Marriage by Proxy & More Stories of Attendance from Afar

Every now and then you run across an interesting marriage announcement in old newspapers about someone who couldn’t travel to a wedding—so they attended by proxy. I once read about Mark Twain and his wife attending the funeral of his mother in law—by listening to it over the telephone 450 miles away! It seems... (Read More)

There Are Some Obituaries Everyone Needs to Read

I. D. Lilly, a retired trucker and promoter of the largest family reunion ever held, died in March of this year. He was an active participant in the famous West Virginia family’s gatherings, and served on the Lilly Family Reunion Board of Directors. In 2009 some 2,585 Lilly relatives gathered in Flat Top, West... (Read More)

Genealogy Is Family Stories & Newspapers Are Full of Them

Introduction: Scott Phillips is a genealogical historian and owner of Onward To Our Past® genealogy services. In this guest blog post, Scott hears some interesting family stories from his 93-year-old mother and digs into old newspapers to learn more. If you were at RootsTech 2013 or followed much of that genealogy conference online as... (Read More)

Early Women Occupations, Jobs & Avocations

Introduction: Mary Harrell-Sesniak is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background. In this guest blog post, Mary provides a fun quiz to test your knowledge of terms used in old newspapers to describe our female ancestors’ occupations—and then provides illustrated definitions of those terms. Our female ancestors were hard-working and talented... (Read More)

Tarbell Sisters’ Civil War Feud Finally Ended—in 1922!

While many genealogical records can provide names and dates for your family tree, newspapers give you something more: actual stories about your ancestors’ lives, so that you can get to know them as real people and learn about the times in which they lived. Here’s an example of a newspaper preserving a remarkable family... (Read More)

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... (Read More)