Sometimes it's hard to make our ancestor's lives real to us. Recently I was reading this article on the Family Search blog that gave some helpful suggestions to getting to know our ancestors. Admittedly, I didn't get very far; I got so excited about the first idea that I stopped reading to try it out. Their idea was to search newspapers published in the town in which your ancestor lived. The link provided in the article will take you over to the Library of Congress Archives, where you can select a state and then a town/county/paper. Once you've done this, you can type in key words, including your ancestor's name, along with other information like dates and places, to help you find what you want. I search for my great grandmother, Erma Taysom, under the newspaper for Star Valley, Wyoming, and I found a lot of results, including information about her parents and grandparents. One article mentions a trip Erma took around the age of 9. The same issue included the latest updates on the war (World War One), featuring headlines such as, "EXTRA! WASHINGTON REPORTS THAT THE AMERICANS AND FRENCH, FIGHTING SIDE BY SIDE, HAVE BROKEN THROUGH THE GERMAN LINES IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF SOISSONS AND HAVE TAKEN THE TOWN AND 200,000 PRISONERS ASIDE FROM AN ENORMOUS SUPPLY OF WAR MATERIAL." It's so neat to learn about my ancestors this way, and to learn about the times in which they lived!
I'm so excited about this new (to me) resource, and I hope you are too. I can't wait to find more about my ancestors in their own local newspapers. Their primary resource for staying up-to-date before radio, television and internet is now a wonderful way for us to look back on their lives and see what they did and who they were every day.
Have you ever searched newspapers? What did you find? With modern technology, it couldn't be easier!