Genealogy Tip: Use a Wide Search to Discover New Relatives

During a recent search in GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives for all Sanborn’s living in the surrounding area of my family in New Hampshire, I discovered a likely new relative who was missing from my family tree.

Hoping to find new Sanborn relatives in Gilmanton, Belknap County, New Hampshire, where many of my ancestors lived, I searched the New Hampshire obituary archives with the keywords “Sanborn” in the Last Name field and the place “Gilmanton” in the Include Keywords field. I limited the search to the early period when my family lived there.

A screenshot of GenealogyBank's search page showing a search for "Sanborn" and "Gilmanton"
Source: GenealogyBank

Reading through the search results I found this: the marriage announcement of “Mr. Joseph Sanborn, Jr., of Gilford, to Miss Eliza Ann, eldest daughter of Jeduthan Farrar, Esq., of Gilmanton.”

Marriage notices, Independent Democrat newspaper article 15 November 1849
Source: GenealogyBank, Independent Democrat (Concord, New Hampshire), 15 November 1849, page 3

According to the Independent Democrat, Joseph and Eliza were married 1 November 1849 in Gilmanton. However, Joseph Sanborn and Eliza Ann Farrar’s FamilySearch records included no information on their parents or any details beyond their marriage date and that it took place in New Hampshire.

Sanborn family record, from FamilySearch
Source: FamilySearch

Fortunately, the newspaper marriage announcement gives some clues.

“Joseph Sanborn, Jr.” suggests that his father was also named Joseph Sanborn. Eliza Ann Farrar is listed as “the eldest daughter of Jeduthan Farrar, Esq., of Gilmanton.” It is particularly helpful to have such a distinctive name. I immediately searched for Jeduthan on GenealogyBank next.

A screenshot of GenealogyBank's search page showing a search for "Jeduthan Farrar"
Source: GenealogyBank

The first result was an obituary for Eliza’s father Jeduthan Farrar, who died on 30 July 1863 in Upper Gilmanton.

Obituaries, New Hampshire Patriot and State Gazette newspaper article 19 August 1863
Source: GenealogyBank, New Hampshire Patriot and State Gazette (Concord, New Hampshire), 19 August 1863, page 3

Now that I have some additional information about Eliza and Joseph’s family from their marriage announcement and Jeduthan’s obituary, I can begin searching for the missing links that will tie them to my family tree. Now to find Joseph Sanborn’s parents.

Genealogy Tip: When searching GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives you want to map out the family by recording the details of all persons of your surname in the target area. Like laying out the pieces of a crossword puzzle, you will be able to see how the individuals fit into your family tree or conclude that they are not related to you.

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2 thoughts on “Genealogy Tip: Use a Wide Search to Discover New Relatives

  1. If you were searching the obituaries why did the Wedding Announcements show up? I thought it only contained obituary articles. What am I misunderstanding and missing here?

    1. GenealogyBank digitizes every page – the entire issue of each newspaper – going back to 1690. It was common in the 19th and 20th centuries for newspapers to combine birth, marriage and obituary announcements in the same section of a page. By grouping these regular features together their readers could reliably turn to that page to keep up with what was happening in the lives of their neighbors and friends.

      GenealogyBank makes it easier for today’s genealogists to find these items by creating special search pages that target the birth announcements – or the marriage announcements. While it zeros in on those – the results include all of the articles on the page. So while finding an obituary for one person you might also find a marriage announcement for a person with the same surname.

      Tom

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