Saturday, February 1, 2020

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: A Day in the Life

Randy Seaver has come up with another fun exercise for this week's installment of Saturday Night Genealogy Fun:

Here is your assignment, should you decide to accept it (you ARE reading this, so I assume that you really want to play along; cue the Mission:  Impossible! music!):

(1) What were the newspaper headlines the day one of your grandparents or great-grandparents was born?

(2) Use any newspaper provider (Chronicling America [] is FREE) to find the headlines.

(3) Tell us who your subject was, when and where the person was born, and three or four headlines on the front page of the newspaper for that date.

(4) Share your finds on your own blog post, in a comment on this post, or on your Facebook page.  Please provide a link to your work as a comment to this post.

Okay, here's mine.

My paternal grandfather, Bertram Lynn Sellers, Sr., was born April 6, 1903, in Mt. Holly, New Jersey.

I chose the Jersey City News because it was the only New Jersey newspaper published on April 6, 1903 that appeared in the Chronicling America collection.  Here is the front page:

The front page headlines were:

Suicide in the Hotel Washington Not the Result of Momentary Impulse

Aged Armenian Gets a Habeus Corpus for the Custody of His Fourteen Year Old Spouse

Richard J. Clarke of Plymouth, Mass., Saved by Father John's Medicine
(actually an advertisement masquerading as an article)

And that's it for headlines!  They still went with "if it bleeds, it leads", as evidenced by the suicide.  But Jersey City had only two lead articles on the front page, as opposed to six in San Diego.  California must have been more exciting.


  1. It's actually pretty funny reading some of those old newspaper articles, especially those ads.

    1. The ads definitely are great to read, especially when they're presented as articles. Makes you wonder how much the publishers made off of them.

  2. What's with the 14 year-old spouse? Egads. I tried to find interesting things in a 1915 newspaper, but boring. I went with a 1926, which had much more interesting articles.

    1. Gossip always makes a good topic for newspapers also, right? Apparently she was tricked into marrying the 50-year-old (aged? wow!) in England when she didn't understand the language, and the interpreter might not have translated her comments accurately. Oh yeah, and she was purchased to be the guy's wife.


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