Mystery Monday: Solving mysteries in old newspapers

It breaks my heart to know people suffer for years wanting to know a bit of information when the answer could be as close as a visit to the local newspaper office.  My brother in law, Dennis (1942-1993), I am told, spent his whole life wondering who his 'real' father was. His mother had remarried and her 2nd husband had adopted him.  His mother refused to discuss the issue.   On a recent visit to Julesburg, Colorado, the answer was found in the newspaper article publicizing his birth:
"Mr. and Mrs. Tracy Butler are the parents of a son born Friday.....".  The answer had been there all along.

Today I wanted to spend some time reseaching other mysteries in old newspapers and was trying to find a source for old issues of the Des Moines Register or the Des Moines Tribune when I came across this  story in a Lewiston, Maine newspaper about a Des Moines Register article from 1932:
The article title is "Newswoman gets surprise in search for past" and details the attempts by Dix Hollobaugh as she researched proof of her birth in order to obtain a passport.  The story details how a woman dropped her baby off at the YWCA in Des Moines, Iowa.  Again, answers found in the local paper! 

Now, if I could just find those old newspapers from Des Moines online! 


  1. I love old newspapers, especially those I can find online - GenealogyBank, Chronicling America,, etc.

    A suggestion is to just enter what you're looking for in a search engine and see what you come up with. By doing this, I found that the Ocean City, New Jersey, Public Library has digitized some local newspapers from the 1920's and 1930's. I used a couple of images for a blog post at A Jewish Genealogy Journey.

    Good luck!


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