Do you use the Newspaper Archives to search for your ancestors? You should it’s a gold mine. I subscribe to Genealogy Bank, and I can get the Newspaper Archives at my library. Check with your local library to see if you can get access to the Newspaper Archives, Genealogy Bank, or any others. Some libraries have their own town newspapers digitized so make sure to check with each library in the towns that your ancestor’s lived. The Library of Congress has digitized newspapers from around the country and it is free to search so check out Chronicling America. I’m really hooked on looking for my ancestors in the newspapers. You never know what tidbit you will find.
At first I thought mainly of Obituaries which are a wonderful genealogy resource. Obituaries can give you names of the deceased’s husband, children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, and parents to name a few. Also, the date and place of birth, date and place of marriage, name of their church, school, and employment. Then on the other hand it may say “Tom died on May 5” and that’s all, but at least you get a death date. However, beyond the obituaries, there are marriage announcements, birth announcements, and everything in between. If they played a sport, or belonged to a lodge, you might find them mentioned in the newspaper.
I have been able to piece together parts of my ancestor’s lives this way. I found an ancestor who was a doctor and performed an abortion in the 1920’s . The lady died, and he was charged with her death, but was acquitted. A couple of years later he was hit by a car. Another ancestor was director of the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, and he was in the news quite a bit. One ancestor lived to be 100 and he was featured in the newspaper article with his picture. I didn’t have a picture of him, so this was quite a find for me. I found an article about my great-great grandfather getting killed by his neighbor. Also, found that his son accidentally shot himself in the chest. I’ve found the amount my grandfather paid in property tax and his bowling scores. An obituary for my great-grandfather said that he had a great-great grandson that was related to Danny Thomas. I’ve tried to check this out, but have not had any luck so far. These are just a few examples. Check it out and see what you can find in newspapers, it may surprise you.
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