5 Vintage Autumn Recipes You’ll Actually Want to Try

Lafayette Journal and Courier, 11.15.1921
Lafayette Journal and Courier, 11.15.1921

If you love to cook, historical newspapers are a great place to find recipes. But we’ll admit that sometimes the ingredients and flavor combinations in old recipes can be less than appealing to the modern palette. So we searched the newspapers on our site to find 5 vintage recipes you’ll actually want to try this autumn.

Beneath the original recipe, we’ve written it out in a way that’s a bit easier to follow. We’ve also used brackets to indicate our best estimates for cooking times, temperatures, and measurements when not provided by the original recipe.

Pumpkin Waffles – from 1919

Recipe: Pumpkin waffles, 1919Recipe: Pumpkin waffles, 1919 Sun, Oct 5, 1919 – Page 80 · New-York Tribune (New York, New York) · Newspapers.com


Ingredients

  • 1 scant cupful cooked and sifted [pureed] pumpkin
  • 1 tsp molasses
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1 large cupful flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 cupful milk
  • 2 Tbsp melted shortening
  • 2 egg whites, stiffly whipped

Directions

  1. Mix the molasses, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and lightly beaten egg yolks into the pumpkin.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and sugar.
  3. Gradually combine the mixtures, beating in the milk and melted shortening.
  4. Fold in the stiffly whipped egg whites last of all.
  5. Cook in hot, well-greased waffle irons.

Sponge Gingerbread – from 1905

Recipe: Sponge gingerbread, 1905Recipe: Sponge gingerbread, 1905 Sun, Nov 26, 1905 – 32 · The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts) · Newspapers.com


Ingredients

  • ½ cup sugar (light brown recommended)
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 cup milk (either sweet or sour)
  • 3 cups pastry flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2-4 tsp ginger
  • 1 scant tsp cinnamon

Directions

  1. Combine ingredients. [Likely, mix wet and dry ingredients separately, then combine.]
  2. Pour into a 2-inch-deep 9×12 pan [or a 9×13 cake pan].
  3. Bake in a moderate oven [around 350 degrees] for about 30 minutes.

Note: If you do not like a decided ginger taste, use only 2 teaspoons.

Apple Slump – from 1916

Recipe: Apple slump, 1916Recipe: Apple slump, 1916 Sat, Oct 7, 1916 – 14 · Norwich Bulletin (Norwich, Connecticut) · Newspapers.com


Ingredients

  • [8] tart apples [e.g., Granny Smith, Pink Lady, etc.]
  • Water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Nutmeg, to taste
  • Pinch of salt
  • Rich biscuit dough, already prepared and cut out into biscuits
  • Hard sauce or cream

Directions

  1. Pare and quarter enough tart apples to fill a 4-quart stewpan half full. [Likely, about 8 apples, though it will vary depending on size of the apples.]
  2. Add the apples to the pot and cover with water.
  3. Add sugar, nutmeg, and salt and let come to a boil.
  4. Lay cut-out biscuit dough over the boiling apples.
  5. Cover the pan and steam for 25 to 30 minutes, without lifting the cover. The pan must not be placed over a very hot fire, as the apples will scorch. [I.e., reduce heat to a simmer.]
  6. Serve hot with hard sauce or cream.

Sweet Potato Soup – from 1921

Recipe: Sweet potato soup, 1921Recipe: Sweet potato soup, 1921 Wed, Nov 16, 1921 – 32 · Evening Star (Washington, District of Columbia) · Newspapers.com


Ingredients

  • ½ Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1 pint [2 cups] milk
  • 1 pint [2 cups] stock [chicken or vegetable are typically used]
  • ½ tsp onion juice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • Small stick of cinnamon
  • Sweet potatoes [already baked and then pureed; amount can vary according to preference, but likely about 2 cups]
  • Chopped parsley
  • Grated nutmeg
  • Croutons

Directions

  1. Put butter and flour into a saucepan or double boiler and blend [i.e., make a roux].
  2. Add milk, stock, onion juice, salt, pepper, and cinnamon.
  3. Stir carefully over the fire until the mixture is hot and beginning to thicken. [Be careful the soup does not boil as this can curdle the milk.]
  4. Add the sweet potatoes, stir well, and cook for 10 minutes longer.
  5. Strain into soup dishes, sprinkle chopped parsley over the top, and add a dash of grated nutmeg.
  6. Serve very hot with croutons.

Ham Sandwich Biscuits – from 1914

Recipe: Ham sandwich biscuits, 1914Recipe: Ham sandwich biscuits, 1914 Sun, Oct 25, 1914 – 42 · The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts) · Newspapers.com


Ingredients

  • Biscuit dough, prepared stiffer than usual
  • Minced ham
  • Butter

Directions

  1. Roll biscuit dough out thin [likely, about ½-inch thick] and cut into rounds.
  2. Spread half of the dough rounds with a mixture of minced ham and butter, then cover with a second round. [Consider pinching the edges closed to prevent filling from leaking.]
  3. Bake far apart in a hot oven. [Likely, bake 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.]

Note: In baking biscuits, always place them far apart on the baking sheet so as to ensure crisp baking all round.

Let us know if you try any of these recipes! Are any of them similar to ones handed down in your family?

Find more vintage recipes by searching Newspapers.com. And follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more interesting historical content like this!

Like this post? Try one of these!

Share using:

Spokane Falls for Historic Newspapers!

If you have an interest in the history of Spokane or ancestors from that area, we’re happy to announce the digitization of The Spokesman-Review 1968-2019; and other related newspapers including The Semi-Weekly Spokesman-Review 1883-1981; the Spokane Chronicle 1890-1992; the Spokane Daily Chronicle 1890; the Spokane Evening Review 1884-1885; the Spokane Falls Review 1885-1891; The Spokane Review 1891-1894 and the Spokane Weekly Chronicle 1944. The Spokesman-Review was named one of the 25 best newspapers in the country by the Columbia Journalism Review magazine in 1999!

Our archives date back to 1883 when Washington was still a territory and just two years after the railroad came to town bringing new settlers and growth to the area. Around that time the discovery of gold in Coeur d’Alene brought growth to Spokane (then called Spokane Falls) because the city acted as a service center for the nearby mines.

In 1889, a terrific fire engulfed the city. To prevent the spread of flames, officials blew up a row of buildings to prevent the fire from spreading. As the flames approached Cannon’s Bank at Wall and Riverside, a horse-drawn cab loaded the bank’s wealth into a carriage and drove it to safety. When the smoke finally cleared, the fire destroyed 30 downtown blocks and burned many businesses, homes, and several newspaper presses.

Japanese Balloon Bombs Land in Spokane During WWII

During WWII, the Spokane Army Air Depot (later known as Fairchild Air Force Base) opened to provide repairs for damaged aircraft. The depot attracted skilled workers and provided job opportunities for civilian workers. In 1945, the war hit close to home when the Japanese launched balloon bombs that landed near Spokane. News of the incendiary devices brought public concern. The newspapers tried to keep reports about the balloon bombs under wraps to bolster national security. The Semi-Weekly Spokesman-Review encouraged readers to refrain from spreading the news about balloon incidents.

Our archives contain great stories to help you piece together your family tree. For example, this 1909 story in the Spokane Chronicle tells the story of a father reuniting with his son after 47 years! The two became separated during the Civil War and had no way of contacting one another. One day, the son met a man who shared his last name and soon discovered it was his uncle. He was delighted to learn that his father was 79-years-old and living in Nebraska. Later, the two were joyfully reunited.

Do you have ancestors that filed a homestead claim in Spokane? The lure of homesteading, and the ability to travel on railroads and steamships brought more settlers to the Pacific Northwest. Newspapers reported homestead applications at the land office like this one in The Spokane Review in 1891.  When searching for your family, search through the newspaper birth announcements, wedding announcements, anniversary notices, and obituaries.

Start searching our archives for The Spokesman-Review today on Newspapers.com!

Share using:

Highclere Castle: The Real-Life Downton Abbey

This weekend’s release of the new Downton Abbey film will bring fans back to the sweeping grounds and grand halls of England’s Highclere Castle. This stunning edifice serves as the real-life setting of the fictional Crawley home. And if walls could talk, Highclere Castle would tell a few compelling stories of its own—especially about its best-known occupants: George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon, and his wife, Almina.

Highclere Castle

Highclere Castle, setting of TV series Downton Abbey

Highclere Castle, setting of TV series Downton Abbey Sat, Jan 19, 2013 – 44 · The Leader-Post (Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada) · Newspapers.com

Highclere was almost entirely rebuilt in 1842-1849 on the bones of an older house, which in turn was built on the foundations of a medieval palace. The castle, on it’s 5,000 acres of beautiful park-like land, serves as the country seat of the Earl of Carnarvon. Here George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon was born. Perhaps his birth was accompanied by the Highclere tradition where 500 gallons of beer are brewed to remain unopened until the heir “attains his majority. (The clipping below refers to the birth of George Herbert’s son, Henry Herbert.)

500 gallons of beer to celebrate the birth of an heir at Highclere Castle

500 gallons of beer to celebrate the birth of an heir at Highclere Castle Wed, Jun 28, 1899 – 3 · The South Bend Tribune (South Bend, Indiana) · Newspapers.com

Almina Herbert, Countess of Carnarvon

Lord Carnarvon married Almina Wombwell—the illegitimate daughter of millionaire Alfred de Rothschild—on June 26, 1895. Her connections left her with plenty of wealth, which would play a significant role throughout her life. Downton Abbey watchers may recognize Cora Crawley—an heiress who marries into a titled family—is loosely based on Almina. And the similarities don’t end there.

At the start of World War I, just as in the show, Highclere Castle was converted into a hospital.

Lady Almina's funds turned Highclere into a hospital

Lady Almina’s funds turned Highclere into a hospital Sun, Feb 3, 2013 – 59 · The Dispatch (Moline, Illinois) · Newspapers.com

But later wealth came, as it so often does, with scandal. In the mid-1920s, shortly after her husband’s death, Lady Carnarvon married a Colonel Dennistoun. Dennistoun’s ex-wife drew the wealthy Almina into a high-profile court case, demanding Dennistoun pay the alimony he owed her from their divorce. The case was splashed across papers for months, and every move Lady Carnarvon made was scrutinized (as seen by the clipping below). In the end, the jury ruled that no payment was required from the new couple.

Lady Carnarvon becomes the subject of speculation following the Dennistoun Case

Lady Carnarvon becomes the subject of speculation following the Dennistoun Case Sun, Jul 12, 1925 – 51 · The Semi-Weekly Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Washington) · Newspapers.com

George Herbert, Earl of Carnarvon

The most sensational story in this history is that of Lord Carnarvon. He was an avid Egyptologist who–with the help of his wife—funded the expedition that would discover Tut’s Tomb. Lord Carnarvon traveled to Egypt in late 1922. He was one of the first in modern times to see it opened, and to enter within.

Five months later he was dead, the victim of a bad mosquito bite gone wrong. But with his recent visit to Tutankhamen’s tomb on everyone’s minds (and with a little help from a certain superstitious author), the idea of a mummy’s curse entered popular culture. And Lord Carnarvon was its unfortunate poster child.

What Killed Carnarvon -- Tut-Ankh-Amen's Curse?

What Killed Carnarvon — Tut-Ankh-Amen’s Curse? Fri, Apr 20, 1923 – 2 · The Preston News (Preston, Kansas) · Newspapers.com

Lord Carnarvon himself may not be directly mirrored in any of the show’s characters, but his love of Egypt is. All of the fictional Lord Grantham’s four-legged companions have Egyptian names.

The history of Highclere Castle is, of course, much longer and more complicated than anything shared here. Perhaps the Downton Abbey film will provide further glimpses into the non-fictional past of its iconic castle backdrop and the real-life people who walked its halls.

Like this post? Try one of these:

Share using:

Newspapers.com and Ancestry® Launch a New Podcast!

Behind the Headlines of History

Have you ever read an old newspaper article and wondered what happened to the people mentioned in the story? Then check out the new Newspapers.com and Ancestry® podcast, “Behind the Headlines of History”!

Join hosts Brad Argent of Ancestry® and historian Michala Hulme of Manchester Metropolitan University as they share intriguing newspaper articles from the past, before putting on their genealogy hats and scouring records to find out more about some of the people involved in the stories.

In the first episode, Brad and Michala discuss the love story behind the Great Bullion Robbery of 1855 and also reveal how the theft of some hazelnuts in 1877 is linked to Downton Abbey!

Host Brad Argent shared his thoughts:

Historic newspapers are a treasure trove of great stories, and a fantastic resource for family historians to find out more about the details of their ancestors’ lives. With this podcast, we wanted to bring this to life, sharing weird, wonderful and sometimes tragic historic news stories to find out who these people were, where they came from and what happened next. Join us as we go behind the headlines of history!”

We’re excited to share “Behind the Headlines of History” with you! Whether it’s on your commute, at the gym, or while cleaning the house, this fun and fascinating podcast is a perfect way to pass the time!

“Behind the Headlines of History” will be released each week on Tuesdays for 10 weeks, beginning September 3. It is available on a range of platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts and more.

Share using:

The Development of the Polio Vaccine

In 1894, doctors in Vermont noticed a strange illness spreading throughout the state. Symptoms included fever, sore throat, aches, and difficulty breathing. In some instances, the disease caused paralysis or even death. The virus attacked the nervous system and seemed to hit small children especially hard. The outbreak resulted in 18 deaths and 132 cases of permanent paralysis in Vermont that year. After careful study, doctors finally identified the culprit as poliomyelitis – or polio. Polio ravaged the country and terrified Americans for more than fifty years until a 1955 vaccine promised an 80-90% success rate in preventing the disease. However, within two weeks of being inoculated with the new vaccine, six children developed paralysis and the vaccine was found defective. This incident, known as the Cutter incident, led to changes including increased government oversight in the manufacture and regulation of vaccines.

The 1894 polio outbreak shined a spotlight on polio, which was often referred to as infantile paralysis, and sparked scientists to search for a cure. In 1916, a large polio epidemic hit New York City infecting more than 9,000, resulting in more than 2,000 deaths. Perhaps the most public figure diagnosed with polio was Franklin D. Roosevelt. He contracted the disease in 1921 at the time when nearly 15,000 new cases were diagnosed each year.

Advances in polio treatment led scientists to develop the iron lung in 1928. Some patients lost the ability to breathe on their own when polio paralyzed their chest muscles. The iron lung acted as a respirator using air pressure to expand and contract a patient’s diaphragm, essentially breathing for them at the rate of 16 times a minute. In 2008, America’s longest-living survivor in an iron lung passed away after a power outage shut down her iron lung and a backup generator failed.

In the 1930s, early efforts to create a polio vaccine were unsuccessful. By the 1950s, Dr. Jonas Salk experienced a breakthrough and successfully developed a vaccine using an inactivated strain of the poliovirus (IPV). His vaccine was based on three virulent strains of the virus that were inactivated using a formaldehyde solution. Salk was so confident in his work that in 1953, he vaccinated his own family. A larger trial began in 1954 that provided vaccinations for more than 1 million children, and in April 1955, authorities announced the trial was a success and mass vaccinations could begin. That meant the vaccine needed large scale production and the pharmaceutical industry stepped up to help.

The cheers and relief experienced by Americans quickly turned to shock when within two weeks of receiving the vaccine, six children became paralyzed. Officials discovered that all six children had been inoculated using a vaccine created by Cutter Laboratories in California. The Cutter vaccine was recalled but not before 380,000 of the company’s doses had been administered. It was discovered that the formaldehyde solution Cutter Laboratories used was defective and did not inactivate the virus. Instead, the vaccines administered contained the live poliovirus. The defective vaccine led to 220,000 new infections and caused 164 to become severely paralyzed. Ten children died. The Cutter incident led to a dramatic change in government oversight of vaccine production and also changed medical liability lawsuits when Cutter was found guilty and liable without fault during the trial. Despite the tragic Cutter incident, Salk’s vaccine was successful in the fight against polio. However, the Salk vaccine was replaced in the 1960s when Albert Sabin introduced an oral polio vaccine (OPV) that relied on a weakened poliovirus and proved highly effective.

Do you have family members that suffered from polio? Learn more about polio and the development of a polio vaccine on Newspapers.com.

Share using:

The Surprising Evolution of Pumpkin Spice

Love it or hate it, pumpkin-spice season is here again. But do you know how this autumn flavor got its start?

Let’s head to the historical papers on Newspapers.com to see what we can learn. Click on any of the links in the post to see newspaper clippings that document the history of pumpkin spice!

An Age-Old Combination

1734 ad mentioning nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice for sale (Pennsylvania Gazette, 03.06.1734)
1734 ad mentioning nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice for sale (Pennsylvania Gazette, 03.06.1734)

“Pumpkin spice” is usually a mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and/or cloves. Since some combinations of these spices date back to ancient days, for the sake of time, let’s jump forward to the 18th century United States.

By this time, spices were available in the U.S. and were being used in cooking and baking. A 1734 Pennsylvania newspaper advertisement, for instance, shows that spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice were being imported to the U.S. And a newspaper recipe for “soft cakes” from 1825 New York confirms that spices (nutmeg and cinnamon in this case) were used in early American baking.

For the Love of Pumpkin Pie

So it’s clear that the spices in “pumpkin spice” were used together, but where does pumpkin come in?

Americans have been flavoring their pumpkin dishes with spices for a long time. In fact, the first American cookbook (“American Cookery” from 1796) includes a pumpkin recipe that uses mace, nutmeg, and ginger.

But most of all, Americans loved pumpkin pie, and spices were an important part of the flavor of the dish. A 1839 newspaper recipe, for example, calls for cinnamon and ginger in the pie filling.

“Pumpkin Pie Spice” Proliferation

But when did this traditional spice combination become known as “pumpkin spice”?

1933 ad for T&T Pumpkin Pie Spice (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 10.20.1933)
1933 ad for T&T Pumpkin Pie Spice (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 10.20.1933)

In 1930, a spice company called Thompson & Taylor (T&T) introduced what they called “Pumpkin Pie Spice,” which combined all the spices a home baker needed to make pumpkin pie. Now, as the ads claimed, making pumpkin pies at home was more convenient and the pies themselves would be more consistent in flavor.

The idea of selling a pre-mixed pie spice caught on, and over the next few years more and more companies introduced their own pumpkin pie spices. The mix best-known today, by McCormick, went on the market in 1934.

With an increasing number of companies selling pumpkin pie spices, newspapers were inundated with ads around Thanksgiving time. As newspapers tried to save space, the mix was sometimes referred to simply as “pumpkin spice” instead of “pumpkin pie spice,” as you can see in this ad from 1931.

With pre-mixed pie spices now readily available and convenient, it was easy for creative home cooks in the 1930s and beyond to add it to other foods, from soufflés to cookies to gingerbread. McCormick even briefly marketed a “Pumpkin Pie & Ginger Bread Spice” in the mid-1930s. 

“Pumpkin Spice” Comes into Its Own

1957 ad for pumpkin spice ice cream (News-Messenger, 11.29.1957)
1957 ad for pumpkin spice ice cream (News-Messenger, 11.29.1957)

Around this same time, “pumpkin spice” began appearing in the names of recipes published in newspapers. For instance, based on the papers currently on Newspapers.com, recipes for “Pumpkin Spice Cake” began showing up in newspapers around 1935, though we found a brief mention in an ad from 1934.

From this time on, ads and recipes for “pumpkin spice” flavored foods appeared with increasing frequency in newspapers, and it became well-established as its own flavor in the decades that followed.

But, of course, despite pumpkin spice’s long history, the current flood of pumpkin-spice products can largely be traced back to Starbucks, which first introduced its popular Pumpkin Spice Latte in 2003. Spiced coffee has its own extensive history, but Starbucks’ branding of its new beverage as “pumpkin spice” kicked off a trend that seems to have taken over the autumn season. Whether you like it or not.

Search Newspapers.com for more pumpkin-spice articles and recipes. And follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more interesting historical content like this!

Like this post? Try one of these!

Share using:

The Great Solar Storm of 1859

On September 2, 1859, a massive solar storm composed of subatomic charged particles slammed into the earth’s protective magnetosphere. It ignited countless fires and caused sparks to spew from telegraph machines, shocking their operators. It also created a dramatic show of aurora borealis, or northern lights, as far south as the Caribbean. Solar storms occur when enormous bubbles of superheated plasma are periodically ejected from the sun. Scientists believe that if a similar solar storm were to happen today, it would cause catastrophic damage by crippling power grids, satellites, GPS, and communications systems. Such an event could leave North American without power for months or years and could carry an economic impact as high as $2 trillion.

While conducting observations from his private observatory outside of London on the morning of September 1, 1859, British amateur astronomer Richard Carrington noticed patches of intense white light erupt from the sun. The eruptions lasted about five minutes before dissipating. Little did Carrington know the flare he observed sent solar wind shock waves carrying supercharged plasma racing towards the earth. Hours later, those particles slammed into the earth’s magnetic shield, creating auroral flashes and clouds in vivid colors of red, violet, pink, and green. This single solar storm carried the energy equivalent of 10 billion atomic bombs and is known as the Carrington Event.

The Cahaba Gazette, Alabama: Sept. 9, 1859

The colorful auroras of the Carrington Event were so bright that even in the middle of the night, birds began to chirp and California Gold Rush miners woke up to prepare breakfast. People in Missouri could read without any light source after midnight, and some assumed a great fire was burning on the horizon. Telegraph lines across the country experienced “one of the most startling as well as singular electrical phenomena,” when “a superabundance of electricity in the air” allowed telegraph machines to work without the aid of batteries. The Washington Star reported, “A series of currents of electricity, entirely independent of batteries, seem to have taken possession of the wires, and to such an extent that the National Telegraph was actually enabled to send messages from New York to Pittsburg, (Penn.) correctly.”

Our sun operates on solar cycles that last an average of 11 years. The Carrington Event occurred during Solar Cycle 10, which lasted from December 1855 until March 1867. Solar Cycle 24 began in December 2008 and is just wrapping up. The current forecast predicts Solar Cycle 25 will be relatively weak.

Will a future solar cycle bring a repeat of the Carrington Event? Scientists say it’s not only possible but inevitable. According to a 2008 report from the National Academy of Sciences, a similar-sized solar storm would include, “disruption of the transportation, communication, banking and finance systems, and government services; the breakdown of distribution of potable water owing to pump failure, and the loss of perishable foods and medications because of the lack of refrigeration.” Researchers studying evidence of historic solar storms say a large solar storm “would be a threat to modern society.”

To read more personal accounts of the Carrington Event in 1859, and to learn more about solar storms, search Newspapers.com today.

Like this post? Try one of these:

The 1871 Peshtigo Fire

Lake Nyos Disaster

Major Earthquake Strikes San Francisco

Share using:

New Papers Added from Arizona and Indiana!

In 1867, Tucson became the capital of the Arizona Territory and by 1870, census records showed the population had topped 3,000. If you have ancestors from Tucson or an interest in Arizona history, you’ll be thrilled to know that the Arizona Daily Star has added historic Tucson newspapers to their archive, and you can access them on Newspapers.com! We have The Weekly Arizonian (1869-1871); the Arizona Weekly Citizen (1870-1897); the Tucson Citizen (1879-2007); El Fronterizo (1882-1908); and the Tucson Daily Citizen (1941-1977).

Arizona Daily Citizen: May 4, 1898

Early editions of the Arizona Weekly Citizen were filled with accounts of skirmishes with Native Americans as westward expansion encroached upon Native American lands. Upset over Indian attacks, in 1870 the paper highlighted an offer by the Mexican government to pay a $300 bounty for each Apache scalp. The hostilities came to a head in the early morning hours of April 30, 1871, when a group of men from Tucson massacred more than 100 Apaches in the Camp Grant Massacre. Officials arrested the men but a court later acquitted them.  

The invention of air-conditioning to combat sweltering Arizona heat led to significant growth in Arizona’s population. During the 1930s, the first public buildings in Tucson got air conditioning, followed by homes in later decades. If you are tracing ancestors that lived in Tucson, search for marriage, death, and birth announcements. If you’re lucky, you just might find a biographical sketch of your ancestor like these for members of the 1883 Territorial Legislature.  

If you have ancestors from Jasper, Indiana, you’ll be excited to hear we’ve added The Dubois Herald and the Jasper Weekly Courier to our archives. The Dubois Herald began as The Jasper Herald, a weekly that started in 1895. In 1946, the paper, known then as The Dubois County Herald, started publishing six days a week. That tradition continues today, and The Dubois Herald has chronicled Jasper’s history for 124 years. Jasper has strong German roots and many of today’s residents can trace their heritage back to the mid-19th century when Father Joseph Kundek, a Catholic Priest, promoted Jasper to German immigrants. That heritage is celebrated annually during the Strassenfest celebration. If you have ancestors that lived in nearby townships like Cuzco, Ferdinand, or Ireland, the Correspondence Column included updates from citizens of those communities.

Spanish Flu Quarantine in Jasper – 1918

The Jasper Weekly Courier’s archives date back to 1858 when the paper was founded as an organ of the Democratic Party. Dubois County’s German immigrant population was flourishing and the first issue of the paper included a German announcement for those who couldn’t read English. The Weekly Courier reported on the Civil War and soldiers serving from Dubois County. It also participated in honoring surviving veterans and fallen soldiers after the war. The archives include reports of visitors in town, local accidents and injuries, and other life events like births, marriages, anniversaries and deaths.  

To explore these Arizona and Indiana newspapers, and newspapers from other locations, search Newspapers.com today!

Share using:

Using Historic Newspapers to Save Lives in a Tsunami: A Newspapers.com Success Story

On December 26, 2004, following a M9.2 earthquake that occurred off the western coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, a massive tsunami ripped through southeast Asia that ultimately resulted in the deaths of some 230,000 people in 14 countries. Indonesia was particularly affected by both physical damage and human casualties.

At Newspapers.com, we occasionally highlight ways our users find success in our archives. One team of geologists from Brigham Young University utilized information found in 19th-century newspapers to refine computer models of historic tsunamis in Indonesia in hopes of identifying future area of risks and to prevent future tsunamis from producing the massive loss of life seen in 2004.

Graduate student Claire Ashcraft frequently travels to Indonesia to work with government officials, gather geologic data, and to work with local communities to improve tsunami awareness and preparation.

Analysis of geologic evidence, such as the dating of tsunami sand deposits, help show which islands have experienced tsunamis. Historical records are also invaluable to the team. By isolating quantitative information in the written records, the data is applied to complex digital models to produce more accurate results. However, a lack of available records hampers this work; few accounts of Indonesian tsunamis survive, and most were written by Dutch colonists who arrived in the early 17th century.

Of particular interest to Ashcraft and her team are two tsunamis which took place in Central and Eastern Indonesia, the former in 1820 and the latter in 1852.

The Leeds Intelligencer and Yorkshire General Advertiser – 1821

Recently, Ashcraft turned to Newspapers.com and was elated to find mentions of both events in historical papers. An 1821 clipping described the 1820 event (the news took months to arrive by ship), citing a Dutch newspaper article published in the Dutch East Indies in the city of Batavia (now Jakarta). With this lead, she was able to track down the original Dutch newspaper and find new quantitative information that had not yet seen.

The Ipswich Journal – 1853

Similarly, an 1853 clipping gave Ashcraft critical details. The article noted that a Dutch royal navy brig called “de Haai” experienced the tsunami and its captain made detailed observations throughout the day. After learning the name of this ship and its captain from Newspapers.com, Ashcraft took these names and began searching in Dutch East Indies nautical records for a connection. She quickly found a book which mentioned the brig in conjunction with key Dutch words she recognized, such as ‘aardbeving’ (earthquake) and ‘zeebeving’ (seaquake). After translating the record Ashcraft realized that it contained not only the full account of the navy brig, but a collection of seven other first-person records that provided a wealth of information previously unknown to the team.

Newspapers.com provided key details that allowed BYU researchers key data to improve computer models. The models will help the Indonesian government to identify areas affected by past tsunamis and prepare for future events.

Discover your success story by searching Newspapers.com today!

Share using:

7 Tips for Finding an Ancestor Beyond Their Hometown Newspaper

At Newspapers.com, we’re constantly adding newspapers to our archives to grow our coverage of locations around the United States, Canada, and beyond. In fact, we add millions of newspaper pages each month!

But growing our archives inevitably takes time. So what can you do if Newspapers.com doesn’t have a newspaper from your ancestor’s hometown yet? Or if Newspapers.com does have the paper, but not the years you need? Or what if your ancestor’s hometown didn’t even have a local newspaper in the first place?

Can you still use the papers on our site to learn about your ancestor? Yes! While hometown papers are the most likely place to find news about your ancestor, they’re far from the only place.

Read on to learn 7 of our top tips for doing family history research beyond your ancestor’s hometown newspaper.

Family reunion photo from 1919 Indiana (Muncie Morning Star, 09.27.1919)
Family reunion photo from 1919 Indiana (Muncie Morning Star, 09.27.1919)

1. Search your ancestor’s name in ALL the papers on the site.

This tip is only practical if your ancestor had a fairly uncommon name, but it’s worth mentioning up front. You never know exactly when or where your ancestor’s name might appear in a newspaper—and they can turn up in some pretty surprising places! Yes, your ancestor may have lived their entire life in a particular place, but a reprinted or syndicated story about them may pop up in newspapers in states they had no connection to at all!

But if your ancestor’s name isn’t particularly unique, you’ll need some ways to focus your search to avoid getting too many matches. That’s where our other tips come in!

2. Search for your ancestor in the newspapers of nearby towns and the county seat.

Apart from hometown papers, newspapers from the county seat or neighboring towns (even those across a state border!) are some of the most likely places you’ll find mentions of your ancestor.

Two ways Newspapers.com helps you with this are the County search and Map search functions. County search allows you to search all the papers in a county. Just start typing the county name into the “Paper Location” field of the Advanced Search options, and then select the county name. (If the county you type doesn’t appear on the list, then Newspapers.com doesn’t currently have papers from that county.)

The Map search (accessible by selecting “See papers by location” on the homepage) allows you to zoom in on our map to see (and then search!) the papers on our site from as big or small a geographical region as you want.

For example, you can zoom in on the map to see all the papers currently available from the entire state of Kansas, or you can zoom in even further to see all the papers available specifically from Cherokee County. This is especially helpful if your ancestor lived near a state border, since you can see which papers were being published in neighboring towns across the state line. So if your ancestor lived in Cherokee County, Kansas, the Newspapers Map will show you that we also have papers from nearby Jasper County, Missouri.

Example of the Newspapers.com Map zoomed in to show papers available in Cherokee County, KS, and Jasper County, MO
Example of the Newspapers.com Map zoomed in to show papers available in Cherokee County, KS, and Jasper County, MO

3. Search for your ancestor in every city they lived in or were associated with.

Outside your ancestor’s hometown, the towns where they were born or died are good places to check for newspaper mentions of them. But there are many more places you can search!

First, use vital and other genealogical records, family stories, newspaper clues, or whatever resources you have to compile a list of every place your ancestor lived or was associated with. Then search for them in papers from those locations.

This could be the city where they attended college, where they worked, where they were stationed in the military, where they landed after immigrating, or even where they traveled on an extended vacation. The possibilities are endless! Anywhere your ancestor spent time may have some sort of newspaper record of their time there, even if it’s simply a mention of them in a list of hotel guests or passengers who came in on the train.

4. Search for your ancestor in the areas where their family members lived.

Once you’ve tried searching for your ancestor in the places they were associated with, move on to their family members. Start with parents, children, and siblings, and work your way out to in-laws, cousins, aunts and uncles, and other extended family. This will likely require you to do some digging into collateral (non-direct) lines on your family tree, but it may be worth the time.

Pennsylvania newspaper photo of the Klinefelter Family, 1909. (Gazette-Times, 02.07.1909)
Pennsylvania newspaper photo of the Klinefelter Family, 1909. Note that the caption mentions the Thompsons are living in Nebraska! (Gazette-Times, 02.07.1909)

Family members’ obituaries can be a particularly rich source of information about your ancestor, but the possibilities don’t stop there. For instance, newspapers often published news about people who were visiting family members in town, whether it was for a vacation, wedding, funeral, or reunion. They also published updates on people who had moved away but still had family in town.

Keep in mind that newspapers didn’t always mention visitors by name, sometimes merely saying that so-and-so’s brother was in town for the week. But if you’re paying attention, you might catch that the nameless brother mentioned in the article is actually the ancestor you’ve been looking for!

You may be surprised how much information about your ancestor can appear in the newspapers where their family members lived. For example, one birth announcement for a baby born in Colorado was actually published in Pennsylvania, where the mother’s family lived. Even more surprising, the announcement wasn’t in the family’s hometown paper but in the paper from the county seat!

5. Search for your ancestor in newspapers of ethnic or religious communities they belonged to.

Example of a Catholic-focused newspaper serving Kansas and Oklahoma (Catholic Advance, 01.24.1914)
Example of a Catholic-focused newspaper serving Kansas and Oklahoma (Catholic Advance, 01.24.1914)

If your ancestor belonged to a particular ethnic or religious community, try looking for them in newspapers that catered to that community. These might include Jewish or Catholic newspapers, African American papers, or German-language papers. Newspapers that targeted a specific religious or ethnic community often shared news about people within that demographic even if they lived in a different state than where the paper was published. 

For instance, if your ancestor was African American, you may have luck searching for them in historically black papers, such as the Pittsburgh Courier or Kansas City Sun. These papers published news about African Americans from all over the United States, not just Pittsburgh or Kansas City.

6. Search for your ancestor in the years after their lifetime.

If the problem is that Newspapers.com has the hometown paper, just not the years you need, try searching for your ancestor in the years after their lifetime. They might be mentioned in their child’s obituary or in a piece spotlighting the pioneers of the town. Or they might crop up in a “this-day-in-history” feature in the newspaper or in an article about events of historical significance to the town. This Indiana town history piece  from 1939, for example, mentions people and events from more than a century earlier!

1939 newspaper piece that discusses century-old town history (Palladium-Item, 07.16.1939)
1939 newspaper piece that discusses century-old town history (Palladium-Item, 07.16.1939)

7. Check back!   

Since Newspapers.com frequently adds and updates papers, check back often to see if the hometown paper you want has been added to the site. A quick way to do this is on our New & Updated page.

There are also a couple ways to be automatically informed by email when certain newspaper content is added to the site. The first way is to save a search. This will notify you when we add a newspaper page that has results that match criteria you specify. To enable this feature, simply set up a search with the criteria you want (for example, “John Smith” in Kansas newspapers), then select the “Save/Notify” button on the search results page.

You can also choose to be automatically notified by email when we add pages to a specific newspaper title. This is a convenient option if you’re waiting for additional years to be added to a paper already on our site. Do it by selecting any newspaper title and clicking the “follow” button on the landing page.

Best of luck finding that ancestor!

Get started searching for your ancestors on Newspapers.com now! And follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more articles like this!

Like this post? Try one of these!

Share using: