Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Monday, February 11, 2013

Go to the newspapers for help

Underused is an overused term in genealogical circles. But it is appropriate to say that newspapers are underused. Let me give an example of the type of detailed information available on local newspapers. I am using the Utah Digital Newspaper Project with links to most of the newspapers in Utah with coverage starting about 1850. Here is the example:

No event was too trivial for the newspapers. See Southern Utonian 1883-09-21 Local News. Fortunately, the newspapers covered births, deaths and other events along with the trivia. Here is Sidney Tanner's obituary:

This was in the Ogden Standard Examiner 1895-12-07 Death of an Old Pioneer. Note that this obituary appears in a newspaper printed many hundreds of miles away from Sidney Tanner"s residence in Beaver, Utah. As a matter of fact, there were several obituaries about Sidney Tanner, some of them much longer and much more detailed in newspapers around Utah. 

If I look in the Library of Congress' US Newspaper Directory, you can see that there are 593 newspapers that have been published in Utah since the arrival of the pioneers in 1847. Of those, 16 newspapers were published in Beaver County, Utah where the Tanners lived. 

When I bring up this subject, the researchers usually say something such as, "Do you really expect me to search through all the newspapers?" Yes, as a matter of fact I do unless they are already digitized and searchable online. Newspapers are the go-to source for stories and events in the lives of your ancestors. 

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