Researching my cousin Daniel Davis (1814-1902), I found him in the 1880 census.
It tells me he was a “Boot & Shoemaker.”
Looking to see what I could find about Daniel in GenealogyBank’s Historical Newspaper Archives, I found this advertisement for his services.
Interesting. This advertisement says that he also sold sewing machines.
Looking further in the old newspapers, I found this ad specifically for the sewing machines he sold.
He pitched the fitness of this sewing machine – its durability, quietness and his flexible financial terms.
He asked all interested customers “to give us a call.”
Wait, this ad was published in 1872.
What did they mean by “give us a call”?
I think of that as a reference to calling them on the telephone – but the telephone would not be invented until 1876.
So, I searched for that phrase in the old newspapers and found that it was commonly used as far back as 1795. It meant “come and visit us, pay us a call.”
You can learn a lot about your relatives – and the times they lived in – in America’s old newspapers.