Newspapers in Genealogy Research

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 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)

Map of Newspapers

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 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 by Ancestry.

I will show you the search I did for a great-grandfather my Mother’s grandfather using

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.

Newspapers Search

I was excited to have found two newspaper clippings

Newspapers search results

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.

Licking Valley in Newspapers
Newspapers Army call
Army call list

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.

Jas Fugate House Lightning strike

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.

Miamisburg Cave-in
Miamisburg Sterlia Fugate Accident

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.

In Conclusion

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 will be just as enjoyable as mine was.

Kindest Regards


12 thoughts on “Newspapers in Genealogy Research”

  1. Hello Rose,

    I found your post so interesting. You shared your experiences of Newspapers in Genealogy Research. That is amazing. I have a little knowledge of researching newspapers. You are absolutely right that searching Newspapers in genealogy research has been an excellent experience. My bosom friend do this all time. Have you wrote about this topic previous time? If yes, please share with me. I will be happy to read it!

    Thankd a lot dear.  🙂

    • Thank you for finding this topic interesting, and I love sharing my passion for genealogy research. I see you have experience in search newspapers; they are fun, aren’t they? I have mentioned using them in other articles, but, this is the only article specifically about Newspapers in genealogy research. 

      Here is an article that mentions newspapers and other places to look when starting your research Get Started with Genealogy – Where to begin?.  Thank you for your interest in learning more.

      If I can assist in any way, please let me know! 

      Kindest Regards


  2. That was quite an interesting article! I was not aware of such a service even existed. Even if one didn’t have a specific interest to explore, this would be as close as you could get to time traveling and you could peruse the time and events leading up to historical events. That’s entertainment!  

    I could instantly think of a dozen searches I would love to do with this right off the bat. Any history buff would find this tool invaluable. Imagine who a school teacher could use this in class to help keep students engaged. 

    Thank you for getting the word about this. I’m off to do a bit of exploring.  


    • Hello KC, I am glad you found this article interesting and that I was able to give you an introduction to searching for newspapers. 

      And you are right about there use not only in genealogy research but historical as well. I find while doing my research; I get a little lost in reading not only news article but advertisements and find them quite entertaining. 

      Have fun with your time-traveling adventure!

      Kindest Regard


  3. Genealogy is a fascinating subject isn’t it.

    My mother and cousin have both done our family history and found some interesting relatives.

    Finding such information is time consuming and can be expensive too. 

    Having this resource will help immensely in searching newspaper archives. I will share this with my cousin, he will be excited to use it and I’m sure we will find more family history



    • Hello Louise, You are correct genealogy is fascinating, and looking through old newspapers is an adventure that I love. It is beautiful that you have family members so involved in finding your ancestors. It’s so rewarding to find out new things you didn’t know about them. You are right in that it is time-consuming but does not have to be expensive if you know where to begin. I appreciate you wanting to share with your cousin. 

      If there any way can be of assistance, please let me know.

      Kindest Regards


  4. Really interesting Rose, I never actually read anything like this. I guess I will frequent your website for more reading on related topics. Sounds like you have a life of a detective who loves unraveling mysteries. So much better that while doing what you love you can actually learn more about your history! It’s so fascinating and easier because you are doing it online!


    • I am glad you enjoyed the article. Yes, it is like unraveling mysteries, and I love every minute I can spend solving every mystery. When you do return and ready to find more about your family here’s an excellent place to start Get Started with Genealogy – Where to begin?.

      If I can be of assistance in any way, please let me know.

      Kindest Regards


  5. Hi Rose

    This article was very interesting and an enjoyable read. I new about Ancestry, but I didn’t know about Newspapers. I like the fact that you can go back and possibly find your family members in the paper.

    I knew my grand mother, but I never knew my grandfather and I have always been curious about him. What kind of man was he? There are so many possibilities with this and it’s exciting to think of what you may find out through your research.  Well done!

    All the best 


    • I am so glad you enjoyed the article and that you discovered the importance of newspapers in finding your ancestors. Now you have the opportunity to search for them in newspapers and find out more about them. It is pretty exciting when that happens.

      Let me know if I can be of assistance in any way.

      Kindest Regards


  6. Ohhhhhh the stories of our past.  A few years back, a great aunt passed away and I came into possession of some very old photographs of my great -grandparents and even great great grandparents.  I didn’t even know their names but i posted them on facebook and discovered even more relatives.  I wonder what my ancestors will say when they find my social media posts!

    • I bet you were excited to see those old photographs. Then to find other relatives online, it doesn’t take much anymore to find lots about our families that we didn’t know before I bet your descendants will be excited to see what you have posted on social media. I hadn’t thought about the effects of social media, let’s say 100yrs from now, could be interesting. 

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