« Last post by Vglass on January 24, 2016, 04:08:30 PM »
TOPIC: NEWSPAPERS AND FAMILY HISTORY SAT 16 JAN 2016
Members contributed a host of examples where they have found information about their families in newspapers. Now these are available online the task has been made much easier than trawling manually through piles of newspapers. Some examples of the types of information which can be brought up are:
Birth, Marriage and Death announcements, Obituaries, sports events, horticultural shows, court cases (witness, victim and criminal), trades and occupations, accidents, inquests, bankruptcy, examinations passed general news stories.
We heard examples of many of the above during our discussion. There was the sad story of someone who drowned in the River Tyne from a rowing boat. Even sadder was the story reported in The Berwick Advertiser of Norman Bowles Holmes who had a distinguished service record in WW1. He disappeared mysteriously only for his body to be found in a quarry and misidentified as Harry Beal, stamp dealer. Norman appeared to have changed his name – but why?
Letters to the Editor can make fascinating reading as does the one from Mr Pendleton to the Alnwick Mercury. A tenant of the Duke of Northumberland, four of his children had died as infants in a house judged to be insanitary. The father penned a heart-rending and ferociously indignant response to the report condemning and blaming him for the state of the house. He spoke of “mendacious” officials.
Welsh newspapers now have their own free website and proved it was possible to trace an ancestor’s career and interests through the newspaper. The fact that the person in question had himself become a newspaper-owner may have had some bearing on the matter!
The advantages of additional information on Scottish registration certificates proved invaluable in tracing the life story of a relative. The Yorkshire Post reported a marriage and birth of child in St Petersburg. It always helps if an unusual name is involved!
A facsimile of a 1791 newspaper included an advert for a wooden washing machine with wringer, proved a surprise to most of us who had not realised such things were available so long ago.
Further stories included a newspaper report of a lecture at Carlisle by Frederick Douglas, anti-slavery campaigner, which was chaired by a member’s ancestor and a Trade Magazine viewed recently in the British Library, which featured his ancestor, described as “an authority upon curtain materials and all kinds of furnishing fabrics.”
Some practical tips were offered including advice to always search the whole page of a newspaper “hit”, not just the highlighted item and to search under the initial letter of the full title of the newspaper egg for Berwick Journal search under “I” for “Illustrated Berwick Journal”.
By the end of the meeting we were all convinced that we stood a good chance of discovering an ancestor hiding within the pages of The Times or Daily Mirror!
Our next meeting on Sat 20 February will welcome Margaret Fox to speak on “Facing Jeddart Justice – a look at cross-border crime” who will tell us about Northumbrians who committed crimes in neighbouring Roxburghshire and stood trial in Jedburgh. Will your ancestor be mentioned? We meet at 10 am at Bell View, Belford. Everyone welcome.