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Ethnic Newspapers

Ethnic newspapers can give clues to the culture and family ties that followed your ancestors as they set off to make a new start as immigrants in a new land.

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Type: Article
Resource: GenWeekly
Prepared by: Mindy Lunt
Word Count: 377 (approx.)
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Any time you have an ancestor who immigrates to another country and settles with others of the same nationality, you will want to remember to look for ethnic newspapers. These can give clues to the culture and family ties that followed these people as they set off to make a new start.

When people immigrated in any country, they often sought to live with others of the same nationality. This made it easier for them to adjust to a new language and customs, while enabling them to keep their own alive and strong.

One tool that helped keep their cultural traditions alive, and to connect the people living in different settlements, was to print a newspaper, usually in the native tongue. These papers would often cover more than one community.

Although having the paper in the native tongue served to strengthen the ethnic community, today it can serve as a stumbling block to those who wish to read its contents. It is well worth the work, though. Interspersed among the news items, it was common to find advertisements seeking family or friends who had come earlier on. These will often tell where in the native country the family was from, as that was used to help identify the person. This information could be just the link you need in figuring out exactly where in the homeland the family was from.

In addition to these ads, you can also find the expected announcements of birth, marriages, and deaths, each containing valuable information for a genealogist.

When it comes to finding these papers, you will want to check with large libraries in the area your immigrant ancestors settled. Many times the university library of a state with a high ethnic concentration will have the newspapers that were published in their holdings. You can also check with historical societies in the area. Remember, too, that a library or archive that specializes in a particular ethnic group, no matter where it is located, will have had an interest in any publications put forth by those people, so the newspapers could be two states away. Check for those as well.

Wherever you are able to find them, enjoy the opportunity to learn of the rich cultural traditions our immigrant ancestors enjoyed even after settling in a strange country.

Source Information: GenWeekly, New Providence, NJ, USA: Genealogy Today LLC, 2005.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Genealogy Today LLC.

*Effective May 2010, GenWeekly articles that are more than five years old no longer require a subscription for full access.

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