Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Greatest Genealogical Source: Newspapers?

Using newspapers as a genealogical resource is not a new topic, but access is changing...daily.  This month's Family Tree Magazine provides an up-to-date list of websites where newspapers can be found.  Here are a couple of examples in my own family tree where newspapers have been helpful and fun.  First, in my maternal great-grandmother's family, there were eight children who survived to adulthood, but one child died in when he was 25.  I have seen his gravestone in Sedalia, but no one in the family seemed to know how he died.  I found the facts in a brief newspaper clipping on the Library of Congress website Chronicling America.  From the October 22, 1899 evening edition of the Sedalia Bazoo:

Albrecht Raiffeisen died this morning at 9:50 o'clock at the M. K. & T. Hospital, of Typhoid fever. He was sick 33 days. The deceased was a well-known young man, nearly 25 years of age and for some time had been employed on the M. K. & T. work train. His three brothers, four sisters and father and mother survive him.

What a treasure trove of information in only three sentences!  On a lighter note, located on, from the August 26, 1890 edition of the Sedalia Democrat

Charlie Raiffeisen won second prize in the "largest and best" watermelon contest at the Missouri State Fair.  

Newspapers are an excellent source for finding interesting details about our ancestors daily lives. Most online resources are adding new pages constantly.  It can be a challenge to keep up, but you never know what gems you may find.  Happy hunting!

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