I totally didn’t spend this weekend doing what I had thought I was going to do. Yes, of course, genealogy was #1 on my list and, yes, I did work on genealogy.
I had planned to do a little research, work on a couple of blog posts and continue the 30 x 30 challenge that Janine Adams posted on Organize Your Family History.
Well, none of those items got done. So, what did I spend so many hours working on? I have lamented for years and years that New Jersey, and specifically Passaic, has had few to no newspapers digitally available.
I’ve often commented on other bloggers’ posts how jealous I was that they had so many interesting details about their ancestors’ lives because they were all found in local newspapers.
Oh, I had a few tidbits of news articles that had either passed down through the family, like Nana’s thank you after my grandfather died in 1936:
and the Open House ad for the house in Wayne that my family bought:
However, I just knew that there was MUCH, MUCH more to be found if only the Passaic Herald News could be digitized.
I few years ago, I even went so far as to telephone the grandson of the man who owned the newspaper when I was growing up, as it was still being published until a few years ago when it was bought out.
I was told that the family-owned business had kept paper copies of each issue going back for decades. However, the new company THREW THEM in the TRASH!!!
I also knew that the Passaic Public Library and the Clifton Public Library had microfilms of the newspaper that covered many years, but they would not permit them to go out on inter-library loan.
That’s the way things stood until a few days ago. Newspapers.com offered free access over the weekend to celebrate the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
I registered and decided to enter my grandfather’s name – Vernon T. Adams – into the search engine and chose New Jersey as the state, being as my grandparents lived in Bergen County for almost a decade.
I found several entries for Grandfather, as he worked for Western Union, and, as I scrolled through the hits, I noticed something.
The Passaic Daily News, which pre-dated the Passaic Herald News, appeared in the list! I then went to the newspaper title search box:
There it was – the second title below the Passaic Daily News – the PASSAIC HERALD NEWS!!!! Finally!!!!
It was definitely time for a genealogy happy dance. Not only that, but notice The Record, The Morning Call and The News, in nearby Hackensack and Paterson.
It has taken me all weekend to mine the many treasures that I found. There were ads for the Central Market Company, the meat shop that my grandparents opened in 1921. I knew that my father had been engaged to another young lady when he met my mother and broke off the betrothal. I didn’t know her name, but I do now because I found the article. I didn’t know that I had ever been bitten by the family dog, but Mickey apparently not only bit me once, in 1956, but also nipped the neighbor girl in the summer of 1957.
I found articles about my maternal grandparents in Bergen County, about my paternal grandfather’s siblings in Passaic and read about the later lives of a few of my childhood friends. And the list goes on.
Exactly which years are available? 1894-1894 and then a complete run of years from 1902-2019! The Passaic Sunday Eagle has three years – 1931, 1932 and 1933, while the Passaic Daily Herald is available for 1887-1892 and 1894 and 1897. The Passaic Daily News is covered from 1887 to 1929.
I have well over 100 articles, photos, announcements and notices pertaining to my family and have lots of new fodder for family stories to share. Describing me as a happy camper is a gross understatement!
Sometimes, genealogists have to be patient for a very, very long time, but in the 21st century, time is definitely our friend and you never know what will appear online next.
Now, if only someone would get busy and digitize the Calais Advertiser from Maine. 🙂