Tags: gerling genealogy, missouri newspaper research, vanderstay genealogy
Recently, I blogged about How to Obtain Missouri Newspaper Articles. I stumbled upon this resource when looking for the answers to the untimely deaths of Catherine Vanderstay Gerling and Wilhelm Gerling, her son, in Weston, MO in 1867.
I was hoping the State Archives would find an obituary that would explain the cause of the deaths. They didn’t find any obituaries, but undaunted they kept searching, and found something just about as good – something I would have never thought to look for.
A News Story
In the Reveillie, the Platte City Newspaper, on August 23rd – the week after their deaths – there was a very brief news story. It doesn’t mention Catherine and Wilhelm by name, but it says two persons in Weston died the prior week from Cholera. It must be them.
The Lesson Learned
My take-away from this experience is to keep my eyes, ears, and options open in my searches beyond my stated objective. I don’t know that if I were the one searching I wouldn’t have stopped several times prior to getting this article – first when there wasn’t a paper in Weston available, and second when I didn’t find an obituary. But the PROs at the State Archives knew better and found this wonderful treasure.
Rest in peace Catherine and Wilhelm.
Happy researching to the rest of us!
Tags: missouri genealogy, missouri genealogy research, missouri newspaper research
I like to share with you new genealogy resource finds under the self-delusion that I’m the only one that has discovered this resource. I realize that isn’t true, but I like sharing none the less.
While researching my Platte County, Missouri family, I came across The State Historical Society of Missouri website. In Columbia, they are the holders of non-government, non-bureaucratic records for the State of Missouri. This would include manuscripts, artwork, photographs, and newspapers. This would be contrasted with the State Archives in Jefferson City, which holds the military records and legislative records among other things.
I’m writing today specifically about the newspaper collection for two reasons, 1) newspapers hold a wealth of information – stories, birth, death, and other life-event notices, 2) newspapers are hard to find. Because of the size of any collection local – even big local – libraries and archives don’t attempt to manage such a collection.
So, the State Historical Society of Missouri has the primary collection of Missouri newspapers for towns big and small and for papers current and extinct. Like many archives of newspapers the have a growing digitization project and have a very respectable collection online. You can access the collection of digitized newspapers here, where among other things they have a Missouri county map identifying digitized papers by county. Isn’t that just too cool?
But the neatest thing I found is their newspaper article request service. If you, like me, are looking for any article such as an obituary or death notice or maybe your ancestor was involved in a newsworthy event, you can fill out the online form and for $10 the Society will look up the article and mail a copy to you. Is that too easy or what? You don’t even need to know the newspaper. Just a date or date estimate, a location, and some description of the article or type of subject you are researching. And they can go to town. The look up service takes about 2 weeks, and they ask that you request one article at a time and wait for your first result before asking for another. I can see the reasoning there. It’s kind of like getting stuck behind the person with two filled grocery carts at the store. You don’t want to be the person “next in line” behind the person who’s asked for 20 articles. So the service one article at a time. Seems very fair to me. You can access the online request form here.
So, next time you’re looking for an ancestor who died, but you can’t find a headstone or funeral record, order the obit from the State of Missouri Historical Society. Or if you’re wondering if two ancestors really did get married, order the marriage announcement in the local newspaper. And if you really want to know if the murder-suicide made front page headlines in the town currior, send $10 to the Historical Society.
Your answers are just a mail box away.