Did you know that newspaper articles about your ancestors often included addresses? Those addresses provide a puzzle piece that allows you to grow your family tree. We want to walk you through how we used an address to expand one family tree.
We came across this obituary for Tudie Boggs. She died at 118 Chestnut Street in Harrisburg, PA, in 1878.
The obituary says Tudie died at the home of J. W. Hutchison. Who was J. W.? Was he a relative? We don’t have him in our tree, so we decided to dig a little deeper. Since the notice stated that Tudie’s mother lived in Franklin County, we searched “Tudie Boggs” on Newspapers.com™ and narrowed our results to Franklin County papers in 1878, and we found this notice:
This Memoriam notice revealed a huge clue – J. W. Hutchison was Tudie’s uncle. The notice also refers to a deceased father, brother, and sister. These are additional clues about this family. Since J. W. Hutchison lived at 118 Chestnut Street, we entered the terms “Hutchison” and “118 Chestnut Street” in the Newspapers.com™ search bar, and the pieces began falling into place.
This clipping revealed that J. W. Hutchison was John W. Hutchison.
We knew this was our John because of his address. And now that we had John’s birth and death dates, we could search for additional vital records and newspaper articles about him. We found a record showing that John W. Hutchison was married to Jennie Francis Boggs (remember, Boggs was Tudie’s last name). We knew we were getting close to solving this mystery. It didn’t take long to discover that Jennie was the sister of Thaddeus Boggs, and Thaddeus Boggs was Tudie’s father! It was all coming together; none of this information was in our family tree.
In this probate notice, we learned that a few years after the death of her husband, Letters of Administration had been granted to Jennie. She was still residing at 118 Chestnut Street.
The following month, we found this notice for individual rooms for rent. Notice that Jennie’s name does not appear in this clipping, but we can piece the story together using the address. Was Jennie operating a boarding house to make ends meet?
We searched for more records and discovered a marriage record for Jennie F. B. Hutchison. She remarried Alfred M. Cleveland (another fact not in our tree). Alfred also lived in Harrisburg, and there were numerous clippings about him.
A short time later, the entire home at 118 Chestnut Street was offered for rent.
By entering all this new information, we could add more than a dozen names to the Boggs family tree – and it all began with an address! When you search for an address in the papers, you can explore your ancestor’s neighborhood, piece together a family puzzle, and learn more about your family tree. Sometimes, homes stay in families for generations, and you can track the family by searching the address. If the house is still standing, you might even be able to see it on Google Street View and explore the neighborhood visually.
If you haven’t searched for your ancestor’s address on Newspapers.com™, try it today!