Choosing Important Dates from your Research

The most common newspaper research I do is for people who want an obituary for a family member.  Granted obits can be a good source of “vital record” types of information to further your research.  So death dates are probably the first important dates to gather when you set out to do some newspaper research.

After I had exhausted all the death dates of my family members, I got to thinking about other important dates in their lives and if there were any mention of those events in the local newspaper.  This is where coming from a small town with a newspaper can provide you with a wealth of  interesting information about your family and their lives in the community.

Some important dates to consider:

  • Death/funeral
  • Marriage (even bridal showers made it in the news)
  • Birth of children
  • Anniversary milestones (25/50+)
  • Birthday milestones (75 +)
  • Other newsworthy events you may know of

The smaller the home town paper, the better chance of finding articles on these types of events.  I even stumbled upon a small article about a child’s birthday that my father attended as a young boy and a list of his classmates at the party!  These articles while may not provide important genealogical information – they do help put a face behind the names/dates/places we collect.

My great-great-grand parent’s golden wedding anniversary party was reported in the Junction City Times.  “Couple Celebrate Golden Wedding”  “Family Reunion and Dinner Enjoyed”  The article proceeded to give the date & place of their marriage (previously unknown to me), names  of all the children who attended and listed the home town of family members who travelled for the gathering.  This was a great help knowing where some family members had moved and the married names of the daughters. The article also listed their gifts, “beautiful electric coffee urn, tray, cream pitcher and sugar bowl”!

Moving beyond obituaries may provide you with some great information about your family – give it a try!


About gtoftdahl

Researching in Oregon Newspapers
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