Christmas Family Reunion Articles Are Rich Genealogy Resources

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” In this guest blog post, Gena searches old newspapers to show how much valuable family history information is provided by family reunion stories newspapers routinely printed around Christmas time.

The end of the year seems like the perfect time to renew acquaintances and hold reunions with family and friends. Even though families find it difficult to find time to get together throughout the year for other events like birthdays or anniversaries, Christmas is a time when people are more likely to make the effort to take a trip home. The other benefit of the Holiday season is that for many who normally would have to take vacation time off from work to travel, the Christmas/New Year’s holidays may mean some flexibility with work obligations. So the Holiday season is a great time to plan a family reunion.

The idea of a December family reunion is not a new one. Sure, it’s made easier with modern transportation conveniences, but it was a common occurrence in the late 19th to early 20th century, as shown by many newspaper stories at that time. These Christmas family reunion articles are a great way for family historians to catch a glimpse into the daily lives of their ancestors. A bonus for the genealogist is that these family reunion articles often included the names of all those in attendance. Even short newspaper announcements can contain genealogically rich information that could be of assistance to descendants.

I did a search for Christmas family reunions in GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives, and found many delightful examples.

Newspapers report on the lives of a community as well as the celebrities and leaders of a nation. So it’s not surprising that a Christmas family reunion in the White House was newsworthy. For Christmas 1910, newspapers nationwide reported that President Howard Taft had a reunion with his three children, Robert, Helen and Charles, at the White House—complete with a turkey dinner. The only thing missing was the Christmas tree because, as the article notes, the children were “older.”

Christmas at White House: Tafts to Hold Family Reunion and Partake of Turkey Dinner, Idaho Statesman newspaper article 25 December 1910

Idaho Statesman (Boise, Idaho), 25 December 1910, page 2

While there are countless examples of newspaper articles detailing a family reunion, this one in the Social Affairs column of a 1903 newspaper caught my eye. In the historical newspaper article we find the mention of 13 separate family gatherings. One of the stories, reporting on the dinner at A. Galloway’s, mentions who was there (four generations were present), and reports that the Christmas reunion was leading up to some noteworthy wedding anniversaries. The A. C. Galloways and the A. Galloways would be celebrating their 67th and 56th wedding anniversary in 1904, respectively. It might seem like a breach of etiquette to modern readers but the addition of the words “if they live” came after that statement. If one needed any more hints revealing how old these two couples were, the last sentence of the article notes: “The combined ages of the four is 334 years.”

article about a Christmas family reunion hosted by A. Galloway, Daily Telegram newspaper article 28 December 1903

Daily Telegram (Adrian, Michigan), 28 December 1903, page 2

Maybe you are planning a family reunion of your own this season. Chances are it won’t be as large as this one, reported in a 1922 newspaper. Mrs. M. J. Nash had 91 family members attend her Christmas reunion! Lucky for any of her present-day descendants, the list of those who attended was printed in the newspaper.

The newspaper article concludes by saying she gave everyone in attendance a gift “by which to remember her.”

[Christmas Family Reunion]: Ninety-one Relatives Gather at Home of Mrs. M. J. Nash, Oregonian newspaper article 31 December 1922

Oregonian (Portland, Oregon), 31 December 1922, section 3, page 9

The old newspaper article about Mrs. Nash’s Christmas family reunion wasn’t the only one I found that included the names of other family members in attendance. This 1921 Christmas reunion article for the family of Mr. and Mrs. John Stanford included the names of those who attended and the number of children they had. As a genealogist, this historical newspaper article is very appealing since it also provides the couple’s street address and a sentence reporting on a family photo that was taken and who was in the photo: “A picture of the host and hostess, with their sons and daughters, grouped about them, was also another feature, and this should be a pleasant reminder for the parents of the event.”

Christmas [Stanford Family] Reunion Delightful Affair, Jackson Citizen Patriot newspaper article 28 December 1921

Jackson Citizen Patriot (Jackson, Michigan), 28 December 1921, page 6

Did your ancestor hold a Christmas family reunion? This fact may not be known to your present-day family—but if it did occur there’s a good chance it and the names of all gathered can be found in their local newspaper. Finding such an article full of relatives’ names would be a great genealogy gift to receive, something that would make any family historian smile.

Handy Quick List: 75 Kentucky Newspapers Now Online

GenealogyBank is growing at a rapid pace—we now have over 75 Kentucky newspapers online. That’s a lot of local city papers for your ancestry research in the “Bluegrass State.”

Here is the complete list of KY newspapers currently available in our archives. Easily search newspapers from Louisville, Lexington, Bowling Green and more popular KY cities online.

Bookmark this list of Kentucky newspapers that is frequently updated to stay abreast of newly added titles.

City

Title

Date Range

Collection

Ashland Daily Independent 5/12/2007 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Bardstown Kentucky Standard 9/29/2008 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Bardstown Western American 9/6/1803 – 12/21/1804 Historical Newspapers
Bedford Trimble Banner 9/29/2010 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Bowling Green Daily News 7/2/1999 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Campbellsville Central Kentucky News-Journal 10/3/2008 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Carrollton Carrollton News-Democrat 7/14/2008 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Columbia Adair Progress 4/27/2011 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Corbin News Journal 1/4/2012 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Corbin Times-Tribune 5/15/2006 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Covington Kentucky Post 4/2/1990 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Cynthiana Cynthiana Democrat 10/8/2008 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Danville Advocate-Messenger 8/1/2003 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Danville Mirror 9/3/1804 – 10/24/1804 Historical Newspapers
Danville People’s Friend 1/30/1819 – 1/30/1819 Historical Newspapers
Elizabethtown News-Enterprise 4/30/2008 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Frankfort Frankfort Argus 2/3/1808 – 11/12/1834 Historical Newspapers
Frankfort Kentucky Journal 12/5/1795 – 12/5/1795 Historical Newspapers
Frankfort Palladium 12/25/1798 – 9/6/1816 Historical Newspapers
Frankfort Western World 7/7/1806 – 6/8/1810 Historical Newspapers
Georgetown Telegraph 9/25/1811 – 12/22/1813 Historical Newspapers
Glasgow Glasgow Daily Times 2/9/2007 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Grayson, Olive Hill Journal-Times 7/5/2007 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Harlan Harlan Daily Enterprise 1/24/2003 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Harrodsburg Kentucky People 3/18/1870 – 8/25/1871 Historical Newspapers
Hazard Hazard Herald 10/2/2009 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Henderson Gleaner 4/14/2006 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Hodgenville Larue County Herald News 11/26/2008 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
LaGrange Oldham Era 10/17/2007 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Lancaster Political Theatre 11/18/1808 – 7/26/1809 Historical Newspapers
Lawrenceburg Anderson News 1/2/2007 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Lebanon Lebanon Enterprise 11/20/2007 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Leitchfield Grayson County News Gazette 10/2/2009 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Leitchfield Record 8/20/2008 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Lexington Kentucky Gazette 3/15/1794 – 12/28/1837 Historical Newspapers
Lexington Lexington Herald 3/20/1904 – 12/31/1922 Historical Newspapers
Lexington Lexington Herald-Leader 1/25/1984 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Lexington Lexington Standard 1/27/1900 – 1/27/1900 Historical Newspapers
Lexington Morning Herald 1/1/1896 – 3/19/1904 Historical Newspapers
Lexington Reporter 3/12/1808 – 12/25/1820 Historical Newspapers
Lexington Stewart Kentucky Herald 7/14/1795 – 9/15/1801 Historical Newspapers
Lexington True American 6/3/1845 – 10/21/1846 Historical Newspapers
Lexington Western Monitor 8/3/1814 – 12/20/1817 Historical Newspapers
Liberty Casey County News 8/27/2008 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
London Sentinel Echo 9/18/2007 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Louisville Bulletin 9/24/1881 – 9/24/1881 Historical Newspapers
Louisville Louisville Eccentric Observer 4/21/2004 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Louisville Ohio Falls Express 7/11/1891 – 7/11/1891 Historical Newspapers
Louisville Weekly Courier-Journal 5/19/1879 – 7/29/1889 Historical Newspapers
Louisville Western Courier 11/16/1813 – 9/26/1816 Historical Newspapers
Madisonville Messenger 5/14/1999 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Maysville Eagle 1/19/1815 – 3/27/1818 Historical Newspapers
Maysville Ledger Independent 7/11/2002 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Middlesboro Middlesboro Daily News 5/31/2004 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Monticello Wayne County Outlook 7/3/2007 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Morehead Morehead News 8/31/2007 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
New Castle Henry County Local 10/9/2008 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Nicholasville Jessamine Journal 10/8/2005 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Owensboro Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer 9/1/1988 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Owenton Owenton News-Herald 1/12/2011 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Paris Western Citizen 12/24/1808 – 12/27/1815 Historical Newspapers
Prestonsburg Floyd County Times 10/2/2009 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Richmond Globe 1/24/1810 – 10/17/1810 Historical Newspapers
Richmond Richmond Register 7/15/2008 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Russellville Mirror 11/1/1806 – 12/1/1807 Historical Newspapers
Russellville News-Democrat & Leader 10/29/2001 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Russellville Weekly Messenger 1/26/1819 – 12/19/1820 Historical Newspapers
Shelbyville Sentinel-News 10/10/2007 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Shepherdsville Pioneer News 10/8/2008 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Somerset Commonwealth-Journal 8/5/2008 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Springfield Springfield Sun 7/8/2008 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Stanford Interior Journal 8/31/2005 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Taylorsville Spencer Magnet 7/18/2008 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Washington Republican Auxiliary 8/15/1807 – 8/15/1807 Historical Newspapers
Washington Union 3/8/1814 – 5/9/1817 Historical Newspapers
Whitley City McCreary County Record 6/7/2007 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Williamstown Grant County News and Express 4/15/2008 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Winchester Winchester Sun 8/25/2006 – Current Newspaper Obituaries

 

 

 

Searching California Newspapers

GenealogyBank has created a special site for searching California’s historical newspapers.

This site includes 41 newspapers from 1719 to 1922 – from 11 cities.

Genealogists have been heavily searching these early newspapers:
Alta California (San Francisco) 1850-1861