Expand Newspaper Searches
Don’t ignore newspaper hits in unexpected locations when looking through the Ancestry Historical Newspaper Collection. In the past I typically would disregard those newspapers that I didn’t think were in the “right location.” Imagine my surprise when I opened a newspaper from another state and found not only an obituary, but also a picture of the deceased and an article from the United Press as well. That made me go back and search the other hits that had come up. Several other states had more information on the death–possible foul play, a lawsuit by the relatives, etc. It filled in a lot of holes in my research. From these various articles, I learned that the deceased, while living in Illinois, died in Hot Springs, Arkansas, had interests in a hotel in Florida, and was buried back in Illinois.
Search Given Names Only
This is a method that has allowed me to find families in the 1880 and later censuses using the latest search options. I enter the given name of a child, the father, and the mother; no surname; and the place where they lived. You get very few matches, even for common names. It also uncovers strange spellings that Soundex wonâ€™t find.
I have been given the honor of preserving the records of the local Masonic Lodge, Swift Lodge #129, Benson, Swift County, Minnesota. While the Masons are a male fraternal organization, they also have organizations for the spouses and daughters of their members; the primary one is the Order of the Eastern Star.
As I began scanning/transcribing these records, I found that the forms required to join this fraternal organization included information on birthplaces, occupations, ages, and previous lodge affiliations (which can determine a previous residence).
Most lodges send their records to the Masonic Grand Lodge of each state; however, lodge material can be located by looking at lodges in surrounding communities or by checking at the local historical society. The original records of Swift Lodge #129 will be available at the Swift County Historical Society located in Benson, Minnesota, with back up copies at the Stevens County Historical Society, located in Morris, Minnesota.
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