African American Newspapers Forum
Newspaper Success and a Census Substitute found!
I just wanted to share my success with newspapers and to encourage folks to seek out those old editions of newspapers that were printed in the areas your ancestors lived.
I was able to locate microfilmed copies of the Lake City Citizen Reporter/Lake City Reporter (Lake City, FL) held by the University of Florida at Gainesville and borrow 4 rolls via interlibrary loan. When I first saw the listing, I thought there were only a few microfilm that covered the period from 1918-1948--turns out there are at least 15 rolls for that time period and many more which cover up to the 60's!
(This is going to be a LOOOOONG project)
I have gone through the first two rolls page by page and found several articles of interest to the AA community. One of my succeses was a listing for a property sale in 1919 that involved my 3rd great grand aunt and her husband. My grandmother remembers her father helping an elderly aunt (Aunt Hannah) who owned a hotel on the main street. I had found Aunt Hannah Williams in census records but could never figure out exactly how she was related or who her husband was. The article listed her name and her "husband and first friend" as P.W. Williams. With that info I was able to find a marriage record and realized that I did know who she was but I knew her by her 1st husband's surname Hannah Ashley. I am also now looking for any mention of how her husband, P.W. Williams might have died. I've found him listed in another newspaper blurb in 1924 and I know that Hannah was listed as a widow on the 1930 census. According to my grandmother, he was killed by some white men (KKK?).
Another find was the divorce listing for my 2nd great grand aunt and her husband. I'm hoping to be able to get the court papers if they are available.
The "census substitute" I found is a listing of all Qualified Voters in Columbia County which (so far) has been listed in the newspaper in 1922 and 1924. I am hoping it continues to be listed every two years. I think I'll check to see if there is a local newspaper available between 1890 and 1900 and see if voters were listed then as well--what a goldmine to substitute for the 1890 census!
So be sure to check which local newspapers were printed in the areas your ancestors lived, check college repositories for microfilm, and take advantage of your local library's interlibrary loan to view the film. This is turning out to be a very worthwhile project!
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