Search Tips: Getting the Newspaper's Name and Place of Publication Right

Did you realize that newspapers sometimes changed their names and even the towns they were published in? Everyone might refer to the local paper as The Herald, The Morning Republican or The Weekly Standard—but was that what the newspaper was called when your great-grandfather's obituary was published? And was it always published in your home town?

Here we have the masthead of The Daily Rebel, a Chattanooga, Tennessee, newspaper. The title (The Daily Rebel) is as clear as the place where it was published (Chattanooga, Tennessee). This issue was published on 22 January 1863, volume 1, number 144.

But, what do we make of this issue of The Daily Rebel?

We can plainly see by the masthead that two years later this newspaper was called The Daily Chattanooga Rebel. It kept up with the volume and number schedule used by The Daily Rebel: this issue from 1865 was volume 3, number 82. Notice, too, that it was then being published 230 miles to the south in Selma, Alabama, no doubt a war-time necessity caused by the Union takeover of Tennessee during the Civil War.

Credit: Google Maps

Clearly we cannot assume that the newspaper was always published in Chattanooga, its original place of publication, or that it was always called The Daily Rebel, its original title.

Genealogy Tip: When you cite your sources you want to get it right. Be sure to double check the name of the newspaper and place of publication for the specific issue that included your ancestor's obituary notice. Open up the first page of the issue and accurately cite the newspaper's name and place of publication.