We all know that the best place to find the details of the passing of a relative, friend, or acquaintance is in the newspaper’s obituary section. Those listing provide us with the time of the passing and the funeral arrangements to attend. We also in our local newspaper find, Birth announcements, Marriage announcements, Wedding Anniversaries, Birthday celebrations, etc.
Newspapers provide us with an immense amount of family information, names of other family members and their relationship to the source person, date of the event, and a timeline of the source person; there is so much information to be extracted.
The type of information derived from newspapers can sometimes give us more insight into a person’s life than we can find in documents; they complement each other. I enjoy this type of research; it’s so exciting to find your ancestor’s name in a newspaper article, even if you find they were arrested or received a traffic ticket, etc., yikes! I could spend hours. I love the search
What does Newspapers.com have to offer
We are going to explore the world of finding our ancestors through Newspaper publications. We will not only find an obituary, birth, or birth announcements, but much more, so let’s explore. There is an excellent website called Newspapers owned and operated by Ancestry and has 491,808,582 pages and counting; wow, that is impressive. They are the largest online newspaper archive with 11,800 plus newspapers from 1700-2000, millions of additional pages added every month. The publications collected thus far include all United States and beyond. (See the map below)
Newspapers. Com has a 7-day free trial, plus there two membership plans. I feel the procedures are reasonable considering the number of available publications. If you have an Ancestry membership, there is a good discount available with an additional publisher subscription. Newspapers Basics comes with an Ancestry Full Membership.
Here is a Video introduction to Newspapers.com. Enjoy!
Let’s get Ink smudge on our fingers
Now, it is time to flip through some newspapers and get our hands dirty. We will be thumbing through papers that are 50-100 years old; not only will we find family members, we will also see some history. In actuality, we won’t be getting our hands dirty, sorry, no newspaper ink smudges, or the smell of old newsprint, that would have been so cool. We are going to discover newspapers in genealogy research on the internet through the website Newspapers.com by Ancestry.
I will show you the search I did for a great-grandfather my Mother’s grandfather using Newspapers.com
Following is what I know about him:
Sterlia Fugate: My Mother had told me his name was Sterling, but later I realized after searching for him that with my mother’s eastern US accent, it was probably Sterlin because I was running into a few names with that spelling. But as my search continued, I kept finding Sterlia (which could explain my mother’s accent as well), Sterlie (thought to be a nickname). After finding documents with his handwriting, I have been using Sterlia to find a valid birth record or certificate of the correct spelling.
- Born: 13 Feb 1892 Morgan County, Kentucky
- Marriage: 15 Feb 1911 Morgan County, Kentucky
- Death: 13 Oct 1974 Morgan County, Kentucky
- Buried: McKinney Cemetery, Woodsbend, Morgan, Kentucky
As you can see the first search was Sterlia Fugate, Kentucky, 1892-1974.
I was excited to have found two newspaper clippings
The first clipping shows Sterlia Fugate’s name appearing in the Licking Valley Courier August 16, 1917 issue, on page 4 is found The Army Call. “The following is a complete list of the second 200 names, post office addresses, and draft numbers, respectively, according to their standing on the board as they drew at Washington, D.C.”. Towards the bottom of this list of 200 names, his postal address location Bonny is in Morgan County; I was excited; if correct, this would provide me with the place where he lived and possibly raised his family.
Wow, that was fun! Let’s find another
The second clipping also from the Licking Valley Courier dated July 05, 1917, the name Jas. Fugate appears in an article “Lightning Strikes House,” this interests me because each event is in the same town, plus Sterlia’s Fathers name is James. (could Jas be short for James?) Requires more research; it is a keeper for now.
Oh, look there is another clue
I was watching a little further, changed the search a little, and found something else interesting. In the Dayton Daily News on Jan. 6, 1948, an article about an accident at the A.E.C. facility in Miamisburg, Ohio, Sterlia Fugate was one of the worker’s facilities that were injured. Could this be my great-grandfather? The age is correct; in Feb., he would be turning 56 and would have been 55 at the time of the accident. We also have an address in Miamisburg.
So, what have newspapers provided us in our search
After this search and its results, we have new information to add about Sterlia. Let’s list it below:
- He lived in Bonny, Kentucky, in 1917.
- He was 25 years old.
- With his name on the Army call List, he might have served in the Military.
- We already knew he married in 1911, so he was raising this family in Bonny.
- Sterlia’s father, James, could have been living in the same town; if that is the case, he might have been born in Bonny, Kentucky.
- He was living in Miamisburg, Ohio, in 1948 at the age of 55.
My next step in the research will be to verify this information; it has given me a follow-up path. I will look at census records in Ohio to see if the family lived there or if Sterlia was in Ohio for work. I will also check military records.
Searching Newspapers in genealogy research has been an excellent experience. It feels like I am solving a mystery buried for many years, and I need to uncover the truth. It certainly does bring out that side of me; I love reading mysteries and try to solve them before the book ends, I’m not always successful, but sometimes I am close. And this has a similar feel to it, although I am related to this individual in this mystery novel, and I diffidently need to solve this independently. So, exciting. I will continue to use this excellent tool to enhance my research.
Thank you so much for taking the time. Please do not hesitate to leave a comment; it will be much appreciated.
I hope your experience with Newspapers.com will be just as enjoyable as mine was.