Old Newspaper Genealogy Research

My favorite History records.  Every genealogist and family researcher has their own favorite sources for information. An often overlooked window into the past is the vast collection of old newspapers on microfilm. The libraries of Wicomico, Worcester and Somerset counties here on the Eastern Shore of Maryland have microfilm newspaper records back to the 1830's. I've found countless old bones in the pages of microfilmed newspapers and they've filled in many blanks on the lives and times of our relatives 100+ years ago.

Of all the sources of research material I've ever gone through, nothing can compare with old newspapers. If you want to get a good feel for the lives and times of the families you're investigating, please consider reading some old newspapers. Most public libraries have microfilm readers and an inventory of old local newspapers on hand. If they don't, often such is available via interlibrary loan.

How Do You Start? Anyone who has used microfilm newspaper records generally begins their search with known dates (births, deaths, marriages etc...) Often the specific event may not be listed but related issues often provide important clues. For example there may not be an obituary for a specific individual but you may find a social item that says, "Such and such visited such and such because of the death of his maternal uncle." This is a very important piece of information and it occurs frequently in the old newspapers.