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Using Newspaper Records to Track Your Family History

By Charles Hopkins Published 01/19/2007 | Genealogy

One of the most popular ways to track your family history is through the use of newspapers. If you are just starting out researching your family history, you might want to pick up a book or two to get you going. There is much to learn about when it comes to researching family history.

Once you have begun to research your family, you might want to consider looking at old newspaper records. Some of these might be hard to find, however, larger newspapers and those in many towns have probably been transferred to microfiches and will be available for you to search with. If you think that you know of a newspaper that might help you, consult a librarian who will be able to tell you whether or not there are copies of the old newspapers. Then, you should be able to find out ways to access this information.

When you are looking through old newspapers, important places to look would be sections dealing with community news. Birth, death, and wedding announcements are great places to find out more information about your familys history. For instance, if you know of the month and year of a death of a family member, but not the day, you can search through that months papers and see if you can find a death notice in the paper.

With the digital age, more and more newspapers have been archived on line. There are several projects that deal with organizing and categorizing information that has been found in old newspapers. You might want to visit some of these online databases and plug in the names of your relatives, to see if anything has been written down about them.

When you are looking through old newspapers, it is important that you look closely. If your ancestors lived in a small town, and they were members of the community, a years worth of newspapers might have a lot to say about them. Look through the old gossip sections, news sections, and other things to see if your ancestors are mentioned. When a newspaper has been archived online, you can do a simple search for your loved ones names. However, if you are dealing with microfiches, this might be harder for you to do.

No matter how much information you get from old newspapers, it is going to be very beneficial to you and to your genealogy study. There are many sections in the newspapers, and if you dont find any information that is directly about your ancestors, you will still find a lot of information about the community, how they lived their lives, and the time in which they were living. All of this information helps to make studying your family history that much more clear. And all of the information that you get will be helpful to you as you continue your family history study, and you continue to gather information about your ancestors.