To me, part of the fun of genealogy is pouring over old newspapers. Besides finding birth, death, engagement and wedding information, it is just plain entertaining--seeing the advertisements and getting a feeling for the time and place in which an ancestor lived.
It used to be that these newspaper searches were carried out in libraries, using a microfilm reader. Other than some obituaries, most of the microfilmed newspapers were not indexed, so searches could go on and on for hours or days.
Now that so many newspapers are scanned and available online with fairly good indexing, you can read the newspapers in the comfort of your own home whenever you want.
With my trusty laptop, I've found some interesting obituaries for my husband's ancestors, while sitting in my Laz-E-Boy and watching mindless TV. (at Ancestry.com) When I think of the hundreds of hours I spent looking for my family obits at the Family History and Salt Lake City libraries, it boggles my mind.
My husband's ancestors settled on the Delmarva peninsula (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia) in the 1600s. His parents were both born in Delaware and finding genealogical records has been difficult. Fortunately, I've had good luck recently searching the Denton Journal and the Salisbury Times. Not only have I found obituaries, but I have also found articles with descriptions of weddings and items telling about ancestors' church and community activities.
Obituaries and wedding articles are crucial, because they usually list the names of relatives.
It has opened up a whole new world. I feel like I'm getting to know my husband's family member who have long been dead.
Published in the Denton Journal, I've found moving tributes to loved ones who have passed on. Where else would you find such prose or poetry? For instance, this homage for an ancestor was recently found.
Memoriam in Denton Journal, (Denton, Maryland)
4 February 1911
"Days of Sadness come o'er us,
Tears of sorrow silently flow
Fond memory keeps our father near us,
Though Heaven claimed him two years ago.
Down in our hearts we know it best,
That our dear father should be at rest,
For anxious cares reach never
To the mansions of the blest"
Besides the obituary, the following tributes were found for Mr. John W. Wood, a relative:
17 Jan 1920 Denton Journal
Mr. John W. Wood, a well-known citizen of Henderson, died on Saturday morning of paralysis, aged seventy-two years. His death came as a shock to his many friends. Although in poor health a long time his death was unexpected at this time. Mrs. Wood and four children survive. The children are Mrs. Clayton Melvin, Henderson; Mrs. Alfred Carter, Henderson; Mrs. R. H. Sylvester, Goldsboro; Miss Bertie Wood, Goldsboro; and two brothers, Rev. G. E. Wood, of Girdletree, and Mr. James T. Wood, of Easton; and two sisters, Mrs. Laura Draper, of Annapolis, and Mrs. Katherine Butler, of Denton.
6 Mar 1920 Denton Journal
In sad but loving remembrance of my dear husband, John W. Wood, who departed this life January 10th, 1920.
It's sad that one we cherish
Should be taken from our Home,
But the joys that do not perish
Live in Memory alone.
All the years we've spent together,
All the happy, golden hours,
Shall be cherished in remembrance.
Rest, dear husband, thy work is o'er;
Thy willing hands will toil no more.
A faithful husband, true and kind,
A better father you could not find.
---By his loving wife, Mrs. J. W. Wood
8 Jan 1921 Denton Journal
In sad bur loving remembrance of my dear father, John W. Wood, who departed this life one year ago, January 10th, 1920.
A sad year with all its changes,
Since death strangely bade us part,
But, dear father, all these changes
Cannot take you from my heart.
We cannot understand why we must part
From those we love so dear;
But God, who doeth all things well,
Will some day make it clear.
---By his Loving Daughter, Bertie O. Wood
Don't forget about newspapers when you're doing research. They are a rich, vital, fascinating source of family information.