Monday, 17 February 2014

That Ol' Newspaper

We as family historians and genealogists, spend hours, weeks, months and years researching our ancestral & collateral lines.  We look for documents that will tell us who our 3x or more great grand parents are, who their parents were and their brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles and cousins on down and across the lines to get a better idea of the people, whose DNA we walk around with in our blood.

Sometimes all we have are facts to go on.  We find out when they were born, when they died, where they lived, who they married, and who they birthed.  As genealogists, we build stories around the information we have.  We read about the history of the towns they lived in, we look for leads as to who the neighbors were, and what organizations they may have belonged to, and where they might have worked.  We want to know what churches they went to and if they even went to school.  Who were these people that we call our ancestors?

I spend much of my time carving, molding, forming, putting skin upon the bones of my ancestors and as if I were a god, breathing life into them so I can see them, feel them, and know them.  One of the resources I use regularly are old newspapers. Newspapers have been key for me in building my ancestor's lives.  I have lost count as to how many articles I have found through online newspapers and indexes.  Some newspaper articles, I have had to order through libraries, and historical archives for a small copying and mailing fee.  It has been well worth my efforts.

Some of the databases I use are:

1. Genealogybank.com
2.  Newspapers.com
3.  Ancestry.com
4. ProQuest.com: Newspapers
5. Library of Congress
6.  and Googling newspaper archives where lots of other sites pop up.

I recently searched for my maternal great great grandfather William H. Cully and found that he sold or gave 100 acres of land to his son George Cully months before he died.  Seeing this gave me a clearer picture as to why George didn't receive land in the probate records after his father passed and why his other children did along with my Great Grandfather Ambrose Cully.  It is the little details that make the stories clearer.

New Berne Weekly Journal, 11 March 1902, Page 4
Newspapers.com
Another example is that my father Walter Porter was an entertainer and active in politics in Los Angeles, California before I was born.  My mother Betty was right there with him participating in civic and political affairs as I have always known her to be.  This article adds to the wealth of information I have received over time.  My parents are no longer living, so to have these articles have helped me to hone in on their lives in Los Angeles and what specific events and people they knew while they were there.

My Parents, Wally & Betty Porter w/Atty. Billy G. Mills

There is so much information one can find by researching online for newspapers.  If you are unsure where to look, start with my list.  Going to your search engine is one of the other great ways to find newspapers that you can immediately search or to find indexes to where you can go to order the information you need on your ancestors.  I would type in the city, county, state, country, etc with newspaper archives, etc., and you will soon be on your way to making great discoveries.  

Let's breathe life into the one's that came before us.  You will discover that they lived fascinating lives.


24 comments:

  1. So true! I love spending time trying to piece together the stories of my ancestors in newspapers. So much to find, not only about them but also about the times they lived in. We have a great site in Aus, called Trove. Great post.

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    1. Thank you Diane! I thought the site "Trove" was a great resource. I may hunt around there a little too. ;-)

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  2. How I agree with you! In fact I am planning a posting on old newspapers, as I feel they give such fascinating insight into the daily lives of our ancestors and the world about them at that time. So do look out the next few months for my "Random Gleanings".

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  3. Me too! Newspaper articles have been wonderful in supplying information to flesh out my ancestors lives.

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    1. Kristin,
      I have learned so much about your family by the news articles that you have posted. You have a fabulous historical background!

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  4. I agree with you Yvette. Newspapers are a great resource. It like a story within a story. Great post!!!

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  5. I agree with you too. I love me some newspapers. They really do help in filling the details about the day to day lives of our ancestors. Great post!

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    1. I know you do Andrea! We are newspaper junkies. I like how you have developed your stories with newspapers ;-)

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  6. Great Resources. Love the Papers they add so much to our Ancestors. I'll have to dig through mine to blog about. I'll try some of the sites you mentioned. Great Post!

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  7. As my family have always been in the UK, I find the British Newspaper Archive is a great resource. D C Thompson who own the website also have some of the newspapers on the Find my Past website.
    The newspapers also help put things into context, as in the land record example, a message I was hoping to get across in the latest post on my own blog

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  8. Thank you Hilary for the information. We never know when we will need newspapers from other areas besides the U.S. I have to keep that in mind when I am researching. Good point Hilary regarding putting things into context.

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    1. Yvette, may I just say Amen. to everything. I LOVE newspapers.

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  9. I totally agree with your views on newspapers!! At one time, Ancestry.com had the Richwood (Ohio) GAZETTE in their historical newspapers lineup. That was an absolute treasure trove for me! (My ancestors were mostly in Morrow/Richland counties in Ohio and the Richwood Gazette was THE paper to publish news from the Steam Corners, Morrow county area.) It was wonderful for several years and then -- BAM! -- the Richwood Gazette disappeared from their historical newspapers. Now I can't find the digitized Gazette anywhere. Is it in the ProQuest Newspapers? If you could at least let me know if it is, I'll try to figure out how to get access to that particular treasure trove once again. (Ancestry.com just said they lost the "contract" to show that newspaper, but didn't/couldn't/wouldn't tell me where it is.) Any help would be wildly appreciated!! Many thanks!!

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    1. I will do a quick look for you today. Most definitely.

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    2. Hi Ponyswimgal! I found the Richwood (Ohio) Gazette on Newspapers.com

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  10. So true! I've found so many interesting things about my ancestors in old newspapers from murderers to murder victims, what it was like to travel around the world as a merchant seaman, even being arrested for selling prophylactics!

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    1. Sounds like you found some very exciting stories! I bet you could write a very interesting book on them.

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  11. Wonderful arrangement you got there! I totally agree with the commenters above that there is a wonder associated with researching about old newspapers. I feel a certain connection to the past when I do it, and breaking the mists of mystery can only get one more hooked on the endeavor. Thank you for the wonderful insights you shared on this post! Cheers!

    Ruby Badcoe @ Williams Data Management

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