News­pa­pers are a great re­source for the fam­ily re­searcher

The Covington News - - Obituaries -

How can I find my rel­a­tives in news­pa­pers? Why are news­pa­pers so im­por­tant in learn­ing about my an­ces­tors? Have you ever seen a His­tor­i­cal news­pa­per?

If your fam­ily re­search is at a stand­still or you are hit­ting a brick wall, try search­ing for your fam­ily mem­ber in a lo­cal news­pa­per.

The first con­ti­nously pub­lished news­pa­per in what is now Amer­ica has been around since 1704 when the Bos­ton News­let­ter was be­gun. You can find news­pa­pers in ev­ery city, town, ham­let and around the world. They re­port births, deaths, so­cial events, clas­si­fieds, crimes and more. They tell you how your rel­a­tives lived and worked. If your an­ces­tor owned a busi­ness, maybe he or she would ad­ver­tise just as we do to­day.

Other in­for­ma­tion re­ported in a his­tor­i­cal news­pa­per can be ship de­par­tures, run­away slaves and re­wards, le­gal no­tices, auc­tions, meet­ings, law­suits, sher­iff’s sales, ac­ci­dents, fires and so forth.

The New­ton County Li­brary on Floyd Street has sev­eral news­pa­pers on mi­cro­film. You can find them in the Her­itage Room. There is a vol­un­teer on duty most days to help you lo­cate what you are look­ing for. There are lim­ited in­dexes to the mi­cro­film.

Know­ing a spe­cific pe­riod and, par­tic­u­lary, a spe­cific year will help you browse through the Cov­ing­ton News more ef­fi­ciently. For ex­am­ple, the li­brary has the Ge­or­gia En­ter­prise from 1868-1909, while it has The Cov­ing­ton News is­sues from 1909-2009. There are no in­dexes for these two news­pa­pers.

There are At­lanta Jour­nal pa­pers from 1985 - 2004, and, yes, there are in­dexes for this pa­per.

An­other ex­am­ple is the Au­gusta Chron­i­cle and Ge­or­gia Advertiser, which you can find is­sues of be­tween 1786 and 1834. The in­dexes are lo­cated on the shelves in the her­itage room. If you visit out of town li­braries, al­ways check to see if they have his­tor­i­cal news­pa­pers avail­able.

There are also free and paid in­ter­net sites which of­fer his­tor­i­cal news­pa­pers. There are dif­fer­ent eth­nic news­pa­pers that re­port to a spe­cific eth­nic group. These types of news­pa­pers are in­valu­able to you as a fam­ily re­searcher. Re­mem­ber, there are mil­lions of news­pa­per pages dig­i­tized and avail­able on­line.

Ge­neal­o­gy­bank.com is one of the lead­ing paid sub­scrip­tion site that gives you ac­cess to more than 6,000 news­pa­pers. You won’t be­lieve the in­for­ma­tion you can gather about your an­ces­tors through his­tor­i­cal news­pa­pers.

An­ces­try.com also has a va­ri­ety of news­pa­pers to search. Re­mem­ber, you can gain ac­cess to An­ces­try.com free at your lo­cal li­brary.

ProQuest, also avail­able for free at your lo­cal li­brary, has a va­ri­ety of news­pa­per such as At­lanta Jour­nal, 1990 - cur­rent, L.A. Times. 1985 - cur­rent, N.Y. Times. 1980 - cur­rent, and many more.

At chron­i­clingamer­ica. loc.gov, you can search and view news­pa­per pages from 1880 to 1922, as well as a cat­a­logue of Amer­i­can news­pa­pers pub­lished be­tween 1690 and the present.

At fam­il­y­search.org, a free search site, you can search by key­word for your par­tic­u­lar county and state in the Fam­ily Search cat­a­log. Mi­cro­film can be or­dered on­line or from any Fam­ily His­tory Cen­ter. We have a lo­cal Fam­ily His­tory Cen­ter in Cony­ers at 1275 Flat Shoals Road. Al­ways check with the cen­ter for days and hours of op­er­a­tion by call­ing (770) 922-7426.

Lisa Louise Cooke has a book out ti­tled “How to Find your Fam­ily His­tory in News­pa­pers,” which goes in depth and guides you ev­ery step of the way. You can find this book at her web­site, lisa­louisec­ooke.com.

Be­fore you be­gin your search through the vast amount of his­tor­i­cal news­pa­pers, you might want to sit down and record some per­ti­nent in­for­ma­tion, in­clud­ing:

1. Who you are look­ing for?

2. The time­frame, lo­ca­tion and rel­a­tives’ names in­volved.

3. Al­ways make good notes as to your find­ings

4. Doc­u­ment your sourc- es

5. What your next steps will be.

Ellen Blakeslee is a pro­fes­sional Ge­neal­o­gist liv­ing in Cov­ing­ton. You can email her at ge­neal­ogy.love­ofthe­hunt@gmail.com with any ques­tions or con­cerns.

ELLEN BLAKESLEE

COLUM­NIST

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