The Family Tree Historical Newspapers Guide: How To Find Your Ancestors In Archived Newspapers

The Family Tree Historical Newspapers Guide: How To Find Your Ancestors In Archived Newspapers

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The Family Tree Historical Newspapers Guide: How To Find Your Ancestors In Archived Newspapers; by James M. Beidler; 2018; 240 pp; Soft Cover; 7x9; Perfect Bound; ISBN: 978-1-4403-5062-7

Search for your ancestors in historical newspapers with the tips and techniques in this guide. Inside, you’ll learn how to use, GenealogyBank and other online newspaper databases to discover your family history and learn about your ancestor’s life and times.

There are more historical newspaper resources than you think—and they’re easier to access than you know. When researched properly, no other type of record can beat historical newspapers in “taking the pulse” of their times and places, recording not just the names of specific individuals, but also the information that was important to the community. This comprehensive how-to guide will show you how to harvest the "social media" of centuries past to learn facts about your ancestors as well as the flavor of the times they lived in. With step-by-step examples, case studies, templates, worksheets, and screenshots, this book lays out what genealogists can find in online (and offline) historical newspapers, from city dailies to weekly community papers to foreign-language gazetteers and publications from religious, ethnic, and labor societies.

The Family Tree Historical Newspapers Guide features:

  • Tips and techniques for finding crucial genealogy records in newspapers, such as birth announcements, obituaries and even news reports
  • Step-by-step guides for using popular online newspaper databases such as GenealogyBank and
  • Case studies that will put information found in newspapers to use

You’ll love The Family Tree Historical Newspapers Guide if…

  • You want to walk in your ancestor’s shoes and learn more about his community
  • You’ve struck out with other genealogy records and need new ways of searching for ancestors
  • You’re a history buff who wants to explore newspapers, the “social media” of their time

Here are some tips you’ll find in The Family Tree Historical Newspapers Guide:

  • Remember to fact-check. While obituaries and other records related to death can help with research in many ways, they can often include incorrect information or omit data that might be considered embarrassing to the deceased or the survivors. Be sure to use obituaries in conjunction with other genealogy records to ensure the document is accurate.
  • Distinguish between “historic” and “historical.” You’ll note that we talk about “historical” (meaning “of past events”) newspapers as opposed to “historic” (meaning “famous or important in history”) newspapers. Some of them may be “historic,” but they are all “historical.”
  • Find patterns. When “browsing” images of unindexed/unsearchable newspapers, look for consistent formats, such as marriages always being found on the second page.

About The Author

James M. Beidler, a first-career newspaper copy editor, previously authored The Family Tree German Genealogy Guide and Trace Your German Roots Online, and has written “Roots & Branches,” an award-winning weekly newspaper column on genealogy for nearly twenty years. He is also a columnist for German Life Magazine, edits Der Kurier (the quarterly journal of the Mid-Atlantic Germanic Society), and has written for other periodicals, including scholarly journals such as The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine. He is also an instructor for the online Family Tree University and contributor to Family Tree Magazine.

In addition to his writing, Beidler was president of the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors from 2010 to 2012, and is the former executive director for the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania. He also served as national co-chairman for the 2008 Federation of Genealogical Societies conference in Philadelphia and sits on the selection committee for the Pennsylvania Digital Newspaper Project and Pennsylvania’s State Historic Records Advisory Board.

He is an Enrolled Agent tax preparer and was a copy editor for The Patriot-News newspaper in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, for fifteen years.

Beidler was born and raised in Berks County, Pennsylvania, where he currently resides. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Hofstra University in Long Island, New York, with a BA in political science in 1982.

Contents of the The Family Tree Historical Newspapers Guide:


Part 1: Learning the Basics

  • Chapter 1: The Historical Role of Newspapers
  • Chapter 2: Records in Newspapers
  • Chapter 3: Vital Records and Life Events in Newspapers
  • Chapter 4: Obituaries and Other Death Notices
  • Chapter 5: Understanding Newspaper Media

Part 2: Accessing Digitized Newspapers

  • Chapter 6: Free Newspaper Websites
  • Chapter 7:
  • Chapter 8: GenealogyBank
  • Chapter 9: Other Subscription Websites
  • Chapter 10: Seeking Out Other Newspapers

Part 3: Diving Deeper into Newspapers

  • Chapter 11: Ethnic-Focused Newspapers
  • Chapter 12: International Newspapers
  • Chapter 13: Preserving, Collecting, and Citing Newspapers
  • Chapter 14: Putting It All Together
  • Appendix A: Flowchart
  • Appendix B: Newspaper Resources
  • Appendix C: Creating a Newspaper Chronology