Wednesday, August 30, 2017

An Unexpected Value to Newspaper Research

I love to do casual newspaper research with my morning coffee, and most of the time I don't find anything particularly interesting.  This time, however, my casual research turned into a serious, hard-core data hunt.

I was hoping for an obituary for Dr. F. A. Seemann, and uncle in my husband's family who was born in Iowa, and practiced medicine in Dubuque and Sioux City before moving to California to finish out his career.  I didn't find that obituary, but imagine my surprise when I saw newspaper advertisements for Dr. Seemann's practice - in Detroit, Michigan!

The newspapers were dated 1903 and 1904, which was a little curious as I thought I had a fairly accurate and detailed timeline for his life.  But upon checking my database closer, I discovered a two-year hole in that timeline, between his appearance in a directory in Dubuque, Iowa in 1903 and his appearance in the Iowa State Census in Sioux City in 1905.  

These advertisements provide us not only with the knowledge that he was in Detroit, and a specific location for his office, but also a new time and place in which to do more research.  The ads themselves are highly entertaining, and bordering on outrageous.

Look for a few of them in a future post.


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