Tuesday, December 20, 2022

With a Little Help From our Friends


Recently, a friendly little emailed note from fellow blogger Charlie Purvis of Carolina Family Roots reminded me of another resource I could check in my quest to discover more about the watch-making Eggert family of Brooklyn, New York: local newspapers.

In the case of researching family roots from the New York City area, the usual outsider's thoughts might go to well-known newspaper titles such as The New York Times. However, unless your New York City family moved in circles of high society, don't expect to find their names in the obituaries and society news of such a publication. That is not the kind of paper which will print chatty stories about the out-of-town visitors who came to Sunday dinner with your Uncle Elmer and Aunt Sadie.

New Yorkers know there are other papers to be checked which will provide far more material for a family history search. In the case of my Eggerts and their chronometer business in Brooklyn, the place to look would be The Brooklyn Daily Eagle

The good news about that newspaper is that various organizations have worked to make that digitized newspaper collection free to access online. Over the years, I have been able to search that collection through portals at the New York Public Library and the Brooklyn Public Library. Now, apparently, the way to access it—still for free, I presume—is through a partnership between the Brooklyn Public Library and Newspapers.com through a portal which they have dubbed the Brooklyn Newsstand.

The Brooklyn Newsstand doesn't just provide access to that one publication. Besides The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, this website grants access to a total of forty four newspaper titles from the early 1800s through the late 1990s. Search options allow me to look for entries specific to certain Eggert businessmen, or to the Eggert surname in general.

With access such as this, I can wander through entries on both the business dealings and social connections of a wide number of Eggert relatives. And this was exactly what Charlie Purvis had sent me. With a brief note to say he found this in his free time, he sent me a clipping from the collection outlining who attended a wedding in late September of 1882. The event was held in the parlor of the mother of the bride, and with such an intimate setting, the paper was able to print names of the entire guest list, including—you guessed it—several family members of our clock-making businessman, Charles B. Eggert.

For exploring the F.A.N. Club of an ancestor—Friends, Associates, and Neighbors—you can't beat the accessibility of some newspaper social columns. The Brooklyn Eagle, at least in the case of our Eggert family, did not disappoint. Thanks, Charlie, for the timely reminder. It is possible to learn much from wandering through the pages of our ancestors' local newspapers. Having a capable search function to help us navigate those digitized pages makes the journey even more rewarding.   


  1. I use as many newspaper databases as possible even when they contain the same newspaper titles. Sometimes the collections vary. Sometimes the search engines pull up different results (why, why, why?!!!). Anyway, I also like to use Old Fulton NY Postcards. My search for "Charles B. Eggert" pulled up a death notice for his daughter Ada, which included her sister's married name: Mrs. W. B. Faunce. Old Fulton's link: https://www.fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html

    1. It's interesting to see how different sites and their search capabilities can yield such varied results. Sometimes, it depends on the titles the company carries. Sometimes, it even comes down to the dates of issues kept in one collection. I once discovered that the only place I could find the Colorado Springs newspaper was through Fold3, which definitely warranted a subscription, at least for that research project!

      Thanks for mentioning Ada's sister's married name. I did find that through the Newspapers.com website as well, but the Old Fulton site has been well worth the visit, time and time again. Sure can't beat the price, either!


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