Newspaper Articles Add Color and Depth to Genealogy Research

by Tonia Kendrick on November 14, 2009 in Family Stories

I have a cousin who often sends me copies of newspaper articles that she has found referencing our common line (the Hemphills).  These articles have included obituaries, marriage announcements, and my favorite -Social News – which includes stories of birthday parties, Easter egg hunts, and family reunions.  Through these articles, I’ve learned the details of Great-Uncle Robert’s fatal car crash, where my grandfather and his brother were stationed during World War II, and that great-aunts Blanche and Edna were social butterflies.  Genealogy research can often be dry, consisting only of dates and places.  The details found in newspaper articles can confirm or provide more of those basic details, but it can also add rich layers, allowing us to see into the lives our ancestors and relatives led.

I want these kinds of details on my other family lines, so I spent the morning at the library looking through old issues of The Chatsworth Times on microfilm.  My great-grandfather Kendrick died May 21, 1966, so I chose the film covering February 1966 to May 1968.  I was hoping to find his obituary and in addition to that, my plan was to page through the film looking for local color stories.  The paper for the week he died was missing from the film (of course), but I found seven articles about family members.  Seven!  I think that’s a good morning’s work.

The articles I found include:

  • an engagement announcement for my dad’s cousin.
  • a wedding announcement for my mom’s cousin.
  • an obituary for my great-grandmother’s sister.
  • a high-school graduation announcement that names my aunt.
  • an article about my dad attending Officer’s Candidate School.
  • an engagement announcement for my parents.
  • an article about my mom’s bridal shower.

These articles are full of genealogy gold and I can’t wait to start mining.

Announcing a new blog series:  Twice Told Tuesday

With these articles added to the ones I already have, I’m amassing a nice collection that I want to share.  Twice Told Tuesday will be an ongoing series featuring family-related articles republished from old books, magazines, and newspapers (adhering to my privacy policy, which means no articles referencing living individuals will be included).  Thanks to Kathy Wait Myers for sparking the idea and to Shades of the Departed for the series title.  Check back next Tuesday for the first post.

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