Tips: Travel News and Vacation Plans

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People love reading about themselves in the paper. Gossip about others ranks right up there, too. Historically, vacation and travel information were regular features in newspapers around the country, especially in summertime.

Davenport Democrat
Let’s check in on a few of these “personals” columns to get news of vacation plans for residents of communities around the country in decades past. In an August 1890 issue of The Ironwood Times in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, we learn that Florence Bassett returned from her vacation to Minnesota, and Dr. McLeod was heading there for a chicken hunt, after meeting up with his buddies John Ross and attorney George Hayden.

An entire page of The Galveston Daily News in July 1923 was devoted to “The Week’s Society in Various Texas Towns.” In this section, we learn that Dr. and Mrs. Norris and their little son spent a month in California before returning to Madisonville, TX. In the column next to it, we read that several people in Sealy “motored” to their destinations.

If you were picnicking and swimming at Stonewall Sportsman’s Club Lake in Ada, OK, in August 1962 and wondered why the Morgans were driving a blue car, you’ll learn that they had car trouble and had to borrow one. Those were the days when everyone’s business was a community affair.

Davenport Democrat
A hundred years ago, Floridians headed out of state on their vacations. Dr. Liken and his wife left the beach for a sojourn in the mountains before spending several weeks in New York City. Rev. Bowen, while vacationing in Kansas, wrote his wife that he “had really forgotten how disagreeable Kansas weather is” as it was 110 in the shade and dust was flying.

As people traveled a lot, there were obviously others ready to receive visitors. The Kokomo Tribune in Indiana reported on house guests, as well as reunions. Sometimes these help us find family relationships like when Miss Aseneth Hanson visited her sister Mrs. Billy Jackson, in the Oakland neighborhood.

Naturally, Canadians like to vacation, too, so it’s no surprise to find news in The Winnipeg Tribune under “At the Beaches” in August 1922 with a list of 15 families enjoying their summer vacations by the water.

Search for family surnames in locations your ancestors and their cousins may have lived. Add keywords—vacation, visit, guest, travel—if you want to concentrate your search on a particular activity. Or, simply browse the society or community columns for your family’s local paper on Newspapers.com to see what summer adventures they had.

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