Here's an article that just came out:
Using personal announcement columns from old newspapers for genealogy research helps provide clues that may otherwise not exist.
Beaumont, TX (PRWEB) August 29, 2007 -- Genealogists and family tree enthusiasts have a new online tool to fill in the ancestral "gaps" that plague them. Many old small town newspapers have carried announcement columns that gave the day-to-day comings and goings of local citizens.
PersonalButPolite.com seeks to transcribe as many of these old columns as can be found and post them to the web. These transcriptions are searchable and are arranged by state. Quite a few transcriptions have been placed online to date.
Bob Lunt, owner and webmaster of the site, comments, "Many researchers tend to focus on census records, vital records, and passenger lists. These personal columns add a little colorful touch to their family tree record. They tell when an ancestor either left town or came to town, as well as why. Or if they were celebrating an event, it would be announced to the whole town in these columns."
Lunt stated, "In addition to this, it gives the researcher certain clues that they would possibly not have otherwise. If a researcher doesn't have a death certificate, cemetery record, or other proof of an ancestor's death, a personal announcement will show that this individual was at this location on this date...alive. They can then conclude that they died at some point afterward."
PersonalButPolite.com has new transcriptions being added daily. Lunt exhibited stacks and stacks of columns and folders of raw transcriptions on his desk.
"I add about ten transcriptions per day ... many times more than that!" Lunt reported. "I plan to add anniversary celebrations and family reunion reports."
PersonalButPolite.com gives a different but necessary facet to the art of family tree research. A regular visit to the site may be beneficial to a family history with only names and dates.