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We all have a story to tell. Some speak louder than others. Listen closely to hear the stories of our ancestors echoing under our footsteps. They are the authors. We are the keepers.

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Remember Microfilm? Obituary of Charles Judson, age 3 (1879)

Obituary of Charles Raymond Judson died 26 Dec 1879. Dayton Daily Journal, Dayton, Ohio. Saturday Morning, December 27, 1879 Vol. XVII. NO. 130 Column Six. iPhone Digital Photograph of a Microfilm reader by Herstoryan, Houston, Texas. 2010 

A few weeks back I posted A Moment to Remember: Charles and Nellie Judson- a story about the death of two siblings just days apart. Having died before county death records, I turned to newspaper research to try and piece together their story.

Here's what I did:
1. Googled Ohio State Archives
2. Landed on the Ohio Historical Society State Archives page
3. Clicked on the Newspaper Index link under the Digitization Projects section
4. Clicked on the Ohio Newspaper Index Search link under the Microfilm HOLDINGS List
5. Searched by County of Publication narrowing by date of death
6. BINGO! There it is: Roll 37403 Microfilm of the Dayton Journal, Dayton, Ohio from July1, 1879 to Dec 31, 1879.
7. Clicked on the Interlibrary Loan link (thinking "that's neat, never done that before")
8. Found out that my local library needed to place the request --> on to my local library's website
9. Filled in the online Interlibrary Loan Request Form
10. Went back to daily life....
11. SURPRISE! Got a call from my local genealogy department saying my microfilm had arrived! [Happy Dance!!!]
12. Relearned how to use a microfilm reader since most of my research over the past 10 years has been digital
13. Scrolled to the newspaper page dated around the time of death and held my breath...
14. Well, there it was - imagine that! I did it - NO index, NO digital search engine, just good ol' deductive reasoning.

Then reality sank in... wow, there is really something stirring about staring at the actual newspaper page that announced the death of a relative. This is real. This is personal.

I was able to read the other headlines on the page. These are the stories they read. This is the life they lead. For a moment I walked in their footsteps.

On column six it read,
DIED - JUDSON - Friday evening, December 26th, Charlie Raymond, son of Lewis and Ella Judson, aged 3 years, 4 months, and 7 days.  Funeral from the residence, corner Brown and Hess, Sunday Dec 28th, at 2 p.m.
Alas, the cause of death was not listed, but another gem lay buried there instead - the location of the family's home!

Do you see it? There on the corner, could that be the family home still standing??? My luck would put the house across the street where Oregon Park now stands. Hmmmm, now what do I do? How do I find out if Lewis and Helen "Ella" Judson lived in that house?

 [To be continued...]

Oh, and I ordered a second microfilm that should contain Nellie's obituary. She died 10 days later on 05 Jan 1880. Maybe hers will have the cause of death listed?


  1. Excellent, my dear Watson! Better yet, Sherlock. I love looking at, reading, and touching (with gloves, of course), walking thru, and everything else the things that our ancestors read, touched (without gloves, of course), walked thru, and everything else. It's like the closest thing we can get to actually meeting them in person [seances aside, of course].

    Awesome Work!

  2. Goodness Sakes! I do learn so much from the nitty gritty genealogy work you do. I have never gone this route, but with your road map, I am ready to pursue, proceed, persevere.

  3. Excellent post. The research nerd in me loves how you listed the process for finding and getting the record. I can't wait to read the next installment.

  4. You inspired me to search for my great-great-great grandmother's obituary in Salt Lake City newspapers. I have been sitting on that kind of research because I thought it would basically be a PITA. Since she is my only direct ancestor on this side of the Atlantic, I figured why hurry? Well, I decided to go for it, and I managed to find Utah archived newspapers online (thank you Google), and in about 2 minutes (literally) I was able to read her death announcement. Holy Cow!!! The site has a great search engine. It didn't say how she died, but it was still great to read. Expect to see a post like yours on my site in the next day or two. Good luck with finding more gold!

  5. I have awarded you the Bloggers Best Friend Award. Please pick it up at:




  6. You've already accomplished this week's GeneaBloggers '52 weeks' assignment! Good Work.

  7. Yay, someone else with roots in Dayton Ohio! I've added your blog to my (ever-growing) Google Reader list --