Obama & Romney Are Related! Genealogy Infographic

In time for the 2012 election countdown, I recently did some genealogy research to learn more about the background of both President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney, and guess what—they’re related!

What’s more: they’re also related to several former U.S. presidents, English kings, outlaws and celebrities. This is really huge! So huge in fact that our team at GenealogyBank decided to create this Infographic to show many of these surprising genealogical findings.

Click the image for the even bigger full-size Infographic version.

Obama & Romney - Who Knew? We're Related! Genealogy Infographic

Obama & Romney Are Related?

Yes. Obama and Romney are both direct descendants of King Edward I of England, who was the eldest son of King Henry III and himself a father to numerous children by his two wives, Queens Eleanor and Margaret. King Edward I was perhaps the most successful of the medieval English monarchs. Known as “Longshanks” due to his great height and stature, King Edward I stood head and shoulders above other men of his time, towering at a height of 6’2. Romney and Obama are chips off the old block, both over six feet tall. Romney measures in at 6’2 and Obama at 6’1.

Several U.S. Presidents as Cousins-in-Common

The 2012 presidential candidates not only share a royal ancestor, they also have many distant cousins-in-common. These distant relatives form the impressive lineup of United States presidents featured in the White House Family Reunion photo in the Infographic above.

Obama and Romney’s U.S. president distant cousins-in-common include:

  • James Madison – 4th President of the United States
  • William Harrison – 9th President of the United States
  • Zachary Taylor – 12th President of the United States
  • Ulysses S. Grant – 18th President of the United States
  • Benjamin Harrison – 23rd President of the United States
  • Grover Cleveland – 24th President of the United States
  • Warren G. Harding – 29th President of the United States
  • Calvin Coolidge – 30th President of the United States
  • Richard Nixon – 37th President of the United States
  • Gerald Ford – 38th President of the United States
  • Jimmy Carter – 39th President of the United States
  • George W. Bush – 43rd President of the United States
  • George H.W. Bush – 41st President of the United States

Early American Presidential Roots

Obama and Romney also have deep early American roots in their respective family trees. Mayflower passengers Edward and Samuel Fuller are both direct ancestors of Mitt Romney. They were part of the group of Pilgrims who founded Plymouth Colony in 1620.

Romney is also a distant cousin to the early American President Thomas Jefferson, and Obama is a distant cousin to President George Washington.

Wild West Outlaw Kin

Another interesting ancestral find was that each of the presidential nominees is a distant relation to notorious American Wild West gunslingers. Wild Bill Hickok is a distant cousin to Obama, and William H. Bonney a.k.a. “Billy the Kid” is a distant cousin to Romney. Also noteworthy is that Romney is a relation to famous American actor Clint Eastwood, who has starred in many hit Western movies such as The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Star-Studded Family Trees

Both of the 2012 election candidates share their family trees with Hollywood megastars, as well as other celebrities ranging from renowned American artists to British royalty.

Obama is a distant cousin to the following celebrities:

  • Brad Pitt – Hollywood Megastar
  • Elvis Presley – King of Rock & Roll
  • Georgia O’Keeffe – Famous American Artist & Painter
  • Robert Duvall – Hollywood Actor

Romney’s family tree also has many movie stars and famous people. His distant cousins include:

  • Clint Eastwood – Hollywood Megastar
  • Alec Baldwin –Hollywood Actor
  • Princess Diana – Former Princess of Wales
  • Katherine Hepburn – Earlier Hollywood Megastar
  • Julia Child – Famous Chef, TV Personality and Author

Both Have Foreign-Born Fathers

President Barack Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to parents Stanley Ann Dunham and Barack Hussein Obama, Sr. The Infographic features an old photo of Barack Obama II as a child with his mother Ann.

President Obama’s father was born in 1936 in Kanyadhiang Village, Kenya. The Infographic features an old picture of President Obama’s dad Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., as an infant with the president’s paternal grandmother Habiba Akumu Obama.

Governor Romney was born in 1947 in Detroit, Michigan, to parents Lenore and George W. Romney. The old family photograph in the Infographic shows the governor as a baby with his mom and dad.

Mitt Romney’s father George W. Romney, the former governor of Michigan, was born in 1907 in Colonia Dublán, Mexico. The old picture in the Infographic shows Romney’s father as a child with Mitt’s grandma Anna Amelia Pratt Romney.

Who knew the presidential candidates shared so many family connections? We’re continuing our ancestral exploration into the 2012 U.S. presidential candidates’ family trees. Make sure to stay tuned by following us here on the blog and on Facebook, Twitter or G+ to get more Obama and Romney family history.

It’s a great day for genealogy!

More Newspapers Online for Genealogists from GenealogyBank

GenealogyBank has added the backfiles of more than 100 newspapers from 28 U.S. states! This is great news for genealogists—so start searching now.

Every day we work to fill in missing issues in our newspaper archives of more than 6,100 titles so that you can do deeper genealogy research. Thousands of newspaper pages were added in this latest addition, totaling more than 25 million articles to help you fill in the gaps on your family tree.

Five newspapers (marked with an asterisk in the table below) are titles new to GenealogyBank.

These new titles include one newspaper from Florida and four from Georgia:

  • Plant City Observer (Plant City, Florida)
  • Fayette Chronicle (Fayetteville, Georgia)
  • Fayette County News (Fayette, Georgia)
  • Today in Peachtree City (Fayetteville, Georgia)
  • East Coweta Journal (Senoia, Georgia)

Here is the complete list of our latest newspaper additions. Each title is an interactive link taking you directly to that newspaper’s search form.

State City Title Date Range Collection
Arkansas Little Rock Arkansas Gazette 01/29/1878–11/05/1898 Historical Newspapers
Arkansas Little Rock Arkansas Weekly Gazette 08/01/1824–11/27/1866 Historical Newspapers
Arkansas Little Rock Morning Republican 03/20/1868–03/20/1868 Historical Newspapers
California Sacramento Weekly Rescue 02/01/1864–09/20/1877 Historical Newspapers
California San Francisco San Francisco Abend Post 01/12/1871–12/30/1876 Historical Newspapers
Connecticut Hartford Connecticut Courant 01/03/1852–12/26/1874 Historical Newspapers
Connecticut New Haven Columbian Register 11/26/1859–11/26/1859 Historical Newspapers
Connecticut New Haven Connecticut Journal 09/27/1825–02/24/1835 Historical Newspapers
Connecticut New Haven Daily Herald 05/18/1839–12/15/1843 Historical Newspapers
Connecticut New Haven New Haven Palladium 09/19/1863–09/19/1863 Historical Newspapers
Connecticut New London New London Daily Chronicle 08/02/1852–07/15/1861 Historical Newspapers
Connecticut Norwich Norwich Aurora 06/11/1864–07/29/1868 Historical Newspapers
Florida Pensacola Pensacola Gazette 06/12/1830–04/08/1848 Historical Newspapers
Florida Plant City Plant City Observer* 07/12/2012–Current Newspaper Obituaries
Georgia Augusta Augusta Chronicle 05/04/1799–03/26/1882 Historical Newspapers
Georgia Augusta Daily Constitutionalist 10/31/1861–11/07/1869 Historical Newspapers
Georgia Fayetteville Fayette Chronicle* 08/25/2011–Current Newspaper Obituaries
Georgia Fayetteville Fayette County News* 12/02/2010–Current Newspaper Obituaries
Georgia Fayetteville Today in Peachtree City* 05/02/2012–Current Newspaper Obituaries
Georgia Savannah Georgian 01/09/1830–05/10/1830 Historical Newspapers
Georgia Savannah Savannah Republican 12/08/1807–03/04/1825 Historical Newspapers
Georgia Senoia East Coweta Journal* 11/11/2010–Current Newspaper Obituaries
Kentucky Lexington Kentucky Gazette 08/07/1823–12/22/1826 Historical Newspapers
Louisiana New Orleans Times-Picayune 01/01/1906–01/01/1906 Historical Newspapers
Maine Portland Daily Eastern Argus 08/18/1863–03/17/1888 Historical Newspapers
Maryland Baltimore Baltimore American 04/30/1903–06/04/1911 Historical Newspapers
Maryland Easton Easton Star 04/30/1844–04/15/1856 Historical Newspapers
Massachusetts Boston American Traveller 01/20/1826–09/30/1834 Historical Newspapers
Massachusetts Boston Boston Commercial Gazette 01/02/1823–06/25/1829 Historical Newspapers
Massachusetts Boston Boston Evening Transcript 07/01/1857–05/31/1862 Historical Newspapers
Massachusetts Boston Boston Herald 11/07/1920–11/14/1920 Historical Newspapers
Massachusetts Boston Boston Post 02/06/1862–10/08/1866 Historical Newspapers
Massachusetts Boston Boston Recorder 01/01/1821–05/03/1872 Historical Newspapers
Massachusetts Boston Saturday Morning Transcript 11/19/1831–11/21/1835 Historical Newspapers
Massachusetts Boston Trumpet and Universalist Magazine 06/07/1834–06/07/1834 Historical Newspapers
Massachusetts Lowell Lowell Patriot 01/02/1835–04/06/1837 Historical Newspapers
Massachusetts Nantucket Nantucket Inquirer 08/08/1825–07/24/1840 Historical Newspapers
Massachusetts New Bedford New-Bedford Mercury 05/14/1869–05/14/1869 Historical Newspapers
Massachusetts New Bedford Whaleman’s Shipping List and Merchants’ Transcript 02/25/1845–03/06/1855 Historical Newspapers
Massachusetts Newburyport Newburyport Herald 01/02/1838–03/17/1846 Historical Newspapers
Massachusetts Springfield Springfield Union 12/01/1963–12/01/1963 Historical Newspapers
Massachusetts Stoughton Wicked Local: Avon* 12/01/2008–Current Newspaper Obituaries
Massachusetts Worcester Massachusetts Spy 03/03/1876–03/03/1876 Historical Newspapers
Michigan Kalamazoo Kalamazoo Gazette 05/27/1917–05/27/1917 Historical Newspapers
Minnesota Winona Winona Post* 02/12/2006–Current Newspaper Obituaries
Mississippi Indianola Indianola Enterprise-Tocsin* 09/16/2010–Current Newspaper Obituaries
Montana Helena Helena Weekly Herald 05/09/1867–05/09/1867 Historical Newspapers
New Hampshire Amherst Amherst Village Messenger* 01/09/1796–12/05/1801 Historical Newspapers
New Hampshire Concord New Hampshire Patriot 10/24/1878–10/24/1878 Historical Newspapers
New Hampshire Concord New Hampshire Patriot* 10/24/1878–10/24/1878 Historical Newspapers
New Hampshire Concord Republican Gazette 09/06/1802–09/06/1802 Historical Newspapers
New Hampshire Portsmouth Portsmouth Journal of Literature and Politics 12/16/1876–12/16/1876 Historical Newspapers
New Jersey Newark Centinel Of Freedom 09/18/1821–09/19/1876 Historical Newspapers
New Jersey Newark Newark Daily Advertiser* 01/03/1834–12/31/1836 Historical Newspapers
New York Albany Albany Argus 12/08/1829–01/05/1855 Historical Newspapers
New York Albany Albany Evening Journal 2/28/1854–6/27/1872 Historical Newspapers
New York Albany Daily Albany Argus 05/25/1826–09/08/1875 Historical Newspapers
New York Auburn Auburn Journal and Advertiser 01/13/1841–04/20/1842 Historical Newspapers
New York Auburn Cayuga Tocsin 01/02/1812–07/06/1814 Historical Newspapers
New York Auburn Wisconsin Chief 01/04/1849–12/28/1852 Historical Newspapers
New York Batavia Republican Advocate 11/19/1819–07/27/1821 Historical Newspapers
New York New York Commercial Advertiser 01/06/1845–12/31/1850 Historical Newspapers
New York New York Courrier des Etats-Unis 03/29/1862–12/10/1882 Historical Newspapers
New York New York Daily Graphic 07/01/1875–04/13/1876 Historical Newspapers
New York New York Evening Post 07/08/1822–11/08/1876 Historical Newspapers
New York New York Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper 10/24/1863–04/21/1866 Historical Newspapers
New York New York Morning Telegraph 1/12/1873–1/12/1873 Historical Newspapers
New York New York National Advocate 04/27/1821–01/31/1829 Historical Newspapers
New York New York New York Herald-Tribune 3/4/1880–3/4/1880 Historical Newspapers
New York New York Spectator 06/18/1845–12/27/1849 Historical Newspapers
New York Potsdam North Country Now* 05/22/2010–Current Newspaper Obituaries
New York Poughkeepsie Dutchess Observer 01/02/1822–04/26/1826 Historical Newspapers
New York Poughkeepsie Poughkeepsie Journal 08/25/1789–06/01/1814 Historical Newspapers
New York Schenectady Cabinet 05/31/1826–12/30/1856 Historical Newspapers
New York Stony Brook Statesman, The: SUNY, Stony Brook* 12/08/2008–Current Newspaper Obituaries
New York Utica Columbian Gazette 6/23/1807–6/23/1807 Historical Newspapers
North Carolina Belhaven Beaufort-Hyde News* 07/27/2011–Current Newspaper Obituaries
North Carolina Edenton Chowan Herald, The* 07/12/2011–Current Newspaper Obituaries
North Carolina Farmville Farmville Enterprise, The* 07/13/2011–Current Newspaper Obituaries
North Carolina Fayetteville Carolina Observer 02/24/1831–02/23/1863 Historical Newspapers
North Carolina Grifton Times-Leader, The* 07/20/2011–Current Newspaper Obituaries
North Carolina Hertford Perquimans Weekly* 07/13/2011–Current Newspaper Obituaries
North Carolina Hillsborough Hillsborough Recorder 10/30/1861–10/30/1861 Historical Newspapers
North Carolina Kenansville Duplin Times, The* 09/29/2011–Current Newspaper Obituaries
North Carolina Kenansville Duplin Today – Pink Hill Review* 03/08/2012–Current Newspaper Obituaries
North Carolina Snow Hill Standard Laconic, The* 07/13/2011–Current Newspaper Obituaries
North Carolina Williamston Martin County Enterprise and Weekly Herald* 08/02/2011–Current Newspaper Obituaries
North Carolina Windsor Bertie Ledger-Advance* 07/13/2011–Current Newspaper Obituaries
Ohio Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune, The* 06/02/2012–Current Newspaper Obituaries
Ohio Cincinnati Cincinnati Daily Gazette 6/21/1867–5/26/1881 Historical Newspapers
Ohio Cleveland Plain Dealer 12/28/1893–07/08/1908 Historical Newspapers
Ohio Columbus Crisis 11/16/1864–10/07/1868 Historical Newspapers
Oklahoma Hobart Hobart Daily Republican 08/08/1908–05/29/1920 Historical Newspapers
Oklahoma Perry Perry Journal 11/07/1901–02/27/1902 Historical Newspapers
Oklahoma Perry Perry Republican 08/29/1918–08/29/1918 Historical Newspapers
Pennsylvania Canton Canton Independent-Sentinel, The* 02/05/2008–Current Newspaper Obituaries
Pennsylvania Harrisburg Patriot 01/13/1872–09/03/1921 Historical Newspapers
Pennsylvania Philadelphia Pennsylvania Journal 12/09/1742–09/18/1793 Historical Newspapers
Pennsylvania Reading Reading Adler 05/29/1855–12/12/1876 Historical Newspapers
Pennsylvania Washington Washington Reporter 03/09/1853–06/02/1869 Historical Newspapers
Pennsylvania Washington Washington Review and Examiner 09/27/1820–01/31/1877 Historical Newspapers
Rhode Island Providence Providence Evening Press 03/20/1872–01/07/1874 Historical Newspapers
South Carolina Charleston Charleston Courier 08/01/1834–02/20/1857 Historical Newspapers
South Carolina Georgetown Winyaw Intelligencer 12/30/1829–04/06/1831 Historical Newspapers
South Carolina Greenwood Index-Journal, The* 07/01/2012–Current Newspaper Obituaries
Texas Clarksville Standard 10/5/1850–10/5/1850 Historical Newspapers
Texas Dallas Dallas Morning News 1/24/1979–12/22/1984 Historical Newspapers
Utah Salt Lake City Salt Lake Telegram 01/07/1903–01/11/1921 Historical Newspapers
Vermont Bellows Falls Bellows Falls Gazette 03/07/1842–09/23/1843 Historical Newspapers
Vermont St. Albans St. Albans Daily Messenger 04/13/1893–08/06/1908 Historical Newspapers
Vermont St. Albans St. Albans Messenger 04/14/1859–01/22/1903 Historical Newspapers
Virginia Alexandria Alexandria Gazette 03/13/1850–12/31/1851 Historical Newspapers
Virginia Alexandria Virginia Journal* 01/05/1786–05/21/1789 Historical Newspapers
Virginia Richmond Richmond Whig 07/13/1869–12/07/1869 Historical Newspapers
Washington Tukwila Tukwila Reporter* 08/18/2012–Current Newspaper Obituaries

 

 

Thomas Hill—American Revolutionary War Minuteman Hero Gone

“Hardly a man is now alive

Who remembers that famous day and year.”

—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

In searching through early 19th Century newspapers, time and again we find historical obituaries about the passing of “Revolutionary Heroes,” as America’s newspapers recorded the honored service of those who fought to secure this country’s freedom from England.

This 1851 American Revolutionary War soldier’s obituary of Thomas Hill is a good example.

Thomas Hill Revolutionary War Hero Obituary - Massachusetts Spy Newspaper 1851

Massachusetts Spy (Worcester, Massachusetts), 15 July 1851, page 3.

This soldier’s obituary says of Thomas Hill: “He was in the battle of Concord, and was on Bunker Hill, but not in the engagement.”

Wait—he was there at the battle but didn’t fight?

Why was he given a pension by the U.S. federal government and called a “Revolutionary Hero” in this historical obituary if he was there at the battle but not engaged in the fighting?

Digging deeper in GenealogyBank I found this old newspaper article profiling Thomas Hill when he was 89, one year before he died. It was published in the New Hampshire Gazette (Portsmouth, New Hampshire), 23 April 1850, page 2, giving more details about his military service.

Thomas Hill New Hampshire Gazette NewspaperSo he was at the Battle of Concord as a 14-year-old boy and also at the Battle of Bunker Hill “with his father and eldest brother Abraham.” They were part of “the volunteer minute men who fought.”

Thomas Hill went on to fight in “two campaigns in the Jerseys and New York.”

Thomas Hill was honored along with “four other survivors, being all that could be found in the country around who were active in the scenes of 1775.”

And honored he was—the historical newspaper article went on to say:

Thomas Hill New Hampshire Gazette Newspaper 1850We can picture the old Revolutionary War veteran being escorted by the grateful citizens of West Cambridge over the same route used by the British when they attacked Lexington and Concord.

It calls to mind the words of the poet Longfellow:

“Listen my children and you shall hear

Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,

On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;

Hardly a man is now alive

Who remembers that famous day and year.”

Longfellow’s immortal words were published in January 1861, 11 years after the 1850 tribute to Thomas Hill. Perhaps he was inspired by this celebration honoring Hill and the other four remaining men “who remembered that famous day and year.”

GenealogyBank gives us the key opportunity to dig in and find the details of the thousands who served as soldiers in the American Revolutionary War. Search GenealogyBank’s newspaper archives and document your ancestors—don’t let their stories be lost.

Handy Quick List: 10 Trenton, New Jersey, Newspapers Now Online

GenealogyBank continues to grow every day—we now have 10 Trenton, New Jersey, newspapers online. That’s a lot of local papers to research your family history from New Jersey’s capital city.

Trenton New Jersey Newspapers Archive

Trenton, N.J., was the site of George Washington’s first victory during the Revolutionary War, the important Battle of Trenton, when Washington led his men over the icy Delaware River the day after Christmas, 1776. The city proudly carries the nickname “Turning Point of the Revolution.”

Interesting bit of U.S. history trivia: Trenton was once the capital of the United States, albeit briefly, in November and December 1784.

Trace your genealogy from this historical New Jersey city. Here is the complete list of Trenton, NJ, newspapers currently available in our online archives, providing coverage from 1792 to today.

Newspaper Coverage Collection
Miscellany 6/10/1805 – 12/2/1805 Newspaper Archives
New Jersey State Gazette 9/19/1792 – 12/31/1799 Newspaper Archives
Sentinel 6/26/1880 – 11/13/1882 Newspaper Archives
Times 3/21/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Trenton Evening Times 1/7/1883 – 3/15/1993 Newspaper Archives
Trenton Federalist 12/2/1800 – 12/27/1824 Newspaper Archives
Trenton State Gazette 1/12/1847 – 12/31/1898 Newspaper Archives
Trenton Sunday Times-Advertiser 11/6/1938 – 8/26/1973 Newspaper Archives
Trentonian 4/12/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
True American 3/10/1801 – 9/21/1818 Newspaper Archives

Find and document your family history. Make sure your family tree is accurately documented, including every obituary and news article.

We can do this!

More Recent Newspaper Obituaries Going Online at GenealogyBank

We recently added 16 million more records to our historical newspaper archives—and already this month we are working on putting more recent newspaper obituaries online to keep adding resources for your family history research.

Obituaries and death notices from newspapers in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas are being added to our Recent Obituaries Collection (1977 – Today), adding thousands more obituaries for your genealogy research. Look for these recent obits to go live online soon on the New Content page.

Newton Press Mentor (Newton, IL)

Obituaries: added 11/10/2005 – 10/5/2009

Death Notices: added 7/25/2005 – 10/6/2010

Wood Dale Press (Wood Dale, IL)

Obituaries: added 8/16/2007 – 1/21/2011

Death Notices: added 3/4/2011 – 7/13/2012

Benzie County Record Patriot (Frankfort, MI)

Obituaries: added 8/12/2009 – 1/19/2011

Death Notices: added 6/24/2009 – 1/5/2011

Harbor Country News (New Buffalo, MI)

Obituaries: added 3/3/2005 – 4/12/2012

Death Notices: added 4/8/2004 – 1/5/2011

Lake County Star (Baldwin, MI)

Obituaries: added 3/26/2009 – 6/7/2012

Death Notices: added 1/1/2009 – 1/6/2011

Minnetonka Sun-Sailor (Minnetonka, MN)

Obituaries: added 4/8/2010 – 06/23/2010

Death Notices: added 2/22/2010 – 1/26/2011

Norwood Young America Times (Norwood, MN)

Obituaries: added 7/26/2006 – 2/9/2011

Death Notices: added 8/4/2005 – 1/5/2011

Pioneer (Waconia, MN)

Obituaries: added 11/2/2007 – 9/23/2011

Death Notices: added 9/15/2005 – 1/19/2007

Indianola Enterprise-Tocsin (Indianola, MS)

Obituaries: 09/16/2010 – Current

Chowan Herald (Edenton, NC)

Obituaries: 07/12/2011 – Current

Duplin Times (Kenansville, NC)

Obituaries: 09/29/2011 – Current

Martin County Enterprise and Weekly Herald (Williamston, NC)

Obituaries: 08/02/2011 – Current

Nashville Graphic (Nashville, NC)

Obituaries: added 1/6/2009 – 1/28/2010

Death Notices: added 1/6/2009 – 6/22/2010

Statesman: SUNY, Stony Brook (Stony Brook, NY)

Obituaries: 12/08/2008 – Current

Sentinel-Tribune (Bowling Green, OH)

Obituaries: 06/02/2012 – Current

Index-Journal (Greenwood, SC)

Obituaries: 07/01/2012 – Current

Chattanooga Times Free Press (Chattanooga, TN)

Obituaries: added 4/3/1995 – 4/1/2011

Death Notices: added 4/1/1995 – 4/1/2011

Herald Democrat (Sherman, TX)

Obituaries: added 12/10/2004 – 1/26/2011

Death Notices: added 12/1/2004 – 3/11/2008

Note: Scattered earlier data also available

 

 

Handy Quick List: 15 Hartford, Connecticut Newspapers Now Online

GenealogyBank is ever growing – we now have over 15 Hartford, Connecticut newspapers online to help with your ancestry research. That’s a lot of local city papers!

Here is the complete list of Hartford, CT newspapers in our historical archives. The recent CT newspaper expansion includes back issues of the Hartford Daily Courant which is the oldest U.S. newspaper still being published — established in 1764.

City Title Date Range Collection
Hartford Connecticut Courant 10/29/1764 – 12/28/1850 Historical Newspapers
Hartford Hartford Daily Courant 2/3/1840 – 10/25/1914 Historical Newspapers
Hartford American Mercury 7/12/1784 – 6/25/1833 Historical Newspapers
Hartford Connecticut Mirror 7/10/1809 – 12/15/1832 Historical Newspapers
Hartford Times 1/1/1817 – 12/26/1840 Historical Newspapers
Hartford Religious Inquirer 11/10/1821 – 11/7/1835 Historical Newspapers
Hartford Patriot and Eagle 3/7/1835 – 12/30/1837 Historical Newspapers
Hartford Hartford Gazette 1/13/1794 – 3/19/1795 Historical Newspapers
Hartford Times & Weekly Advertiser 1/12/1829 – 12/28/1829 Historical Newspapers
Hartford Hartford Times 2/6/1832 – 8/16/1864 Historical Newspapers
Hartford Connecticut Observer 1/11/1825 – 10/3/1831 Historical Newspapers
Hartford Commercial Record 1/25/2008 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Hartford Hartford News 4/4/2007 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Hartford Hartford Courant 7/9/1991 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Hartford Hartford Advocate 11/7/2002 – Current Newspaper Obituaries

The World Was Your Ancestor’s Oyster: Food in Family History

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” In this guest blog post, Gena explores one of her many interests: the connection of food and cooking to family history, revealing how much oysters were part of our ancestors’ diets.

What did your ancestors eat? Is this something you ever ponder? As family historians, the actual everyday activities of our ancestors can help to bring the dates and places we research to life.

In some cases the food our ancestors ate is quite different from what we are accustomed to today. With the lack of refrigeration and transportation, it’s no surprise that there were regional differences in cuisine. Considering the limited ability to transport and preserve ingredients, the variety of what was available to harvest locally, and the food preferences of local ethnic/immigrant populations, it is not surprising that the food that was served in various areas could be extremely different. A specialty enjoyed by those living in one region of the United States was all but unknown in another. While to some extent this is still true of modern cuisine today, as you can travel to different regions of the United States and taste local favorites not served where you live, these food differences are not as dramatic as they were 100 years ago.

So what were some food commonalities? Well there were many American foods that were feasted upon across the regions. One such food that was enjoyed by almost all Americans in the nineteenth century was oysters. Today oysters, depending on where you live, are usually a delicacy because of the price they command. It would also not be unusual to find people who have never even tried an oyster, raw or cooked.  In the nineteenth century oysters were everyday food items that were inexpensive and plentiful. They were the food of the common person.

Newspaper advertisements hint at the massive amounts of oysters available to our ancestors. Consider this 1874 newspaper advertisement from the Oregonian which lists several places to eat and obtain oysters.

Old Vintage Advertisement for Oysters - Oregonian Newspaper  1874

Oregonian (Portland, Oregon), 16 October 1874, page 5.

Street vendors, oyster houses, saloons, restaurants and home cooks prepared oysters in various, often creative ways. Oysters were served in every way imaginable including ways we are familiar with today like raw and fried. Interesting ways to serve oysters could be found in the era’s cookbooks including pickled oysters, oyster ketchup and one recipe that called for oysters to be served with shortcake.[i]

Consider this newspaper article which provides 11 ways to cook oysters that “if adhered to will bring cheer to the family board.” Note that this article was printed in a Kentucky newspaper—not exactly known today for its seafood. Yet this historical 1913 article tells “how best to serve the succulent bivalve [oysters], perhaps the most universally popular dish of the American table.”

How To Cook Oysters Old Recipe - Lexington Herald Newspaper 1913

Lexington Herald (Lexington, Kentucky), 19 October 1913, section 4, page 3.

There were also “mock oyster” recipes for those who were unable to obtain oysters. These oyster recipes substituted different ingredients for oysters including corn, mashed potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplant. Women could cook dishes such as “Mock Oyster Soup,” “Mock Oyster Sauce,” “Mock Oyster Stew” and just plain “Mock Oysters.” While the appearance of a “mock” recipe in a cookbook might connote that the item was difficult to obtain or expensive, this was not necessarily so in the case of the oyster.

As oyster beds became contaminated and overfished in the early 1900s, oysters began to cease being eaten as an everyday food and became more of a delicacy. No longer was the oyster part of America’s everyday diet.

To learn more about America’s love affair with oysters see the history The Big Oyster. History on the Half Shell by Mark Kurlansky.


[i] Stavely, Keith W. F., and Kathleen‎ Fitzgerald‎. America’s Founding Food. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press, 2004, pg. 108. Viewed on Google Books 1 July 2012.

102-Year-Old Ex-Slave Once Shook Abraham Lincoln’s Hand

I ran across this interesting obituary in an old newspaper today. It ended with this line: “She once shook hands with Abraham Lincoln.”

In 1912, or even today, it would be impressive to know someone who shook hands with a President—especially one of the stature of Abraham Lincoln.

There were, no doubt, many highlights over the course of Mrs. Catharine Pride’s 102 years. She was born an African American slave in Virginia in 1810, and after the Civil War had lived in Germantown, Pennsylvania, for more than 40 years.

Now—put that in context. She was born an African American slave and she had the opportunity to meet and shake hands with Abraham Lincoln, the man who freed the slaves. It must have been a very powerful moment.

Catherine Pride Obituary - 102 year old slave shook hands with Abraham Lincoln

Reclaim your ancestors’ stories and make sure the family knows the details of your ancestors’ lives, like this obituary of Mrs. Catharine Pride published in the Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), 19 January 1912, page 7.

You can discover a wealth of information in our full historical newspaper archives or explore only your African American ancestry in our African American newspapers collection.

Last Revolutionary War Widow Receives Final Pension—in 1906!

Introduction: Mary Harrell-Sesniak is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background. In this guest blog post, Mary writes about the last Revolutionary War pension being paid in 1906—131 years after armed conflict began between Great Britain and its American colonies.

It seems hard to believe, but the last Revolutionary War pension was paid in 1906—131 years after the Battles of Lexington and Concord began the American Revolutionary War in 1775. That link to our country’s birth ended with the death of Esther (Sumner) Damon, the widow of Noah Damon and the last widow of the Revolutionary War to receive a pension.

Esther died 106 years ago (in 1906), having married her spouse 6 September 1835 when he was 75, and she, 21.

Death of Widow of Veteran of 1776, Duluth News-Tribune newspaper article, 12 November 1906

Obituary for Esther (Sumner) Damon, Duluth News-Tribune (Duluth, Minnesota), 12 November 1906, page 5

Noah served as a private with the Massachusetts troops, and applied for a war pension 13 November 1848 as a resident of Plainfield, New Hampshire. He died five years later, as shown in this death notice found in a historical newspaper.

Death notice for Noah Damon, New Hampshire Patriot newspaper article, 24 August 1853

Death notice for Noah Damon, New Hampshire Patriot (Concord, New Hampshire), 24 August 1853, page 3

The first pension Act was in 1776, so why didn’t Noah receive a war pension until 1848?

One might assume he wasn’t eligible for the government pension benefits, failing to meet one of the many requirements imposed by the legislature, such as disablement, rank or length of service.

“In CONGRESS August 26, 1776.

…Resolved, That every commissioned officer, who shall lose a limb in any engagement, or be so disabled in the service of the United States of America as to render him incapable, afterwards, of getting a livelihood, shall receive during his life, or the continuance of such disability, the one half of his monthly pay, from and after the time that his pay as an officer, or soldier, ceases; to be paid by the Committee as hereafter mentioned…”

Damon’s pension application stated he might have applied earlier, but had been a resident of Canada and “ignorant of his right.” He wrote that he

 “received a bayonet and wound in his right thigh, from the effect of which he has since suffered much pain and inconvenience the scar of which is very apparent to the present day.”

So how many pension acts were there?

Numerous—with each pension designed to accommodate the needs of soldiers and/or survivors.

Over time, the ranks of the public dole swelled—up to 1878, when Congress passed the final act (which also included the War of 1812).

It was an amazingly generous pension act, allowing a pension for just a minimum 14-day service for honorably discharged veterans, and imposing a short time period for the application process.

You could read about these pension acts for war veterans and their survivors in various historical sources, or you can delve into them yourself in GenealogyBank’s historical newspaper archives to see how these acts were presented to the public at the time they were enacted.

As an example, here is an old newspaper article describing the important pension act of 1780—the first to address the provision of war pensions to widows and orphans.

newspaper article about the 1780 pension act, Pennsylvania Packet newspaper, 19 September 1780

Article about the 1780 pension act, Pennsylvania Packet (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), 19 September 1780, page 3

To help you with your Revolutionary War and War of 1812 pension research on your ancestors, here is a list of the dates for each pension act of Congress:

Pension Acts and Amendments

  • August 26, 1776
  • May 15, 1778
  • September 29, 1789
  • March 18, 1818
  • May 15, 1823
  • June 7, 1832
  • August 24, 1780
  • August 26, 1776
  • May 15, 1778
  • August 24, 1780 (first to address pay for widows and orphans)
  • October 21, 1780
  • March 22, 1783
  • September 29, 1789
  • March 23, 1792
  • April 10, 1806
  • March 18, 1818 (first to grant pensions for service only)
  • May 1, 1820
  • March 1, 1823
  • May 15, 1828
  • June 7, 1832
  • July 4, 1836
  • July 7, 1838
  • July 29, 1848 (widow marriage requirement prior to January 2, 1800)
  • March 9, 1878

Irish Genealogy Records 1849-1911 Now Online

Irish Obituaries in the Irish American Weekly NYC, NY March 11, 1854

Irish American Weekly (New York City, New York), 11 March 1854, page 2

This Irish genealogy research tip is important. Every genealogist should know this.

Genealogists need to know that Irish deaths and marriages were routinely published in the pages of the Irish American Weekly (New York City, New York).  This fact makes the historical Irish newspaper a great genealogical resource to find Irish obituaries and marriages – that occurred in Ireland – or around the world from 1849 to 1911.

The Irish American Weekly made a diligent effort to find, document and publish these family records in Ireland and published them in the pages of their New York City newspaper.

The old newspaper clipping in the example to the left shows just some of the Irish obituaries reported in the 11 March 1854 Irish American Weekly (New York City, New York), page 2.

Just take a look at the wide geographic coverage that the historical Irish American Weekly newspaper provides:

 

… at Westmeath ….

… at Monkstown, County Cork …

… in Killeshandra …

… at County Wexford ….

… in Cork …

… in Kilkenny …

… in Queenstown …

… in County Down …

… at Norwich, England … formerly of Dublin

… at St. John, Antigua … formerly of Dublin

… in London …

… in Melbourne, Australia …

This NYC newspaper is reporting on Irish deaths in Ireland and on Irish ex-patriots around the world.

Now, look closer at the article. The publication date is 1854. These Irish genealogy records were printed in the newspaper a full ten years before Irish civil registration began in 1864.

Genealogy Research Tip: Registration of Irish death certificates did not begin until 1864 – but you can find thousands of Irish deaths recorded every week in the Irish American Weekly 1849 – 1911 – well before Irish Civil registration began in 1864.

Explore your Irish ancestry in the Irish American Weekly and other Irish American newspapers printed in the U.S. online in our historical newspaper archives at our website.