25 November 2008

Another Clipping--this one with a date

This obituary was split over different parts of the newspaper as well. Fortunately this time the item of interest was located near the date of the paper, so that information was preserved.
This is actually something I have never taken the time to translate and I actually should. It is a letter written from F. J. Goldenstein (of Golden, Illinois) to the Ostfriesische Nachrichten in 1913. The newspaper was dated 20 March 1913 and in it Goldenstein writes of the death of his father-in-law Bernard Dirks, who died in Coatsburg, Adams County, Illinois, on 2 March 1913.
Goldenstein was to die himself in Golden, Adams County, Illinois, on 29 March 1913, just over a week after this letter was published. This had to be difficult on his wife Anna Goldenstein who lost her father and husband in the same month.
There are other clues in the letter as well. Goldenstein mentions Fritz Gerdes and Heinrich Dirks coming to the funeral of Bernard Dirks.
Foche and Anna Goldenstein are my great-great-grandparents.

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The Drawbacks of Writing on the Back

Years ago, when I made many copies of items from the Ostfriesische Nachrichten, I wrote on pencil the date of the paper. Unfortunately when I scanned these at work using our auto feed scanner I forgot this minor detail and the newspaper dates were not included in my scan. One has to be careful writing on copies of documents so that the writing cannot be confused with the actual document. In this case that would not be a problem.

Somewhere I have the original copy that I made with the date on the back. Unfortunately, until I can locate that I will have to try and estimate the date of the item.

This letter was written by Tjark Janssen, my uncle. Fortunately, he mentions Eilt Ufkes, another uncle, Poppe Fooken, another uncle, and Mrs. Jans Janssen, my great-great-grandmother. So I know right away that the article was written before her death in October of 1913. The article mentions her travelling to Colorado for her health. Jan Janssen was a brother to Tjark Janssen, who wrote the letter.

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Ethnic Newspapers-Moline, Illinois

The image in this post is "copy" and "pasted" from scans I made from microfilm copies of the Gazette van Moline. The filmed copy was not the greatest, but I did the best I could.
Readers of the blog know that I am a big fan of ethnic newspapers. This obituary makes that point really well. The obituary for Louise Mortier that appeared in the local newspapers in Rock Island and Moline, Illinois, did not provide any specifics in terms of where Mrs. Mortier was born. Her death certificate was equally helpful--simply stating that she was born in Belgium.
This obituary was split over two parts of the paper. Unfortunately the "good" part was very difficult to read, but it can be deciphered. Mrs. Mortier was born in Oost Winkel, East Flanders, Belgium, on 20 April 1855. Of course, an obituary can contain an error, but I was glad to obtain this location as no other source in the United States mentioned the village specifically.
A quick google search for "gazette van moline" found several references to the paper, including one showing some libraries that have the newspaper. I wrote wrote about this obituary for Ancestry.com's blog a few years ago.

That article contains more information on ethnic newspapers and how to find them. They are an excellent genealogical source. Hopefully when I'm in Salt Lake City this coming May, I'll have time to research the records in Oost Winkel for Louise. Other records indicated her maiden name was Van Hoorebeke.
My wife is a descendant of Louise Mortier.

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07 November 2008

Estate Squabbles

One of the most genealogically relevant court case is one where heirs are fighting over an estate. It is important to search court records for this type of actions, even when a probate file or will has already been located.

I have had a copy of Ulfert Behrens will for years, but never thought to look for court action regarding his estate outside of the probate court. A search of the Quincy, Illinois, newspapers on the library's website brought up this reference. We are looking for more details of this case, some of which were published in an earlier newspaper article.

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06 November 2008

Age no Bar to Education

The Quincy Daily Journal of 1915 makes reference to John H. Ufkes, "a good old German farmer" learning English at the age of 60.
This clipping is one of several I have found using the Quincy, Illinois, newspapers that are online for free at the Quincy Public Library's website. I am still making discoveries using the scanned images of these newspapers.
If great-great-grandfather can learn English at the age of 60, I probably can learn how to use the remote that comes with the digital cable (grin).

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05 November 2008

Bernard is Benjamin

This is part of a newspaper article that appeared in one of the Quincy, Illinois, newspapers after my great-great-great-grandparents celebrated their 50th anniversary in Coatsburg, Adams County, Illinois in 1856.

Interestingly enough, the article did not mention any of the children by name, but did name the men who provided the musical entertainment.

Had I not had it, the announcement provided the couple's date and place of marriage in Quincy, Adams County, Illinois.

I will have to search again for this ancestor in the newspapers. His actual name was Bernard, which usually got shortened to Ben. I had not searched for Benjamin when doing name searches of these newspapers at the Quincy Illinois Public Library website.


The Quincy Whig;
Date: Jan 3, 1907;
Section: None;
Page: 3


04 November 2008

Typographical Errors When Searching OCR Databases

It almost hurts my finger to spell my last name the way it is on this headline from 1912: Niell.

But it makes a point about searching on sites that perform OCR searches and do not allow for soundex based searches. The headline here comes from The Quincy Daily Journal on 20 March 1912. The obituary spells the last name as "Niell" consistently throughout the obituary. A soundex search would have caught this spelling error, but the site does not support soundex based searches. However the site does support a number of other options, some of which are shown in an additional image on this post.

These papers from Quincy, Illinois, are digitized and available at no charge through the website of the Quincy Public Library at http://archive.quincylibrary.org/.

How did I find it? I didn't search for "Niell" (although now I will). My search was actually conducted for "Rampley" another of my surnames. One of Samuel's daughters married a Rampley and that name appeared in the obituary. This makes the point that it is always an excellent idea to search for collateral names. Three of Samuel's children married Rampleys, including his son Charles (Charlie).

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03 November 2008

Are the Newspapers Online for Free?

It is worth remembering that there are digital copies of older newspapers online at sites that may be free and not require membership. Lately I have been using two such sites:

Northern New York Historical Newspapers

These newspapers are for several northern New York Counties and I have had some success searching there for my wife's French-Canadian ancestors who came to Clinton County, New York, in the 1850s. I have found several references to a great-great-grandfather who moved to Chicago for a short time, including a death notice for him.

Quincy, Illinois, Newspapers

There are several Quincy, Illinois, newspapers on this site. I have located several previously unknown tidbits, including a child born in the early 1870s whose father was not who we thought it was and a sibling of a great-grandparent who apparently had an alcohol problem.

Both sites are free to use and both have full text searches. The Library of Congress has a small smattering of newspapers online for free on their site as well.

Ancestry.com and Genealogy Bank have some nice newspaper collections on their site for members, but there may be some newspapers online at no charge. Keep in mind that free sites, while you should look for them, are more the exception than the rule. There may be a site for your areas of interest as well.


23 June 2008

Suggestions for Ancestry.com's Newspaper Collection

I love the newspapers on the Ancestry.com site. There are some improvements I would like to see in the site that I think would make it more userfriendly for genealogists and other searchers:
  • the ability to "mark" hits that have already been viewed. I don't always have time to get through all the hits on a search before I have to do something else. It would be nice to "mark" those that have already been looked at.
  • the ability to make "notes" about a hit. I would settle for marking a hit as something I had already looked at, but adding a quick little note--even just 100 characters--that I could view later would be really nice.
  • the ability to search all papers in one town (or one state) at once, without having to search the entire set of newspapers. Ancestry.com has several Davenport, Iowa, newspapers on their site. UPDATE: This can be done--you just have to be in the right place.

Just my 2 cents.

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19 June 2008

Pictures in the Paper?

A continued search of the newspaper on the Ancestry.com site located a picture of a relative of my wife. George K. Freund appears in the 20 July 1924 issue of the Davenport Democrat and Leader extolling his belief in the paper and the fact that he has been a long time subscriber and a long time democrat.

Of course newspaper pictures are not as good as having actual photographs--the quality is not as high. However, if family does not have pictures, something is better than nothing.

George K. Freund is a first cousin of George A. Freund, my wife's 2nd great-grandfather. Both men were Scott County, Iowa, natives born in the 1850s.

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Henry Mortier Robbed in 1922

Sometimes one finds things one was not expecting. Ancestry.com recently released more newspapers on its site and one of the items added were some newspapers from Davenport, Iowa. One of the interesting things I found was a reference to my wife's great-grandfather, Henry Mortier (1885-1966).

The Davenport Democrat and Leader of March 17, 1922 explains. While his trolley was empty, Henry Mortier was robbed by a man in his early twenties. I knew Henry operated a streetcar, but this newspaper item was the first I had ever heard of him being robbed at gunpoint.

Mr. Mortier originally drove a trolley in the Illinois Quad Cities after moving his family from the farm in the 1910s. By the time he registered for the World War II draft, he was driving a bus and his employer was listed as the Iowa Ilinois Gas and Electric Company.

We'll post more about experiences searching the newspapers at Ancestry.com in an upcoming blog entry.

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18 March 2008

Newspapers at Footnote.com

Footnote.com has added more newspapers from Chicago during the 1870-1877 era. The Chicago Tribune is the paper currently being added.

Users of Footnote.com have been viewing the images and some have noted pages of marriages show in the newspaper, such as this one from 1880. The nice thing is that the newspapers have OCR search, so a full-text search is possible. Keep in mind that Footnote.com is still adding newspapers and that their collection is incomplete.

Of course, if one finds a marriage referenced in a newspaper, the actual civil and religious record (if applicable) should be searched. If the civil record indicates the officiant was a justice of the peace, then looking for a record of a religious ceremony is ill-advised.

I've been searching the Chicago Tribune for some of my wife's Frame family, but so far no luck. Part of the problem is that the last name "Frame" is more difficult to search for since many references are to frames, being framed, etc. But if anyone finds references in the paper to a Thomas or Elizabeth Frame, please forward them off to me.

Newspapers are a wonderful source and the more they are converted to digital format, the easier they will be to search.

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09 March 2007

Clipping Clues

"The bride, a pretty blonde, looked beautiful in her wedding costume of blue crepe with silver accessories." The 1936 description of my grandmother gives me an image I did not already have.

The Mendon [Illinois] Dispatch of 2 January 1936 contains a brief mention of my grandparents' 17 December 1935 wedding. Other than Grandma's attire, the clipping did not contain any new clues or leads. This week we will see how the information fits with other known facts...(continue reading the article posted on our site)

Just about any newspaper clipping can contain hidden clues---you just have to look. Of course this short notice has four spelling errors in it (Trautvetter twice, Keithsburg, and the wrong their). But one must remember, the editor did not have spellcheck in 1936.

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20 February 2007

Probate mentioned in the Papers

A search of the online Quincy, Illinois, newspapers located this mention of my ancestor's estate in The Quincy Daily Whig of 14 Aug 1889. I already had seen the will, but there are a few things about this worth noting:
  • in an earlier era, many newspapers published summaries of probate information--may be helpful if the courthouse can't find the record, burned, etc.
  • more and more newspapers are being put online and can be searched via OCR. If I had not already had the probate information this would have been a neat way to locate it.
  • if I did not have the probate information, I would want to contact the courthouse in order to locate it. This is only a summary of the information, the probate packet contains an inventory of the estate.
  • Newspapers sometimes get things wrong--granddaughter Ricka Iders is actually Ricka Ideus.

I descend from three of the people mentioned: Ulfert Behrens, Trientje Satorius, and Ricka (Reka) Sartorius. Reka Satorius Janssen is my great-great-grandmother.

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