The Power of the Press



news--1884There is nothing more interesting than finding a newspaper article about an ancestor. They didn’t have to be a celebrity, a hero or well-known even in their hometown. Small and middle-sized town newspapers were always writing of everyday happenings relating to citizens or even strangers in a town. This happened in larger towns / cities also. Taking the time to scan and look over vintage newspaper articles can reap quite a bit of information.

An excellent free resource of newspapers is the Chronicling America online site (done by the Library of Congress) of scanned newspapers. Using the advance search you can narrow down the state or county / city; the time period (available dates are 1836 to 1922); along with a person’s name. You will have to try several did various spellings and use of initials which was quite common practice. Try using just the surname (unless it is a very common name); this way you might come up with a family branch or individual you did not know about.

news--picAlso, look over newspapers not just from a family hometown, but any papers in that state or even neighboring states. Articles were written and shared in numerous newspapers. In the search when you call up an article the name or keyword you used will be highlighted making it very easy to find it. You can enlarge an article by clicking on it to make it easier to read. Do give it a few moments to focus in for you.

Use the scissors icon on the right to outline a specific article so it can be cropped and you can save it to your computer. Each will provide the full name of the newspaper and the date of publication.

Some of items I found in a newspaper article on a family branch, the Groffs in Pennsylvania and Maryland included that a gr. gr. grand uncle, Levi W. Groff was an outstanding farmer using many newer techniques to produce high yield crops in the 1870s. From the article I have more details on his farm, its location and that his middle initial was ‘W’.

Besides any written information, you just might hit the jackpot if there is an illustration, etching or photograph of your ancestor or of their business.

news-wedding 1887It will take time to go over the many news articles and again check several locations. Save any you find, rather than trying to find them again. Label with the newspaper’s name and full date of the article.  Check out the free Chronicling America online site.

Photos: 1884 news about a couple different family ancestors and their occupation; a portrait illustration in 1886; and 1887 wedding report on a couple in Manchester, MD.

Related FamilyTree.com genealogy blogs:

Small Town News

Newspapers Online

Tips for Searching Newspapers

< Return To Blog



Related Articles

» Introducing Biological Age Feature For 2
» 100+ Million New Images Now Available In
» Indianapolis First Cemetery Raises Conce
» Do You Know About The Earliest Inhabitan
» California Reparations Bills One Step Cl
» Inherited Genetic Factors May Predict Th
» What is Juneteenth? The History Behind t
» MyHeritage Adds 123 Million Historical R
» Fragments of Freedom In The Fine Print
» Genetic Studies Have A Diversity Problem
» Washington Cemetery Has Been Lost To Tim
» People With Two Copies Of A Risk Gene Ha
» MyHeritage Releases New York City Birth,
» Indiana State Archives Initiative
» California Reparations Bills Clear First
» The Civilian Conservation Corps & De
» Can Genetic Genealogy Restore Family Nar
» What A Genetic Match Really Means
» Need 10,000 Daily Steps To Prevent Obesi
» More Than 200 Veterans' Graves Restored
» Tracing British Roots With DNA and Recor
» 23andMe's Historical Matches
» MyHeritage Adds 707 Million Historical R
» 23andMe Launches New Genetic Reports On
» California Assembly Passes Reparations R
» New Free Historical Records On FamilySea
» 5 Reasons Why We Need To Talk About Gene
» MyHeritage Adds 168 Million Historical R
» Studying Colorectal Cancer Within The Bl
» Celebrating National Arab American Herit
» Volunteers Reclaim Historic Cemetery In
» Black California Lawmakers Introducing P
» The Story Behind Women's History Month
» FamilySearch: Host And Sponsor of RootsT
» MyHeritage Updated Their Theory Of Famil
» The Genetics Of Loneliness And Its Impac
» The Mysteries Of Leap Day
» Samhain Is Celebrated Starting October 3
» Scientists May Have Found A New Trigger
» MyHeritage Adds 43 Million Historical Re
» Edwardsville's MCHS Archive Library Beco
» More Californians Want Reparations For S
» Better Polygenic Risk Prediction
» Five Tips For Finding Your LGBTQIA+ Ance
» The First Point-Of-Care Test For Lactose
» Boys Who Smoke In Early Teens Could Pass
» Welsh Last Names: Meanings and Popularit
» New Resources For FamilySearch Center Vo
» MyHeritage Adds 89 Million Historical Re
» 23andMe Improves BRCA Report For Communi
» Discover Your Hispanic Roots
» Korean Last Names, Naming Traditions, An
» How To Rescue A Family Bible
» Tracing Mexican Roots With DNA Records
» Explore Millions of Records From The Bri
» Family Of Henrietta Lacks Settles With B
» Surprising Facts About The History Of Ba
» Historical DNA Reveals Connection Betwee
» Find The U.S. Immigration Ports Your Anc
» Understanding Ashkenazi Jewish Ancestry
» Tricare Will Cover 5 New Genetic Diagnos
» California Reparations Task Force Conclu
» 23andMe Adds More Detail To Central Amer
» Celebrating Chinese Canadian Immigration
» Explore The Free Chinese Exclusion Era C
» The Look Of Your Eyebrow Is In Your Gene
» Parallel Reparations Efforts In Californ
» MyHeritage Introduces Reimagine Photo Ap
» 23andMe Adds More Detail For Indigenous
» FamilySearch Wrote About Canadian Immigr
» Ancestry To Apply AI-Driven Handwriting
» Succession to the British Throne Under K
» Thomasville Chapter DAR Features Technol
» Underwater Hospital And Cemetery Found A
» Reparations Task Force Recommends "Down
» New Enhancements To cM Explainer
» 23andMe Adds More Details For Indigenous
» 1931 Census Of Canada Releases June 1, 2
» Ancestry Survey Reveals Americans Know L
» New York's Hart Island Is Becoming A Par
» MyHeritage Has New Look for Historical R
» 23andMe Discusses COVID-19 Three Years L
» California's Reparations Task Force Will
» 23andMe Knows You're Special
» FamilySearch's Top 30 Country Record Col
» Ancestry Shares Corporate Responsibility
» A Property Flipper Bought A Black Cemete
» California's Reparations Task Force Coul
» Ancestry Launches Storymaker Studio
» Parkinson's Disease And The Microbiome