Kinsearching March 16, 2008




Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     Although old newspapers usually provide a wide variety of data useful in family research, they are often ignored because they can be hard to locate and generally are not indexed. Help in overcoming these obstacles can be found in MISSING RELATIVES AND LOST FRIENDS compiled by Robert W. Barnes. This new book gleans valuable genealogical tidbits from an assortment of eighteenth and early nineteenth century American newspapers.

     Barnes's collection of advertisements pertaining to missing relatives and lost friends comes from papers published in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. (This volume does not include data pertaining to runaway wives, servants, or slaves.) The issues begin in 1719 and extend into the early 1800s. Names of approximately 5,000 persons appear in the notices.

     Most of the advertisements furnish a date, last place of residence, and relationship--if any--to the person who posted the notice. Some ads supply additional facts such as birthplace, date of immigration, names and ages of family members, occupation, military service, or other information. Many notices contain the words "to his/her advantage," which may mean something of monetary value was waiting for the missing person. In some cases, Barnes enhances the original notices with supplemental material.

     An example of a notice in a 1774 Virginia paper is for Mary BURK, "wife of Francis Burk, and mother of Hannah Burk, who was taken prisoner by the Shawanese {Shawnee} Indians but was relieved from them about three years ago. Hannah is now living at Fort Pitt and is married to Robert Rosebrock. She has heard that her mother is living on Hogan's Creek, Orange Co., N. C., and would like any information on her mother's current whereabouts...." Another example is a 1785 notice in a Pennsylvania newspaper for Jacob DEUNSCHMAN, "born in Niedermerschbach, near Hochenburg, with Sebastian Schuechen, left Amsterdam on 29 May last for Philadelphia. Jacob Fischer, Reformed schoolmaster in the Stone Church, Bern Twp., Berks Co., PA, is seeking them."

     As these examples demonstrate, old newspaper advertisements offer a wealth of genealogical information, some of which may not be available in other sources.  Perhaps you will find details about your elusive ancestors in MISSING RELATIVES AND LOST FRIENDS.

     The 229-page paperback has an introduction which includes an extensive bibliography. Main entries are arranged alphabetically. The full name index lists all persons mentioned in the publication. To the book's price of $26.50, buyers should add the cost for postage and handling charges. For U. S. postal mail, the cost is $4.00 for one book and $2.00 for each additional copy; for UPS, the cost is $6.00 for one copy and $2.50 for each additional book. The volume (item order #9622) may be purchased by check, MasterCard, or Visa from Clearfield Company, 3600 Clipper Mill Rd., Suite 260, Baltimore, Maryland 21211 (for phone orders, call toll free 1-800-296-6687; fax 1-410-752-8492; website

     Knowing the date or an approximate time frame when people moved from place to place is, naturally, helpful when seeking material about families. Such information may sometimes be found in unexpected or obscure sources. An example is a list of "transfers" of appointment for 1895 found on page 14 of Minutes of the Fifty-fifth Session of the Texas Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, Held at Cameron, Dec. 5 to Dec. 10, 1894. Edited and published for the conference by Seth WARD and D. H. HOTCHKISS, secretaries, the booklet was published by Eugene von Boeckmann, Book and Job Printer in Austin, TX, in 1894.

E. E. LANGFORD, to Mississippi Conference;
S. W. HOLT, to Southwest Missouri Conference;
J. K. P. DICKSON, to St. Louis Conference; and
H. M. DuBOSE, to East Texas Conference.

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