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Kimberly Powell

Finding Female Ancestors in the Newspaper

By March 25, 2014

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<i>The Indiana Gazette</i>, Indiana, Pennsylvania, 27 June 1940, page 13, col. 2It isn't a notice of birth, death, or marriage, but this brief newspaper notice under the heading "Miscellaneous" includes the maiden names of two Pennsylvania women from personal notices posted by their respective "abandoned" husbands--Effie Adamson Burkett, wife of James Burkett, and Annie Holmes Shultz, wife of W. R. Shultz.1 And this is just one of many great examples of the types of information we can learn about our female ancestors in old newspaper notices. Search for them in society columns, school and church news, lists of letters left at the post office, and in just about every other area of the newspaper. Their maiden name might be gleaned from their sister-in-law's obituary, a notice of their father's estate, or even in a brief sentence that mentions the visit from a paternal uncle.

Or maybe you already know your ancestor's maiden name, but don't know what happened to her after she left her husband?

We learn here that Eunice not only made her escape, but we also get a clue as to where (or at least to whom) she went! Although, as with anything that appears in print, you should swallow the story with a grain of skepticism.2

Learn where and how to find information about your female ancestors in historical newspapers in my articles 7 Tips for Searching Historical Newspapers Online, Researcher's Guide to Chronicling America, Accessing Historical Newspapers Online at Newspapers.com, and Where to Find Historic Newspapers Online.


1. "Miscellaneous," The Indiana (Pennsylvania) Gazette, 27 June 1940, page 13, col. 2;digital images,Newspapers.com (http://www.newspapers.com : accessed 24 Mar 2014).

2. The Burlington (Iowa) Hawk-Eye, 26 September 1850, page 1, col. 4;digital images,Newspapers.com (http://www.newspapers.com : accessed 24 Mar 2014).

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