United States Public Announcements in Newspapers (National Institute)

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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 US: Newspaper Records  by Rhonda McClure. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).

Public Announcements

Public announcements can cover many different subjects. You will see many announcements from individuals who are in essence declaring bankruptcy, by applying to the court for the “benefit of the Insolvent laws.” These announcements usually include the date on which the hearing is set for the creditors to try and get some of what is owed to them.

For genealogists, while this type of announcement might prove important, two others that are especially useful are those identifying runaway slaves or indentured servants and those searching for relatives, usually the result of the relative having immigrated to America earlier.

$50 reward for mulatto woman, Jane, who absconded on Jul 9. – Lewis H. Machen, Wash City.
Daily National Intelligencer
August 12, 1815
Washington, DC

The announcements trying to find out what happened to a relative who emigrated before the newly arrived family, or those simply trying to reconnect with family members often include information about relatives and give details about immigration.

Some of these have been extracted and published in the multi-volume work edited by Ruth-Ann M. Harris and B. Emer O’Keefe, The Search for Missing Friends, Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in the Boston Pilot, published by New England Historic Genealogical Society.

OF WILLIAM, Christopher and Patrick REILLY, natives of Mullingar [co. Westmeath], who left Ireland in 1830, and were setup in business by their uncle Bartholemew Brady, in Philadelphia. Please address their only sister, Mary Reilly, care of C McDonnell, 29 Market street, Chicago, Illinois.

The Search for Missing Friends
(Boston: NEHGS, 1995), vol. 5, p. 247


Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course US: Newspaper Records 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

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