Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

I love old newspapers. I love the weathered look of them and most of all the smell of the old ink. I have said before, it is better than new car smell. Newspapers are a treasure trove of genealogical information too. We can gain so much information about our ancestors by consulting a local newspaper.

Newspapers are a great resource for:

  • Birth announcements: these give names of the parents as well as maiden name of mother. They often will include other family members as well such as grandparents
  • Engagement/Marriage announcements: these give names of each partner as well as parents for each person. In the older newspapers, details about the bride’s dress, her bridal party and names of the groomsmen are also written about
  • Social Notices: these are fantastic sources of detailed information. It can be about a child’s birthday party, a card party, who is visiting from out of town…the possibilities are endless and the read is often quite informative
  • Death announcements/Obituaries/Funeral notices: don’t overlook the detail provided in these. Not only are family members listed, but pay attention to the name of the funeral home. If it still exists, chances are you can contact them and get details about the burial, the plot/lair which includes who paid for it and who else might be buried alongside your ancestor (spouse, children, parents)
  • Financial notices (bankruptcies, estate notices, creditor notices): although these often signal a sad time for your ancestors, they can provide important information regarding the lives of your ancestors
  • Police/Court/Criminal or Justice notices: another treasure trove not only for genealogical information but also for family history information. These notices are the spice of life when it comes to putting the story of your ancestors together.
  • Reports of Accidents or other injury: again, while not a pleasant find, the information can be invaluable in understanding the events leading up to the accident or death and often generally include information regarding witnesses, family members, addresses and other salient details

You can find old newspapers on microfilm at local libraries, state or national libraries. Many are now digitized and available online. Here are some websites to check out:

GenealogyBank: http://www.genealogybank.com/static/exp/hp/v2/a.php

Newspaper Archive: http://newspaperarchive.com/

British Newspaper Archive: http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/

Happy reading!