NEWSPAPER DATABASES DIGITIZED AND SEARCHABLE ONLINE
August 26, 2012
Genealogists use the largest groups of genealogical records that are census and vital records. Did you realize that within the last decade newspapers have been digitized and available online? No longer are do you have to wade through giant volumes or crank through microfilm records. These are now available online on formidable search engines.
Early newspapers are significant because often they are the only source of births, marriages, anniversaries, and other events during the period of our ancestors’ lives. Some newspapers published information such as family reunions, stagecoach passenger lists, U. S. Customs Service passenger lists (based on ship passenger lists) local briefs and advertisements. Papers near ports often have passenger lists documenting internal migration within the United States. The oldest newspapers were published in America before it became a nation.
While searching through Cooke County, Texas gossip sections, I found a reference to a female whom I had lost track. It told about her hosting a quilting party in which her sister attended. I knew the married name of the female in Collin County, but I could not find a marriage record for her older sister. Thanks to the gossip section, I connected the two females. Then I was able to find the Cooke County couple on the census and identify their children. No, I never found their marriage record, but I did not check the bordering counties in Oklahoma where a couple could get married immediately rather than waiting three days in Texas mandated by law.
In case you search in vain for an ancestor, maybe he changed his name rather than going into the witness protection program or being abducted by aliens. Over the years, a legal name change could be had in various courts and government levels. These name changes were historically reported in the local newspaper. Some states required the announcement appear in the newspapers by law.
Hint: Begin your digital newspaper search with minimum information about the person. If you get no hits, then begin to add data gradually. Do give several physical locations for finding the person’s information.
Do not avoid searching newspapers any longer. You can access newspaper databases on Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org, GenealogyBank.com, FindMyPast.com and FamilyLink.com. If you are searching for Hispanic ancestors, GenealogyBank.com has the largest Hispanic American research collection online. You can view the list of their newspapers at www.genealogybank.com/gbnk/newspapers/sourcelist/.
TRACING IOWA ANCESTORS: Collin Radio Company brought many residents from the home office in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. This contributing to the large number of Iowans living presently in Collin County. The Lynn County, Iowa Genealogical Society website, www.usgennet.org/usa/ia/county/linn/gen_soc.htm, lists the library acquisitions as containing County and City Histories, City Directories from 1869-present, maps, atlases, a collection of Linn Co. school and church records, mortuary records of many funeral homes and cemetery records. There are obituaries from 1894 to present (early books incomplete), files of historical newspaper clippings, military records, bibles records, diaries, family genealogies and miscellaneous photographs. It includes Cedar Rapids Birth Records 1921-1970, Cedar Rapids Death Records 1894-1970 and much more. I searched but did not find a website for the Cedar Rapids Library, but the phone number is 319-369-0022. The genealogy group will be happy to help you with your research through the link above.
JOHN HUMPHREY PASSES: On August 12, the genealogical community lost a dedicated and talented professional genealogist and lecturer when 64-year-old John Humphrey died of a stroke at his home in Washington, D.C. Humphrey, a Certified Genealogist, is the author of the 15-volume Pennsylvania Birth series, authored four other books on family history research and wrote many articles. A few years ago Humphrey spoke at a Genealogy Friends all-day workshop. He will be missed.
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: TracingOurRoots@gmail.com.