Newspaper Stories, Obituaries & Announcements


When we first start doing genealogy, we may think a newspaper with an obituary or a marriage announcement would be difficult to find. This is not always true. Thousands of newspapers have been preserved on microfilm, from colonial days up to the present.

As an example, Daniela's ancestors were pioneers in Madison, Indiana. She found that there were sixty-three different newspaper titles published in Madison going back to 1820 when the town started. She was particularly interested in seeing what kinds of articles were published in her ancestor's hometown newspaper before and after the Civil War. These are some of the newspapers available to her:

Madison Weekly Tribune, 1851-1852

The Weekly Madisonian, 1851-1850s

Madison Dollar Weekly Courier, 1851-1855

Dollar Weekly Courier, 1855-1863

The Daily Evening Courier, 1855-1863

Madison Weekly Democrat, started publication in 1859 and continued to the 1870s (scattered issues only)

Madison Weekly News-Letter, 1860-61

Madison Weekly Courier, 1863-1872

Madison Weekly Progress, 1871-1873

Evening Star, 1876-1877

Dollar Weekly Star, 1878-1884

The trick is, you need to know the exact names of the newspapers to order them through Interlibrary Loan. Some newspapers have historical editions; for example, on the anniversary of the founding of the city.

If you are looking for death notices or obituaries, business announcements or ads, wedding announcements or anniversaries (especially 25th or 50th), news of an epidemic, infestation or other plagues, visitations by relatives, robberies and murders, or any news that may have affected the lives of your ancestors, do not forget to look in newspapers.

Help Me!  Find a newspaper in which there is likely to be an obituary for my ancestor.

Help Me!  Find a newspaper in which there may be articles about my ancestor.

Help Me!  Obtain a newspaper article.

Help Me!  My ancestor worked in the telegraph office. There was a robbery and he was shot. I know the date. Help me find a newspaper that would have likely run the story. 

To ask these or similar questions, click on Help Me!, fill out the form that comes up, and submit your questions.