The 49ers’

Let me invite you to explore a remarkable new series of newspaper extracts from the State of Missouri.  Kenneth E. Weant has compiled a multi-volume work based on the newspaper holdings of the State Historical Society of Missouri, 1020 Lowry Street, Columbia MO 65201-7298:

The 49ers’! As Reported by  ______________ (name of newspaper), 6 volumes published 2009-2010.  And hopefully more volumes are on the way.

Weant has transcribed articles, ads, letters to the editor, obituaries, and other items that describe the rush to the gold fields–the flow of people across the US during 1847-1856 excited everyone.  Who was going and how they got there sold papers.

Inasmuch as the trails west went through Missouri, the newspapers published there contain information that is especially rich in detail.  And the Newspaper Index, originally on cards, kept by the State Historical society of Missouri in Columbia can expand your knowledge of what happened to these 49ers’–did they return home in glory?  Or did they stay in California?

What happened to their families?  Did they, too, emigrate to the West?  Were they part of an organized troup or did they travel alone?

The reality of your ancestors’ lives are disclosed in what they wrote themselves!  Author Weant has included the whole article or piece.  And indexed every name to get you started.

Can you really document Gold Rush ancestors in the news?

Consider Dr. John Kelly:  A tradition that Dr. John Kelly left New York and went to the Gold Fields in 1848 because doctors were especially needed led to a search of newspapers.  Since in the late 1960’s, few were indexed and even fewer were available on microfilm.  The search was difficult.

Seems Dr. Kelly arrived, doctored many patients, saved a lot of lives, then returned home just in time to be picked up in New York by the 1860 census enumerator.  His reality can be traced in New York and Gold country papers.  There are even traces of him going through Salt Lake City.  We did not search the newspapers of Missouri, so I can hardly wait to check–did his journey westward earn a notice in Missouri papers too?

Check your local research libraries for this new, indexed series as reported by those who lived the story.  Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle

PS  And stay tuned for more information on where and how to search newspapers–it is easier than ever before to find your ancestor in the newspaper.



This entry was posted in Blog. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply