Newspaper Details



It was so common in medium size and especially small towns with a newspaper to print all types of details about businesses, events, churches, social items, recording of land deeds, and just ordinary citizens. Newspapers did not do just the wedding news and obituaries, but rather everyday life.

An excellent source is to spend time and look for the details about an ancestor. A good source is Chronicling America with the US Library of Congress. Here in digital and searchable form are newspapers from big to small towns across the United States. The dates covered are 1789 to 1924.

There is a full selection of states and then the newspapers from those states. Unless you know the name of a newspaper for a family hometown, start with the state name. Some newspaper names might not be a clue to the town or county name. The dates will vary of which years were scanned even if the newspaper was printed additional years.

There are over 10 million pages of newspapers from some 1,900 different newspapers in the Chronicling America collection. More continue to be added.

Having the search box is very easy to use. The blue box, select the state name, the time periods and to the right place a keyword. Start with a hometown name, then try a family surname (especially if it is unusual).

Go to the tab above for ‘Advance Search‘ where the individual newspapers are listed. You can click on one, then place the year range and in the box in the lower right place the keywords or phrase for the search. It helps to also use quote markers on the phrase.

Launch the search and then there will be thumbnail images of the newspaper page and a red highlight of the keyword or phrase you searched. The newspaper name and date are listed for each image. Click on one of interest to enlarge it. You can really zoom in for a clear image. Take the time to read it completely, it just could contain information on a relative you had not discovered yet. You can save a digital copy of it also, including the newspaper date and name.

It is amazing what you can learn by doing these searches and the Chronicling America site if Free. Try using various forms of a relative’s name including their initials which was very popular. Married ladies always used their husband’s full name with the title ‘Mrs.’

Depending on the years, photos might in featured also. Image finding the date and exact location of an ancestor’s office or a full graduation photo of your great grandparent on the front page of a local newspaper … awesome. Plus never overlook newspapers even from neighboring counties or bordering states, they too carried news of events, people who lived nearby.

Photos: Dr. D. G. Everhart -with a new dentist office in Lineboro, MD in 1911; and Westminster, MD high school graduation class of 1912.

Related FamilyTree.com Blogs:

Small Town News

Newspapers ONLINE

Tips for Searching Newspapers

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