Ancestral Notes

My Family History blog

Tidbits Gleaned From Small-Town Newspapers

I thought maybe I’d find some family births, marriages and obits when I started searching the old newspapers, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. The Essex Free Press is a small-town weekly newspaper filled with all of the news from the county. If you want to find out who bought what farm for how much and where the previous owners were relocated to, you read the Essex Free Press. When the December exams and June report cards came out, the students’ grades were published in the paper. There was nothing that wasn’t newsworthy, so and so had a cold, stop the presses!

My family has been in Essex County for over a hundred years and some were involved in local government. I was surprised to find so many references to my ancestors and their daily lives.
I discovered that my greatgrandfather’s family moved to Alberta in the spring of 1918 because of my greatgrandfather’s health. He had suffered from gall stones for years and at that time, Alberta was the place to go for health problems. Maybe it was the mountain air, or the warm spring water in Banff, but, for whatever reason, they went there. They returned in October, with no improvement to his health. He passed away in December of 1918, when my grandmother was six years old.

Another article gave me a lot of information about my grandmother’s family, my dad didn’t have much information about them to share as he would just sit on the front porch while my grandmother visited because he didn’t understand French and their family just came to Ontario from Quebec in 1890.

My granduncle was the first casualty of the First WW in the town of Essex:

There is over a century of my family’s history here, some amusing, some embarrassing, some tragic, but all in all, I’d rather read a small-town newspaper and learn alot more about the people than a big-city paper that doesn’t have the time or space for all of the everyday events that occur in a small-town.

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Filed under: Genealogy, Obituaries, Research Resources, , ,

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