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Discoveries: Hurricanes Have Been in the News for a Very Long Time

The recent news in New England has been dominated by the awful destruction caused by Hurricane Irene, which tore through the area on August 28. Although the hurricane had been downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it hit here, it still packed enough punch to damage buildings, tear down trees and power lines, wash away roads and bridges, cause widespread power outages, and provoke massive flooding. Anyone who experienced it will never forget its fierce winds and driving rain, or its frightening impact.

As you search through a historical newspapers archive such as GenealogyBank offers, looking for names, dates and statistics to fill in your family tree, you will want to keep your eye out for news articles. Family history research is more than just names and numbers—you also want to learn about your ancestors as real people, by reading stories about their lives and what they experienced. If a hurricane hit the area where they were living, those news articles will give you an idea of what they went through.

For example, for a little historical perspective on this most recent Hurricane Irene, here is a news article about another Hurricane Irene. This article was printed by the Dallas Morning News (Texas), 19 September 1971, page A-28:



Traditionally, hurricane season is between June 1st and November 30th, but sometimes they arrive out of season, as in the following news article about a hurricane that hit in January 1713. It was printed by the Boston News-Letter (Massachusetts), 18-25 January 1713, page 2:



After seeing the destruction done recently to New England by Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene, one can't help but shudder when reading that this 1713 hurricane caused "a great deal of damage"—and you wonder how did they recover without modern equipment or emergency services? Also, this article reminds us that hurricanes have been in the news for a very long time!