royal cause.” So Shell had to fight two wars simultaneously, against the British and his own family. Upon his return to Albany, Shell found himself abandoned and rejected by the family patriarch; George’s father would never forgive him.

However, Shell created a new family for himself in the capital city. He ran a local barber shop and kept the men of Albany looking clean, sharp, and dapper. His funeral drew a significant crowd upon his death, reflecting his service to the town and the esteem his fellow citizens had for him.

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Thanks to GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives, we learn that no one’s life story is truly one line. George Shell was a respected barber who stood up for his beliefs and fought for his country during its war for independence. While many simply fought the British army, George also bore the cross of a family who abandoned him because they supported the crown. Thanks to the preserved records of the Albany Gazette, we know the depth of this veteran’s sacrifice. We feel enriched and motivated to sacrifice for what we know is right.

Sign up to GenealogyBank today and find your ancestors’ stories!

Note: FamilySearch International (FamilySearch.org) and GenealogyBank are partnering to make over a billion records from 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/

Related Revolutionary War Articles:

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Historical Italian American Newspapers Online

Per favore, provalo!

photo of street vendors in Manhattan’s Little Italy

Photo: street vendors in Manhattan’s Little Italy. Source: Wikipedia.

See: Street vendors at the Feast of San Gennaro in Manhattan’s Little Italy.

GenealogyBank is pleased to announce that these historical Italian American newspapers are available in our online archives.

State City Newspaper Start End
CA San Francisco Corriere del Popolo 1916 1962
NY New York Cristoforo Colombo 1892 1893
NY New York Eco d’Italia 1890 1896
NY New York Fiaccola Weekly 1912 1921
NY New York Progresso Italo-Americano 1884 1889
PA Philadelphia Momento 1917 1919

This collection of online newspapers is a terrific resource for Italian American genealogists.

Whether you’re looking for an old Italian marriage announcement or an obituary, GenealogyBank’s deep historical newspaper archives are your source.

collage of articles from Italian American newspapers

Two examples from GenealogyBank: a marriage notice from
Progresso Italo-Americano (New York City, New York), 2 August 1889, page 1 and an obituary from Corriere del Popolo (San Francisco, California), 25 December 1947 page 8

Please – give it a try!

Per favore, provalo!

Related Italian American Genealogy Articles:

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December Update: GenealogyBank Added 3 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 3 million more U.S. genealogy records, vastly increasing our content coverage from coast to coast!

screenshot of GenealogyBank's home page showing the accouncement of 3 million more genealogy records being added in December

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

  • A total of 39 newspaper titles from 20 U.S. states
  • 13 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
Alabama Dadeville Dadeville Record, The* 09/08/2010–Current Recent Obituaries
Alabama Eclectic Eclectic Observer, The* 04/04/2013–Current Recent Obituaries
Alabama Luverne Luverne Journal, The* 06/03/2010–Current Recent Obituaries
Arizona Poston Poston Chronicle 02/26/1943–05/16/1945 Newspaper Archives
Arkansas McGehee Rohwer Outpost 10/24/1942–07/21/1945 Newspaper Archives
Arkansas McGehee Rohwer Relocator* 08/01/1945–11/09/1945 Newspaper Archives
California Altedena AltadenaPoint* 01/10/2008–Current Recent Obituaries
California Manzanar Manzanar Free Press 04/21/1945–05/26/1945 Newspaper Archives
California Newell Tulean Dispatch* 05/30/1942–10/30/1943 Newspaper Archives
California Sacramento Sacramento Bee 1/16/1959–1/17/1959 Newspaper Archives
California San Francisco Corriere del Popolo 03/13/1917–03/13/1917 Newspaper Archives
California San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo Daily Telegram 1/2/1947–12/30/1950 Newspaper Archives
Colorado Amache Granada Bulletin* 10/14/1942–10/24/1942 Newspaper Archives
Colorado Amache Granada Pioneer 11/01/1941–09/08/1945 Newspaper Archives
Colorado Denver Rocky Shimpo 06/02/1944–12/31/1945 Newspaper Archives
Florida Miami Miami Herald 5/5/1926–11/30/1926 Newspaper Archives
Georgia Augusta Augusta Chronicle 6/4/1983–10/7/2003 Newspaper Archives
Georgia Columbus Columbus Daily Enquirer 4/1/1935–12/29/1940 Newspaper Archives
Georgia Macon Macon Telegraph 11/1/1938–8/28/1942 Newspaper Archives
Kansas Wichita Wichita Eagle 6/30/1971–11/30/1972 Newspaper Archives
Kentucky Lexington Lexington Herald 1/1/1935–1/31/1938 Newspaper Archives
Louisiana New Orleans Times-Picayune 1/22/1936–12/2/1936 Newspaper Archives
Michigan Cassopolis Cassopolis Vigilant* 07/23/2009–Current Recent Obituaries
Michigan Edwardsburg Edwardsburg Argus* 07/20/2009–Current Recent Obituaries
New Jersey Trenton Trenton Evening Times 2/15/1946–11/11/1973 Newspaper Archives
New York New York Arbeiter Zeitung 09/23/1892–12/23/1892 Newspaper Archives
New York New York Vorwarts 11/25/1922–11/25/1922 Newspaper Archives
North Carolina Charlotte Charlotte Observer 1/1/1931–10/26/1933 Newspaper Archives
Ohio Bellville Bellville Star, The* 11/21/2013–Current Recent Obituaries
Ohio Mechanicsburg Telegram, The* 02/24/2014–Current Recent Obituaries
Pennsylvania Erie Erie Tageblatt 02/24/1914–02/24/1914 Newspaper Archives
Pennsylvania State College Centre Daily Times 1/2/1981–10/31/1984 Newspaper Archives
Utah Topaz Topaz Times 09/26/1942–08/31/1945 Newspaper Archives
Virginia Chase City News-Progress, The* 02/23/2012–Current Recent Obituaries
Washington Bellingham Bellingham Herald 11/28/1941–8/30/1945 Newspaper Archives
Washington Bremerton Kitsap Sun: Web Edition Articles* 08/27/2014–Current Recent Obituaries
Washington Olympia Morning Olympian 4/1/1945–11/27/1950 Newspaper Archives
Wisconsin Appleton Appleton Volksfreund 06/23/1921–06/29/1922 Newspaper Archives
Wisconsin Milwaukee Wahrheit 01/05/1901–12/26/1903 Newspaper Archives

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Ship Records for Genealogy: Newspapers & Passenger Lists

Every family historian wants to know the ship their ancestor came over on and the date that it arrived.

Along with Thanksgiving, tomorrow we’ll be celebrating the arrival of the Mayflower in 1620.

That trip took 66 days. Remarkably, when my ancestor William Kemp came to America 233 years later that trip still took a long time: 56 days.

Genealogists often can find the date and the name of the ship their ancestor came over on—but is there more to the story?
Is there a way to find out more details about our ancestors?

Yes—we can find the rest of the story and, importantly, pass it down in the family. We can find it in GenealogyBank’s 3 centuries of newspaper archives.

Stories from the Mayflower Voyage

In the case of the Pilgrims coming to America, the old newspapers fill in the story, reporting that the Mayflower voyage was very difficult. The Boston Herald tells us that “halfway across the ocean, the point of no return, the Mayflower ran into the first of ‘many fierce storms.’”

article about the Mayflower's cross-Atlantic trip in 1620, Boston Herald newspaper article 25 November 1970

Boston Herald (Boston, Massachusetts), 25 November 1970, page 26

One violent storm at sea cracked and buckled the main beam. The news article reports that the Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower were terrified. Luckily they had brought along nails, screws and other items for building homes in the New World, and were able to use a “great iron scrue” to “force the beam back into place.”

Enter Last Name

What about My Ancestor’s Story?

I have always wanted to know exactly when my ancestor William Kemp came to America, and I finally found that date and the name of the ship on the free Internet site CastleGarden.org.

William arrived in America on 21 October 1853, a passenger on the ship Benjamin Adams.

There it is in the ship passenger list: the name of the ship and the date of his arrival!
Done.

With this information, I did a search on FamilySearch and found confirmation.

screenshot of New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1891

Source: FamilySearch “New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1891” https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/275L-W4Z

screenshot of New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1891, showing the listing for William Kemp

Source: FamilySearch “New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1891” https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/275L-W4Z

But, Was There More to William’s Story?

The name of the ship and the arrival date are good to know, but I wanted to find out more about William’s story—and old newspapers, such as GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives, are a good resource for finding our ancestors’ stories.

Searching GenealogyBank by the name of the ship—not the name of my ancestor—I found this article in the American and Commercial Daily Advertiser reporting that the Benjamin Adams left Friday 26 March 1852 on its maiden voyage from Bath, Maine, to Baltimore, Maryland.

shipping news, American and Commercial Daily Advertiser newspaper article 1 April 1852

American and Commercial Daily Advertiser (Baltimore, Maryland), 1 April 1852, page 3

Advertisements for “the splendid ship Benjamin Adams” highlighted its comfortable accommodations of 6 to 8 cabins above deck and another 75 to 80 accommodations in steerage below deck.

article about the accomodations on the ship "Benjamin Adams," American and Commercial Daily Advertiser newspaper article 28 April 1852

American and Commercial Daily Advertiser (Baltimore, Maryland), 28 April 1852, page 1

Once William Kemp made his decision to emigrate he would have taken a steamship from Ireland to Liverpool, England, arriving at Clarence Dock along the Mersey River in Liverpool.

Liverpool has a series of docks along the banks of the Mersey River. It was one of the major hubs of immigration to America.

According to Liverpool and Emigration in the 19th and 20th Centuries, Information Sheet number 64:

By 1851 it had become the leading emigration port in Europe with 159,840 passengers sailing to North America, as opposed to the second port, Le Havre, [France] with 31,859.

This would have been the scene in mid-19th century Liverpool when William arrived to wait for his ship to America.

painting: “Liverpool Docks from Wapping,” 1870, by John Atkinson Grimshaw

Painting: “Liverpool Docks from Wapping,” 1870, by John Atkinson Grimshaw (1836-1893). Source: original is at the Liverpool City Library, Liverpool, England.

The Preparation and Movement of Ships

Here is a newspaper article reporting that the ship Benjamin Adams had moved from the dock and into the Mersey River ready to head outbound—waiting to move up the river with the aid of a tugboat that will direct it safely to the open ocean.

shipping news, Portland Weekly Advertiser newspaper article 13 September 1853

Portland Weekly Advertiser (Portland, Maine), 13 September 1853, page 3

The big day arrived: the Benjamin Adams set sail on 24 August 1853 bound for New York City.

shipping news, Daily Atlas newspaper article 10 September 1853

Daily Atlas (Boston, Massachusetts), 10 September 1853, page 2

Ship Arrival Times

It was announced in the Weekly Herald newspaper that the Benjamin Adams arrived in New York City on 21 October 1853.
They made it.

shipping news, Weekly Herald newspaper article 22 October 1853

Weekly Herald (New York City, New York), 22 October 1853, page 344

News Stories of Trouble at Sea

Newspapers can tell us just how difficult the cross-Atlantic trip was for our ancestors. That Weekly Herald article gave more details on the trip. The voyage took 56 days with 620 passengers on board. The ship was hit by a storm, suffering major damage:

Sept. 10, while laying to under a close reefed topsail in a heavy gale from the NW, lost all three topgallant masts, closed reefed mizzen topsail, foresail, mainsail, stern boat, and received other damage.

The old news article also reported: “Had 15 deaths on the passage.”

A week later the Weekly Herald told us why so many had died.

Great Mortality in Emigrant Ships, Weekly Herald newspaper article 29 October 1853

Weekly Herald (Albany, New York), 29 October 1853, page 350

Cholera was killing passengers on ship after ship:

…it is pretty certain that the disease which carried them off was cholera, that fatal malady which is making such havoc among the shipping in Europe…The sickness on the Benjamin Adams was decidedly cholera.

Cholera was a major problem in England and Europe in the mid-1800s. In 1853-1854 it killed more than 31,000 people in London alone. It would be another year before the pioneering work of John Snow, M.D. (1813-1858) discovered the cause and cure for the repeated cholera epidemics.

The Albany Evening Journal had this report about the arrival of the Benjamin Adams.

article about the ship "Benjamin Adams," Albany Evening Journal newspaper article 22 October 1853

Albany Evening Journal (Albany, New York), 22 October 1853, page 2

Passenger Ship Routes

Wait—the Benjamin Adams arrived “from Syria” bringing “a Jerusalem plow and other articles from the Holy Land, for the Crystal Palace at New York”? Notice that it stopped in Boston, Massachusetts, before continuing on to New York City.

When was the ship in Syria?

Enter Last Name

Digging deeper into GenealogyBank’s old newspapers—there it is.

The ship was in Beirut on July 25th before going to Liverpool to pick up William Kemp and the other 619 passengers.

shipping news, Daily Atlas newspaper article 1 September 1853

Daily Atlas (Boston, Massachusetts), 1 September 1853, page 2

The Springfield Republican gave more details.

article about the ship "Benjamin Adams," Springfield Republican newspaper article 25 October 1853

Springfield Republican (Springfield, Massachusetts), 25 October 1853, page 2

In addition to the “Arab plough,” the Benjamin Adams brought:

…canes from the banks of the Jordan, branches from the Mount of Olives and cedars of Lebanon, and husks that the “prodigal son” would have eaten if he had had them to eat.

Conclusion

When I began searching for the name of the ship and the date that William Kemp arrived in America, I only knew that William was born in Corradownan, County Cavan, Ireland. I did not know any additional details about William’s cross-Atlantic trip.

Thanks to CastleGarden.org and FamilySearch.org, I learned that he came over on the ship Benjamin Adams and that he arrived in New York City on 21 October 1853.

Those were the basic facts, but it took the old newspapers in GenealogyBank’s deep newspaper archives to fill in the rest of the story. These newspapers gave me the details of how dangerous the trip was, reported that it took an incredible 56 days, provided a description of the ship’s accommodations, and listed the interesting ancient relics it was bringing from Syria to the Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations—the World’s Fair—held in 1853 in New York City.

Old documents give us the names, dates and places, but newspapers have the stories that give life to our ancestors and make their experiences memorable and unforgettable.

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