Since the founding of America, millions of people hoping for a brighter future left their home countries and immigrated to the United States. The number of immigrants increased dramatically after the Civil War with nearly 12 million arriving between 1870-1900. More than 70% of all immigrants entered through New York City. Castle Garden opened in 1855 as the primary immigration processing center and operated as such until Ellis Island’s opening in 1892 (though from 1890-1892, the center was moved to the U.S. Barge Office). We’ve scoured our newspaper archives to find the stories behind some of those immigrants’ arrivals.
Reunion with Loved Ones: In 1890, a woman from Russia arrived at Castle Garden to reunite with her sweetheart who arrived two years earlier and sent money for her passage. The journey took more than a month and her funds ran out. Thanks to the kindness of strangers, she finally made her way to Minnesota. Read her story here. In another instance, a Prussian man prepared for the arrival of his wife and five children in 1897. He rented a home in Maryland and purchased some furniture, but sadly suffered a fatal fall just hours after they reunited. This final clipping tells the story of Michael O’Brien, an Irish immigrant, who left his family to seek his fortune in America. He sent letters and money until one day when communication suddenly ceased. His worried wife and four children sailed for America, arriving at Castle Garden in 1878. The determined woman searched for O’Brien, only to learn that he had remarried and had another child. He undoubtedly had some explaining to do.
Do you have ancestors that arrived at Castle Garden? Use historic newspapers to learn about their experiences. Search Newspapers.com today!
A summer night spent at the
drive-in brings nostalgic feelings for millions of Americans who grew up
listening to the tinny sound coming from the speaker hooked to the car window
at their local drive-in theater. On June 6, 1933, the world’s
first drive-in theater opened in Camden,
New Jersey. This revolutionary
concept transformed automobiles into “private theatre boxes” allowing
guests to “smoke, chat, or even partake of refreshments.”
Pleased with the results, Hollingshead sought financial backing from his cousin and opened the first drive-in theater. Patrons paid $1 per car or 25 cents per person. Speakers were mounted atop the 60-foot screen but didn’t provide very good sound. It would take years to improve the sound problem at the drive-in. Hollingsworth’s theater design included concentric, curved rows titled at a five-degree angle to ensure that everyone had a good view of the screen.
Today, there are somewhere around
330 drive-in theaters remaining in the U.S. During recent months, some of those
theaters have experienced an
unexpected revival, offering families an evening out during social distancing.
Do you remember attending the drive-in when you were young? To learn more about
the history of drive-in theaters, search Newspapers.com
If you have ancestors from Texas or an interest in the Old
West, we are pleased to announce that we’ve once again partnered with
McClatchy, the second-largest local news company in the U.S., to add the Fort
Worth Star-Telegram to our archives. Included in this collection are
other historic Fort Worth papers including the Fort
Worth Record-Telegram 1912-1931; the Fort
Worth Record and Register 1897-1912; and the Daily
Fort Worth Standard 1876-1877. The
Fort Worth Star-Telegram was founded in 1909 when the Fort Worth Star
merged with the Fort Worth Telegram. This archive has chronicled the
growth of Fort Worth for nearly 150 years!
At a time when the American frontier expanded westward, settlers
moved into the Fort Worth area in the 1840s. They met with local Native
American chiefs and established
a treaty where Native Americans would remain west of a line drawn through
present-day Fort Worth. The line would mark, “Where
the West Begins” – Fort Worth’s famous slogan that is still found on the
masthead of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram today.
In 1849, construction began on a fort, one in a line of
military outposts meant to establish control over North Texas and protect
settlers from Native American attacks. The fort was named after Maj.
Gen. Williams Jenkins Worth and soon a small community of civilians sprang
up in the area.
In 1982, in a time before readers consumed information
online, the Star-Telegram pioneered another way to deliver news when
they began StarText. StarText
was a subscription
service that delivered the latest news, stock
quotes, and classified ads 24 hours a day via home computer and modem.
On May 30, 1945, the United States celebrated a Memorial Day
full of conflicting emotions. The euphoria over the recently declared Allied victory in Europe
brought hope to this war-beleaguered nation. There was also optimism that the
war in Japan was winding down, bringing an end to WWII.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Capt. Joseph T. Marnell,
serving in a medical detachment, sent a letter to his wife back home. It
was printed on Adolf Hitler’s stationery and read, “You can see by this
very personal stationery that conditions have improved some. I picked this up
in Adolf’s private apartment in Munich when we arrived recently.”
On May 8th, we celebrate the 75th
anniversary of V-E
Day, the formal acceptance of Germany’s unconditional surrender in Europe.
To honor the legacy of our WWII soldiers, we want to help you tell their story.
Historical newspapers are a great way to research your WWII veteran. Here are
some tips and tricks for researching your soldier’s story in Newspapers.com.
Begin your search by name. Just enter your soldier’s name in the search tab. You can narrow the results by refining dates, locations, or keywords. Maybe the local paper ran a story about your soldier enlisting. This can provide valuable clues about which branch of the service your soldier served in. You might even learn what regiment or company he or she belonged to. Hometown newspapers often reported when a local soldier was injured or killed, home on leave, or discharged. If multiple siblings served from one family, search all names, including the parents. Newspapers often include photographs of soldiers too. If you don’t find your soldier in a name search, don’t despair, there are some other tricks!
Search for specific battles. If you know your soldier fought in a specific battle, use that battle as your search keyword. You might not find your soldier specifically mentioned, but others provided first-hand accounts. These details can help you construct a story.
Search by battalion, division, company, name of a Navy ship, etc. Did your soldier’s company/battalion have a famous nickname? Or do you know the name of the commanding officer? These searches can also provide valuable results. Newspapers tracked the movements of our soldiers and reported daily on skirmishes and battles. You can create a timeline of your soldier’s movements by tracking those stories.
Search by date. If you have records showing your soldier was wounded or killed on a specific date, search for battles fought at that same time and place.
Search by location. Do you know, for example, that your soldier was part of the Japanese occupation force? Use that in your search term. When we searched that term and filtered the dates from 1944-1947, it returned more than 300,000 search results. Do you have a Navy veteran that served in the Solomon Islands? You could search “Asiatic-Pacific Theater”. The more details you have, the more you can narrow your search.
Personal interviews. Over the years, many of our WWII veterans have given lengthy interviews in newspapers. These first-hand narratives provide amazing insight into what our soldiers experienced. Expand your search beyond the war years, some of these soldiers didn’t share their story for decades.
Search the names of fellow soldiers. Do you have records, photographs, or journals that mention the names of soldiers that served with your ancestor? Research those soldier’s names for more detail.
Search post-war clubs and associations. Many soldiers joined clubs, fraternal organizations, and associations after returning from their service. For example, the American Legion changed its charter after WWII to allow returning soldiers to join its ranks.
Search obituaries. Often the families of deceased soldiers shared details and stories of their military service in their obituaries, even decades later. Even if you are not related to this person, their obituary may shed light on your own ancestor’s service.
Preserving the story of our WWII veterans is a great way to
honor their service! Please share your finds in the comments below. Get started
searching your WWII veteran on Newspapers.com
Sacramento is the capital city of California and we’re happy to announce that we’re adding The Sacramento Bee to our archives. The Bee is the longest-running newspaper in Sacramento’s history and the flagship paper of McClatchy, the second-largest local news company in the U.S. James McClatchy was an Irish immigrant and young journalist when the lure of the California Gold Rush brought him West. He became the second editor of TheBee, taking over just days after the paper began publication in 1857.
California was part of Mexican territory until the 1848
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo annexed California as part of the United States. In
1848, when gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill, about 45 miles outside of
Sacramento, thousands converged
in the area. Many of them passed
through Sacramento and the city experienced tremendous growth.
Occasionally we come across an old newspaper story that is
so amazing, we can’t help but wonder if it’s really true. This
story about Civil War soldier Otis H. Burton seems to fall into that
category. After a little fact-checking, however, all available records seem to
support this sweet love story. With all the heavy news lately, sit back and enjoy
this 19th-century tale with miraculous twists and a happy ending!
Otis H. Burton was born in Bangor, Maine in 1837. As a young
man, he decided to move west and seek his fortune. He ended up in Missouri
where he fell in love with an accomplished young woman named Susan Mary Payne.
Before he had a chance to profess his love to her, she moved to another state.
They soon lost touch.
About this time, the Civil War broke out and Otis enlisted
in the 25th Missouri Regiment of the Union Army. While serving
in the war, he was severely wounded and not expected to survive. He wrote a farewell
letter to his mother but against all odds, he eventually recovered. After
feeling well enough to rejoin his regiment, Otis
joined them on a mission to transport supplies across the plains. During
the journey, a band of Native Americans attacked the party, killing everyone in
the company except for Otis, who received severe wounds.
Otis was taken prisoner and led back to the tribe’s mountain
home in the Southwest. He gradually recovered from his wounds, adapted to his
new surroundings, and started to gain the trust of his captors. All the while
he was looking for an opportunity to escape.
One day, after about six months in captivity, tribe members returned
to camp with several stolen ponies. Otis observed the horses and noticed
one that was of a high breed and showed promise for speed and endurance.
Otis cared for the horse, petting and feeding the animal. Eventually, they
allowed him to ride the horse.
During one ride, Otis ventured out further than usual. Seizing
the opportunity, he took off at top speed, riding furiously with his captors in
close pursuit. Finally evading them, Otis rode
hard for three days before finally clearing hostile territory.
In the distance, Otis saw smoke rising from the chimney of a
small house. He shouted for joy, glad to finally be free. He approached the house
and made his way to the door. After knocking, the door opened and there
stood Susan Mary Payne, his love from Missouri. After the initial shock,
Susan shared her story. She had married a Confederate
officer, Joseph L. Robey, who was killed during the war. She was now living
alone. Otis shared his story and the two happily reunited. They started to
rebuild the relationship began so many years earlier in Missouri.
When the residents of Frank went to bed the night of April
28, 1903, they had no idea of the power of nature about to be unleashed in
their town. At 4:10 a.m. on the morning of April 29th, a loud
rumbling awakened them. The sound was reportedly heard by residents living
nearly 100 miles away. An avalanche of rock broke free from the mountain and
careened down, traveling over 180 miles per hour. It
reached the valley floor in just 100 seconds.
Three young girls were among the survivors, dug out alive
hours after the slide. Sadly, their parents and brothers perished in the
disaster. The three sisters were adopted by separate families and reunited
for the first time in 41 years in 1944. The bodies of most of those killed
remain buried under tons of rock in Frank, and the scar from the rockslide serves
as a visible reminder of the tragedy that occurred 117 years ago this month.
We are pleased to announce that we’ve added the Breese
Journal to our archives! Breese, Illinois, is located in Clinton County
in South Central Illinois. We have issues dating back to 1923
when Breese had a population of around 2,000. The headlines back then announced
the installation of the town’s first
stop signs and plans to build
a sewer system (although according to this
clipping outhouses were still around for another 35 years!)
The city of Breese was founded in 1855 and settled in part
immigrants who were drawn to the area’s fertile farmland. It was named
after Sidney Breese, a senator and contemporary to Abraham Lincoln. The city is
located about 40 miles from downtown St. Louis, so if you have ancestors from
Eastern Missouri you might
find them mentioned in this paper.
Have you received your invitation
to complete the 2020 Census yet? In 1790, about one year after George
Washington was inaugurated, the United States conducted
its first census. Since that time, the government has conducted a census every
ten years. These decennial census records provide a historical snapshot of
families and are key records for genealogical research. Check out some of the
headlines surrounding the census over the years and find out what made each
1790: Enumerators gathered the name of head of
of free white males 16 years and older; number of free white males under 16;
number of free white females; number of all other free persons; number of
slaves; and sometimes town
or district of residence.
of head of household; number of free white males and females broken down
into age categories; number of free white persons except Indians not taxed
(Native Americans are referred to as Indians throughout these early records);
number of slaves; town or district
and county of residence.
1840: Name of head of household; number of free white
males and females broken down into age categories; the name of a slave owner
and the number of slaves owned by that person; the number of male and female
slaves and free “colored” persons by age categories; the number of foreigners
(not naturalized); the number of deaf, dumb, and blind persons within a
household; town or district, and county of residence. For
the first time, the 1840 census asked the ages of Revolutionary War
pensioners and the number of individuals
engaged in mining, agriculture, commerce, manufacturing, trade, and the
navigation of oceans, lakes, and canals. Questions relating to education and
learned professionals were also included.
1850: For the first time in 1850, enumerators recorded
the name of every person in the household. Also included were: age; sex;
color; birthplace; occupation of males over 15; value of real estate; whether
married within the previous year; whether deaf-mute, blind, insane or
“idiotic”; whether able to read or write for individuals over age 20; and
whether the person attended school within the previous year. In addition, the
1850 and 1860 Federal Censuses included Slave
Schedules that recorded age, sex, and color, and whether the slave was a
fugitive, freed, deaf and dumb, blind, insane, or idiotic. However, the name of
the slave was often omitted.
1860: Names of every person in the household;
age; sex; color; birthplace; occupation of persons over age 15; value of real
estate; whether married in previous year; deaf, dumb, blind, insane, a pauper, or
a convict; whether able to read or speak English; whether the person attended
school within the previous year. As noted above, 1860 also included Slave
of every person in the household; age; sex; color; profession; occupation
or trade of every male and female; value of real estate; place of birth;
whether mother or father were of foreign birth; whether born or married within
the year and month; those who could not read or write; whether deaf, dumb,
blind, insane or “idiotic”.
address including name of street and house number; relation of each person to
head of household; sex; race; age; marital status; ability to read and write;
birthplace; birthplace of parents; occupation; whether blind, deaf, dumb, crippled,
maimed, idiotic, insane, bedridden, or disabled.
1890: Most of the 1890 census records were destroyed
in a fire. You can read about
it here. There are very few surviving fragments. If you’re lucky enough to
find your family, you’ll see that each family has an individual page. Enumerators
gathered information including name; surname; relationship; race; gender; age;
birthplace; birthplace of father and mother; and a Veterans
Schedule that included information about military service.
address; relationship to head of household; color or race; sex; month
and year of birth; age at last birthday; marital status; number of years
married; total number of children born of mother; the number of those children
living; places of birth of each person and parents of each person; if
individual is of foreign birth, the year of immigration and the number of years
in United States; citizenship status of foreign-born individuals over age 21;
occupation; whether person could read, write, and speak English; whether home
was owned or rented; whether the home was on a farm; whether the home was
1910: Name; name of street; house number or farm;
number of dwelling in order of visitation; number
of family in order of visitation; relationship to head of household; sex;
color or race; age; marital status; number of years married; for mothers,
number of children born and living; place of birth, place of birth of father
and mother; year of immigration; whether naturalized; whether able to speak
English, or if not, language spoken; trade or profession, industry, employer,
employee, or working on own account, whether person was out of work during
1909; whether able to read or write; farm or house, whether survivor of Union
or Confederate Army or Navy; whether blind, deaf, or dumb. There were also
separate Indian population schedules for 1910 in which the tribe and/or band
1920: Name; name of street; house
number or farm; number of dwelling in order of visitation; number of family
in order of visitation; relationship to head of household; whether home owned
or rented and mortgaged; sex, color or race; age; marital status; year of
immigration; whether naturalized or alien; near of naturalization; whether
attended school; whether able to read/write; place of birth; mother tongue;
father’s and mother’s place of birth; whether able to speak English; trade
or profession; industry or business; employer, salary or wage worker;
number of farm schedule.
1930: Name; address; home owned or rented and value;
whether home has a radio; sex; race; marital status; college attendance;
ability to read and write; birthplace,
birthplace of parents; language spoken before coming to the US; year of
immigration; naturalized or alien; ability to speak English;
occupation; military information.
1940: Name; address; home
value and rented or owned; relationship to head of household; sex; race;
age; marital status; education; place of birth; citizenship; residence
in 1935; employment status; occupation; income in 1939; birthplace of
father and mother; native language; veteran status; social security details;
occupation; industry; class of worker; marriage information; number of children.
Genealogists are eagerly awaiting the release of the 1950 census which is scheduled for April 2022. To learn more about each decennial census and to see how newspapers reported on the census over the years, search Newspapers.com today or visit our Topics Page!