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January 2012 Newsletter

GenealogyBank Adds 16 Million Records in January!

We constantly add more newspapers and obituaries to our online archive. Currently, GenealogyBank features over 5,850 newspapers from all 50 states, with more than 209 million obituaries and death records. Here are some details about our most recent additions (we actually added new content to thousands of titles, but the following is a representative sample): a total of 65 titles from 22 states. We've shown the date ranges so that you can determine if the new content is relevant to your personal research.

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Double-Obituary Tragedy Catches Genealogist's Eye

I made an unexpected discovery recently while doing some family history research: a double obituary that caught my eye, about a husband and wife. Just a short, simple notice, 4 1/2 lines long—and yet what a sad story it tells. Sally Swain, 27-year-old wife of Perkins Swain, died on 17 June 1834 in Gilmanton, New Hampshire. Her husband, age 37, "was in [his] usual health at the funeral of his deceased wife." Then he abruptly died seven days later—of a broken heart?

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You Can Search GenealogyBank by Topic

Did you realize that you can search GenealogyBank using any topic or search terms? It is not necessary to always enter an ancestor's name for every search you do. Our site makes it easy to research a specific historical event, place or battle. Let's say you know, from an old family letter, that your ancestor fought during the Civil War's Battle of Vicksburg, and you want to read all you can about the battle to learn something of your ancestor's actions and better understand what he must have experienced. GenealogyBank lets you do that.

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Dead Wife Saves Drowning Husband!

Sometimes when searching through historical newspaper archives you find a truly bizarre story that makes you scratch your head and marvel how truth really is stranger than fiction. The following is a good example. It's a remarkable story about a dutiful husband, Mr. Walters, who was bringing his wife's body home on a steamboat so that she could "be buried among her relations and friends." And then a terrible accident struck the boat, killing almost everyone on board. The husband, too, would have died—except for the eerie fact that his dead wife managed to save him!

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Ask the Genealogist

Q: I am looking for my 2nd great-grandfather, Edward Whalen. He was born 1853 in Northampton, MA. His parents were Edward and Julia (Salois?) Whalen from Ireland. In 1878 he married Catherine (Katie) Smith in Chicopee, MA. According to the federal census, in 1880 he and Catherine were living in Huntington, MA. They had three children between 1880-1887: Mary Agatha, Edward, and Julia. That is the last he is heard of. In the 1900 census Catherine is a widow.

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