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Advertisements & Ancestors

ADS-boyUsing vintage newspapers is great for locating an obituary on an ancestors, a good deal can be learned. However, generally the information from an obit was supplied by someone else – spouse, relative or friend. An another idea is to research in those family hometown or county vintage newspapers are advertisements.

These were put in by the individual themselves and could provide a wealth of information. It doesn’t mean only those individuals who owned a business would place an advertisement. There can be notices of property for sale, items for rent, sale of household items, etc. All which might give you insight about the life and times of that ancestor.

Another type of notice to look for would be any legal court actions, executor of Wills, orphan courts or foreclosures that are printed in the newspaper. Could be additional surprises there.

Any of the hometown newspaper archives or online big newspaper sites such as ‘Newspaper Archives‘, ‘Chronicling America-National Archives‘ or ‘‘ are great to start looking and researching the family surname. Have all the family members’ given names handy so if one is spotted you know you have the right family.

The following is a small sampling of my great great grandfather, Joseph Groff and his family in Frederick, Maryland from 1880s to 1903. A wide variety of business and advertisements were available with a good deal of information on the Groff family that could be proved with these advertisements from the actual time periods.

ADS-June 1897

AD-June 1897

AD-Oct 1892


AD-Dec. 1903

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