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Have you been enjoying our 2020 A to Z Challenge series on Ancestry and Family History? With only 2 posts left for the year – I wanted to share how I was able to research and discover my YOUNG ancestors’ movements, friendships, and medical history.

Genealogy Research Newspapers Tips #genealogy #research #newspapers #ancestry #nyshistoricnewspapers #thejoyousliving #atozchallenge

Remember how I shared about the FREE NYS Historic Newspapers site? In today’s post, we will go through the newspapers looking for my ancestors, specifically Oliver and Julia Young, their son Nelson Young and his wife Ella Jane Maxson.

For today’s purposes, I decided to search:

“Oliver Young” from 1890 to 1960 in Saint Lawrence County.

Not My Oliver Young

Sorting the search results by date, the first 3 articles ranging from March 15th to 21st of 1890 told me that Oliver Young bought 75 acres of land for $5,000 to open The Merrill House.

Knowing that my 3rd great-grandfather was a farmer and that he did not have a daughter named Marjorie, I was able to discern that this Oliver Young was NOT the same as my relation.

For kicks though – I checked and according to the Inflation Calculator (Free), $144,037.82 would have been the 2019 equivalent to the asking price.

Playing Detective – Is that MY Oliver Young?

The next few articles I found were about a man named Oliver Young who fell in front of A.B. Cutting’s Store in Ogdensburg. The first few articles did not mention much more about the man but I struck gold when I found the 22 May 1890 edition of “The Ogdensburg Advance and St. Lawrence Weekly Democrat” that spoke of the man being from Hammond (!) and currently residing in Gouverneur (!).

Could this be my great uncle Oliver Young who died in St. Lawrence County in June 1890??

A continued search came up with more goldmine – a 3 June 1890 article from “The Ogdensburg Journal”:

I learned that my great uncle had been working in the Gouverneur Tale Mines.

According to this notice, there was no mention of the accident but only mention that he was “taken sick a few days ago”.

So my hunt continues…

In the June 05, 1890 edition of “The Ogdensburg Advance and St. Lawrence Weekly Democrat“, a brief line has been added to the notice saying

“Oliver was an industrious and respectable young man.”

Sadly I was never able to find an official obituary for Oliver Young Jr. but given the dates and fact that the 22 May 1890 article mentions Oliver “fell into a fainting fit”, it seems highly likely that this is in fact, my 2nd great-uncle.

Be Ready with Specific Dates

After finding the trove of articles about Oliver Young Jr., I seemed to find myself in a desert w/o any luck. So I tweaked my search query and said I only wanted articles from 1909-1910 because that’s when both Oliver and his wife Julia had passed away.

And I hit another gold mine! the first article to pop up was “The Ogdensburg Journal” from 14 April 1909.

Not only do we get the death announcement but we also get to hear that “The Sugar Party” had been postponed due to his illness.

In this same search, I found an article in “The Ogdensburg Journal” from 30 August 1910 announcing the death of Mrs. O Young.

In the obituaries, we were able to confirm so many details such as –

who were his/her children and their married names and their hometowns?

what was his/her illness caused by?

where was (s)he born?

when was (s)he united in marriage?

wife’s maiden name?

siblings’ names and hometowns?

and so much more!

Tips for Researching Newspapers

Often times even though the name is in the article, it will not be highlighted by the automated computer system. Your eyes will do a much better job researching the articles for tidbits about your ancestors.

If you are looking for a specific event – such as a birth announcement, wedding announcement, death announcement, best to try and look them up by date.

If your ancestors’ names are common such as “Oliver Young” and include words such as “young” that could be used in commonplace sentences, consider looking for articles where the search terms have been highlighted next to each other. There’s a higher likelihood that you will find your ancestor is mentioned.

Also, if you see a long list with several highlighted words scattered throughout — there’s a chance it’s a business directory or student list.

Is your ancestor a farmer? or a proprietor of a bar? Consider using a keyword such as “farm” or “proprietor” along with your ancestors’ name in the search.

Try to use as few words as possible in your search – avoiding common words such as “and” or “is”.

Lastly, if your ancestor lived in a smaller town – don’t narrow your search by the town but try by county (eg. Saint Lawrence).

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Trying to find a relative in the newspaper? #newspaper #atozchallenge #ancestry #genealogy #research #history #family #thejoyousliving


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What was the most interesting article you’ve uncovered about your family?