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Why You Should Go Over Ancestral Newspapers. 9 Items to look for:

1938 articleNewspapers from an ancestors hometown are such a wealth of information. You might first think just locating obituaries in the newspaper, but really there is so much more you might find. Even checking neighboring communities’ newspapers can carry news and advertisements of families, events and businesses in a certain hometown. With so many newspapers covering decades and the use of a search box, it can be very easy to search vast number of papers ad years. Some of the most ‘forgotten’ occurrences in a family more than likely would have been written about in the local newspaper of the day.

So here are a few things to look for in those hometown papers. For sure there will be birth and marriage announcements. Also in some cases even if a newborn died at birth, there can a brief article about it, rather than an obituary.

Look for these 9 topics in newspapers while doing your family tree research:

All communities had fairs, carnivals, local entertainment, shows and people loved to see their name in the paper. You might be quite surprised to learn your great uncle sang in a legion hall variety show.

someone went missing in a town, there would be articles printed about the occurrence and asking for the public’s assistance in finding the missing person. There would be information of family members and descriptions of the missing person.

Church activities always have write-ups in the local papers again including those church members active in numerous projects.

Personal notices about visitors to a family household or special trips that an individual or family had taken. These notices will also have an illness, sickness or operation a person might have. This can be very informative.

Letters to the editor date back for many years and your ancestor might have just been one to express their opinion in the local newspaper.

Anniversary parties and celebrations will be a big item in a local paper. Many times there will be some history relating to the couple along with a photo.

If an ancestor was ever in a political race for any office (local, county, state or national) there will be many articles about the candidates. There will about their platform along with their business and family background. Such political articles can be a wealth of great information.

High school or college graduations will have the names of the students and those receiving special honors might have a bio about that individual.

The sale of businesses or property will have an article in the paper. You might come across information about land or a shop you didn’t know a relative had at one time.

So these are just a few of the items where your ancestor and information about them could appear. It can be quite enlightening research and fun.

Photo: April 15, 1938 Frederick News Post on my mother, Nannie Everhart, running for the Maryland state legislature.

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