This week in my short research time frame I decided to revisit newspapers. Newspapers have been around longer than you imagine, and are appearing with more frequency online. Early Newspapers especially in the US and Canada, recorded many of the day to day events of our ancestors.
In researching Sally/Sarah (?) Tuttle Bliss, I discovered that she was in Otsego New York at least by 1804. There was no mail delivery in that time period and mail that came into the post office needed to be picked by the residents. The Cooperstown, Otsego Newspaper lists a Sally Tuttle among the residents of Richfield, Otsego, NY who has mail being held at the post office. Because she is listed as a resident of Richfield, I can continue my search for her in that town. Since I know she was in Massachusetts in 1800, I have also narrowed down the time period during which she moved. That gives me a smaller window of time to look for other records,such as purchasing property, that she may have made when she relocated. I will also want to see if there were other Tuttle’s living in Richfield when she arrived. The area she moved to was truly a wild wilderness in the early 1800’s. A brief re-read of James Fenimore Cooper’s recount of his early life in Cooperstown in the Last of the Mohicans should give pause for thought. This was not a place a woman would go by herself and take 3 young children, unless she believed she wold have a good support system when she arrived.
Many clues can be found in newspapers; the trick is to find the papers themselves. A State or University Library may house the newspapers, or they may be available digitally online [Utah for example has their newspapers free at Utah Digital Newspapers].You might want to check wiki.familysearch.org and go to the State or Country you are researching, and then check out the listed newspapers from that area which are available online. Ancestry.com has a great collection of newsapers, and there are several newspaper websites that are free to you at your nearest FamilySearch Library. Because I do a lot of newspaper research I do subscribe to Genealogy Bank – which is subscription website, but I feel it is low cost and, for me, worth the money. There is also the Google News Archive at news.google.com/archivesearch. If you need more help, try locating a local historical society for the area you are searching and find out about their newspapers. And, of course, you can always do a Google search, with the added word free.