Not all our ancestors remained in Northern or Southern regions of the United States, or along the Pacific coast. Many people ventured out to the wide-open ranchland and mountainous locations of this nation. The state of Wyoming is an excellent example of an area with open high plains, foothills of the Rocky Mountains as well as full mountainous regions. It is the 10th largest state in land size with some of America’s greatest natural landscapes.
During the 19th century it has attracted settlers to its lands. It was referred to as the Wyoming Territory of the United States beginning in 1868, but had been part of larger territories earlier. With the Louisiana Purchase to the Nebraska Territory and then the Dakota Territory during the early 1800s it eventually becomes the organized incorporate Wyoming Territory. Statehood was granted in July 1890.
Once the Union Pacific Railroad came in the southeastern section and the town of Cheyenne the influx of new residents was tremendous. These new settlers were also way ahead in their social beliefs, granting suffrage rights to women in 1869. From 1880 to 1930 the population went from about 21,000 to 226,000 people with many being recent immigrants from Germany, Ireland and England.
For anyone searching the area of Wyoming there is a great online site titled the Wyoming Newspaper Project. Again, what better source of people, events and places than local print newspapers?
It is an easy and free site which covers different newspapers all across Wyoming from 1849 to 1922. There eventually will be over 900,000 pages in digital viewable format. By mid-2011 there were 795,000 pages online with the site. The best part is that it is all searchable. It is not just any news events, but also obituaries which make this source invaluable.
Using the simple search box on the left side of the homepage, type in a surname to begin. Up will appear a list of each article, the newspaper name and the date of the article. The page with that search name or term appears in PDF format (portable digital file). Click on the article to have it load. The page can be enlarged with the button in the lower right corner. The main disadvantage is that one page would have to be scanned by the reader for the key word they were searching. It does not highlight the searched word. Also give the downloading process some time to load since it is a full page.
You just never know what type of interesting tales you could uncover about an ancestor. There was the article dated April 5, 1879 in the Laramie Sentinel of a Thomas Veatch, a railroad fireman who fell from the front of the train engine, then was run over by the engine and his body cut in two. The article stated he lived long enough to dictate his Will and remained conscious for an hour before dying.
There are social news events, advertisements of businesses, notice of individuals with guests or those suffering from illnesses. Plus it is just not things taking place in Wyoming, there are news articles of happenings in the neighboring states or across the nation. Overall, a good collection of newspapers to examine.