Treasured Discovery: Only-Known Photos of Ancestors Found in Old Newspapers

Introduction: Scott Phillips is a genealogical historian and owner of Onward To Our Past® genealogy services. In this guest blog post, Scott tells about finding the only-known photos of two of his ancestors in old newspaper wedding announcements—and a surprising engagement notice that told him something he never knew about his own mother!

Summertime! The livin’ is easy and traditionally it is the time for weddings. My bride and I just celebrated our 37th wedding anniversary a short time ago and it got me to thinking about how much I have gained in my family history and genealogy work from searching for engagement notices and wedding announcements in GenealogyBank.com.

Mr. & Mrs. Scott Phillips Wedding Photo 1975

The author’s wedding photo from 1975.

As many of us go about developing and nurturing our family trees, I think you’ll agree that one of the best aspects of that work is discovering photographs of our ancestors. Let me tell you, few places that I have found beat newspaper engagement and wedding stories for personal photos—sometimes the only picture anyone in the family has of a particular ancestor. I have had terrific success in my family tree with these types of articles.

A great example was the newspaper article I recently found when researching my Havlic branch. I discovered the wedding announcement for Eleanor Anna Havlic as reported in the Plain Dealer on 30 September 1928 in Cleveland, Ohio. Not only was I thrilled that there was a picture of my ancestor, but it showed some lovely period dress for a 1928 wedding. Additionally, I was treated to the names of parents, spouse, in-laws, addresses of both, the new couple’s home address, bridal party members, wedding date, and the name of their church.

Mrs Louis J Beran Old Marriage Announcement

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 30 September 1928, page 50.

Another nice find for me was the wedding story of another cousin, Margaret Tager, again in the Plain Dealer (27 August 1961) in Cleveland. Once more I was excited to find an old wedding photo that illustrated the current fashion, this time of the early 1960s, plus addresses, parents’ and in-laws’ names, the name of the church where the ceremony was held—and there was even a mention of where both the bride and groom attended college. As an added treat, the newspaper article explained where the couple honeymooned.

Margaret Ann Tager Marriage Announcement

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 27 August 1961, page 108.

In the case of both of the above family members, the old newspaper articles provided me with the only photos I have of these particular ancestors, which make them all the more important to my work, my family, and our family tree.

Oh, and don’t forget that every so often you just might find one of those “ah-ha” moments we all enjoy so much in genealogy. I had one myself not long ago.

After working on one of my grandparent’s branches I was having some fun searching different family surnames to see what I could find. As I was running my grandmother’s married name lo and behold I found an engagement announcement! I clicked on the article to find…my mother had been engaged one time before becoming engaged to, and then marrying, the man who was to become my father. This was a fact that had not been a topic of discussion in my life ever before.

Thank goodness my mom made the choice she did or I wouldn’t be here writing this today!

That was a close call…and a really fun discovery.

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!

Joel Munsell – a genealogist & publisher who went to jail to protect his sources

Joel Munsell was an active genealogist, publisher, printer and journalist. He’s always been one of my “heroes” for his legendary contributions to genealogy and local history. (Photo – Munselle’s Picassa Gallery)

I was looking on GenealogyBank and found his marriage to Jane Caroline Bigelow (1812-1854)

17 June 1834 Independent Inquirer 28 Jun 1834

And here is his obituary - (New York Herald – 17 Jan 1880).

Look at this article from the New York Herald – 28 Feb 1845.

Munsell published a small pamphlet in 1845 – Pulpit Sketches, or Dreams of a Pew Holder. The author was not identified. The pamphlet by innuendo subjected prominent citizens to “libelous ridicule”.

Real controversy erupted and following a Grand Jury Munsell was found in contempt and had a “choice to pay two hundred and fifty dollars or stand the imprisonment” …. all for not revealing the author’s name. He went to jail.

This case is held up as one of the early cases where journalists went to jail rather than reveal their sources.

But dig a little deeper.

This pamphlet was pointed and barbed – on page 27 the new chapter compares “Rev Dr. J.N.C. to “Judas Iscariot”. Tough stuff.

Who was the Rev. Dr. J.N.C.? Why attack him?

As in our day when the President’s team had moral problems they called on the minister’s of the day to resolve the issue. In Andrew Jackson’s day his cabinet was deeply involved with a scandal involving Peggy Eaton – that drove cabinet members to resign.

The President called on the Rev. John Nicholson Campbell (1798-1864) to examine the situation and counsel with the parties involved. Read the details here in the San Jose Mercury 3 May 1903.

Those actions in 1831 resulted in Munsell’s pamphlet in 1845.

But, who was the author?

Librarians and historians have concluded that the author was Henry Steel Olcott (1832-1937). So it was a 13 year old boy who wrote this pamphlet attacking the most learned and respected clergy of his day.

My question is: Did Joel Munsell refuse to say who the author was from journalistic zeal to protect his sources or because his source was a 13 year old boy? Or – was someone else the author of that pamphlet?

Write me and tell me what you think.

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Search Baltimore Sun Online

Search the back issues of the Baltimore Sun – click here.

Go through every page – millions of articles – obituaries, birth announcements and wedding notices. GenealogyBank has Maryland covered.

Click on these links to search the back issues of other Baltimore newspapers:

Click here to search newspapers published in other Maryland towns:

Tip: You can bookmark these links and quickly start your search in the back files of any Maryland newspaper.
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Marriage Announcements -

Get the most out of GenealogyBank!







Whether you’re looking for a wedding announcement published on July 22, 1802, July 22, 1862 or July 22,1962 – GenealogyBank is your comprehensive source.
I didn’t know that was in GenealogyBank!

(Dallas (TX) Morning News – 22 July 1962)
(Maine Eagle – 22 July 1802)
(Baltimore Sun – 22 July 1862)

TIP: Focus your search by the type of article – In this example limit your search to only the marriage notices. Click on the highlighted topic and only those articles will appear in your search.

Discover your heritage, preserve it and pass it on!

Be a part of GenealogyBankSign up Now.

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

Period!

Here comes the bride …

Newspaper marriage announcements can give you important clues for your family history.

This one tells us where & when the marriage took place; the name of the minister; the names of the bride & groom and where they were from.

This marriage notice from the Public Ledger 23 March 1863 states that Mary A. Middleton was the second daughter of Robert C. Middleton and that Annie M. Smith was the youngest daughter of the late Col. Kenderton Smith.

Here is a good example of 4 Generations of a family gathering for a wedding.

And then there is this example of a wedding announcement that includes too much information. (Idaho Statesman 28 Oct 1922).
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A, E, I, O, U and sometimes Y

I am often asked: Do you have Canadian newspapers in GenealogyBank?

Well, no we don’t – but that’s not the question you want to ask. GenealogyBank has over 3,800 newspapers – all of them published in the United States – but it has several million articles, records and documents on Canadians.

Tip: I have been researching my family tree for 45 years and I can tell you that you’ll find the information on your family where you least expect to find it.

Here’s a wedding announcement for Alexander James Ross of Winnipeg, Manitoba and Mary Moore McArthur of Picton, Nova Scotia – they were married in Chicago 6 March 1882. (Inter Ocean 14 March 1882).

Newspapers were published – every day.
And every day editors had to fill the next day’s paper & they wanted to sell papers.

So they pulled “news” from a wide circle of influence. Birth announcements, marriage announcements, and obituaries from small town and big city newspapers.

Just like CNN or Fox News – the daily newspapers had to fill their pages with hard news. News that people wanted to read and that would sell subscriptions.

If you are researching Canadian genealogy then
GenealogyBank is an essential online tool.

Eastport, Maine is a small town on the Maine coast right on the border with New Brunswick, Canada.

As you would expect the Eastport Sentinnel regularly carried birth, death and marriage announcements for individuals and families from the Canadian side of the border.

Look at this example of marriage notices published in the
29 March 1828 Eastport (ME) Sentinnel. Look at the places mentioned “Lubec” – “Dennysville” – “St. Andrews” – “Antigua” – “St. Stephens” and “Charlotte”. Towns on both sides of the border. “Antigua” refers to the island nation of Antigua.

Nothing unusual here – just a typical day with a newspaper editor packing his paper with the information his readers wanted to read.

Just like GenealogyBank – everyday we pack in more resources that genealogists need and rely on. You’re not finished with your research until you’ve searched the newspapers in GenealogyBank.
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Genealogist, Mary Sue Green Smith (1933-2009)

Prominent Nashville, TN genealogist, Mary Sue Green Smith (1933-2009) has passed away.

She was President of the Middle Tennessee Genealogical Society. She published eight books between 1994 and 2006; mostly reference works to be used in tracing one’s roots in Nashville. She indexed tens of thousands of pre-Civil War civil court records, which added to standard genealogical resources, many families whose names don’t otherwise appear in records.

Tennessean, The (Nashville, TN) – April 25, 2009
SMITH, Mary Sue Green Age 76 of Nashville, TN, died Friday, April 24, 2009. She was a genealogist, whose contributions helped African-American families with Nashville roots to trace their families back before the Civil War.


She was preceded in death by her husband, Burrell G. Smith and one of her sons, Robert Shelton Smith, who died in 1972. She is survived by three sons, John Kennedy Smith and wife Barbie of Indianapolis, Stephen Thomas Smith and wife Barbara Ann Mech of Nashville, and Richard Douglas Smith and wife Julie of Fairbanks, Alaska.

Her surviving grandchildren are John R. Smith of Big Bear, CA, Michael B. Smith, midshipman at the Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD, Thomas Shelton Smith and wife, Anne Kindt Smith of Knoxville, Katherine Holly Smith of Nashville, Andrew Kennedy Smith of Nashville, Jennifer Sue Smith of Fairbanks and Robert Elias Smith of Sault Ste. Marie, MI.

Her surviving sisters are Dorothy Strange of Loudon, TN, Barbara Butler of Nashville and Pam White of Nashville. Mary Sue Smith was a native of Nashville.

She graduated from David Lipscomb High School and attended David Lipscomb College, where she met Burrell G. Smith, who had served in the Army paratroopers in World War II. They were married in April, 1950. Hers was the first wedding in the newly built Otter Creek Church of Christ, at the corner of Otter Creek Road and Granny White Pike. Her father, the late Sam Kennedy Green, was an elder there.

The couple raised a family in Bellaire, MI. Burrell was an educator and a social worker. Sue served as clerk of the Antrim County Selective Service Board during the Vietnam War. She served on the mental health board of the county. After Burrell’s death, Sue returned to Nashville in 1986.

Sue was a genealogist and had served as President of the Middle Tennessee Genealogical Society. She published eight books between 1994 and 2006, mostly reference works to be used in tracing one’s roots in Nashville. She indexed tens of thousands of pre-Civil War civil court records, which added to standard genealogical resources, many families whose names don’t otherwise appear in records.

Her work made it possible for many African-American families to trace their parentage back into the years when persons held in slavery were listed, as property, in wills.

Memorial services will be conducted Sunday, April 26, 2009 at 3 p.m., at Woodbine Funeral Home, Hickory Chapel, 5852 Nolensville Road, by Tommy Daniel. Memorial contributions may be made to the charity of your choice. Visitation will be Sunday from 1 – 3 p.m., at WOODBINE FUNERAL HOME, HICKORY CHAPEL Directors, 615-331-1952; Still Family Owned.

Copyright (c) The Tennessean. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Gannett Co., Inc. by NewsBank, inc.

Wow – I love GenealogyBank.

We routinely hear from genealogists telling about their success – “Wow, look what I found!”

We really love to hear those stories and today it is my turn.
Last week I was stunned to find that one of my cousins had posted early photographs of our family online.
There they were – the actual pictures of my third great-grandfather Isaac Garcelon (1790-1872)
and his parents William (1763-1851)
and Maria (Howe) Garcelon (1763-1850).
I could see why they were so bundled up.
They were from Lewiston, Androscoggin County, Maine. Having grown up in New England I am used to cold weather – the snow would stay on the north side of my grandparent’s home until April almost every year.
This find got me to searching in GenealogyBank to find out more about them. I simply searched the name: William Garcelon and quickly found death notices for William Garcelon (1763-1851) that were published in two newspapers, one in Massachusetts and one in Maine.
The Boston Evening Transcript 23 Jan 1851

and in the Portland Daily Advertiser (29 Jan 1851).

Then I quickly spotted the marriage announcement of William’s nephew – Captain Asa Garcelon (1796-1859) that was published in the Eastern Argus (Maine) 16 March 1825.

Notice that every one of these articles appeared in out-of-town or out-of-state newspapers.

TIP: Colonial and 19th Century Newspapers often printed out of town birth, marriage and death notices. GenealogyBank makes them easy to find because it let’s you search all 3,700 newspapers for your ancestors.

TIP: Be flexible in your searches and remember that their obituaries or marriage notices just might have been printed in out of state newspapers – like the wedding announcement of Nicholas Goodson and Sarah Matthews in Isle of Wight County, Virginia – that was published in the Maine newspaper – the Eastern Argus in 1825. Like cable news television stations today – newspapers carried news from across the country.

There were no articles telling if Nicholas Goodson was ever arrested.

It is a great day for genealogy. What an opportunity we have to find these historic artifacts, articles and documents about our family.

Tip: Search GenealogyBank now.
What will you find?

GenealogyBank celebrates 2nd Anniversary

GenealogyBank is celebrating its second year of service to genealogists!

Join with us and celebrate!
We’ll be “Two” on October 18th.

How time flies. It has been a wonderful two years!

We have loved receiving your fan mail and sharing in your success stories. We’re happy for your amazing finds and knowing the special value that GenealogyBank has been to the genealogical community.

Wow – GenealogyBank has grown a lot in the past two years too.

In fact – we’ve grown 60% bigger since we started.

GenealogyBank has:
Over 240 million books, records and articles
►Over 1 billion names
►Over 3,700 newspapers – from all 50 States; 1690 to today
►Over 115 Million obituaries and death records – more than any other source
►Complete American State Papers

►More coverage of the Serial Set than other genealogy sites
►Newspaper coverage just not available anywhere else
►Fast, easy to search, easy to print, e-mail or save each item


And we digitize and add more content every day!

Click here and search GenealogyBank right now.

“I found proof of where and when my 2d-gg grandparents were married. They lived in a small town in rural Maine – and yet their wedding was listed in a newspaper miles from where they lived. I never expected anything was ever written about them – but there they were – and GenealogyBank made it easy for me to find them. Wow! I am hooked!”

What will you find?

Click here and search GenealogyBank right now.