List of Genealogical Information in Newspapers

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Using Newspapers in Family History

This article is part of a series.
Overview of Newspapers in Family History
List of Genealogical Information in Newspapers
Vital Statistics in Newspapers
Local News
Biographical Sketches in Newspapers
Legal Notices in Newspapers
Public Announcements and Advertisements
Immigration Information in Newspapers
Slave Information in Newspapers
Reunion Information in Newspapers
How to Find Newspapers
Searching Newspapers
Religious Newspapers
Ethnic and Foreign-Language Newspapers
List of Useful Newspaper Resources

This article originally appeared in "Newspapers" by Loretto Dennis Szucs, FUGA, and James L. Hansen, FASG in The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy

  • Abandonment and missing persons announcements
  • Advertisements'individuals and commercial entities advertised goods and services
  • Anniversary notices'marked significant milestones in the lives of individuals and historic events and places
  • Announcements'local and city government, meetings, special events, public service, many named individuals
  • Arrests'names of arrested individuals, arresting officer, and cause for the arrest
  • Award notices'for scholastic, sports, and occupational accomplishments, as well as heroic deeds
  • Auction announcements'sometimes named individuals, slaves, household items, tools, and animals being auctioned
  • Bankruptcies'legal notices named not only the principal in the case, but sometimes witnesses and relatives
  • Birth announcements'provided names of newborn and parents in certain papers and certain years
  • Birthdays'especially milestone birthdays
  • Biographical sketches'unexpected information about individuals in the community served by the newspaper
  • Business announcements'openings and closings of businesses, hiring, anniversary stories, tributes to founders
  • Casualties'listed in fires, accidents, wars, etc.
  • Celebrations'holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, how they were celebrated by named individuals
  • Cemetery information'stories about cemeteries, cemetery removals, obituaries that lead to additional cemetery information
  • Census'stories about census taking and statistical reports
  • Charitable causes'announcements of events and fundraisers for various organizations and individuals
  • City council reports'large and small city council proceedings often name individuals
  • Civil War'battles, and lists of deaths, deserters, draftees, injured, and volunteers (see figures 12-1 and 12-2)
  • Clubs'lists of people and calendars of events
  • Committee reports'from social groups and governments
  • Coroner reports'covered accidents, murders, unidentified bodies, and deaths where no physician was present
  • Court'notices of cases filed, trials, etc.
  • Crimes'stories about victims and perpetrators
  • Cultural'overview of what was going on in certain times and places
  • Death notices'provided by families, local government, or funeral directors (see figure 12-2)
  • Deeds'announcements real estate transactions
  • Divorce'sometimes in list form, sometimes in court proceedings, sometimes a gossip item
  • Draft notices'especially during the Civil War, sometimes including names of substitutes
  • Engagement announcements'biographical information found in some small town and large city papers
  • Engravings'engravings of individuals, buildings, landscapes, advertised wares, etc. used before photography
  • Entertainment'fiction articles, cartoons, reviews of books, theatre, and movies, etc.
  • Epidemics'stories about epidemics and lists of individuals who lost their lives
  • Estate'sales and settlements
  • Ethnic'news of ethnic groups and leaders
  • Events'from notices about small social groups (sewing circles, card players) to major public events
  • Eyewitness accounts'stories of personal and historical events in the words of people who saw what was happening
  • Firemen'stories about local heroes, rosters of firemen, promotion announcements, photos of individuals and groups
  • Fires'notices of fires involving homes, businesses, or whole communities
  • Floods'consequences of floods, sometimes named victims, and eyewitness accounts
  • Foreclosures'legal notices of foreclosures on real estate, homes, businesses
  • Foreign language news'often provided ethnic origins of local individuals
  • Funeral details'sometimes available when a death announcement or obituary is not
  • Fraternal organizations'events and social notes
  • Gossip'small-town newspapers often filled pages with the comings and goings and non-essential news items
  • Graduation'lists of graduates, sometimes includes biographical information and photographs
  • Heroes'often providing biographical sketches and accounts of heroic actions
  • Historical events'flashbacks to events that took place in the history of the community
  • Illness'small town papers typically reported on serious illnesses of citizens
  • Immigration and migration'notices of arrivals and departures
  • Indentured servants'notices of legal transactions and runaways
  • International news'and the effects it had on the community
  • Land sales'descriptions of the land and names of grantors and grantees
  • Legal notices'covering a number of case types, sometimes named more than the principals in a case
  • Letters to the Editor'provided insights into the personalities of individuals
  • Marriage announcements'sometimes a list of marriages in a given county for a specific time period, sometimes detailed stories (see figure 2-2)
  • Missing people'notices posted about missing individuals, including physical descriptions and names and addresses of those searching
  • Military'casualty lists, stories and lists of local servicemen and women
  • Moved'notices of individuals moving into or out of a town
  • Music programs'events named participants in church, school, and organizational programs
  • Naturalizations'lists of recently naturalized American citizens
  • Neighborhood news'specific information pertaining to a local area, often provided details about residents
  • Obituaries'sometimes contained biographical information available nowhere else
  • Other newspapers'notices, particularly in obituaries, for other city newspapers to please copy
  • Parties'often including guest lists, games played, and food served
  • Patents'granted for inventions
  • Personals'often included rich details about just about anything about individuals
  • Picnics'stories concerning the when, where, and who was involved in a picnic
  • Photographs'a wide range of possibilities for finding photos of famous and non-famous, buildings, special interest
  • Plays'local talent named in theatrical performances
  • Policemen'stories about local heroes, rosters of policemen, promotion announcements, photos of individuals and groups
  • Politicians'stories and records of achievements and wrongdoings
  • Prices'the cost of goods and services in a time and place
  • Probate notices'often listed the principals and others involved in a hearing
  • Public announcements and advertisements
  • Religious events'announcements of special religious events that were landmarks in the lives of individuals or institutions
  • Reunions'class, family, and organizational reunions with names and out-of-town addresses of attendees
  • Robberies'reported by local authorities or individuals themselves
  • Real estate'sales of homes and business properties
  • Religious'news of religious institutions, announcements of new pastors and clergy, new buildings, anniversaries, etc.
  • Runaway announcements'notices (with names and physical descriptions) of apprentices or slaves who have run away
  • School boards and school news'minutes, lists of members, events
  • Shipping'notices and schedules of ships arriving in local ports, sometimes noting names of important passengers
  • Slaves'notices about sales and runaways, sometimes the story of a slave
  • Social pages'announce upcoming marriages, parties, fundraisers, social events of all types
  • Statistics'population, demographics, etc.
  • Tax'tax rolls and lists of delinquents
  • Technological advances'stories about first trains, streetlights in towns and cities, radio, air flights, etc,
  • Testimonials'recognizing and honoring individuals for various deeds
  • Tornadoes'consequences of tornadoes, sometimes including victims' names and eyewitness accounts
  • Transcripts'notable speeches and trials
  • Visitors'stories of out-of-town guests and former residents, especially in small town papers
  • Wedding stories'sometimes include family history of bride and groom, names of attendants, how they dressed, lists of guests
  • Youth organizations'announcements about Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and other youth activities and awards


Coming soon...

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