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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Old Newspapers

R. E. Bryan and Miss Myrtie Hairston were united in the holy bonds of wedlock one day this week at the home of the bride’s parents. Miss Hairston is the only daughter of Mr. Phil Hairston of near Huckabay who is one of Erath’s best citizens and most prosperous and well to do farmers. Miss Hairston is bright, beautiful and attractive and commands the love and respect of all who know her. Mr. Bryan is the son of Esq. Terrell Bryan, is educated, robust and handsome and numbers his friends as legion. He has grown up in our mist and those who know him love him the most. The Appeal joins their host of friends in wishing them a long, happy and prosperous life.  The Erath Appeal, Vol. 2, No.29, Stephenville, Texas, Feb. 8, 1900

I can’t say enough about the value of newspapers when researching family. Many found obituaries, marriage and birth announcements have given needed clues and much family information. Community news, court notices, land sales, and even business ads provide us with significant details about the lives of our ancestors. An article about my grandfather, who was running for local tax assessor, told of his migration to Texas as a young boy and his short career as a teacher. John L. Hairston, my great-great grandfather, wasn’t found in the 1870 U.S. Census, but his residency was learned after finding an article in a Galveston newspaper about a fire that destroyed his home in Falls County, Texas on April 2, 1870.
The above announcement of my grandparents wedding in 1900 was found last week while visiting the Briscoe Center for American History in Austin, Texas.  This is a great place to look at original and microfilmed Texas newspapers; however, you may not need to go out of town to read newspapers from your ancestor’s home. Microfilmed copies of newspapers can be found in most state libraries or archives and are often available for interlibrary loan to view at your local library. 

The numbers of these historic newspapers found on-line increase yearly and most are searchable.  I have listed some of my favorite resources, both free and subscription, below.



Wikipedia:List of online newspaper archives is a long list of free and subscription sites for historic newspapers listed by state and country.
The Olden Historic Newspapers Online has free 18th, 19th, and 20th century newspapers from the U. S., England, Scotland, Ireland, and Australia. 

Newspaper Abstracts currently contains almost 100,000 free articles abstracted or extracted primarily from United States newspapers by individuals interested in genealogy.

Chronicling America, maintained on the Library of Congress website, gives free access to selected digitized newspaper pages, requiring a paid subscription, is the site that I go to first when looking for information in newspapers. In addition to the 5,000+ historical newspapers, you will find modern obituaries, books, pamphlets, military records, and government documents. 

According to, their newspaper collection, dating from the 1700s to 2001, is the largest historical newspaper database on the Internet.

The Baylor County Banner is a small town newspaper that contains much community news. My father was born in Baylor County, Texas and I own all available microfilm from the years 1905 to 1922. I read this paper as I find time and will do look-ups. I have posted many marriages, obituaries, and births on this site so check it out if you are researching Baylor County!

© 2011, copyright Diana Quinn


  1. How wonderful to find another researcher with Baylor County roots - and you live in Virginia, too! I am definitely interested in items in the Baylor County Banner concerning the Kirby Runion Moore and Eula Moore family (they moved to Bomarton in 1917). I had the impression from another researcher that a big chunk of pre-1930 microfilm of the Banner was missing, but that may just have been the newspaper's copy - the story was that someone had borrowed the microfilm and never brought it back. Is it possible to purchase copies? Besides my mother's families (Moore and Floyd), there were also some families related to my father's Brinlee and Norman lines who lived in Baylor County.

    1. Hi Greta, I have enjoyed reading your blog. I was impressed with your African American History page. I found an old family Bible transcription at the DAR library that listed names and birth dates of slaves in the early 1800s and want to do something similar. It is nice to hear from another Virginian. I stay in Fairfax (at the Hilton Garden) when go to DC. My all-time favorite restaurant is Coastal Flats!

      I will do look-ups for any of your family in the Baylor Banner. If you see their names on my pages, let me know the date and I will send you the full article. I purchased all possible films of the Banner published between 1905 and 1922 from Southwest Micropublishing Company. I also purchased two films of Erath County newspapers. I am glad that I purchased when I did as I tried the link on my site and did a google search and cannot find the company.

      When I first started looking for the papers, the Banner wouldn't loan what they had as some at not been returned by a previous borrower. I borrowed some through ILL through the state archives, but got tired of spending the time in the library. I bought an old microfiche machine and purchased my own films. When I finish transcribing (after I retire), I will donate them to the Center for American History in Austin. I think that all of the old newspapers from the Texas State Archives have been moved there. They have a lot of Texas newspapers and will also sell copies of the microfilm. I think that they have some of the Banners.

      If you need other look-ups, I have both Baylor County history books and Latchstrings (a book about houses in Baylor County). I also have several Erath County books.