Over the years, local news found in hometown newspapers has run the gambit, from the very serious to news that isn’t necessarily hard-core journalism.
Some of the articles you might find relevant to your genealogy includes:
- Family News – Newspapers of the 1800s feature more family news in them than what we find today, with the exception of smaller city newspapers. These articles provide insight into the character and sometimes even interactions between family members.
- Voter Lists and Tax Lists – Voting and taxation happened more frequently than census enumerations and they can help you determine when your ancestors arrived or moved out of an area. In the case of tax lists, they may help you determine if your ancestor owned land.
- Jury Lists – Jury lists are not always posted for every trial or group of trials in a given community. In some counties, the jury for the given term was published in the newspaper. The town from which the jurors came from might also be listed.
- Social News and Events – One thing that appears to be common in most newspapers is the comings and goings of the residents of the town. Learning who is gone to visit family or who is returning from vacation adds to your ancestral timeline.
- Fraternal Organization News and Events – Our ancestors often joined fraternal organizations. They may have joined one because of their religious beliefs or as a result of their occupation. If you know that your ancestor was involved with the temperance movement in Pennsylvania, then it is possible that he was a member of either the International Order of Good Templars or the Sons of Temperance, which were both temperance societies.
With our “US: Newspaper Records” course, you will learn more about including newspapers in your research.