Adding “Color” to Your Reports – More on Old Newspaper Articles

As I’ve mentioned before, I love browsing through old newspaper clippings to both get hidden genealogical information as well as to add some “color” to my research reports. We all know that genealogical research can be pretty dry and boring to read. I try to add anecdotal information about the people and places that they lived in to give some life to my reports.

There are a couple of places that I use often for newspaper research. For old articles in the US I use They have some reasonable annual memberships that have proven to be worthwhile to my reasearch. For old newspapers in the UK, I’ve been using the new database at On I don’t have a subscription. Instead I purchase “Pay as You Go” credits. It is 5 credits each to view an article. Continue reading Adding “Color” to Your Reports – More on Old Newspaper Articles

A Lesson in Alternate Searching: When Ancestors Drop Off the Face of the Earth!

I’m in the process of putting together another “book” for one of my lines. When I do that, I go through and try to tie up any loose ends such as people in my database that seemed to “drop off the face of the earth”. This time the individual was one Charles Kieft b. 1829 in Braunton, Devon. I had found Charles in 1841 and 1851 UK census records. He was single and working on farms in Devon. Up until now I had found no further records for Charles.

I know that just because I’ve done one search for an individual that came up blank, doesn’t meant that another attempt won’t result in a new “find”. Sometimes it’s just a matter of new records being added to databases. Sometimes it seems as if some websites search engine will turn up different results at different times. I’ve had many situations where I did a search for an individual on and nothing turns up, then the next time, entering the same information..there they are! It has also worked in the opposite way. I’ve found someone in a record, then go back to look at it again and can’t get it to show up in a search result for anything! Continue reading A Lesson in Alternate Searching: When Ancestors Drop Off the Face of the Earth!

Old Newspapers and Black Sheep Make For Interesting Research

When doing genealogy research a lot of it is painstakingly BORING. You spend hours pouring over records and searching for some new bit of information. However, the one part of genealogy research that I find interesting is reading old newspaper stories. It’s always amazed me that in the 1880’s the papers would report the smallest minutia of daily life.. such as “so and so is visiting their relative for a week”, “so and so has a bad cold and is out of work”, “so and so went back to work today after short illness” etc. Those are examples of items that I have actually read. There is also the daily court report where you see who was fined $1 for disturbing the peace, or as in the case of one of my relatives.. who hit their wife because she wouldn’t give him money to go to the bar! Yes, that was actually in a court report. It really gets interesting when you stumble upon some juicy stories. The journalists back then definitely had a “different” style from the journalists of today. Continue reading Old Newspapers and Black Sheep Make For Interesting Research

The “Washington-Erin Guards” in New Haven

Recently I discovered info about a militia , The Washington-Erina Guards, that was founded in New Haven over ten years before the Civil War broke out. As it turns out, one of my ancestors, James Bannon (Banning) was a founding member. Other names listed as founding members, Thomas Preston (married to Margaret Bannon) was James’ brother in law and the Shields brothers, were James’ brother in law’s siblings (Randall and Michael Shields were Cormick Shields’ brothers. Cormick married Rosa Bannon.) Continue reading The “Washington-Erin Guards” in New Haven

My research, genealogy tips and anecdotes