Although the most important piece of information you should know in starting your newspaper search is where your ancestor resided, the search engine becomes especially helpful. Being able to research online databases allows us to discover long-lost relatives who were living in unexpected places and involved in stories we never imagined. Small town dailies are often the only place where the lives of so many are so closely detailed. In the years before international and national news filled big city papers, even they had room to tell about the local heroes, creditor’s claims to estates, stories of local businesses, voter lists, visitors, a duel, a stolen watch, a broken leg or other surprising stories. There simply isn’t a better place to see what was going on in the lives of individuals and families in your family tree and in your ancestor’s community.
Newspapers can be used to find valuable genealogical information about historical events in the lives of our ancestors.
They supply all sorts of clues such as notices about births, deaths, and marriages, as well as obituaries, local news, biographical sketches, legal notices, migration practices, and other historical facts that place our ancestors in the context of the society in which they lived.