old newspaper clipping 1813
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By Lincoln Thurber
Atheneum Reference Librarian

One of Nantucket Atheneum’s hidden gems, is America’s GenealogyBank.   -a primary resource genealogy website with records from the U.S. newspapers, historic books, and government documents. GenealogyBank is an excellent resource if you’re looking for historical/biographical content to fill-in information on your family tree. NewsBank has digitized a sizable collection of historical documents (1789-1994) and books (1749-1900); the vast majority of their records are from early newspapers – hence the name. If you’re looking for ‘a family tree maker’ or online groups, this is not the site for you. However, GenealogyBank.com is a primary resource treasure, they offer good search options to their primary sources.

1837 news clipping of random eventsThrough basic name search or advanced search options, genealogists can find and browse digital images of obituaries, marriage notices, birth announcements, casualty lists, military and government documents, and other essential primary sources. Also, NewsBank’s GenealogyBank, provides the full text of modern U.S. newspaper obituaries and death notices, as well as enhanced Social Security Death Index (SSDI) records.

One of the more useful things newspaper provide are Obituaries. They, unlike any other resource, they can add incredible dimension to an individual’s family history research. Obituaries contain a wealth of information including facts and details that help capture the legacy of a person who might just be a name on your genealogy tree. Obituaries have the unique power to both tell a story and enable individuals to learn more about their family relationships.

Scrimshaw of whaling sceneWhile the Atheneum has many databases for news and views, the GenealogyBank is a voluminous site to try for recently deceased connections.  Those ancestors who’ve been “hiding” from you might turn out to be, well, like money in the bank.