Thursday, June 12, 2008

Ancestry's Newspaper Archives

The Genealogue mentions that Ancestry has doubled the size of its Newspaper Archives. (and access to the newspapers is free until June 19th)

I checked it out and found this article in The Galveston Daily News, November 29, 1914

Is M.E. Vanevery, Melvin Elijah Van Every, my great grandfather? Berclair, Texas is only about 100 miles south of San Marcos, and 160 miles south of Caldwell, where I know Melvin and his family had farms between 1900-1920. Beekeeper (aka Apiarist) was his primary profession. I don't know how long it lasted, but I think he had a creamery as well. (The business didn't last more than five years, as I know the family was in El Paso by 1920, which is 650 miles from Berclair. All distances computed by Google Maps)

Several of the images I tried to access in the database are broken; I suspect this is only temporary. I had particular lack of success viewing any of the ones from the El Paso Herald-Post, for the Benold surname. There are several, including what I expect is my Aunt Minnie's obituary, and I'm curious to see if it matches the one I retrieved through RAOGK a month or so ago.

My search on my own surname in Missouri didn't turn up much - though I did find an article in a Jefferson City, MO newspaper about (I think) a first-cousin of my father's who was active in McCarthy's presidential campaign in 1968. When I searched in Illinois, though, I did find several articles on a first cousin of my grandfather, who lived in Chester, Illinois. Including an obituary for his wife's mother, and an engagement announcement for his daughter. (I also found some articles on a Ben Newmark who was involved in the Al Capone trial. I have no idea if I'm related to him.)

Since newspaper archives aren't indexed, per se, but the searches are based on OCR (Optical Character Recognition) I usually have difficulty searching on my surname alone, because I get a lot of articles about athletes setting a "new mark." About half the hits are surnames, and the other half sports articles. It is impossible for me to search on the surname Denyer, because anything of interest is buried in stories about Denver, CO. There's not much that can be done about either of these because if the software requires an exact match, with the low-quality of some of the scans of fading newspapers, lots of articles will be missed.


Katrina said...

Hi, I have recently started my own search for family history and in searching for my great great grandfather (Ben "Benny" Newmark) I came across your blog and articles. I would be very interested to know if you are in fact related to him, and in turn me, or if you have found any other interesting information about him and the family in your searches. My surname is Furton. Newmark was my grandmother's maiden name and her bloodline.

John said...

Katrina - If we are related, the connections likely pre-dates my oldest known ancestor. I believe most of the Newmarks in the US (and perhaps England, too) originate in the Newmarch region of Germany, which later became part of Poland.

The only Ben Newmark whom I have read about was associated with Al Capone.

I recommend posting a query to the Ancestry Surname Message Board