newspapers aid in the search of ancestors
april 13, 2014
Are you missing information about your ancestor that just might be in one of the newspapers printed in their area and time period? If you have not used this source, you might be surprised at the amount and quality of information written these yellowed pages.
For instance, as I read the Thursday, March 29, 1956 issue of the Plano Star-Courier newspaper, I found a mention of the death of a Collin County native, the adult son of Collin County Baptist minister, Reverend and Mrs. W. T. Newsom. Their son, Willie L. Newsome, lived in Fort Worth where he became ill and died. It went on to identify his wife as the former Miss Glennye Jones of McKinney and sister to Mrs. Arthur Bagwell, wife of the editor of the Plano Star-Courier.
Another obituary on page 8 gave many more details about the deceased. It told of the death of Mrs. Mary Biggs who passed away at her home in Wylie. Mrs. Biggs, the daughter of W. B. and Weltha Lewis Burch, was born March 3 in Wildersville, Tennessee. The obit named her five sons, four daughters, and a few other relatives. However, it only gave the grandchildren as numbering 51. She had 52 great-grandchildren and 11 great-great grandchildren. Her services were held at the Wylie Christian Church with burial at Forest Grove Cemetery. Those lucky relatives of Mrs. Mary Biggs have lots of research ahead of them in their effort to identify the large numbers of grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.
On page 6, the reader finds that the former Nancy Harrington of Plano, now Mrs. Warren Moore Jr., lived in Philadelphia. She spent the Easter Holidays in Plano with her parents Mr. and Mrs. T. C. Harrington.
Do you have your ancestor’s occupation? Usually the census gives you clues on the person’s job, but a search of the local newspaper might explain more. In the want ads on page 5, it says that Leo Faries and Sam Sarten are carpenters. They specialize in cabinetwork, home leveling, new buildings and repair work.
The local newspapers certainly provide valuable information that family researchers can add to complete their family histories. If your ancestors lived in Plano or Collin County, during the 1950s, the abstracted information of some of the Plano Star Courier newspapers is online at www.genealogyfriends.org. The series will continue through the 1960s. The site is free and the Newsletter downloaded by the third Saturday of each month.
GENEALOGY FRIENDS FREE SEMINAR: Speaker David Pitts will speak at 10:30 on “What’s New in DNA and Genealogy on May 17 in the Program Room of the Haggard Library, located between Park and Parker on Coit Road. For information see the website at www.genealogyfriends.org, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
HEAR ABOUT DAVY CROCKETT AT SAR MEETING: The Sons of the American Revolution invite you to attend their dinner and talk on May 6 at Outback Steakhouse on Central and 15th Street, to hear Dr. Gary and Maureen Sisson present their program on Davy and Elizabeth Crockett. Their talk focuses on Davy’s last letter to her from Texas. Dinner is at 6 p.m. and the program begins at 7 p.m. More information at http://planosar.org/.
CHAPMAN FAMILY REUNION: The Chapman Family Association (CFA) will hold their annual Chapman Family Convention on June 20-21 in Charleston, South Carolina at the InnPlace Hotel, North Charleston, South Carolina. This year’s hosts for the convention are Ernie and Pauline Chapman. For more information on registering and hotel information, visit their website at www.chapmanfamilies.org, or contact Robert L. Sonfield, 770 S. Post Oak Lane, Suite 435, Houston, or by email at email@example.com
IRISH GRAVES NOW LISTED ONLINE AT HISTORIC GRAVES SITE: The website of The Historic Graves Project identifies themselves as a ‘community focused grassroots heritage project.’ They train the local group members in Ireland in ‘low-cost high-tech field survey of historic graveyards’ to record their histories and build online record collections of each parish cemetery. So far, they have surveyed 6,734 graves in 79 cemeteries. They estimate that Ireland has 3,600 graveyards that cover 1400 years of gravestone history. They handle the enormous project that coordinates and standardizes each historic cemetery by professionally training each local group to use high-tech digital cameras and cell phones to complete the survey of the cemeteries by combining new and old records. Local heritage officers, county archeologists and local authorities support them. The gravesite information is online at http://historicgraves.com.
Brenda Kellow has a bachelor's degree in history, teaches, and lectures on genealogy. Before retiring to publish her family’s histories in 2007, Brenda held certification as a Certified Genealogist and as a Certified Genealogical Instructor. Send reunion announcements, books to review, and genealogy queries to: firstname.lastname@example.org.