Books of the Week – Donald Lines Jacobus

Millions of books are going online.
Entire libraries – that never close; a
vailable 24/7.

It is now possible for genealogists to read, download and keep genealogies, local histories – publications of all types and sizes. Instantly accessible online and easily stored on your personal laptop or handheld computer.

Donald Lines Jacobus (1887-1970) – well known as the Dean of American Genealogists was writing since he was a young boy. The New Haven Register 18 May 1900 carried a remarkable, lengthy article about his discussion of Biblical and Classical genealogy – written at the age of 12. Click here to read the entire article. It is published online in GenealogyBank.

Jacobus was a prolific writer and his books are going online.

You can read some of his earliest publications – The Lines Family – about his mother’s family that was published in 1905


and The Wilmot family of New Haven, Conn., published in 1904 by the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

You may even read his book of Poems published in 1914 by the Harty-Musch Press, Inc. in New Haven, Connecticut.

Milestones in the Wilderness (1914)

Take full advantage of what the Internet has to offer. You will find thousands of published genealogies & local histories online at:


Internet Archive
Google Books
Family History Archive

and GenealogyBank is your best source for online newspapers – over 4,200 newspapers and 260,000+ digital books and documents online.

It is a great day for genealogy!

Newspapers from 10 States added to GenealogyBank

GenealogyBank announced today that it has added more newspapers from 10 States: Connecticut; Iowa; Michigan; New York; North Carolina; Ohio; Oregon; Tennessee; Texas and Virginia.

Argus Observer (Ontario, OR)
Obituaries: 10/02/2009 – Current


Big Spring Herald (Big Spring, TX)
Obituaries: 10/02/2009 – Current

New Canaan News-Review (New Canaan, CT)
Obituaries: 11/05/2009 – Current

Daily Democrat, The (Fort Madison, IA)
Obituaries: 12/19/2009 – Current

Shelby-Utica News (Shelby, Utica, MI)
Obituaries: 10/07/2009 – Current

Stanly News and Press, The (Albemarle, NC)
Obituaries: 10/10/2009 – Current

Yadkin Ripple, The (Yadkinville, NC)
Obituaries: 10/02/2009 – Current

Brighton-Pittsford Post (Brighton, Pittsford, NY)
Obituaries: 10/04/2009 – Current

Logan Daily News, The (Logan, OH)
Obituaries: 01/15/2010 – Current

Mountain Press, The (Sevierville, TN)
Obituaries: 10/02/2009 – Current

Brownwood Bulletin (Brownwood, TX)
Obituaries: 12/03/2009 – Current

Amherst New Era Progress (Amherst, VA)
Obituaries: 10/02/2009 – Current

Nelson County Times (Amherst, VA)
Obituaries: 10/02/2009 – Current


It’s a great day for genealogy!

Sign up now and see what you’ll find about your family!

GenealogyBank – Where Everybody Knows Your Name

I had a basic question yesterday that reminded me of one of the core values of GenealogyBank – it’s flexible search engine.

A woman wrote asking for the obituary notice of her father – who had died in December 2008 – but she had not included her father’s name. So I wrote back asking her for that detail.

While I waited for her response I thought - you know, GenealogyBank’s search engine can find his obituary even without knowing his name.

Here’s how I did it.

Step One.

I first entered what I knew – the name of his daughter and the month/year that he died. I left all of the other search fields blank. I reasoned that the obituary would likely include the name of his children and close relatives – in this case, the name of his daughter.

Step Two

There was only one hit that met that search criteria.

Step Three
Bingo – it was the correct obituary.

Tip: Be flexible in your searches.

GenealogyBank indexes over 4,200 newspapers published over the last 300+ years. You may search by the name of the deceased or by other persons named in the obituary or news article. Search on every clue.

GenealogyBank adding more newspapers

GenealogyBank announces that it is adding 10 more newspapers from 9 states.
These newspapers will be added by the end of this month.

We will also be expanding the coverage of 15 newspapers that are already represented in GenealogyBank.

It’s a great day for genealogy!

And …. the month is still not over…. we have even more newspapers that we will be announcing in the days ahead.

Sign up now and see what you’ll find about your family!

AK. Anchorage
Anchorage Gazette. 1992-12-01 to 1993-01-01

2 issues; 54 pages

CT. New Haven
Black Coalition Weekly. 1972-03-06 to 1972-09-14
13 issues; 139 pages

IL. Chicago
Second Ward News. 1935-12-14 to 1938-04-02
12 issues; 66 pages

IL. Chicago
Spokesman. 1933-01-07 to 1933-03-18
10 issues; 86 pages

KS. Kansas City
Plaindealer. 1932-05-20 to 1958-11-07
709 issues; 5,761 pages

MA. Springfield
Springfield Republican. 1923-12-30 to 1946-09-26
16,861 issues; 293,612 pages

MI. Grand Rapids
Afro-American Gazette. 1991-01-01 to 1995-08-07
117 issues. 2,785 pages

NY. Albany
Sojourner-Herald. 1995-04-01 to 1998-11-01
27 issues; 463 pages

OR. Portland
Oregonian. 1923-01-01 to 1948-12-19
8,543 issues; 277,615 pages

PA. Allentown
First World News. 1993-11-01 to 1995-04-01
2 issues; 116 pages


GenealogyBank is adding more back issues to these 15 newspapers:

CA. Los Angeles
Los Angeles Tribune. 1959-01-02 to 1959-05-15
53 issues; 1,430 pages


CT. Middletown
Constitution. 1856-01-01 to 1856-12-03
34 issues; 134 pages

IN. Terre Haute
Wabash Courier. 1837-05-25 to 1850-08-24
173 issues; 697 pages

KS. Topeka
Plaindealer. 1899-01-06 to 1912-06-28
368 issues; 2,153 pages

KS. Wichita
Negro Star. 1920-05-07 to 1950-12-29
1,210 issues; 5,116 pages

LA. New Orleans
Times-Picayune. 1893-06-25
1 issue; 24 pages

MA. Boston
Boston Journal. 1893-05-02 to 1893-08-31
99 issues; 876 pages

MI. Kalamazoo
Kalamazoo Gazette. 1872-03-26 to 1916-07-25
2,716 issues; 13,429 pages

NJ. Trenton
Trenton Evening Times. 1972-12-30 to 1993-03-15
13,724 issues; 614,338 pages

NY. New York
New York Herald. 1879-05-31 to 1896-04-26
681 issues; 12,364 pages

NY. New York
New York Herald-Tribune. 1856-01-01 to 1876-12-30
2,357 issues; 20,881 pages

OR. Portland
Oregonian. 1868-12-29 to 1907-05-25
1,069 issues; 10,533 pages

PA. Philadelphia
Aurora General Advertiser. 1800-01-01 to 1800-11-11
13 issues; 53 pages

TX. Dallas
Dallas Morning News. 1978-09-17 to 1978-12-28
26 issues; 1,703 pages

WI. Milwaukee
Milwaukee Star. 1968-03-02 to 1974-10-03
189 issues; 4,444 pages

Portland, Maine newspapers 1786-1898

Baltimore newspapers 1775-1922

I am not finding my great-grandfather, what do I do now?

The steady flow of newspapers, records and documents going online on GenealogyBank gives family historians a lot to search and comb through.

These newspapers and documents were published over the past 3 centuries – so sometimes it takes a little detective work to find our ancestors.

Here are a few tips:
1. First search for the person by name. Put in the person’s last name and first name. Examine the results and see if you are able to quickly spot your relative. I had a person write me and ask why he couldn’t find his relative Gayla Marie Jackson. By repeating the search & using only the first name: Gayla and last name: Jackson – her obituary came right up. TIP: Limit your search to only the first name and the surname.

2. If you don’t find a person after the first or second attempt – step back and search on just the surname and slowly add additional facts.
I recently helped a person with the surname: Suárez.
Clearly that is a common surname and will produce too many hits – over 27,000 articles and records. So repeat the search and limit by the year of death. I did that for Suárez 1934 and was able to quickly spot his relatives. Funeral del joven Ricardo Suárez – Prensa (TX) 25 Aug 1940.

We have very few genealogists that write us saying that they cannot find their relatives but we are here to help. If you’re not finding your relatives – alert me right away at: gbfeedback@genealogybank.com. Let me see what I can do to help you uncover your relatives and document your family tree.

We want you to have success in documenting your family and wish you all the best in using GenealogyBank.
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Joshua Hempstead (1678-1758) – I was blind but now I see.

New London Historical Society (CT) is doing a terrific job serializing Joshua Hempstead’s diary on their site.

Styled the Joshua Hempstead Blog – each entry of his diary captures the details of life in Colonial Connecticut. Hempstead’s diary entries are dated from September 8, 1711 through November 3, 1758. He died 22 December 1758.

According to historian Bruce P. Stark, “The diary, the only one of its kind in Connecticut, fills over 700 tightly-packed, printed pages and provides a detailed picture of the life of Hempstead, his family, neighbors, and acquaintances. It also includes a great deal of information about events in New London and eastern Connecticut.” See his complete article: Joshua Hempstead published on the Connecticut Heritage Gateway.
I am looking forward to reading his diary entries for the time his sight was restored in 1831. Here is the account from the newspaper Connecticut Courant 12 July 1831

According to the newspaper he was blind for ten years but being “of an industrious habit” he went to work in his fields every day.

One day after being “led into the field” … “while at work, he placed, as usual, his staff in the centre of a hill of corn, as a guide when stooping with a quick motion, the top of the staff struck his eyebrow a violent blow and glanced over the eye, producing a severe pain.” The blow restored his sight and he “hastened home alone, bearing the joyful tidings, to his astonished and happy family.”

Now – that’s a great family story. If you don’t have your ancestor’s diary passed down in the family or preserved at a historical society – check and see if the stories of their lives were recorded in one of the 3,800+ newspapers in GenealogyBank.

It’s a Great Day for Genealogy!

Many thanks to Barbara Matthews for alerting me to the New London Historical Society’s decision to put Joshua Hempstead’s diary online.
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I can’t find my ancestor – what am I doing wrong?

For most searches on GenealogyBank it is easy to find your ancestor. You type in their name and in an instant you spot them in the search results list.

So - what do you do when your ancestor’s name doesn’t come right up in the search hits?
Just like any other genealogical resource you need to step back and see what your options are and try various ways to search on the site.

Consider your search strategy.
1. Sometimes less is more.
Be careful how you type in your ancestor’s name.
His full name might have been: Willard Jacob Teskey …. but the newspaper article may have simply called him:

Willard Teskey
Willard J. Teskey
W.J. Teskey
Bill Teskey
or only: Teskey

Try typing in variations of the person’s name.
I have found that typing in only the surname can quickly get you the best results.

Tip: You almost never want to type in a person’s “middle” name. Newspapers rarely use a person’s full name.

Be Careful How You Limit Your Search
It is tempting to limit your search to only one state or even to one newspaper. That can often be the most appropriate search strategy. However, if your searches did not locate the obituary or article about your ancestor – try your search again and this time do not limit your search geographically.

If that produces too many hits – then repeat your search and limit it by the likely starting and ending years when your ancestor. Be sure add a few years in both directions so you will bring up the most possible hits.

Tip: Newspapers often published brief biographies and articles years after a person died. So be careful how you limit your search or you might miss the articles you are looking for.

GenealogyBank brings together newspapers, books, reports and documents from over 300 years. During that time printers had access to varying qualities of newsprint; pieces of type and printing presses.

1. Newspapers have been printed on newsprint paper of varying quality. Some are smooth and some pages are rough.

2. Printers had only so many pieces of type and the newspaper had a deadline. It would be easy when they set the type for the day’s newspaper to swap in an “m” for a “w” or switch a “d” and a “p” or a “1″ and a “l”. The reader in 1843 would hardly notice the difference. But a modern computer might struggle to interpret each word if the piece of type was a different letter or had been damaged.

Let me give you a similar example that has circulated on the Internet for years:

Cna yuo raed tihs?
i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotui t a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

This is an extreme example that shows the problems that computers have reading the old newspapers and documents. Individuals reading an old newspaper quickly adjust to the look, feel of the newspaper and learn how to read it. GenealogyBank has been working on these issues for years and improved and enhanced our OCR capability.

GenealogyBank uses state of the art OCR software and we have teams of indexers that review and tag each item – focusing on names, obituaries, births, marriages and other data of high importance to genealogists.

3. Still can’t find your ancestor? Then, its time to dig in and search the target newspapers, page by page. GenealogyBank makes it easy to bookmark a specific newspaper, combination of newspapers or locations. You could then go through the newspapers – month by month – clicking from page to page to quicly see if your ancestors were mentioned.

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