Sunday, March 6, 2016

The 21 Day Genealogy Challenge - Day 10: Newspapers and Our Ancestors

"The Press, Watson, is a most valuable institution, if you only know how to use it."
-- Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure of the Six Napoleons

Welcome to day ten of the 21 Day Genealogy Challenge!  Today’s topic is researching your ancestors in historic newspapers.  We tend to think of newspapers in terms of ancestry to mean announcements of birth, marriage and death.  There is far more information available than that!

As a society, we worry that we put too much of our personal information out on Social Media.  We long for the simpler times when people ‘just talked to each other.’  Believe it or not, times really haven’t changed too much.  Like us, our ancestors were pretty social.  It is amazing how much information people shared with one another in their local newspapers.  Like modern day Facebook “check ins,” our ancestors reported when and where they were visiting, and what they were doing.

People reported their vacations...

22 July 1919 New Castle, PA.
 as well as their parties.

8 August 1933, Statesville Record and Landmark
Articles such as these provide a plethora of information that may be useful in our research.  Names and places are given which may help break through a genealogical brick wall you are struggling with.  Not to mention, you get a glimpse into the every day life of your ancestor.  How cool is that?

Check out the newspapers from your ancestor’s local area.  By visiting their hometown library, you can access papers that have not been digitized.  You can also check out  the newspaper section on or sites dedicated to newspapers such as or  Note that these site are membership sites that cost a fee.  Within these sites, however,  you simply enter your ancestor’s name, location and timeframe.  Your local Family History library may have a free subscription to these sites, but call and ask them before visiting.

Not to be over looked is Google.  Enter in the name of the town you are interested in and search for the local newspaper name for the era you are researching.  You may be able to access some of those papers for free -- if they have been digitized.  Consider searching Google for your ancestor's hometown to see if there is an historical internet site where papers may have been digitized or transcribed.

Congratulations! You have completed day ten of the 21 Day Genealogy Challenge!  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to post them in the Blog Comment section below.  Invite your friends to join this challenge by sharing this blog with them on Google+, Twitter and Facebook.  The share icons are just below this blog entry.

Thank you for joining this challenge and remember…..

History not shared is History forgotten!