Sunday, September 15, 2019

Sometimes You Just Get Lucky

Frequently you search for years and years putting together information on the members of a particular ancestral line.  You work hard and spend hours researching, writing letters, visiting research facilities and doing more research only to find a rather extensive family history right there in a local newspaper!  You just have to laugh. 

This time when I was searching in I was looking for my maternal 3rd great-grandfather Marvin Milton Coolbaugh (1821-1879).  I started by searching from 'M Coolbaugh' and found one article about his wedding anniversary.  Then I decided to search by the years '1820-1900' hoping maybe I’d find something on Marvin or his wife Betsey who lived until 1912.  Next,'I searched by 'Newspapers in Bradford County, PA'.  I selected The Bradford Star and just put in the family name ‘Coolbaugh’.  I decided not to limit myself by years.  This is what I found from The Bradford Star newspaper 9 July 1903:

 (click on image to enlarge)


After I realized the find I had, I wondered how closely this matches what I have already found?  Here is what I have:

  • My information about #1 William and his wife Sarah Johnson matches and it gives me some additional information about them and where they came from.
  • For #2 I have William Jr. as being married to Susannah Shoonmaker but I have also seen her name as Shoemaker.  This tells me where William and family moved to but does not mention my #3 Peter.
  • This account has Benjamin’s son Moses marrying Louisa Alden.  I have #4 Benjamin marrying Louisa Alden the daughter of Timothy Alden.  Hmmm…My research doesn’t match this and it’s through Louisa that I was able to prove my ancestral line to John and Priscilla Alden.  (See post General Society of Mayflower Descendants' Success!) I wonder where the information for the Newspaper article came from?  Who gave the information and what research was done to verify the information?  This article was published in 1903.  UGH!  Frustrating when the information doesn’t match.

So, I got lost for awhile in some more general ‘Coolbaugh’ searching while I thougth about what I should do about the inconsistency.  I then found in The Bradford Star on 23 July 1903:

YEA!! now I feel much better.  My research is still valid.  This ‘correction’ verifies what I have in that Benjamin Coolbaugh married Louisa Alden.  This correction also has my # 3 Peter along with #4 Benjamin.  My #5 Marvin is also in this correction, and the reason I started this search.
This ‘correction’ answers my question of where some of the information came from.  Thank-you to J. R. Coolbaugh!  I guess I need to determine how J.R. fits in to the family one day also.

As a result of this newspaper clipping I now have additional information (hints until proven) on members of additional lines of this large family and more research to do.  What a find this article is to my research!  How exciting to know that this family line was important enough in the history of the area that the family was mentioned in The History of Wysox Pioneer Families section of the County newspaper.  I think I need to look for some of my other 'pioneer families' in this column as well.  It definitely paid off for me not to limit my search to specific years and to keep searching and see what else might be out there in a ‘general’ search. 

If you have any corrections, additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,


  1. Great work!! I find the more I research the better I get at ferreting out information. I see that you are also very good at digging for that info. Newspapers continue to be one of my favorite resources for family information.

    1. Thank-you Diane! YEs, I can get lost for hours in Newspapers. Thank goodness we have them available for our research.