Maine 1861… or is it ?

So you found the marriage announcement or you found the birth of a family member in the old Maine newspaper.


Or you do a happy dance because you finally found that obit for the elusive Uncle Gilman.


You are ready to post your findings on FaceBook, to tell the world of your great find… Then you notice the date on the newspaper title…



Uncle Gilman didn’t die in 1861.

You bring up the whole newspaper page


And zoom in on the top of the front page.


On the front page you notice that there is no date after Wednesday, July. You also notice a few clues such as the 1861 date is when the newspaper was established and you see a mention of President Cleveland. You also see a very small note with a date 1887.

You look at the top of the next page




You see a date of July 13, 87 and also see a mention of the Gov. so you do a Wiki search for Gov. Bodwell and find his dates.


You look up the president of the United States Grover Cleveland on Wiki to check his dates.


You finally conclude that the newspaper is NOT 1861 but 1887. It is also not April 20 but instead July 13.

The people who put together the Google News Archive photocopy of the newspaper labeled it wrong. The optical scanner probably saw the “Established date” and used it as the label for the photocopy.


You are now sure of the dates and can announce your “great” find to the FaceBook genealogy group and fill in your family tree data. You also add the correct date to any of your newspaper screen prints 1887 so that the future generation will not have to hunt for the correct date when they are looking at your family tree.


Always check the dates with news information in the newspaper.

The newspaper labeled 1861 should not have news of the future 1887.

Another example is a newspaper labeled 1857 should not have an ad for an large fin automobile. Keep your eyes peeled for clues.

I hope this posting has given you some good information on how to use the old newspaper collections and once again reinforced the notion of checking and re-checking dates.

Thank You.

Jose from Clarkston, Michigan

links: for blog newspaper with wrong dates —

Lewiston Evening Journal
Joseph R Bodwell – Gov of Maine
Grover Cleveland – President


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