American Immigrant Story: 1837 Shipwreck Ruins the Trip

Our ancestors have made the long trip to America starting with the days of the Pilgrims. These were not easy journeys and some ended in disaster. Here is a riveting newspaper account from an article written in 1837 showing just how brutal the trip to America could be. The barque Mexico left Liverpool, England,... (Read More)

Genealogy Advice from Charles K. Bolton: Go Beyond Names & Dates

More than one hundred years ago the renowned Boston Athenaeum librarian and author Charles Knowles Bolton (1867-1950) counseled genealogists to document their family histories by putting the generations in the context of their times. At what generation was “white sugar” a staple in the family diet? What were their political views? What about the... (Read More)

Genealogy Search Tip: Are Your Queries Returning Too Many Records?

GenealogyBank has grown from 160 million records since its inception to over 1.3 billion records today. That is a lot of articles to search through to find information about your family history. Genealogists often approach GenealogyBank with a direct search—using a surname—searching across the entire database to make sure we don’t miss any genealogy... (Read More)

Researching State Archives for Genealogy Records

Introduction: Mary Harrell-Sesniak is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background. In this guest blog post, Mary talks about how valuable state archives can be for your family history research, and describes how to access them. If you’re looking for an exciting resource to help with your genealogical research, I recommend... (Read More)

George Washington Proclaimed a Day of Thanksgiving 26 November 1789

Today’s Wall Street Journal (21 November 2012) has an op-ed editorial by Melanie Kirkpatrick: Thanksgiving, 1789 about the nation’s first Thanksgiving proclamation. It was also President Washington’s first proclamation—he had been sworn in as the nation’s first president just a few months earlier, on 30 April 1789. Washington’s proclamation making Thanksgiving an officially recognized... (Read More)

On Thanksgiving Day, Tom Turkey Is a Member of Everyone’s Family

Introduction: Scott Phillips is a genealogical historian and owner of Onward To Our Past® genealogy services. In this guest blog post, Scott begins his Thanksgiving celebration early by searching on “Tom Turkey” and looking through some of the more than 12,000 historical newspaper articles his search returned. Happy Thanksgiving 2012! I will freely and... (Read More)

A Mystery from the First Handwritten Newspaper Published in America

One of the oldest newspapers published in America was the Boston News-Letter. The origins of this historical newspaper were detailed, handwritten reports by John Campbell. In 1702, John Campbell became the Postmaster in Boston. “As part of his job, Campbell had the official task of writing letters of important information to the main office.”  (Sloan,... (Read More)

Ephemera: A Surprisingly Fertile Genealogical Resource

Introduction: Gena Philibert-Ortega is a genealogist and author of the book “From the Family Kitchen.” In this guest blog post, Gena writes about an unusual—but a personal favorite—source of family history information: ephemera. As I research my family history I look forward to finding unusual sources that reveal different aspects of my ancestor’s life... (Read More)