Best source for old newspapers online

GenealogyBank is the best source for early US newspapers on the planet.

Last week I wrote about digging in GenealogyBank and finding articles about my early American ancestors in Maine.

I had found family death and marriage announcements – this week I kept digging for more information about William Garcelon (1763-1851) his wife Maria (Harris) Garcelon (1763-1850) and his father Sea Captain James Garcelon (1739-1813) – and I found it!

Wow – in GenealogyBank I found this article from the Maine Gazette 22 July 1799

reporting that William Garcelon lost a horse in 1799 – “a black mare, with a white face and two white hind feet, about 15 years old” – it adds the key fact that he was living in Freeport, Maine in 1799.

Looking further I found a shipping article in the Essex (MA) Gazette (1769) stating that [Captain] J[ames] Garcelon had set sail on the Schooner Alexander for Bilbao, [Spain].

By family tradition we knew that he was a sea captain but here was proof and details of this voyage in 1769 – just 10 years after he had settled in America.

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Wow – A newspaper published in 1769?

I didn’t know that newspapers that old had survived – let alone that they were digitized and easily searchable online.

Tip: GenealogyBank has old newspapers going back to 1690 – easy to search, read, print and save!

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Then in the 25 Feb 1811 issue of the Maine Gazette was the advertisement that James Garcelon’s farm was for sale. It gives a terrific description: 150 acres, 20 of them wooded, “handsome young orchard”, a “very pleasantly situated” two story house and more. Wow, you could almost picture the property.

Why was James Garcelon (1739-1813) selling his home and property? Were he and his wife, Deliverance (Annis) Garcelon (1735-1828), moving in with one of his children? At age 72, had he become infirm and unable to manage the property? Probably so.

We get another clue from the probate notice in the 24 Jan 1814 Maine Gazette.

Sea Captain James Garcelon had died 17 November 1813. His son [Rev.] James Garcelon was the executor.
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Tip: GenealogyBank is a goldmine.

No other source has this many early US newspapers.

Only newspapers give this level of detail about the lives of Colonial Americans.
Wow – over 3,700 newspapers – the best newspaper site on the planet.

Search GenealogyBank now.
What will you find? _____________________________________________________

Patsy Leaves Family History TV Show over Gangland Grandpa

Uncovering our family history can reveal saints and sinners as we dig through old newspapers. Genealogists using GenealogyBank become used to finding a scoundrel here and there on the branches of the family tree.

But British actress - Patsy Kensit was not prepared for what she discovered while filming a TV show for the BBC.

She was the featured star of an upcoming episode of “Who Do You Think You Are?” a UK TV show that uses the family history of celebrities in a format reminiscent of Ralph Edward’s long running TV show This is Your Life.

Patsy Kensit became so upset when she found out that her Dad (who died when she was a teenager) and her grandfather were criminals – that she walked off the set while filming the show.

The show got her to come back and finish the filming after telling her that the segment would also highlight her praiseworthy ancestors – one who was an Anglican Priest, recognized by the Archbishop of Canterbury and another a respected local constable.

You can read the entire story in the UK newspaper the Daily Record (5 Aug 2008) - Patsy Kensit left in tears as BBC show reveals her family’s gangland links.
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Clementine Breaux – 110 yrs. old – 1,000+ Descendants

Happy Mother’s Day!

Clementine (Robicheaux) Breaux, the widow of Paul Breaux, must have set a record.

As of March 19, 1915 – she was still going strong at age 110 – the mother of 13 children and the matriarch of more than 1,000 descendants born in her lifetime. She lived in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana and her family lived there in Thibodaux and “scattered over the entire state” of Louisiana.

Even though she was 110 years old according to the article in the Duluth (MN) News Tribune (19 March 1915) she was still active. Her eyesight was still good enough “to permit the threading of a needle” and she enjoyed “getting out in the yard and feeding the chickens and poultry.”

You learn the most amazing things about your family in these old newspapers.
GenealogyBank has over 3,400 newspapers from across the country. Give it a try right now.

So – here’s to our mothers everywhere, of all generations.

Happy Mother’s Day!

A soldier’s last letter ….

What have I done I asked myself, to deserve to be remembered by strangers in a town in which I had never been…”

You can almost hear him ask that now, over 100 years later as we remember him.

Corporal Wilson Mcpherson Osbon (1877-1899) wrote the letter on 28 Dec 1898, in gratitude for a Christmas care package of food and goodies sent from Mrs. R.S. Gleason of Aberdeen, SD. She had sent it to him and the three other young men who were serving in the Philipines from Howard, South Dakota in Company F – among them was his brother Orman King Osbon (1874-1903).

Portion of his letter – Aberdeen Daily News 22 Feb 1899

This would be the last letter Wilson Osbon would write back home. He was killed just a few weeks later on 15 Feb 1899.

I found his story in the Aberdeen (SD) Weekly News.
In looking into it further, I quickly pulled more than a dozen articles about him and his family in GenealogyBank.
It was gripping to read his last letter.

Even more gripping to read in the old newspapers that his brother Orman was also killed in the Philippines just four years later in a fight leading a group of 22 men against a band of local thugs – in Bolinao, Philippines.

Going beyond the historical newspapers I found Orman Osbon’s obituary in a 1903 report of the War Department. It was there that I learned one more key family detail – Orman Osbon had married in the Philippines and his wife, Antonia Osbon resided in Manila.

Annual reports of the War Department for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1903. Volume VII. Report of the Philippine Commission –
Serial Set Vol. No. 4634, Session Vol. No.858th Congress, 2nd SessionH.Doc. 2 pt. 7. p. 719.
I checked the other popular online sources – none of them give these details that filled in the family tree.

I could only find the complete record in GenealogyBank – dozens of articles and reports that gave the crucial details of this family and their loss of two sons in the service of the country on the other side of the world.

The handy search box made it easy – I entered the name and it searched all 219 Million records and documents – making it quick and easy to find the details of the family tree.

Give it a try right now – there is a special give it a try rate of $9.95.

Newspapers are terrific!

Newspapers are terrific! They give us the real details of our ancestor’s lives.

This week I found an article about the estate sale for my first cousin, Thomas Huse (1742/43-1816).

It was published in the Newburyport (MA) Herald, 16 July 1816.

Everything was being sold – his household effects; a covered sleigh; ox cart, an ox wagon; an eight day clock, a share certificate in the Merrimack Bridge, a grindstone and various tools.

It would be great to have these items as family heirlooms.

Was that “eight day clock” a Grandfather clock? Apparently most “eight day clocks” in that day were Grandfather or banjo clocks.

My Grandfather Huse made a banjo clock that still hangs in my uncle’s home in New Hampshire. Who knows, maybe Thomas Huse made the clock that was sold in his estate sale.

Thomas Huse owned a share of the Merrimack Bridge – that was one of the first suspension bridges built in America. The original was built in 1792 and it was replaced in 1810 with a wrought iron suspension bridge designed by Judge James Finley.

Thomas didn’t live long enough to see it, but eleven years after his death, February 6, 1827, the bridge collapsed under the weight of six oxen and two horses that were pulling a cart “loaded with wood” across the bridge.
The animals, wood and the two drivers all went into the water. Only the two drivers and horses survived. Who knew that oxen were so heavily used in early Newburyport.
See: Essex (MA) Register 8 Feb 1827. There are also articles describing the collapse of the bridge and the bridge that was built to replace it.

I think of my family and ancestors as “regular” people and I don’t expect to find them mentioned in newspapers but now that I’ve found hundreds of articles about them, I see how “local” papers used to be.

These old newspapers show us clearly who they were and how they lived their lives. You just can’t find this level of detail in any other source – newspapers are a terrific tool for genealogists.

GenealogyBank has over 2,400 historical newspapers from the 1600s to today. Give GenealogyBank a try (click here) right now.

Be sure to take advantage of GenealogyBank’s special price: only $69.95 for an annual subscription – but hurry, this special ends soon.
It’s a great day for genealogy!