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{{Infobox NIFGS|June 2012|{{Canadian Newspapers Course}}|Ryan Taylor, revised by Susanna de Groot, PLCGS}}  
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{{Infobox NIFGS|June 2012|{{US Migration Patterns}}|Beverly Whitaker, CG}}<br>
  
=== Births, Marriages, and Obituaries ===
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=== Settlements in the Early Western Frontier ===
  
The part of the newspaper we think of first in genealogical terms is the birth-marriage-death column (BMD). For this reason, there is an assumption that this column exists in all newspapers and will be there for us to consult if we wish it.  
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Westward movement was delayed because of a combination of factors—mountain barriers, the threat of Indian attack, as well as the other risks of frontier life. Traders were well acquainted with the land beyond the mountains, and explorers ventured out, returning to praise the land and its possibilities.  
  
Many also assume that everyone made a point of entering their loved ones’ birth and death notices in the newspaper. None of this is true.  
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In New York, settlement spread into the Hudson River Valley, especially after the British took over the colony in 1664 because they cultivated friendly relationships with the Iroquois Indians. Protestant Germans were among those who settled along the Hudson River and subsequently moved into the western fringes of the Middle Colonies. By the time of the Revolutionary War, the landed Dutch aristocracy strengthened its foothold in the Hudson and Mohawk River Valleys.  
  
Styles in the announcing of births, deaths and marriages change through time, it being fashionable to have lengthy and flowery, if uninformative, obituaries at one time (the turn of the 20th century), no obituaries at all (large cities in the 1930s) and, now, obituaries which list all family members and often the dead person’s occupation and interests.  
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Early New Englanders established settlements north and south along the river valleys of the Berkshires and other mountains, filling the valleys of the Delaware, Susquehanna, Hudson, Mohawk, and upper Connecticut and Merrimac. They continued their system of group allotments resulting in individual acreage assignments by town proprietors. Later migrations went west along trails and roads.  
  
Some of the extra wedding announcements, with full descriptions of showers and the wedding day itself, have gone now because newspapers no longer have the room to include them. If we find them for family members in their heyday in the mid-20th century, they make fine additions to the family history.  
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New Englanders moving on west from the Hudson River either crossed New York to the Ohio country or moved into the northeastern part of Pennsylvania to settle. Similarly, those from the middle colonies moved across lower Pennsylvania to Pittsburgh and on to the Ohio Valley, or moved south into Maryland and Virginia. (Merlin C. and Eva M. Finnell. ''Migration Trails of the Eastern United States, ''54.)
  
Pioneer newspapers might have no BMD column at all, these events being sufficiently publicised by word-of-mouth in a small community. The publisher of the first newspapers in New Hamburg, Ontario, wanted to fill his columns and thought that marriage announcements might be suitable, but no one was bringing them to him.  
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The Great Shenandoah Valley linked the northern and southern portions of the area sometimes called the “Old West.” In the North, this inland region extended across Pennsylvania and New York as far as Lake Champlain. In the South, the “Fall Line” formed the separation between the Tidewater settlements and the Piedmont which sloped gradually upward towards the Appalachian Mountains. Through the Valley, the Germans and the Scots-Irish migrated in unending procession.  
  
His solution was to visit the local clergy and ask if they had married anyone lately. The resulting columns would make a modern reader think that only a single clergyman at a time was performing weddings in the community.  
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Southern settlers from Maryland and Virginia moved along the Potomac River north and west to Fort Cumberland and then to Pittsburgh and Ohio country. Alternately, some went through mountain passes into Kentucky and Tennessee. Still others continued south and west into Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida. (Merlin C. and Eva M. Finnell.''Migration Trails of the Eastern United States, ''54.)
  
While later BMD columns had paid insertions, these early ones were regarded as news items of sufficient interest to be included at no cost.
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==== The Appalachian Barrier  ====
  
Some editors might not regard BMDs as worthy of space, and many newspapers would not include them. An alternative was for these bits of news to be incorporated into the social column or as news items.  
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The Appalachian Mountain system extended some 1,300 miles along the colonial backcountry, from New Hampshire’s White Mountains south to the highlands of Georgia.  
  
'''''Finding them requires careful reading of the social columns'''''.  
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:The great mountain range called the Appalachians could not be seen from the Atlantic shore and few people even knew it existed before 1675. By 1700 explorers and traders had traveled far enough west to tell stories of the magnificent mountains, but few along the eastern shore understood the role those mountains would play in western expansion.
  
=== Births  ===
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&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; Carrie Eldridge, ''An Atlas of Appalachian Trails to the Ohio River ''<br>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; (Huntington, WV: CDM Printing Inc., 1998).
  
Nineteenth century birth announcements are not very informative, but they do provide the basic information in the form:
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The “Great Migration” from England begun in 1629 brought so many people into the Massachusetts Bay Colony that the founding fathers encouraged new settlements, particularly in the valley along the Connecticut River. Due to the Appalachian mountain barrier and the Indian threat in that region, the New England frontier moved south before it headed west.
  
{| width="600" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="1" border="1"
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==== Breaking through the Mountain Barrier  ====
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| ''At the Branch, on Monday the 14th inst., Mrs. Wm. Beach, of a son. ('''Brockville Gazette''', 25 September 1829)''
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|}
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{| width="600" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="1" border="1"
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The British colonials had found several routes that would take them across the Appalachians. But until the end of the French and Indian War, movement across the mountains was minimal due to the threat of powerful Indian tribes there who operated with French allies from Louisiana and Canada to guard the interior. In the North, a good route followed the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers, then on through central New York from Fort Stanwix beyond Oneida to Lake Erie. From there they could follow the Great Lakes to a river and portage to the Ohio-Mississippi system. As late as 1800, however, unfriendly Iroquois Indians were a barrier to this route.
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| ''Eaton—In Toronto on the 7th inst., the wife of Mr. T. Eaton, of a son. ('''St. Mary’s Argus''', 18 August 1881'')
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|}
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This at least provides the birthdate and place, and the father’s name. The form is somewhat incomprehensible, but the part omitted for reasons of space is ‘was delivered’ as in ‘was delivered of a son’. These very brief announcements provided the news and nothing more was considered necessary. The era’s view that the woman’s contribution was peripheral is obvious in the format. This family is indeed that of Timothy Eaton of department store fame.  
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Farther south in Pennsylvania, pioneers could choose from two routes. The Kittanning Path ran along the Susquehanna and Juniata Rivers to the mountains, crossing the Appalachian to Fort Pitt (Pittsburgh) on the Ohio River. Because of the need to transport General John Forbes’ wagon trains during the French and Indian War, the Forbes Road opened in 1758 in southern Pennsylvania, between Philadelphia and Fort Pitt at the Forks of the Ohio. Today, the Pennsylvania Railroad follows the northern route, and the Pennsylvania Turnpike follows much of the southern route.  
  
Stillbirths were treated as ''births'' and not as ''deaths'' as they are now. The birth announcement would usually read as for a live birth, with the addition in parentheses (Stillborn). In the present day, stillbirths are presented in the deaths column with the usual account of surviving family members and funeral services, which are often private and conducted at the graveside. Many stillbirths were not recorded in the newspaper.  
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Along the Potomac River was Braddock’s Road which opened in 1755 as a military road. It followed the Potomac as far as the town of Cumberland, and then cut overland to Fort Pitt. The Braddock Road was the first road to cross the Appalachian Mountain range and to allow for the first time horse-drawn wagons to travel into the West. The later National (or Cumberland) Road followed this old trail west to Cumberland and then branched out toward Wheeling.  
  
In the past, genealogists omitted reference to a stillbirth from the official record. Now, it is more likely they will want to include mention of the event in a narrative family history, although genealogies or generational charts may still omit them. For many decades after the turn of the 20th century, birth announcements were less common in newspapers. It is not clear why, although newspapers had begun charging for publication, which may be why, or it may be that people regarded the event as more private and the sending of printed or hand-lettered birth announcements through the mail had become the usual form. After World War II, there was a return to public announcement of births, which continues now.  
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Settlers were particularly attracted to the Fort Pitt region, moving west in large numbers during the 1769 and 1770 travel seasons. Initially, about 5000 made the mountain crossing into this first permanent British settlement west of the Allegheny front in present United States; within a few years, the figure went up to around 30,000.  
  
{| width="600" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="1" border="1"
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Farther south was the Cumberland Gap which cut through the main range of mountains in the extreme southwestern corner of present Virginia. By this route, pioneers migrated to the headwaters of the Ohio from the western edge of Virginia and North Carolina on into eastern Tennessee. A permanent settlement was located in the Watauga country in the early 1770s. This road was much used in the Revolutionary days and for some years after. In time its importance decreased, probably due to the absence of navigable rivers and to the existence of other mountains to the east and west; consequently no important settlements developed at either end of the gap.<br>
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| ''Bennett: To Mr. &amp; Mrs. Robert C. Bennett (née Maureen Constance Drummond), 6074 Argyle St., at Grace Hospital on April 19th, 1947, a son, Robert Lindsay. ('''Vancouver Province''', 25 April 1947''')'''''
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|}
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The full name of both parents now appears, including the mother’s maiden name, address, birthplace (hospital), date and baby’s name. The baby’s name may not be published if the parents have not made a final decision as yet.
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________________________________________________________________<br>
  
It has taken a full week for the announcement to be published, in which time, presumably, all the close friends have already been informed, so the newspaper item may be regarded as a formality, or to include those outside the immediate family circle.
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Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course {{US Migration Patterns}} offered by [http://www.genealogicalstudies.com The National Institute for Genealogical Studies]. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at [mailto:wiki@genealogicalstudies.com wiki@genealogicalstudies.com] <br>
 
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The address is included so that people might not confuse the family with any other Robert Bennetts, and to make it easier to send congratulatory messages. This form of birth announcement is much more useful genealogically than the brief nineteenth century version.
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The current-day birth announcement will probably not include an address (fearing an avalanche of commercial importuning) but the other additions of 1947 will still be there. Other possibilities are the names of older siblings (‘a brother for Joel’) and happy grandparents or great-grandparents (‘a seventh grandchild for James and Hannah McKee’). Birth weights, of undoubted genealogical interest, may be given also.
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The most recent change in birth announcements deals with parents who have different last names, either because they are not legally married or because the mother has retained her birth name.
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{| width="600" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="1" border="1"
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|-
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| ''Abicht-Warder: Walter and Hilary are pleased to announce the birth of Alexander Harry Lewis Abicht on August 11, 2002, at Kingston General Hospital. Alexander is the grandson of Marshall and Betty Warder of Kingston and Harry and Helga Abicht of Waterloo. ('''Globe and Mail''', 24 August 2002)''
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|}
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It is helpful that the baby’s last name is clearly stated (which it often is not), since in modern families there may be some uncertainty on the subject. The residences of the grandparents will make some future genealogist happy, since it makes tracing them easier.
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It might be useful to consider the newspaper birth announcement as genealogical evidence. Many jurisdictions, particularly in Canada, restrict access to birth certificates. Will a newspaper birth announcement do in place of a certificate? Since it is contemporaneous with the event, and probably placed in the newspaper by the parents, it should have a high evidential value. In addition, a scanned copy of the newspaper birth announcement is a good illustration for the family history.
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_________________________________________________________ <br>
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Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course {{Canadian Newspapers Course}} offered by [http://www.genealogicalstudies.com The National Institute for Genealogical Studies]. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at [mailto:wiki@genealogicalstudies.com wiki@genealogicalstudies.com]  
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We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.  
 
We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.  
  
[[Category:Canada]]
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[[Category:United_States]]

Latest revision as of 20:15, 5 August 2013

 
National Institute for Genealogical StudiesNational Institute for Genealogical Studies.gif

The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course United States Migration Patterns  by Beverly Whitaker, CG. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).

Settlements in the Early Western Frontier

Westward movement was delayed because of a combination of factors—mountain barriers, the threat of Indian attack, as well as the other risks of frontier life. Traders were well acquainted with the land beyond the mountains, and explorers ventured out, returning to praise the land and its possibilities.

In New York, settlement spread into the Hudson River Valley, especially after the British took over the colony in 1664 because they cultivated friendly relationships with the Iroquois Indians. Protestant Germans were among those who settled along the Hudson River and subsequently moved into the western fringes of the Middle Colonies. By the time of the Revolutionary War, the landed Dutch aristocracy strengthened its foothold in the Hudson and Mohawk River Valleys.

Early New Englanders established settlements north and south along the river valleys of the Berkshires and other mountains, filling the valleys of the Delaware, Susquehanna, Hudson, Mohawk, and upper Connecticut and Merrimac. They continued their system of group allotments resulting in individual acreage assignments by town proprietors. Later migrations went west along trails and roads.

New Englanders moving on west from the Hudson River either crossed New York to the Ohio country or moved into the northeastern part of Pennsylvania to settle. Similarly, those from the middle colonies moved across lower Pennsylvania to Pittsburgh and on to the Ohio Valley, or moved south into Maryland and Virginia. (Merlin C. and Eva M. Finnell. Migration Trails of the Eastern United States, 54.)

The Great Shenandoah Valley linked the northern and southern portions of the area sometimes called the “Old West.” In the North, this inland region extended across Pennsylvania and New York as far as Lake Champlain. In the South, the “Fall Line” formed the separation between the Tidewater settlements and the Piedmont which sloped gradually upward towards the Appalachian Mountains. Through the Valley, the Germans and the Scots-Irish migrated in unending procession.

Southern settlers from Maryland and Virginia moved along the Potomac River north and west to Fort Cumberland and then to Pittsburgh and Ohio country. Alternately, some went through mountain passes into Kentucky and Tennessee. Still others continued south and west into Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida. (Merlin C. and Eva M. Finnell.Migration Trails of the Eastern United States, 54.)

The Appalachian Barrier

The Appalachian Mountain system extended some 1,300 miles along the colonial backcountry, from New Hampshire’s White Mountains south to the highlands of Georgia.

The great mountain range called the Appalachians could not be seen from the Atlantic shore and few people even knew it existed before 1675. By 1700 explorers and traders had traveled far enough west to tell stories of the magnificent mountains, but few along the eastern shore understood the role those mountains would play in western expansion.

                                                Carrie Eldridge, An Atlas of Appalachian Trails to the Ohio River
                                                                              (Huntington, WV: CDM Printing Inc., 1998).

The “Great Migration” from England begun in 1629 brought so many people into the Massachusetts Bay Colony that the founding fathers encouraged new settlements, particularly in the valley along the Connecticut River. Due to the Appalachian mountain barrier and the Indian threat in that region, the New England frontier moved south before it headed west.

Breaking through the Mountain Barrier

The British colonials had found several routes that would take them across the Appalachians. But until the end of the French and Indian War, movement across the mountains was minimal due to the threat of powerful Indian tribes there who operated with French allies from Louisiana and Canada to guard the interior. In the North, a good route followed the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers, then on through central New York from Fort Stanwix beyond Oneida to Lake Erie. From there they could follow the Great Lakes to a river and portage to the Ohio-Mississippi system. As late as 1800, however, unfriendly Iroquois Indians were a barrier to this route.

Farther south in Pennsylvania, pioneers could choose from two routes. The Kittanning Path ran along the Susquehanna and Juniata Rivers to the mountains, crossing the Appalachian to Fort Pitt (Pittsburgh) on the Ohio River. Because of the need to transport General John Forbes’ wagon trains during the French and Indian War, the Forbes Road opened in 1758 in southern Pennsylvania, between Philadelphia and Fort Pitt at the Forks of the Ohio. Today, the Pennsylvania Railroad follows the northern route, and the Pennsylvania Turnpike follows much of the southern route.

Along the Potomac River was Braddock’s Road which opened in 1755 as a military road. It followed the Potomac as far as the town of Cumberland, and then cut overland to Fort Pitt. The Braddock Road was the first road to cross the Appalachian Mountain range and to allow for the first time horse-drawn wagons to travel into the West. The later National (or Cumberland) Road followed this old trail west to Cumberland and then branched out toward Wheeling.

Settlers were particularly attracted to the Fort Pitt region, moving west in large numbers during the 1769 and 1770 travel seasons. Initially, about 5000 made the mountain crossing into this first permanent British settlement west of the Allegheny front in present United States; within a few years, the figure went up to around 30,000.

Farther south was the Cumberland Gap which cut through the main range of mountains in the extreme southwestern corner of present Virginia. By this route, pioneers migrated to the headwaters of the Ohio from the western edge of Virginia and North Carolina on into eastern Tennessee. A permanent settlement was located in the Watauga country in the early 1770s. This road was much used in the Revolutionary days and for some years after. In time its importance decreased, probably due to the absence of navigable rivers and to the existence of other mountains to the east and west; consequently no important settlements developed at either end of the gap.

________________________________________________________________

Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course United States Migration Patterns offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at wiki@genealogicalstudies.com

We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.

  • This page was last modified on 5 August 2013, at 20:15.
  • This page has been accessed 402 times.