In today’s mail bag.

Q:The person I’m searching for is James Francis Fewster b.1867.
I know that there was an article published about him in the Baltimore Sun – 12 August 1889 – but I can’t find it.
What am I doing wrong?

When I browse GenealogyBank I find NOTHING – but I know this article exists.
Please help – thank you.


Great question!

Here’s what you want to do.

A: At the search box simply type in: Fewster in the surname box and 1889 in the date box. You’ll see that the article about him comes right up.

Notice that GenealogyBank highlights the search term: Fewster – making it easy to spot it on the page.

Why search that way?

The newspapers in GenealogyBank have been published for over 300 years. Editors have used various editorial styles for writing about individuals. So – keep the searching simple.

In this case – the newspaper wrote James Francis Fewster’s name: as: Jas. F. Fewster.

So – if you type in his full name – you will miss this article.

Remember the rule of WYSIWYG (pronounced /ˈwɪziwɪɡ/).
It is an acronym that stands for What You See Is What You Get.

In other words – what you type in the search box is what the computer will search for.

Adding extra terms: like the middle name can be very helpful in limiting your search results to zero in on your ancestor – but – remembering WYSIWYG – it can also work against you.

Fewster is a distinctive surname and like most surnames, it is not very common.

So – a tip: limit your search to simply the “surname”.

The search engine will then cut through the 672 million articles and zero in on just the ones mentioning a person named Fewster.

And in this example you want only the articles published in 1889.

So, put both of those facts together and Bingo.
There it is.

Best Source for Finding Old Marriage Records!

GenealogyBank is your best source for finding old marriage records.

Newspapers regularly published marriage announcements – like this one from the Weekly Pelican (New Orleans, LA) 26 Oct 1889.

Whether you’re looking for a wedding announcement published in 1802, 1862 or 1962 – GenealogyBank is your most comprehensive source.

TIP: Focus your search by the type of article.
In this example in the Historical Newspapers section – limit your search to only the marriage notices. Click on the highlighted topic and only the wedding and marriage announcement articles will appear in your search – saving you time.

Find and document your ancestors in GenealogyBank – the best source for old newspapers & documents on the planet.

Period!

GenealogyBank adds 1,800+ Newspapers

This has been a landmark month for GenealogyBank.

It has added more content for over 1,800 newspapers – including more than 100 new newspaper titles not previously in GenealogyBank.

That’s over 17.6 million articles – including obituaries, marriage announcements and more. New content was added for all 50 States.

And we’re not done yet!

That is just too many titles to list all of them here.
So, here is a tip.

To see what new historical newspapers have been added that document your family tree – use the drop down menu and narrow your search to only the newspapers “added since April 2010″.


This handy feature lets you search only the recently added content saving you time.

GenealogyBank keeps on growing.

Search it now!
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More newspapers go online

GenealogyBank keeps on growing.
Try it again – now!

Cambrian, The (Cambria, CA)
Obituaries: 12/20/2001 – Current
Death Notices: 05/10/2001 – Current

Manteca Bulletin, The (Manteca, CA)
Obituaries: 11/19/2009 – Current
Death Notices: 10/02/2009 – Current


Galva News (Galva, IL)
Obituaries: 12/30/2009 – Current
Death Notices: 10/03/2009 – Current


Ogle County Newspapers (Oregon, IL)

Obituaries: 12/17/2009 – Current
Death Notices: 10/02/2009 – Current

Spokesman, The (Herrin, IL)
Death Notices: 10/02/2009 – Current


Teutopolis Press (Teutopolis, IL)
Death Notices: 10/24/2009 – Current

Kiowa County Signal (Pratt, KS)
Obituaries: 02/01/2010 – Current
Death Notices: 10/05/2009 – Current


Avoyelles Journal, Marksville Weekly News, Bunkie Record (Marksville, LA)
Obituaries: 11/04/2009 – Current
Death Notices: 10/02/2009 – Current


Bastrop Daily Enterprise (Bastrop, LA)
Obituaries: 07/12/2008 – Current


Gueydan Journal (Gueydan, LA)
Obituaries: 10/27/2009 – Current
Death Notices: 10/02/2009 – Current

Kaplan Herald (Kaplan, LA)
Obituaries: 02/22/2010 – Current
Death Notices: 10/06/2009 – Current


Ville Platte Gazette (Ville Platte, LA)
Obituaries: 11/25/2009 – Current
Death Notices: 10/02/2009 – Current


Whitman Express (Hanson, MA)
Death Notices: 03/29/2010 – Current

Blue Springs Journal (Blue Springs, MO)
Obituaries: 10/29/2009 – Current
Death Notices: 03/27/2010 – Current


Warren Reporter, The (Warren, NJ)
Obituaries: 06/28/1997 – Current
Death Notices: 06/28/1997 – Current

Westfield Record-Press, The (Westfield, NJ)
Obituaries: 06/17/2005 – 08/22/2008
Death Notices: 06/10/2005 – 09/26/2008

Brunswick Beacon, The (Shallotte, NC)
Death Notices: 04/21/2010 – Current


Daily Southerner, The (Tarboro, NC)
Death Notices: 03/18/2010 – Current


Independent Tribune (Concord, Kannapolis, NC)
Death Notices: 02/20/2010 – Current

Claremore Daily Progress, The (Claremore, OK)
Obituaries: 03/12/2010 – Current
Death Notices: 10/03/2009 – Current


News Eagle, The (Hawley, PA)
Obituaries: 10/05/2010 – Current
Death Notices: 10/02/2010 – Current


Easley Progress, The (Easley, SC)
Obituaries: 03/04/2009 – Current

Death Notices: 03/30/2010 – Current

Newspapers are crucial to documenting your family history

Genealogists rely on multiple sources to document a family tree.
One source does not give all of the facts – so researchers must look at multiple family history records to gather the details for each family.

For example – James Edwin Ayres (1817-1893) and his wife Ann (Ford) Ayres (1817-1901) are listed in the 1850 census for Greenburgh, Westchester County, New York.
TIP: You may search the census for free at FamilySearch.org

On closer inspection we see that there is an age gap between the children. James H. Ayres – born about 1842

Sarah Ayres – born about 1844

and Frederica Ayres born about 1849

It appears that there might be another child that was probably born in 1846 and who died before 1850.
A quick search of GenealogyBank shows that was the case.
In the Hudson River Chronicle (Sing Sing, New York) – 12 December 1848 we find an obituary notice for Lovina Ayres stating that she was born 7 August 1846 and died 26 November 1848.
TIP: Newspapers are essential for finding and documenting every person on your family tree.
GenealogyBank keeps on growing.
Search it now!

Search the census for free at FamilySearch.org
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Ship Passenger Lists

Newspapers routinely published passenger lists of passengers coming to and leaving from America.

Here are just a few examples of the thousands of passenger lists published in newspapers that can be found in GenealogyBank.

Newspapers routinely published not just lists of immigrants coming to America but also regularly published passenger lists of American’s going overseas; American’s returning home to the US and American’s traveling within the United States by ship.

Notice in this example from the Irish-American newspaper, The Shamrock (17 Aug 1816) – published in New York City – that these passengers left from the port of Sligo, Ireland on board the brig Juno and landed in New London, CT. There they boarded the “sloop MacDonough” which in turn set sail for New York City – where they arrived on 16 August 1816.

This pre-1820 passenger list tells us that these immigrants landed twice on their trip to America, that they took two ships to finally reach their destination – an alert that their names will appear on two different passenger lists. Once on the passenger list for the brig Juno that landed in New London, CT and again on the passenger list for the sloop MacDonough that landed in New York City.

Notice also that this passenger list gives the hometown or county of origin of each passenger. Critical information that is almost never given in the Federal post-1820 passenger lists.

Tip: Passenger lists were not collected by the government until 1820 – these early lists can be difficult if not impossible to find. Newspapers are a terrific source for Colonial passenger lists.

Click on these links to see a few examples of the thousands of passenger lists, published in newspapers that can be found in
GenealogyBank.

Passenger Lists of Columbus, GA
3 April 1894. Steamer Queen City.
Columbus (GA) Daily Inquirer. 3 April 1894.

Passenger Lists New Orleans, LA
20 February 1869.
Steamship Crescent City. From New York City.
Times Picayune. 20 February 1869.

23 October 1872. Steamship Saxonia.
Left New Orleans for Hamburg (Germany) by way of Havana (Cuba), Santander (Spain) and Havre (France).
Times Picayune. 23 October 1872. p. 1

29 April 1873. Steamship John G. Meiggs.
Left New Orleans for Aspinwall (Panama); Port Limon (Costa Rica); and Havanna (Cuba). Times Picayune. 29 April 1873. p. 8

25 August 1875. Steamship City of Merida.
Arrived in New Orleans from Vera Cruz, Tuxpan, and Tampico – all ports in Mexico. Times Picayune. 25 August 1875. p. 1

12 June 1848. Steamship Washington. From Southampton (England), by way of Halifax (Nova Scotia).
New York Herald. 16 Jan 1848. p. 2

Passenger Lists Philadelphia, PA
5 Nov 1881. Steamship City of Savannah. Departed for Savannah (Georgia).
Philadelphia Inquirer. 7 Nov 1881. p. 2

13 July 1883. Steamship Niagara. Marine Disaster. Burned off the coast of Florida.
Philadelphia Inquirer. 14 July 1883. p. 1

23 June 1891. Steamship Polynesia. Enroute from Hamburg, Germany.
Philadelphia Inquirer. 23 June 1891. p. 4

10 September 1901. Steamship Alleghany. Enroute from the South.
Philadelphia Inquirer. 10 September 1901. p. 16

Passenger Lists San Francisco, CA
6 September 1871. San Francisco Bulletin. 6 September 1871. p. 3

Click here to download and search the complete 1819/1820 Passenger List for all US ports.
This free resource is a good example of the genealogical content in the historical newspapers, books and documents that can be found in GenealogyBank.

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.

Ten key sources for searching Revolutionary War Soldiers

1. Guide to Revolutionary War burial sites

The annual reports of the DAR – Daughters of the American Revolution are in GenealogyBank. They were published annually as part of the US Serial Set.

Each year the DAR published the details of the soldier’s graves that they had located the previous year.

You can find them in the “Historical Documents” section of GenealogyBank.

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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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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