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“I have been a subscriber since February 2008. I have been able to locate news articles about my ancestors in a matter of minutes.” – Keith Parrish
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Newspaper articles document events like a birth, engagement, marriage or death, and are useful for confirming or finding information. For example, you may not know the exact date of an ancestor’s death, but finding a newspaper obituary or probate notice might provide the clue you need to successfully find that original “official” death certificate.
Newspaper articles use the details to tell a story. Every little detail helps give a deeper picture of your ancestor’s life. Newspaper articles also provide genealogically relevant gems like relationships and names, occupations, and addresses.
Consider this newspaper article a subscriber recently uncovered about her ancestors 1910 New Jersey wedding. Aside from reporting on the wedding, we find the bride’s grandmother’s married name (Mrs. Wade H. Brown) and that she is giving the bride away. The article mentions that the bride is a member of the First Presbyterian Church, and that the groom works for Bell Telephone Company. The bride and groom’s residence at 62 South Hermitage Avenue is also mentioned.
What a goldmine! We now know the name of the bride’s grandmother (and grandfather), the bride’s religion and the groom’s employer, and where the newly married couple will live.
Recently, a customer faced a problem when the probate of her grandfather seemed to not exist at the county courthouse. She searched the legal notices section of the local newspaper and was able to easily find the probate notice. She showed it to the courthouse clerk who then found the missing file. Without that newspaper proof she would never had been able to obtain the document she needed.
Don’t forget that your ancestor was part of a community. Their children went to school, they attended a church, and were active members of organizations. Those types of activities generate newspaper articles. Even relative unknowns show up for reasons such as being at a party, legal action, winning a prize, dying accidentally. Search around events your ancestors may have been a part of or that might have affected them, things like a natural disaster or military service during a time of war. These types of events help to fill out the story of their life.
GenealogyBank helps you find your ancestors’ stories and uncover personal life information that can only be found in newspapers.