Roots to the Past

Diana Tibert
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'Roots to the Past' on the hunt for old newspapers

Many of us read a daily or weekly newspaper. Afterwards, we toss them into the recycling bin without a second thought.

MILFORD Many of us read a daily or weekly newspaper. Afterwards, we toss them into the recycling bin without a second thought. That is until one begins researching their family tree. Then, we clip local stories, obituaries, birth and wedding announcements and everything with a connection to the family.

Many genealogists wish our ancestors had also taken an interest in saving newspaper clippings.

However, for the most part they didnt. But dont despair. We can still read newspapers published long before we were born. We just need to know where to find them.

The first newspaper printed in Canada was the Halifax Gazette. Its first issue, consisting of one piece of paper printed on both sides, was sold on March 23, 1752. Without much news in Halifax, the paper contained news from Britain, Europe, New England and other British colonies.

Several deaths were mentioned in this newspaper, including that of The Commandant of his Majestys Forces, Captain Collier at Chignecto, who died in early March. The paper began regularly publishing local births, marriages and deaths in 1769.

A detailed history and an image of the Halifax Gazette is found on the Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management (NSARM) website (http://www

Since 1752, hundreds of newspapers have been published in Canada. The National Library of Canada website ( contains a list of the newspapers archived on microfilm.

This list does not contain the publication runs of the newspapers, but the range of dates archived.

Genealogical Research in Nova Scotia by Terrence M. Punch is a good reference for newspapers, publication dates and what you might find in them.

Among newspapers mentioned in Punchs book are The (Halifax) Journal (1781 - 1799; 1810 - 1854), The Weekly Chronicle (1786-1826) The Nova Scotian (1824 - 1926) and The Morning Chronicle (1844 - 1949).

Over the years, at least four newspapers were published in Amherst. They include Amherst Gazette, Daily News, Maritime Sentinel and North Shore Advocate and The Citizen.

NSARM at 6016 University Avenue, Halifax, local libraries and some museums and universities are places to find old newspapers.

Publications containing vitals from selected years and newspapers are available from the Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia (http://www. 3045 Robie St., Suite 222, Halifax.

Although many of us seek obituaries in old newspapers, we are often surprised by the lack of information contained within them.

Sometimes only the death date, name and place of residence were given.

Most irksome is the fact women were seldom mentioned by name.

For example, women were referred to as Mrs. John Smith, daughter of Mr. Parker, relic of Mr. Crouse or widow of Mr. James MacDonald.

Sometimes, obituaries contained errors.

Besides human errors, the person who provided the details might not know the facts.

Individuals might be intentionally or unintentionally excluded from the obituary.

Researchers File

Seeking information on Jane McGrifith (1775-1850).

Jane married Henry Greene. They had a son, Hugh. At one time, they lived at Shubenacadie, NS.

Interested in connecting with McGrifith researchers from NS, NB and NL. Contact: Nancy Greene, 114 Joffre Street, Dartmouth, NS B2Y 3C9; email:

Editors Note - Diana Lynn Tibert is a freelance writer living at Milford, NS. Submit genealogy queries by writing: RR#1 Milford, Hants County, NS B0N 1Y0; or email:

Organizations: Roots, Halifax Gazette, Nova Scotia Archives Records Management Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia National Library of Canada The Nova Scotian Amherst Gazette Daily News

Geographic location: Canada, Britain, Europe New England Nova Scotia Amherst North Shore 114 Joffre Street Dartmouth Hants County

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