How to Research City Records to Find Your Urbanite Ancestors

Introduction: Duncan Kuehn is a professional genealogist with over nine years of client experience. She has worked on several well-known projects, such as “Who Do You Think You Are?” In this blog post, Duncan provides search tips to help research your ancestors who lived in cities and large towns.

Lots of people are and were attracted to big cities in the United States. This can be for the employment possibilities, the anonymity, the concentration of like-minded or ethnically similar individuals, the amenities, the energy, or plenty of other reasons. For genealogists, researching ancestors who dwelled in big cities presents different challenges from researching ancestors who resided in more rural environments. Trying to define the identities of similarly-named city dwellers can be complicated. Here is a look at some of the unique challenges and resources for urban research.

photo of the Chicago skyline at sunrise

Photo: Chicago skyline at sunrise. Credit: Daniel Schwen; Wikimedia Commons.

Occupation

In rural areas it is a little easier to untangle the 25 Smith families that lived in Boone County than it is to untangle the 750 Smith families that lived in New York City.

Urban areas also have higher concentrations of ethnic and immigrant families. The record keepers did not always speak the language of these individuals, and their names can be wildly misspelled as the overworked clerk tried to hear through the accent. This is especially applicable in port cities, although all big cities are places of movement and migration.

Single people appear more commonly in big cities than in rural areas. Without other family members appearing in the same record, it can be challenging to know which John Parker is the one you are looking for.

To identify individuals in urban areas, it becomes much more important to know their occupation. This helps to separate out identities of similarly-named individuals as well as record entries where the name has been misspelled.

Cities have occupation records. These might come in the form of employment records for large corporations, membership records for social or occupational clubs or unions, and so on. These can be somewhat tricky to track down since the records do not belong to a governmental agency.

Home Address

Knowing their home address can also help. However, it is important to keep in mind that people moved quite frequently in cities. Often people were renting and would move on when the rent increased or their landlords called the lease. The first day of May is a traditional moving day. Although they may have moved frequently, city dwellers often tried to stay in the same area where they had friends, work, and other social ties. This is where maps become especially important. What may seem like major moves across two or three enumeration districts may actually only be down the block from the previous residence.

Municipal Records & City Directories

It isn’t just the people that cause difficulties. How we use records is different between rural and urban areas, and which records are most effective changes. In rural areas, land ownership records are often vital to resolving genealogical problems. In big cities, it is much less likely that the individuals owned land. On the other hand, it is much more likely that urbanite ancestors appeared in city directories and that those directories still exist.

Big cities generate more documents and records than rural areas. They were often the first to institute death and burial records to deal with the increased health hazards that exist in cities due to pollution and overcrowding. When an epidemic sweeps through a large city, the number of affected people is much greater. The demand for cemetery space increases and these municipal cemetery records are often well kept and available. Unlike a rural area where Grandpa Simon was buried in the back forty, cemeteries were well-defined and essential services in cities.

Also, health officials were beginning to track epidemics, and death records with the cause of death became an important part of their research. They also needed to track population growth, so birth records became important. These things happened much earlier in the cities than in the country.

Church Records

Churches existed in greater abundance in cities. This means it may be more difficult to track where an urbanite ancestor attended church, but it also means that the records may have been better preserved. They are not as likely to be stored in the secretary’s attic as is sometimes the case in more rural areas. Urban churches had to function more like a large corporation in order to deal with the number of parishioners. It may help to look in a newspaper for articles about church functions that mention your ancestor’s name. This is a quick way to narrow down the search for the right church.

Newspaper Records

While newspapers in big cities didn’t run the same country gossip columns for poor and middle class citizens, they still contain a lot of valuable information about these groups of people. Legal notices and police blotters in the newspapers can lead to research in valuable court records.

Our ancestors ran ads in newspapers. Newspapers were able to set low prices because they ran paid advertising. Even a small business owner or sole proprietor could take out an ad to increase business. There are also classified advertisements, which list a person’s address. If the person was selling work-related items such as welding tools, you may be able to get clues as to their occupation. Classified ads were the Facebook posts of the day. If a person was looking for tools, equipment, or other items they may have run a “wanted” ad. If they lost something, they may have run an ad with a reward for the recovery of the item. All of these are particularly useful in urban research.

Although big city research can be challenging, it is also easier than some people might think. Be patient and methodical – discover what city records are out there, and search them carefully. Good luck finding and documenting your urbanite ancestors!

Related Search Articles:

True Ghost Stories from America’s Most Haunted Old Cemeteries?

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” In this blog article – just in time for Halloween – Gena searches old newspapers to uncover eerie stories of ghostly sightings and hauntings at some of America’s oldest cemeteries.

In my work as a genealogist, I’ve been to cemeteries all over America. I’ve even written a book (Cemeteries of the Eastern Sierra) about cemeteries in the Eastern Sierra mountain range of California. And because I’ve been to so many cemeteries I’ve also had diverse experiences on these visits – from a tender scene of a deer family grazing on the morning grass, to an opened grave and its skeleton inhabitant. But I have, luckily, never seen a ghost during my various cemetery trips.

illustration of a ghost in a cemetery

Source: Ghost Horror Collections

However, there have been plenty of ghost sightings by others who visit America’s cemeteries, and some of these cemeteries are rather notorious for their paranormal activity. Have you had a supernatural experience of your own at any of these famous haunted cemeteries?

New Orleans Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau

One of the more infamous New Orleans citizens was Marie Laveau. While today her name is synonymous with voodoo, it’s obvious from her obituary that she was a well-regarded citizen of her community – although there were those at the time who feared her strange priestess powers.

Her obituary reports:

On Wednesday the invalid sank into the sleep which knows no waking. Those whom she had befriended crowded into the little room where she was exposed, in order to obtain a last look at the features, smiling even in death, of her who had been so kind to them.

Known as the “Voodoo Queen of New Orleans,” Laveau willingly administered to the sick.

According to her obituary:

Besides being very beautiful Marie was also very wise. She was skillful in the practice of medicine and was acquainted with the valuable healing qualities of indigenous herbs. She was very successful as a nurse, wonderful stories being told of her exploits at the sick bed. In yellow fever and cholera epidemics she was always called upon to nurse the sick, and always responded promptly.

obituary for Marie Laveau, Times-Picayune newspaper article 17 June 1881

Times-Picayune (New Orleans, Louisiana), 17 June 1881, page 8

Marie’s obituary concludes:

All in all Marie Laveau was a most wonderful woman. Doing good for the sake of doing good alone, she obtained no reward, oft times meeting with prejudice and loathing, she was nevertheless contented and did not flag in her work…Marie Laveau’s name will not be forgotten in New Orleans.

Not only has her name not been forgotten, some people insist her healing powers remain active. Generations of visitors to her tomb in Saint Louis Cemetery have marked an “X” on its walls and made a wish for her to grant, returning with an offering after the wish was supposedly granted. Yes, some have reported feeling a presence at her tomb or a hand on their shoulder – this “ghost story” is about what Marie does for others from the beyond.

article about Marie Laveau's tomb in New Orleans, Advocate newspaper article10 August 1976

Advocate (Baton Rouge, Louisiana), 10 August 1976, page 28

However, unlike most ghost tales involving America’s old cemeteries, this one has had an unfortunate consequence. Years of those “X” marks have led to damage to her family tomb and the resulting closure of the cemetery to the public (to visit the cemetery now you must have family buried there or be part of a guided tour).

It’s now134 years later, and the last sentence of Marie’s obituary continues to ring true: “Marie Laveau’s name will not be forgotten in New Orleans.”

Celebrity Ghost Sightings

Even celebrities have been known to haunt America’s old cemeteries. Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Southern California is known for its celebrity burials. Some of the famous who reside there include Douglas Fairbanks, Jayne Mansfield, and Rudolph Valentino. As with any old cemetery it also has its share of ghost stories, including one non-resident ghost that comes to visit.

Marion Davies, film actress and longtime mistress of newspaperman William Randolph Hearst, died in September 1961 after succumbing to cancer. She was buried in Hollywood Forever Cemetery in a family mausoleum that would later include her “niece” Patricia Lake.

obituary for Marion Davies, Springfield Union newspaper article 23 September 1961

Springfield Union (Springfield, Massachusetts), 23 September 1961, page 1

Hearst died almost 10 year prior to Davies and was buried in Northern California at Cypress Lawn Memorial Park in Colma. Still married when he died, Hearst had openly lived with Davies and is rumored to have fathered a child with her – Patricia Lake – who was raised by Davies’ sister. Davies played hostess and helped Hearst with financial matters, even providing him a million dollar check when his business was in trouble. All this happened while he was married to his wife Millicent, who escaped the day-to-day reality of the scandal by moving to New York to conduct her philanthropic work – out of sight of her husband’s affair.

obituary for William Randolph Hearst, Dallas Morning News newspaper article 15 August 1951

Dallas Morning News (Dallas, Texas), 15 August 1951, page 1

With Hearst and Davies long gone, you’d think their story had come to an end — but not so. Some startled visitors to Hollywood Forever Cemetery have reported seeing the ghost of William Randolph Hearst haunting the gravesites of the mistress he loved and the daughter he could never publicly acknowledge.

Nevermore, Nevermore

It probably comes as no surprise that the final resting place for writer Edgar Allen Poe is haunted.

obituary for Edgar Allen Poe, Enquirer newspaper article 16 October 1849

Enquirer (Richmond, Virginia), 16 October 1849, page 4

Most people are familiar with the story of the mysterious visitor, the “Poe Toaster,” who for 75 years – starting in 1934 – visited Poe’s grave in the middle of the night on January 19 (the author’s birthday), drank a toast to him, and left three roses and the rest of the bottle of cognac.

article about the mysterious "Poe Toaster" who secretly visited Edgar Allan Poe's tomb for 75 years, Register Star newspaper article 23 January 2004

Register Star (Rockford, Illinois), 23 January 2004, page 25

Poe’s mysterious visitor made his last appearance in 2009, the 200th anniversary of the author’s birth. He – or it – was never identified, and perhaps never will be.

And while some have claimed that Poe’s ghost walks the cemetery catacombs, there are other ghostly residents that make Westminster Hall and Burying Ground (established in 1787) repeatedly named as one of the most haunted cemeteries.

The “Screaming Skull of Cambridge,” a head belonging to a murdered minister, is just one of the ghostly residents of this old Baltimore, Maryland, cemetery reported by visitors. The ghost story goes that his corpse would scream day and night, so his mouth was gagged in an effort to muffle the ongoing screams. When that didn’t work his body was decapitated and his skull was buried in a block of cement. Other reported ghosts roaming the old cemetery grounds include a teenage girl that can be seen praying by her grave, and a woman who spent time in an asylum who follows visitors around the cemetery. She is quite recognizable since she was buried in a strait jacket.

Ghosts in the Cemetery

Do you live by a haunted cemetery? Have you ever seen a ghost? If you want to research the cemetery you’ve visited, or learn more about the rumors you heard about a ghost sighting there, search GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives.

There’s no doubt that genealogists spend a lot of time walking through old cemeteries and are the most likely folks to see the supernatural. Whether you enjoy seeking out haunted experiences or would rather stay safely away from such places, have a Happy Halloween!

Related Cemetery Articles:

Genealogy Puzzle: What Do These 3 Obituaries Have in Common?

What do the obituaries of Daniel Coit Gilman (1831-1908) of Norwich, Connecticut; Richard Y. Cook (1845-1917) of Lansdowne, Pennsylvania; and James J. Lovitt (1838-1892) have in common?

montage of the obituaries of Daniel Coit Gilman, Richard Y. Cook and James J. Lovitt

Source: GenealogyBank.com

Answer: they all described their immigrant ancestors.

It is common for an obituary to name the spouse, children, parents and siblings of the deceased – but to get details about their more distant ancestral lineage is a real bonus.

Genealogy Tip: Be sure to check the obituaries of each of the relatives of the ancestor you are researching. While one might be brief, the obituary of another immediate relative just might give you family history information taking you back to the family’s immigrant ancestors.

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/

Related Articles:

Nebraska Archives: 42 Newspapers for Genealogy Research

A land of vast prairies, Nebraska was admitted into the Union as the nation’s 37th state on 1 March 1867. The 16th largest state in the country, Nebraska is the 37th most populous.

photo of Nebraska homesteaders, c. 1888

Photo: Nebraska homesteaders, c. 1888. Credit: Nebraska State Historical Society; U.S. Department of Agriculture; Wikimedia Commons.

If you are researching your ancestry from Nebraska, you will want to use GenealogyBank’s online NE newspaper archives: 42 titles to help you search your family history in the “Cornhusker State,” providing coverage from 1854 to Today. There are more than 76.6 million articles and records in our online Nebraska newspaper archives!

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

Search Nebraska Newspaper Archives (1854 – 1983)

Search Nebraska Recent Obituaries (1996 – Current)

illustration: state flag of Nebraska

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

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

Did you know?

Our historical NE newspaper collection contains the Omaha Arrow which was the very first newspaper ever published in Omaha – back in 1854, when the Territory of Nebraska was first incorporated. Our NE archives also contain many old African American newspapers – for example, the Afro-American Sentinel was started by an ex-slave. Learn more at Wikipedia (see Print section).

City Title Date Range* Collection
Ashland Ashland Gazette 02/03/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Beatrice Beatrice Daily Sun 06/10/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bellevue Bellevue Leader 02/27/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bloomington Franklin County Guard 08/30/1872 – 08/13/1874 Newspaper Archives
Broken Bow Custer County Chief 10/04/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chadron Chadron Record 04/12/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Columbus Columbus Telegram 09/19/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
David City David City Banner-Press 09/13/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fremont Fremont Tribune 08/16/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Gering Gering Courier 11/06/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Grand Island Grand Island Independent 12/01/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Gretna Gretna Breeze 05/13/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hemingford Hemingford Ledger 11/07/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Kearney Kearney Hub 05/30/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lexington Lexington Clipper-Herald 06/23/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lincoln Lincoln Journal Star 06/01/1996 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lincoln Lincoln Journal Star: Web Edition Articles 11/04/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
Nebraska City Nebraska City News-Press 02/09/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Nebraska City Daily Nebraska Press 08/06/1868 – 12/28/1876 Newspaper Archives
North Platte North Platte Telegraph 05/03/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Omaha Progress 03/22/1890 – 03/07/1891 Newspaper Archives
Omaha Florence Courier 09/23/1858 – 10/14/1858 Newspaper Archives
Omaha Omaha World-Herald 08/24/1885 – 12/31/1983 Newspaper Archives
Omaha Enterprise 08/10/1895 – 07/03/1897 Newspaper Archives
Omaha Omaha World-Herald 09/04/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Omaha Omaha Morning Bee-News 09/09/1935 – 09/09/1935 Newspaper Archives
Omaha Danske Pioneer 10/17/1895 – 10/10/1901 Newspaper Archives
Omaha Omaha Star 01/07/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Omaha Afro-American Sentinel 02/22/1896 – 03/25/1899 Newspaper Archives
Omaha Omaha Herald 10/30/1878 – 06/30/1889 Newspaper Archives
Omaha Tagliche Omaha Tribune 06/25/1937 – 06/25/1937 Newspaper Archives
Omaha Omaha Arrow 08/04/1854 – 10/20/1854 Newspaper Archives
Papillion Suburban Newspapers 06/29/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Papillion Papillion Times 01/27/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Plattsmouth Plattsmouth Journal 05/02/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Ralston Ralston Recorder 05/06/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Schuyler Schuyler Sun 10/20/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Scottsbluff Star-Herald 04/20/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Syracuse Syracuse Journal-Democrat 03/06/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Wahoo Wahoo Newspaper 02/01/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Waverly Waverly News 04/21/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
York York News-Times 03/08/2000 – 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 Nebraska newspaper links will be live.

Related Resource:

Mayflower Genealogy: Finding Your Cousins Using Newspapers

Searching through GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives recently, I found this old newspaper announcement for Margaret (Rogers) Smith’s 81st birthday.

obituary for Margaret (Rogers) Smith, Dallas Morning News newspaper article 23 January 1938

Dallas Morning News (Dallas, Texas), 23 January 1938, page 12

Margaret Anne (Rogers) Smith (1857-1943) didn’t come to America on the Mayflower ship – but according to this newspaper article her ancestor Thomas Rogers (c. 1572-Winter 1620/21) did.

Ding!
Hey – I am also descended from Mayflower Pilgrim Thomas Rogers.
That makes Margaret my cousin.
What more can I learn about her?

Could it be this easy to find my Mayflower cousins?
Yes – it is.

This historical newspaper article is packed with genealogical clues and information about Margaret, her siblings and children. That would make all of them my cousins too. Armed with these clues I then need to verify and prove each member of the family as I go back generation by generation to our common ancestor: Pilgrim Thomas Rogers.

For starters, the newspaper article gives me Margaret’s photo and tells me that she “celebrated her eighty-first birthday this week at her home at Prosper [Colin County, Texas].”

Wow – her photo. A great find. Nice smile.
So, she was 81 years old in January 1938 and living in Prosper, Colin County, Texas.
That should be easy to verify.

Here is a copy of her death certificate.

death certificate for Margaret (Rogers) Smith

Source: FamilySearch, “Texas, Deaths, 1890-1976,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-25246-83874-37?cc=1983324: accessed 3 September 2015), Death certificates > 1943 > Vol 073-079, certificates 036001-039400, Aug, Brazoria-Starr counties > image 314 of 3524; State Registrar Office, Austin.

Good, her death certificate shows that she was still living in Prosper, Texas, when she died, and it gives me her date of birth as 18 January 1857, in Colin County, Texas. Hmm… January 1857 – that was just 11 years after Texas became a state.

The old newspaper clipping also says her grandparents “were among the first settlers in this community.”

Another great genealogy clue.
So it looks like multiple generations of the family had moved from Tennessee to Texas.

The old newspaper article continues giving me the names of her surviving brothers, sisters and children. Perfect. Historical newspapers sure make it easy to research and fill in the entire family tree of my Mayflower ancestors.

My next step is to look at the records available in other newspapers in GenealogyBank, FamilySearch and other sources to verify each member of the family going back generation by generation.

Sometimes you actually can work your family tree from the top down – and in a case like this where the ancestral connection is in the surname line, you can work on your tree from the bottom up. As ever: Trust, but verify and confirm that she is in fact a descendant of Thomas Rogers of the Mayflower.

Genealogy Tip: Researching your Mayflower family lines? Use the old newspapers to find those who are self-identified as descendants of the same Pilgrim ancestors you are. Then link them back, generation by generation, to attach them to your extended Mayflower family tree.

Related Mayflower Ancestry Articles:

October Update: GenealogyBank Just 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 announcement that three million more genealogy records were added in October

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

  • A total of 18 newspaper titles from 14 U.S. states and the District of Columbia
  • 6 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
Connecticut New Canaan New Canaan Messenger 1/1/1910–9/17/1915 Newspaper Archives
District of Columbia Washington (DC) Washington Times 12/11/1985–12/18/1985 Newspaper Archives
Illinois Rockford Register Star 12/1/2008–12/31/2008 Newspaper Archives
Iowa Council Bluffs Council Bluffs Nonpareil 7/1/1944–8/12/1944 Newspaper Archives
Kentucky Lexington Lexington Leader 10/30/1901–09/15/1981 Newspaper Archives
Louisiana New Orleans Times-Picayune 5/3/1981–4/17/1988 Newspaper Archives
Maryland Baltimore Sun 9/7/1914–2/12/1921 Newspaper Archives
Maryland Dundalk Dundalk Eagle* 04/02/2015–Current Recent Obituaries
Massachusetts Dartmouth Chronicle, The* 02/18/2015–Current Recent Obituaries
Michigan Clare Clare County Review, The* 09/03/2011–Current Recent Obituaries
Michigan Marion Marion Press, The* 03/19/2014–Current Recent Obituaries
Mississippi Biloxi Daily Herald 3/5/1949–9/26/1955 Newspaper Archives
Nevada Carson City Carson Now* 09/06/2015–Current Recent Obituaries
New Jersey Jersey City Jersey Journal 7/16/1964–4/14/1966 Newspaper Archives
North Carolina Greensboro Greensboro News and Record 10/26/1986–10/26/1986 Newspaper Archives
North Carolina Winston-Salem Winston-Salem Journal 1/1/1915–8/31/1925 Newspaper Archives
Pennsylvania State College Centre Daily Times 11/26/1994–3/31/1996 Newspaper Archives
South Carolina Ridgeland Jasper County Sun Times* 02/04/2015–Current Recent Obituaries

Related Articles & Resources:

Obituaries – Don’t Make This Rookie Genealogy Research Mistake

This is a typical newspaper obituary.
It gives the usual genealogical information, including her name (Ella M. Crofoot), age, & date and place of birth.

obituary for Ella M. Crofoot, Stamford Advocate newspaper article 17 February 1970

Stamford Advocate (Stamford, Connecticut), 17 February 1970, page 6

I could easily transcribe this information and move on to the next relative to research in my family tree – but that would be a mistake.

Why?
I have her obituary – isn’t that what I came for?

Historical newspapers often published two items about the deceased: the obituary and the more compact “death notice.”

Death notices come in all shapes and sizes, and vary from newspaper to newspaper – but, you must look for them while doing your genealogy research or you will miss important clues.

For example: on the same page of that newspaper, further down along the far right column, there is Ella’s “death notice.”

death notice for Ella M. Crofoot, Stamford Advocate newspaper article 17 February 1970

Stamford Advocate (Stamford, Connecticut), 17 February 1970, page 6

Comparing both news articles, we quickly see that additional relatives are named in the death notice:

Aunt of Lawrence T. Kemp, Mrs. Olive Skinner, Mrs. Hazel Randall, and Mrs. Ruth Brush.

Good thing we checked or we’d have missed four family members.

Genealogy Tip: Always check for both the Obituary AND the Death Notice. You’ll likely be glad that you did.

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/

Related Articles:

Massachusetts Archives: 427 Newspapers for Genealogy Research

Massachusetts has long played a prominent role in American history. It is where the Pilgrims landed from the Mayflower and established Plymouth Colony in 1620. Boston, founded in 1630, was one of the centers of the revolt against Great Britain that led to the American Revolution. Although Massachusetts is the seventh smallest state in the country, it is the 14th most populous.

photo of a sunset on Cape Cod Bay, Brewster, Massachusetts

Photo: sunset on Cape Cod Bay, Brewster, Massachusetts. Credit: PapaDunes; Wikimedia Commons.

If you are researching your ancestry from Massachusetts, you will want to use GenealogyBank’s online MA newspaper archives: 427 titles to help you search your family history in “The Bay State,” providing coverage from 1690 to Today. There are more than 207 million articles and records in our online Massachusetts newspaper archives!

Note that our Massachusetts historical newspaper collection contains The Boston News-Letter which was very first newspaper continuously published in colonial America. This early American newspaper is a fantastic resource to learn about the lives of your colonial ancestors.

masthead for the first issue of the Boston News-Letter newspaper 24 April 1704

Boston News-Letter (Boston, Massachusetts), First Issue: 24 April 1704

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

Search Massachusetts Newspaper Archives (1690 – 1992)

Search Massachusetts Recent Obituaries (1988 – Current)

illustration: state flag of Massachusetts

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

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

City Title Date Range* Collection
Acton Beacon 10/13/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Amesbury Amesbury News 11/11/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Andover Andover Townsman 04/04/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Arlington Arlington Advocate 08/25/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Ashburnham Community Journal 05/11/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Ashland Ashland TAB 12/17/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Attleboro Sun Chronicle 11/14/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Auburn Auburn Daily Voice 04/28/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Ayer Public Spirit 09/18/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Barnstable Barnstable Patriot 10/07/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Barre Barre Patriot 07/26/1844 – 11/30/1855 Newspaper Archives
Barre Farmer’s Gazette 06/13/1834 – 05/15/1835 Newspaper Archives
Barre Wachusett Star 11/23/1847 – 06/20/1848 Newspaper Archives
Barre Barre Gazette 06/05/1835 – 08/29/1862 Newspaper Archives
Bedford Bedford Minuteman 09/29/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Belchertown Hampshire Sentinel and Farmers and Manufacturers Journal 11/29/1826 – 05/04/1831 Newspaper Archives
Bellingham Country Gazette 09/22/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Belmont Belmont Citizen-Herald 08/18/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Beverly Beverly Citizen 04/13/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Beverly Salem News 05/31/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Beverly Beverly Citizen 10/13/1858 – 02/24/1893 Newspaper Archives
Billerica Billerica Minuteman 09/22/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bolton Bolton Common 12/23/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Boston Saturday Morning Transcript 11/19/1831 – 12/28/1839 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Courier 01/04/1830 – 10/27/1864 Newspaper Archives
Boston Daily Atlas 11/08/1832 – 04/11/1857 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Patriot and Daily Chronicle 06/02/1817 – 12/31/1831 Newspaper Archives
Boston Weekly Messenger 10/25/1811 – 12/25/1860 Newspaper Archives
Boston Federal Gazette 01/01/1798 – 03/26/1798 Newspaper Archives
Boston Bay Windows 12/10/1998 – Current Recent Obituaries
Boston Boston Herald 01/01/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Boston Boston Spectator 01/01/1814 – 02/25/1815 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Evening-Post and the General Advertiser 10/20/1781 – 01/10/1784 Newspaper Archives
Boston Flag of Our Union 03/28/1846 – 12/28/1867 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Mirror 10/22/1808 – 07/21/1810 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston American 12/01/1951 – 09/30/1961 Newspaper Archives
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Boston Universalist Magazine 07/03/1819 – 01/12/1828 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Patriot 03/03/1809 – 05/31/1817 Newspaper Archives
Boston New-England Weekly Journal 03/20/1727 – 10/13/1741 Newspaper Archives
Boston Pilot 09/25/1812 – 01/15/1813 Newspaper Archives
Boston Agricultural Intelligencer, and Mechanic Register 01/14/1820 – 07/07/1820 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Recorder 01/03/1816 – 05/03/1872 Newspaper Archives
Boston Independent Chronicle and Boston Patriot 06/04/1817 – 12/31/1825 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Evening-Post 08/18/1735 – 04/24/1775 Newspaper Archives
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Boston Boston Journal 01/01/1866 – 10/06/1917 Newspaper Archives
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Boston American Traveller 11/14/1846 – 08/19/1876 Newspaper Archives
Boston Repertory 01/02/1821 – 07/29/1826 Newspaper Archives
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Boston Satirist 01/16/1812 – 05/09/1812 Newspaper Archives
Boston Herald of Freedom 09/15/1788 – 07/19/1791 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Courant 01/06/1900 – 01/06/1900 Newspaper Archives
Boston Courier de Boston 04/23/1789 – 10/15/1789 Newspaper Archives
Boston Trumpet and Universalist Magazine 07/05/1828 – 06/28/1834 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston News-Letter 04/24/1704 – 02/29/1776 Newspaper Archives
Boston Columbian Detector 11/07/1808 – 05/19/1809 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Record American 12/02/1951 – 12/31/1972 Newspaper Archives
Boston Independent Chronicle 09/19/1776 – 05/29/1817 Newspaper Archives
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Boston Evening Post and General Advertiser 10/17/1778 – 02/26/1780 Newspaper Archives
Boston Massachusetts Spy 07/17/1770 – 04/06/1775 Newspaper Archives
Boston American Republican 03/20/1809 – 04/03/1809 Newspaper Archives
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Boston Metro – Boston 12/07/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
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Boston Boston Price-Current 09/07/1795 – 05/31/1798 Newspaper Archives
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Boston Boston Chronicle 10/22/1767 – 06/21/1770 Newspaper Archives
Boston Continental Journal, and Weekly Advertiser 05/30/1776 – 06/21/1787 Newspaper Archives
Boston Times, or, the Evening Entertainer 07/28/1794 – 11/08/1794 Newspaper Archives
Boston Massachusetts Journal 09/02/1826 – 12/18/1828 Newspaper Archives
Boston New-England Galaxy 10/10/1817 – 12/29/1820 Newspaper Archives
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Boston Columbian Centinel 06/16/1790 – 04/25/1840 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Post-Boy 04/21/1735 – 04/10/1775 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Daily Advertiser 03/03/1813 – 12/31/1900 Newspaper Archives
Boston Liberator 01/01/1831 – 12/29/1865 Newspaper Archives
Boston Ladies’ Port Folio 01/01/1820 – 07/08/1820 Newspaper Archives
Boston Constitutional Telegraph 10/02/1799 – 05/22/1802 Newspaper Archives
Boston Weekly Report 05/01/1819 – 05/10/1828 Newspaper Archives
Boston Polar-Star 10/06/1796 – 02/02/1797 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Traveler 07/05/1825 – 10/21/1862 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Advance 02/17/1900 – 02/17/1900 Newspaper Archives
Boston American Herald and the Washington Gazette 07/24/1790 – 12/13/1790 Newspaper Archives
Boston Times 12/12/1807 – 10/15/1808 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Phoenix 08/09/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Boston Masonic Mirror and Mechanic’s Intelligencer 01/22/1825 – 04/15/1826 Newspaper Archives
Boston New-England Courant 08/07/1721 – 06/25/1726 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Daily Bee 01/02/1843 – 12/31/1857 Newspaper Archives
Boston Christian Watchman 05/29/1819 – 12/26/1850 Newspaper Archives
Boston Scourge 08/10/1811 – 12/28/1811 Newspaper Archives
Boston Idiot, or, Invisible Rambler 12/20/1817 – 01/02/1819 Newspaper Archives
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Boston Boston Post 01/10/1840 – 10/16/1876 Newspaper Archives
Boston Kaleidoscope 12/05/1818 – 11/13/1819 Newspaper Archives
Boston Congregationalist 11/03/1870 – 12/29/1870 Newspaper Archives
Boston Russell’s Gazette 06/07/1798 – 10/06/1800 Newspaper Archives
Boston Right Way 11/18/1865 – 03/02/1867 Newspaper Archives
Boston Weekly Rehearsal 09/27/1731 – 08/11/1735 Newspaper Archives
Boston Massachusetts Gazette 11/28/1785 – 11/11/1788 Newspaper Archives
Boston Federal Orrery 10/20/1794 – 10/31/1796 Newspaper Archives
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Boston Boston Herald: Blogs 10/28/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
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Boston Independent Ledger 06/15/1778 – 10/16/1786 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Gazette 12/21/1719 – 09/17/1798 Newspaper Archives
Boston Democrat 01/04/1804 – 06/02/1809 Newspaper Archives
Boston American Herald 01/19/1784 – 06/30/1788 Newspaper Archives
Boston Republican Gazetteer 05/26/1802 – 03/30/1803 Newspaper Archives
Boston Gazetteer 04/02/1803 – 12/31/1803 Newspaper Archives
Boston South End News 06/07/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Boston New-England Chronicle 04/25/1776 – 09/12/1776 Newspaper Archives
Boston Boston Daily American Statesman 09/05/1825 – 12/13/1827 Newspaper Archives
Boston Massachusetts Centinel 03/24/1784 – 06/12/1790 Newspaper Archives
Bourne Bourne Courier 03/30/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bourne Upper Cape Codder 01/05/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Braintree Braintree Forum 08/11/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bridgewater Bridgewater Independent 06/06/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Brockton Enterprise 07/14/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Brookfield Moral and Political Telegraphe 05/06/1795 – 08/17/1796 Newspaper Archives
Brookfield Political Repository 08/14/1798 – 05/04/1802 Newspaper Archives
Brookfield Worcester Intelligencer: Or, Brookfield Advertiser 10/07/1794 – 04/28/1795 Newspaper Archives
Brookline Brookline TAB 09/08/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Burlington Burlington Union 10/06/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cambridge New England Chronicle, or Essex Gazette 05/02/1775 – 03/28/1776 Newspaper Archives
Canton Canton Journal 09/09/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cape Ann Cape Ann Beacon 09/28/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Carver Carver Reporter 11/14/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Charlestown American Recorder 12/09/1785 – 05/25/1787 Newspaper Archives
Charlestown Franklin Monitor 01/02/1819 – 06/03/1820 Newspaper Archives
Charlestown Bunker-Hill Sentinel 06/24/1820 – 07/29/1820 Newspaper Archives
Chatham Cape Cod Chronicle 01/18/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chelmsford Chelmsford Independent 08/18/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chicopee Herald 03/13/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Clinton Times & Courier 09/01/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cohasset Cohasset Mariner 01/06/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Concord Middlesex Gazette 04/20/1816 – 10/14/1820 Newspaper Archives
Concord Concord Journal 01/05/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Concord Concord Gazette and Middlesex Yeoman 11/29/1823 – 02/11/1826 Newspaper Archives
Concord, Hanscom AFB Hansconian 02/17/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Danvers Danvers Herald 11/17/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Dartmouth Chronicle 02/18/2015 – Current Recent Obituaries
Dedham Dedham Gazette 08/20/1813 – 06/25/1819 Newspaper Archives
Dedham Columbian Minerva 01/03/1799 – 09/04/1804 Newspaper Archives
Dedham Minerva 10/11/1796 – 12/27/1798 Newspaper Archives
Dedham Dedham Transcript 08/29/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Dedham Village Register 06/09/1820 – 10/29/1829 Newspaper Archives
Dedham Norfolk Repository 05/14/1805 – 12/28/1809 Newspaper Archives
Dedham Norfolk Democrat 02/09/1839 – 09/15/1854 Newspaper Archives
Dedham Norfolk Advertiser 07/13/1832 – 02/02/1839 Newspaper Archives
Dorchester Dorchester Reporter 01/09/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Dover Dover-Sherborn Press 04/13/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Dracut Valley Dispatch 10/22/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Duxbury Duxbury Reporter 11/17/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Duxbury Duxbury Clipper 01/19/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
East Bridgewater Wicked Local: East Bridgewater 08/29/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
East Bridgewater East Bridgewater Star 09/05/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
East Longmeadow Reminder 03/13/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
East Longmeadow Metro West Reminder 03/13/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Easton Easton Journal 01/06/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fall River Herald News 11/15/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fall River O Jornal 02/02/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Falmouth Cape Cod Times 12/08/1998 – Current Recent Obituaries
Falmouth Falmouth Bulletin 07/24/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise 09/14/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Framingham Framingham TAB 06/16/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Framingham Westwood Press 08/25/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Framingham MetroWest Daily News 09/06/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Georgetown Georgetown Record 05/11/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Gloucester Cape Ann Light and Gloucester Telegraph 01/07/1843 – 08/02/1873 Newspaper Archives
Gloucester Gloucester Telegraph 01/01/1827 – 12/31/1851 Newspaper Archives
Gloucester Cape Ann Advertiser 12/05/1857 – 12/28/1877 Newspaper Archives
Gloucester Gloucester Democrat 08/19/1834 – 02/16/1838 Newspaper Archives
Gloucester Gloucester Daily Times 08/13/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Grafton Grafton Daily Voice 06/25/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Greenfield Greenfield Gazette 08/02/1792 – 02/05/1811 Newspaper Archives
Greenfield Traveller 02/12/1811 – 12/31/1811 Newspaper Archives
Greenfield Franklin Herald 01/07/1812 – 12/30/1817 Newspaper Archives
Groton Groton Landmark 09/18/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Halifax Halifax-Plympton Reporter 12/10/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hamilton Hamilton Wenham Chronicle 10/20/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hanover Hanover Mariner 01/04/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hanson Hanson Town Crier 10/04/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hanson Wicked Local: Hanson 08/26/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hanson Whitman-Hanson Express 10/01/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Harvard Harvard Post 01/05/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Harvard Harvard Hillside 09/18/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Harwich Harwich Oracle 01/04/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Haverhill Daily Evening Bulletin 07/11/1871 – 11/14/1894 Newspaper Archives
Haverhill Haverhill Observer 12/05/1800 – 11/27/1804 Newspaper Archives
Haverhill Haverhill Gazette 04/12/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Haverhill Haverhill Federal Gazette 10/26/1798 – 11/27/1799 Newspaper Archives
Haverhill Haverhill Museum 12/11/1804 – 11/22/1806 Newspaper Archives
Haverhill Essex Patriot 05/10/1817 – 01/25/1823 Newspaper Archives
Haverhill Merrimack Intelligencer 07/02/1808 – 02/08/1817 Newspaper Archives
Haverhill Haverhill Gazette 02/01/1823 – 12/25/1841 Newspaper Archives
Haverhill Guardian of Freedom 09/16/1793 – 11/05/1795 Newspaper Archives
Hingham Hingham Journal 03/09/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Holbrook Holbrook Sun 01/06/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Holden Landmark 04/26/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Holden Holden Daily Voice 04/28/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Holliston Holliston TAB 10/06/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hopkinton Hopkinton Independent 05/16/2013 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hopkinton Hopkinton Crier 07/29/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hudson Hudson Sun 07/06/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Ipswich Ipswich Chronicle 09/01/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Jamaica Plain Jamaica Plain Gazette 10/06/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Jamaica Plain Mission Hill Gazette 01/16/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Kingston Kingston Reporter 05/05/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lakeville Lakeville Call 11/19/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lawrence Eagle-Tribune 05/27/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Leicester Leicester Daily Voice 04/28/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lenox Berkshire Star and County Republican 01/10/1828 – 12/25/1828 Newspaper Archives
Lenox Berkshire Journal 09/03/1829 – 08/25/1831 Newspaper Archives
Leominster Rural Repository 10/22/1795 – 04/13/1797 Newspaper Archives
Leominster Telescope 01/02/1800 – 10/14/1802 Newspaper Archives
Leominster Weekly Messenger 02/06/1806 – 12/18/1806 Newspaper Archives
Leominster Leominster Champion 02/17/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lexington Winchester Star 08/11/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lexington Lexington Minuteman 09/08/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lincoln Lincoln Journal 06/01/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Littleton Littleton Independent 10/13/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lowell Lowell Patriot 01/02/1835 – 06/29/1837 Newspaper Archives
Lowell Sun 10/02/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lowell Lowell Mercury 11/14/1829 – 12/27/1833 Newspaper Archives
Lowell Lowell Daily Citizen and News 04/28/1856 – 12/31/1879 Newspaper Archives
Lynn Daily Item 09/23/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lynnfield North Shore Sunday 01/13/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Malden Malden Observer 07/07/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Manomet Manomet Current 04/27/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Mansfield Mansfield News 01/06/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Marblehead Marblehead Reporter 08/04/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Marion Sentinel 07/26/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Marlborough Marlborough Enterprise 12/08/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Marshfield Marshfield Mariner 08/31/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Marshfield Abington Mariner-Rockland Mariner 09/02/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Maynard Beacon Villager 10/13/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Medfield Medfield Press 11/10/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Medford Medford Transcript 08/10/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Melrose Melrose Free Press 08/18/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Middleboro Middleboro Gazette 02/19/2015 – Current Recent Obituaries
Milford Milford Daily News 09/18/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Millbury Millbury-Sutton Chronicle 05/03/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Millbury Millbury Daily Voice 12/15/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Nantucket Nantucket Inquirer 09/20/1821 – 12/31/1849 Newspaper Archives
Nantucket Nantucket Commerce Gazette 05/06/1816 – 03/08/1817 Newspaper Archives
Nantucket Nantucket Independent 03/30/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Natick Natick Bulletin & TAB 06/02/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Needham Wellesley Townsman 02/23/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Needham Allston-Brighton TAB 11/11/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Needham Needham Times 01/05/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Needham Watertown TAB & Press 09/16/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Needham West Roxbury Transcript 07/13/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
New Bedford New Bedford Gazette 09/05/1831 – 01/25/1838 Newspaper Archives
New Bedford Medley or Newbedford Marine Journal 11/27/1792 – 10/18/1799 Newspaper Archives
New Bedford New-Bedford Mercury 08/07/1807 – 03/16/1877 Newspaper Archives
New Bedford New-Bedford Gazette 10/18/1811 – 07/17/1812 Newspaper Archives
New Bedford New-England Gazette 05/13/1823 – 01/27/1824 Newspaper Archives
New Bedford Whaleman’s Shipping List and Merchants’ Transcript 03/17/1843 – 09/13/1864 Newspaper Archives
New Bedford New-Bedford Courier 06/12/1827 – 05/28/1833 Newspaper Archives
New Bedford Old Colony Gazette 10/21/1808 – 10/11/1811 Newspaper Archives
New Bedford Columbian Courier 12/08/1798 – 03/01/1805 Newspaper Archives
New Bedford Standard Times 02/17/2015 – Current Recent Obituaries
New Bedford Morning Mercury 12/04/1895 – 01/02/1919 Newspaper Archives
New Bedford New Bedford Register 01/22/1840 – 01/06/1846 Newspaper Archives
New Bedford Christian Philanthropist 05/14/1822 – 05/13/1823 Newspaper Archives
Newburyport Newburyport Herald 10/31/1797 – 03/19/1847 Newspaper Archives
Newburyport Newburyport Gazette 04/07/1807 – 09/18/1807 Newspaper Archives
Newburyport Political Gazette 04/30/1795 – 10/27/1797 Newspaper Archives
Newburyport New-England Repertory 07/06/1803 – 01/21/1804 Newspaper Archives
Newburyport Political Calendar 03/26/1804 – 06/17/1805 Newspaper Archives
Newburyport Statesman 08/15/1808 – 03/09/1809 Newspaper Archives
Newburyport American Intelligencer 06/04/1801 – 07/30/1801 Newspaper Archives
Newburyport Daily News of Newburyport 05/24/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Newburyport Merrimack Magazine and Ladies’ Literary Cabinet 08/17/1805 – 08/09/1806 Newspaper Archives
Newburyport Newburyport Current 01/13/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Newburyport Impartial Herald 05/18/1793 – 10/27/1797 Newspaper Archives
Newburyport Morning Star 04/08/1794 – 12/03/1794 Newspaper Archives
Newburyport Essex Journal 12/04/1773 – 02/06/1777 Newspaper Archives
Newburyport Independent Whig 04/05/1810 – 05/02/1811 Newspaper Archives
Newburyport Merrimack Gazette 03/21/1803 – 02/18/1804 Newspaper Archives
Newburyport Essex Journal 07/09/1784 – 04/02/1794 Newspaper Archives
Newton Newton TAB 08/10/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
North Adams North Adams Transcript 08/08/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
North Adams Advocate 06/09/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
North Andover North Andover Citizen 04/14/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
North Andover Valley Patriot 04/01/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
North Attleborough North Attleborough Free Press 01/16/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Northampton Anti-Monarchist and Republican Watchman 12/14/1808 – 11/28/1810 Newspaper Archives
Northampton Hampshire Gazette 09/20/1786 – 12/26/1843 Newspaper Archives
Northampton Hive 08/23/1803 – 01/22/1805 Newspaper Archives
Northampton Republican Spy 07/03/1804 – 11/16/1808 Newspaper Archives
Northampton Democrat 03/12/1811 – 08/17/1813 Newspaper Archives
Northborough Northborough Daily Voice 10/28/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Northborough, Southborough Villager 12/02/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Northbridge Northbridge Daily Voice 08/11/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Norton Norton Mirror 08/11/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Norwell Norwell Mariner 04/13/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Norwood Norwood Transcript & Bulletin 05/03/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Orleans Cape Codder 09/02/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Pembroke Pembroke Mariner and Express 01/04/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Pembroke Pembroke Express 03/28/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Pepperell Pepperell Free Press 09/18/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Pittsfield Berkshire Chronicle 05/08/1788 – 09/30/1790 Newspaper Archives
Pittsfield Pittsfield Sun 09/16/1800 – 12/31/1873 Newspaper Archives
Pittsfield Berkshire Reporter 01/03/1807 – 11/16/1815 Newspaper Archives
Pittsfield Berkshire Eagle 01/10/1998 – Current Recent Obituaries
Pittsfield Berkshire Gazette 01/18/1798 – 02/11/1800 Newspaper Archives
Pittsfield Berkshire County Whig 03/11/1841 – 02/22/1849 Newspaper Archives
Plymouth Wicked Local: Plymouth 05/12/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Plymouth Plymouth Bulletin 12/07/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Plymouth Old Colony Memorial 05/04/1822 – 12/29/1827 Newspaper Archives
Plymouth Old Colony Sentinel 12/08/1866 – 12/08/1866 Newspaper Archives
Plymouth Wareham Courier 11/04/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Plymouth Plymouth Journal, and the Massachusetts Advertiser 03/19/1785 – 06/13/1786 Newspaper Archives
Plymouth Old Colony Memorial 11/11/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Provincetown Provincetown Banner 06/15/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Quincy Patriot Ledger 07/17/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Quincy Patriot Ledger 01/01/1916 – 12/29/1922 Newspaper Archives
Randolph Randolph Herald 05/09/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Raynham Raynham Call 04/18/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Reading Reading Advocate 12/22/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Roslindale Roslindale Transcript 08/17/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Salem Salem Gazette 09/23/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Salem American Gazette, or, the Constitutional Journal 06/18/1776 – 07/30/1776 Newspaper Archives
Salem Salem Observer 12/20/1823 – 01/10/1874 Newspaper Archives
Salem Friend 01/03/1807 – 07/18/1807 Newspaper Archives
Salem Essex Gazette 08/02/1768 – 05/02/1775 Newspaper Archives
Salem Salem Mercury 10/14/1786 – 12/29/1789 Newspaper Archives
Salem Salem Gazette 01/05/1790 – 12/29/1849 Newspaper Archives
Salem Essex Register 07/23/1807 – 12/31/1827 Newspaper Archives
Salem Impartial Register 05/12/1800 – 12/31/1801 Newspaper Archives
Salem Salem Gazette 10/18/1781 – 11/22/1785 Newspaper Archives
Salem Weekly Visitant 08/02/1806 – 12/20/1806 Newspaper Archives
Salem Salem Chronicle, and Essex Advertiser 03/30/1786 – 08/03/1786 Newspaper Archives
Salem Salem Register 01/04/1802 – 07/16/1807 Newspaper Archives
Salem Salem Register 01/04/1841 – 01/22/1891 Newspaper Archives
Sandwich Sandwich Broadsider 10/13/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Saugus Saugus Advertiser 09/22/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Scituate Scituate Mariner 01/05/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Sharon Sharon Advocate 10/07/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Shirley Shirley Oracle 09/18/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Shrewsbury Shrewsbury Daily Voice 02/08/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Shrewsbury Shrewsbury Chronicle 09/15/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Somerset Spectator 02/18/2015 – Current Recent Obituaries
Somerville Somerville Times 07/07/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Somerville Cambridge Chronicle 08/11/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Somerville Somerville Journal 08/11/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Springfield Springfield Daily News 01/02/1911 – 07/05/1969 Newspaper Archives
Springfield Hampden Federalist 08/06/1812 – 03/05/1823 Newspaper Archives
Springfield Republican Spy 06/14/1803 – 06/11/1804 Newspaper Archives
Springfield Hampshire Federalist 01/07/1806 – 07/23/1812 Newspaper Archives
Springfield Hampshire Chronicle 03/12/1787 – 09/06/1796 Newspaper Archives
Springfield Springfield Union 01/04/1864 – 01/29/1989 Newspaper Archives
Springfield Hampden Whig 02/24/1830 – 12/20/1837 Newspaper Archives
Springfield Springfield Republican 03/27/1844 – 09/26/1946 Newspaper Archives
Springfield Hampden Patriot 12/31/1818 – 12/25/1822 Newspaper Archives
Springfield Springfield Union-News 06/01/1987 – 01/31/1989 Newspaper Archives
Springfield Massachusetts Gazette 05/14/1782 – 07/20/1784 Newspaper Archives
Springfield Federal Spy 12/19/1792 – 12/31/1805 Newspaper Archives
Springfield Republican, The: Web Edition Articles 11/16/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Springfield Springfield Reminder 03/13/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Springfield Springfield Republican 07/03/1852 – 08/14/1941 Newspaper Archives
Springfield Hampden Journal and Advertiser 03/12/1823 – 11/26/1828 Newspaper Archives
Springfield Republican 06/16/1988 – Current Recent Obituaries
Springfield Hampshire Herald 07/27/1784 – 09/26/1786 Newspaper Archives
Stockbridge Berkshire Star 07/30/1808 – 01/03/1828 Newspaper Archives
Stockbridge Western Star 12/01/1789 – 11/08/1806 Newspaper Archives
Stockbridge Political Atlas 02/14/1807 – 07/22/1808 Newspaper Archives
Stoneham Stoneham Sun 11/02/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Stoughton Stoughton Sentinel 12/05/1863 – 12/23/1876 Newspaper Archives
Stoughton Wicked Local: Avon 12/01/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Stoughton Stoughton Journal 09/30/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Stoughton Avon Messenger 05/23/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Sudbury Sudbury Town Crier 09/22/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Swampscott Swampscott Reporter 02/16/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Taunton Columbian Reporter and Old Colony Journal 04/03/1822 – 09/22/1830 Newspaper Archives
Taunton Taunton Daily Gazette 10/08/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Taunton Taunton Call 04/18/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Tewksbury Tewksbury Advocate 07/06/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Topsfield Tri-Town Transcript 06/02/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Townsend Townsend Times 09/18/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Vineyard Grove Seaside Gazette 07/20/1872 – 08/30/1875 Newspaper Archives
Wakefield Wakefield Observer 09/01/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Walpole Walpole Times 07/17/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Waltham Waltham News Tribune 08/29/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Watertown Boston Gazette, or, Country Journal 06/05/1775 – 10/28/1776 Newspaper Archives
Wayland Wayland Town Crier 09/22/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
West Bridgewater West Bridgewater Times 02/27/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
West Bridgewater Wicked Local: West Bridgewater 08/29/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
West Springfield American Intelligencer 09/29/1795 – 11/28/1797 Newspaper Archives
Westborough Westborough News 10/28/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Westborough Westborough Daily Voice 04/28/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Westborough Community Advocate 06/29/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Westfield Westfield News 12/13/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Westford Westford Eagle 09/15/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Weston Weston Town Crier 12/22/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Weymouth Weymouth News 11/02/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Whitman Wicked Local: Whitman 08/29/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Whitman Whitman Times 05/02/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Wilmington Wilmington Advocate 01/05/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Woburn Woburn Advocate 08/11/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Worcester Worcester Telegram & Gazette 01/16/1989 – Current Recent Obituaries
Worcester Independent Gazetteer 11/27/1799 – 12/29/1801 Newspaper Archives
Worcester National Aegis 12/02/1801 – 12/30/1876 Newspaper Archives
Worcester Massachusetts Spy 05/03/1775 – 12/29/1876 Newspaper Archives
Worcester Worcester Daily Spy 01/01/1878 – 04/30/1904 Newspaper Archives
Worcester American Herald and the Worcester Recorder 08/21/1788 – 10/08/1789 Newspaper Archives
Yarmouthport Register 01/05/2006 – 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 Massachusetts newspaper links will be live.

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Alabama Archives: 81 Newspapers for Genealogy Research

Originally part of the Mississippi Territory, Alabama became the nation’s 22nd state on 14 December 1819. It is the 30th largest state in the country, and the 23rd most populous.

photo of the State Capitol Building, Montgomery, Alabama

Photo: State Capitol Building, Montgomery, Alabama. Credit: the Carol M. Highsmith Archive collection, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

If you are researching your ancestry from Alabama, you will want to use GenealogyBank’s online AL newspaper archives: 81 titles to help you search your family history in “The Yellowhammer State,” providing coverage from 1813 to Today. There are more than 21 million articles and records in our online Alabama newspaper archives!

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

Search Alabama Newspaper Archives (1813 – 2003)

Search Alabama Recent Obituaries (1992 – Current)

illustration: state flag of Alabama

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

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

City Title Date Range* Collection
Alabaster Alabaster Reporter 08/10/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Albertville Sand Mountain Reporter 03/22/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Alexander City Alexander City Outlook 01/12/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
Andalusia Andalusia Star-News 07/02/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Anniston Anniston Star 10/01/1998 – Current Recent Obituaries
Anniston Jacksonville News 08/27/1998 – Current Recent Obituaries
Athens News-Courier 02/01/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Atmore Atmore Advance 11/09/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
Birmingham Age-Herald 07/01/1894 – 03/31/1901 Newspaper Archives
Birmingham Birmingham News: Web Edition Articles 08/22/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Birmingham Birmingham News 04/27/1993 – Current Recent Obituaries
Birmingham Labor Advocate 06/29/1895 – 12/20/1902 Newspaper Archives
Birmingham Wide-Awake 01/24/1900 – 01/24/1900 Newspaper Archives
Birmingham Birmingham Courier 08/19/1899 – 09/12/1903 Newspaper Archives
Birmingham Birmingham Times 07/15/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Blakeley Blakeley Sun 12/12/1818 – 06/02/1819 Newspaper Archives
Brewton Brewton Standard 10/08/2014 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cahawba Cahawba Press and Alabama Intelligencer 07/10/1819 – 05/14/1825 Newspaper Archives
Cahawba Alabama Watchman 08/08/1820 – 12/15/1820 Newspaper Archives
Claiborne Alabama Courier 03/19/1819 – 10/15/1819 Newspaper Archives
Clanton Clanton Advertiser 06/24/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Columbiana Shelby County Reporter 03/27/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cullman Cullman Times 12/27/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cullman Nord Alabama Colonist 07/01/1881 – 07/01/1881 Newspaper Archives
Dadeville Dadeville Record 09/08/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Decatur Decatur Daily 08/01/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Demopolis Demopolis Times 04/10/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Dothan Dothan Eagle 08/16/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Eclectic Eclectic Observer 04/04/2013 – Current Recent Obituaries
Enterprise Enterprise Ledger 03/26/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Eufaula Eufaula Tribune 02/08/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fort Deposit Lowndes Signal 03/06/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fort Payne Times-Journal 09/13/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
Gardendale North Jefferson News 06/27/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Greenville Greenville Advocate 01/05/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Grove Hill Grove Hill Herald 03/06/1850 – 12/06/1854 Newspaper Archives
Grove Hill Southern Recorder 02/24/1847 – 11/07/1849 Newspaper Archives
Hartselle Hartselle Enquirer 10/03/2014 – Current Recent Obituaries
Heflin Cleburne News 02/14/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
Huntsville Democrat 10/03/1833 – 10/03/1833 Newspaper Archives
Huntsville Alabama Republican 04/18/1818 – 08/05/1819 Newspaper Archives
Huntsville Huntsville Star 01/26/1900 – 01/26/1900 Newspaper Archives
Huntsville Huntsville Gazette 06/18/1881 – 12/29/1894 Newspaper Archives
Huntsville Huntsville Times, The: Web Edition Articles 09/30/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Huntsville Madison Gazette 10/19/1813 – 04/18/1815 Newspaper Archives
Huntsville Huntsville Gazette 12/21/1816 – 12/21/1816 Newspaper Archives
Huntsville Huntsville Times 01/02/1992 – Current Recent Obituaries
Jasper Daily Mountain Eagle 01/22/1998 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lanett Valley Times-News 03/18/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
Leeds Leeds News 02/04/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Luverne Luverne Journal 06/03/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Madison Madison County Record 04/30/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Mobile Press-Register 11/01/1992 – Current Recent Obituaries
Mobile Mobile Register 10/22/1833 – 02/19/2003 Newspaper Archives
Mobile Mobile Evening Telegraph 11/03/1864 – 11/03/1864 Newspaper Archives
Mobile Alabama Staats-Zeitung 01/10/1900 – 02/08/1917 Newspaper Archives
Mobile Mobile Mercantile Advertiser 10/07/1833 – 10/07/1833 Newspaper Archives
Mobile Mobile Gazette and Commercial Advertiser 01/05/1820 – 12/29/1820 Newspaper Archives
Mobile Press-Register: Web Edition Articles 10/01/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Montgomery Montgomery Enterprise 01/26/1900 – 01/26/1900 Newspaper Archives
Montgomery Montgomery Advertiser 05/11/1901 – 12/31/1922 Newspaper Archives
Montgomery Daily Confederation 05/01/1858 – 07/17/1860 Newspaper Archives
Montgomery Daily Alabama Journal 04/14/1849 – 12/31/1853 Newspaper Archives
Opelika Opelika-Auburn News 01/30/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Pelham Pelham Reporter 07/15/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Pell City St. Clair Times 07/26/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Pell City St. Clair News Aegis 07/09/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Piedmont Piedmont Journal 02/11/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Rainsville Weekly Post 03/15/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Russellville Franklin County Times 10/06/2014 – Current Recent Obituaries
Scottsboro Daily Sentinel 09/28/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Selma Daily Chattanooga Rebel 11/21/1864 – 04/27/1865 Newspaper Archives
Selma Selma Times-Journal 10/02/2014 – Current Recent Obituaries
St. Stephens Halcyon 06/02/1818 – 11/27/1820 Newspaper Archives
Talladega Daily Home 01/20/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
Tallassee Tallassee Tribune 02/27/2013 – Current Recent Obituaries
Troy Messenger 08/01/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
Tuscaloosa Tuscaloosa Chronicle 10/20/1827 – 10/27/1827 Newspaper Archives
Tuscaloosa Alabama Intelligencer and State Rights Expositor 03/02/1833 – 12/05/1835 Newspaper Archives
Tuscumbia North Alabamian 11/17/1865 – 12/07/1866 Newspaper Archives
Wetumpka Wetumpka Herald 10/06/2014 – 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 Alabama newspaper links will be live.

Related Articles & Resources:

3 Genealogy Tips for Family History Month

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” As you may be aware, October is Family History Month. In this blog article, Gena celebrates this special month for family historians by suggesting three genealogy tips for you to try.

First set aside as Family History Month in 2001 via a resolution introduced by Senator Orrin Hatch, October is a time to reflect on our ancestry. Family History Month can be a busy one with genealogy society events and conferences to educate existing family historians – and encourage those who are just starting.

What are you personally doing for Family History Month? It’s the perfect time to set some goals for what you want to do with your family history research. Consider what you want to accomplish and then break those objectives down into smaller goals that can easily be achieved in a short amount of time. What might some month-long genealogy goals look like? Here are a few goals that I’ll be working on to celebrate Family History Month.

1) Catch up on your newspaper research. I’m lucky – I get to research in GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives on a daily basis. But GenealogyBank is updated monthly and I don’t always remember to rerun my searches for new-to-me articles. My plan this month is to search the latest additions to GenealogyBank for newspapers that can help me fill in some of the gaps in my family tree.

Do you have an obituary for all of your great-grandparents? Have you looked for your parent’s wedding announcements? What about notices in the legal section of the newspapers? Take some time this month to find new articles to add to your family history.

I’m starting with my great-great-grandparents’ obituaries. Below is one of my paternal great-great-grandparents. Now, only 31 more to go!

obituary for Joseph Chatham, Sacramento Bee newspaper article 16 January 1940

Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, California), 16 January 1940, page 4

2) Learn one new thing about genealogy. What’s that one thing you wish you knew about family history research? Maybe you want to know how to conduct better searches. Maybe you want to learn how to use a specific genealogy website. Maybe you would just like to better understand the World War I draft. Whatever your interest is, make a pact with yourself that you will take some time this month to enhance your genealogy research skills by learning one new thing. Whether it’s methodology, a new website, how to search a favorite website, or learning about a record set, your research will benefit from continuing education.

GenealogyBank provides many different opportunities to learn more about genealogy, including a YouTube channel, Pinterest boards, and a Learning Center. Ensure you are searching like a family history pro and invest some time in learning how to best use genealogy resources.

3) Share your family history research. How are you sharing your genealogy research? Genealogy is often seen as a solitary pursuit. While the image of someone bent over a microfilm machine in a hushed library is sometimes accurate, the new face of genealogy research is so much more. It’s through sharing that we learn from the knowledge and work of others as we seek to find answers. Sharing your genealogy research doesn’t need to be a big production.

Take some time today to tell a younger member of the family about your grandparents, or a story about a historical event you witnessed (my mom shared with my high school-age sons about the Kennedy assassination and its effect on her as a high school student). Upload some family photos to Facebook and tag your family members. Call a sibling and ask them what they remember about a grandparent or a family event, and then share your research about that person. Sharing doesn’t need to be something planned well in advance or a lot of work – it can simply mean spending a few minutes to pass on what you know about your ancestry.

As you think about sharing your family history, make plans for how you will share or gather information as the holidays approach. Many families take time out of their busy lives to meet for the holidays. Plan now to take advantage of these multigenerational family gatherings.

Family History Month is a great time to accomplish some family history goals. Take a few minutes today to decide what you will accomplish.

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