Hurricane Rescue Stories from the ‘Grand Isle’ Hurricane of 1909

With Hurricane Sandy pounding the United States East Coast, we are experiencing right now how hurricanes can cause pain and destruction. It is true today and was true for our ancestors.

Some of the bright spots in the major “Grand Isle” hurricane of 1909 that hit Louisiana are told in these newspaper hurricane rescue stories of “the rescue of a family in a small boat in which a baby had been born an hour before the relief steamer arrived” and another account of a 4-year-old child “found lodged in the branches of a tree…[in] Terrebonne Parish, having survived for three days without food or water.”

rescues during the "Grand Isle" hurricane of 1909, Kansas City Star newspaper article 24 September 1909

Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Missouri), 24 September 1909, page 7

We hope that all of GenealogyBank’s readers are safe from Hurricane Sandy this difficult week.

Got Burnout? Go Play in a Genealogy ‘Playground’

Introduction: Scott Phillips is a genealogical historian and owner of Onward To Our Past® genealogy services. In this guest blog post, Scott explains what he does to refresh himself when experiencing genealogy burnout after hitting a brick wall in his family history research.

One of the most common concerns I hear from genealogists is burnout. It can happen to anyone, especially after a difficult period of hitting a “brick wall” in your family history research. This got me to thinking about what I did at times in my life when I felt a case of burnout coming on. Most frequently, I recalled, it seemed to attack me in elementary school…almost every day, in fact. Then I remembered recess and the playground!

When I was a youngster in school, recess was my favorite time of day—next to dismissal when the school day ended. At recess I’d race to the playground just to see what was exciting, what was new, who was there, and what fun I could have. I’d come back in for the afternoon refreshed and ready for schoolwork again.

For me, GenealogyBank.com sometimes functions as my “Genealogy Playground.” In addition to being one of my primary “Go To” genealogy resources, it is also the place I love to go just to see what I can find, learn, have fun with, and almost always discover something to add to my family tree. Plus, the knowledge of history that I gain from GenealogyBank’s large newspaper archive helps me better understand the times and world of my ancestors.

In just half an hour of genealogy play time, I can find some great stuff! In my most recent case of “30-minute recess” I found fascinating articles simply by searching on the terms “immigration statistics,” “Berea, Ohio,” and “WPA Writers’ Project.”

In my first search I discovered some interesting statistics on immigration from the fiscal year ending June 30, 1896.

Italy Heads the List, Emporia Gazette newspaper article 18 July 1896

Emporia Gazette (Emporia, Kansas), 18 July 1896, page 1

This historical newspaper article listed the countries of origin and the numbers of immigrants to the United States from each country. I was surprised to learn that Italy was first in total number of immigrants that year, and found it enlightening that from the total number of hopeful immigrants, over 3,000 were rejected for being “paupers,” “convicts and laborers,” “idiots,” “insane,” and/or “diseased.”

Then I came across a fun historical gem about my own hometown. I always knew that Berea, Ohio, was called “The Grindstone City,” but I knew next to nothing beyond the fact that as a boy I enjoyed swimming in the abandoned quarries that had filled with water.

Letter from Berea, Ohio, Cincinnati Daily Gazette newspaper article 2 June 1869

Cincinnati Daily Gazette (Cincinnati, Ohio), 2 June 1869, page 1

This old news article explained to me the whole business of quarrying, making, and marketing the famous Berea Grindstones.

Since I am a fan of, and interested in, the Works Public Administration (WPA) and especially its Writers’ Project, I conducted that search in the archives next. I am fascinated as a genealogist and family historian that this project employed some incredible writers and also created significant and priceless Americana. With a quick online search I found (among the more than 350 newspaper articles) an interesting story.

Schools Carry Out WPA Writers' Project, Oregonian newspaper article 3 May 1936

Oregonian (Portland, Oregon), 3 May 1936, page 3

This historical news article intrigued me as it explained that a teacher, in partnership with the WPA Writers’ Project and its United States Guides series, created a school history project. The old article states: “Pupils of these schools collected information relative to local Indians, pioneer characters and incidents, and buildings and sites of historical interest.” How I would love to read those stories about those Indians and pioneers! I bet they held some priceless insights and information, especially from the perspective of youngsters.

So, in spending just half an hour playing in GenealogyBank I had some great experiences, was refreshed, and gained some great knowledge.

My advice for genealogists experiencing burnout? Don’t forget how fun and invigorating recess can be!

Italian Immigrant Ancestor Helped Carve Mount Rushmore!

Introduction: Scott Phillips is a genealogical historian and owner of Onward To Our Past® genealogy services. In this guest blog post, Scott shows what he found in newspapers about a friend’s ancestor who helped carve Mount Rushmore.

Almost all of us have stories of immigrant ancestors who came to the United States and toiled to make a better life for themselves and their families. Many, like mine, did so in relative anonymity. However, not too long ago I came across one immigrant to America who did his toiling in plain sight…and I mean really in plain sight!

photo of Luigi Del Bianco carving the left eye of Abraham Lincoln on Mount Rushmore

Luigi Del Bianco carving the left eye of Abraham Lincoln on Mount Rushmore. Photograph credit: Windows Live Photo Gallery.

A few weeks ago I was working on my wife’s Italian ancestry, especially her immigrant grandparents who came to America from the Molise district of central Italy. As I was working on this, I received an email from Lou Del Bianco. Lou’s family also came from Italy to the United States in search of the proverbial “better life.” While my wife’s ancestors were miners and agricultural laborers, Lou’s grandfather, Luigi Del Bianco, was different. He was a classically-trained sculptor, who as a young man studied in Austria and Venice.

Lou had quite a story to tell and he was interested in having it promoted on my website (http://OnwardToOurPast.com) and on my Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/OnwardToOurPast). Once I heard the basics of Lou’s story, I was hooked!

So naturally the first thing I did was click over to GenealogyBank.com to see what I might find on Lou’s grandfather, Luigi. As usual, I was not disappointed and I was able to add to Lou’s knowledge about his grandfather and his work.

The first story that I found was an article explaining Luigi’s arrival on his job: as Chief Carver on Mount Rushmore! Yep, the Mount Rushmore! As I said, this story is about one immigrant who “did his toiling in plain sight”!

According to the newspaper article, Luigi was the right-hand man to Gutzon Borglum, the driving force and lead on the Mount Rushmore project.

Borglum Aide Arrives to Assist in Rushmore Work, Aberdeen Daily News newspaper article 4 May 1933

Aberdeen Daily News (Aberdeen, South Dakota) 4 May 1933, page 10

While there were over 400 men working on the giant carving, Luigi was one of only two trained sculptors, and as a result was named as the Chief Carver by Borglum. He spent an amazing seven years carving on the Mount Rushmore monument from 1933 to 1940.

As I continued to search in GenealogyBank.com’s online newspaper archives, I found some great stories about the carving of the Mount Rushmore memorial. I enjoyed an old news article published in the Tampa Tribune from 1927, when the Mount Rushmore project was still little more than an idea in Borglum’s head.

Start Soon Carving Head of Washington on Mount Rushmore, Tampa Tribune newspaper article 31 March 1927

Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Florida), 31 March 1927, page 23

The following historical newspaper article reports the hilarious exchange of telegrams between Borglum and President Calvin Coolidge regarding the history that President Coolidge wanted carved on Mount Rushmore, and Borglum’s attempt to cut the wordy President’s text down to size.

For Intimate Correspondence, Seattle Daily Times newspaper article 29 May 1930

Seattle Daily Times (Seattle, Washington), 29 May 1930, page 6

Here is an old news article reporting that Luigi kept a life-size cast of the fist and arm of famed Italian heavyweight boxing champion Primo Carnera in his studio—a  model which folks often mistook for a sledgehammer!

Hills Sculptor Knew Carnera as Youth in Italy, Aberdeen Daily News newspaper article 29 June 1933

Aberdeen Daily News (Aberdeen, South Dakota), 29 June 1933, page 2

I have since learned even more about Luigi Del Bianco, this amazing Italian American immigrant, who—although  not well known—accomplished some of the best known work in our entire nation, artistic carving that millions of tourists have viewed with awe and wonder.

In addition to reading about Luigi on GenalogyBank.com you can also discover more about his life and work at http://www.luigimountrushmore.com, or you can see how the hit television show Cake Boss recently baked a Mount Rushmore cake in honor of Luigi on Lou’s website at http://www.findlou.com.

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!

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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.