Your Family In the News

Veronica, Muriel, Francis and Edna Middlebrough

When it comes to family history I’ve always known that newspapers can be a gold mine of information. Especially obituaries, anytime I found an obituary I would pour over every detail.

But living in Alberta, Canada there weren’t that many Canadian newspapers online especially not Alberta newspapers. So getting into those newspapers would entail a trip to the Provincial Archives of Alberta to go through their film collection. This would mean viewing reel after reel of film looking for the events that I knew would be in there.

Recently I became aware that had added to their Canadian collection. In fact, they now have 60 Canadian newspapers that you can view. So this past week I signed up for a free trial and I can tell you I’m not disappointed. (I’m now a full blown member.)

Before I get started with my finds let me tell you that has over 11,200 newspapers from 1700 to 2000’s. They have newspapers from the U.S., Canada, Australia, England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Panama.

On the home page there is a tutorial video that explains how to search. But searching is easy and I’m a fly by the seat of my pants type of girl so I just jump in and search. You can do a general search of your family names and then refine your search by newspaper, location and date. It even keeps track of the things you’ve search already.

When I searched I just put in my mom’s maiden name; Middlebrough and then I refined by Canada and The Edmonton Journal. I got 123 search results. I could then sort the results from oldest to newest which ended up being 1917 to 2009. Some of the articles I found were things I’d already found but even then it was a find because the copies I could clip were much better than the ones I’d taken at the Alberta Archives. Not that their films weren’t good but more so because of me not taking a good copy.
The bonus is that there are finds that I would never know about and wouldn’t have had a date to search.

When you click on each of the items in your search you are taken to the exact spot on the newspaper page and in my case, the surnames were highlighted in yellow. If I decided I wanted to keep a copy I could add it to my ancestry account or I could clip it, print it or save it. I could also share it on Facebook or Twitter or I could email it. It also saves your clippings to a clip tab so you can go back and find something.

So what did I find in my search of the Middlebrough family? I found that my grandfather; Francis Middlebrough and his sisters were “Caught on Camera” April 7, 1923 (Edmonton Journal)

I found wedding and death announcements. Some I had before some I didn’t. When I did a search of the Beaton family I found out that they even announced divorces in the paper back then.

I found out that my great-grandparents Francis and Ellen Middlebrough were talented and performed in many plays and sang at various events. (C.J. Hall is their son-in-law). Edmonton Journal April 21 1928

And I found out my uncle was selling a tape recorder on June 21, 1955.

I still haven’t gotten through all the Middlebrough finds and there are so many other searches I can think of. Best of all is that I don’t have to know a specific event I just have to search and I can find so many treasures.

What would you find about your family if you searched the newspapers?

Note: that the above article contains affiliate links.

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Note: The post above contains affiliate links. This means I make a percentage on sales via these links. This does not INCREASE the price you pay as a consumer. It’s  simply a supplement to my income so I can continue  to support The DNA Angel Project and to make donations to the Alzheimer’s’ Society


  • Patricia says:

    I made such a wonderful find in the Edmonton Journal, when my mother passed away in 2009 I made a family tree to display at the celebration of life we had for her (since she asked for no funeral) and in getting all the information a sister Ida was mentioned but no one had a clue as to any of her information as she was an elder sibling and had passed away as a child. I found her in the Edmonton Journal. I wasn’t even looking for her, just anything with her last name and this story came up about an Ida Hamelin who was flown into Edmonton hospital from Lac La Biche because she was very sick. I believe she had appendicitis and by the time she got help they couldn’t save her. There were two stories about it. I have a Hamelin page on Facebook and I shared the stories there and my aunts were so amazed and grateful. They had heard about her but they were born long after Ida had died. So this story gave me her age and now I can find her birth and death info at the archives.

    • What a fantastic find. That’s the beauty of being able to search a surname with no date. Now you’re able to find something that you didn’t know anything about and otherwise, the story would be lost.

  • Dona says:

    Thanks for this post – I just jumped in too, and didn’t realize you could sort by date. I really should read the instructions first!