Another free local newspaper archives

Another newspaper relevant to the area of Michigan’s Franconian settlements has been recently digitized. The Tuscola County Advertiser is now available on-line, free, spanning the years 1868-1943. The digitization project is sponsored by the Caro (Michigan) Area District Library. Along with the Tuscola County Advertiser, they have also digitized many years of Caro High School yearbooks from 1922-2006. The newspaper and yearbook collection can be searched here.

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Caro Area District Library “Digital Collection” webpage; Caro Area District Library ( : 7 April 2016).

For other free digitized newspapers from Michigan’s Saginaw Valley and Thumb regions, see the posts “3 free local newspaper archives” and “More free local newspaper archives.”


German Emigration Notices

German government-sponsored newspapers often carried notices of intention to emigrate. These notices include the name of the emigrant, his or her place of residency, and occupation or status. Sometimes they contain additional information on the emigrant’s family. More and more German newspapers are being digitized and placed online.

1845 German newspaper emigration notices of several of the original settlers of Frankenmuth, Michigan.[1] Their town of origin as well as occupations or statuses are given.
This notice from 1845 contains the names and additional information on several of the original settlers of Frankenmuth, Michigan who came from Roßtall, Bavaria. It lists Martin Haspel, master weaver, with his wife and one child; Johann List, single journeyman carpenter; Johann Leonhard Bernthal (my second great-grandfather), single journeyman weaver; Johann Bierlein, single tenant farmer’s son; Kunigunda Bernthal, single wagon-maker’s daughter; and Anna Margaretha Walther, single ropemaker’s daughter.

1847 German newspaper emigration notice including the Johann Michael and Anna Sophia (Stern) Stern family of Brombach, Mittelfranken, Bavaria.[2] This notice provides the maiden names of the women emigrating with their husbands.
Another notice from 1847 includes the family of Johann Michael Stern (my third great-grandfather). It provides his residency as Brombach. It also provides the full name of his wife, including her maiden name. It states that Johann Michael was a Gütler, or smallholder/farmer, and that he was emigrating with his wife and four children.

1859 German newspaper emigration notice for the Georg Gugel family.[3] This notice provides full names and the birthdates of Georg’s children.
This notice for the Georg Gugel family who immigrated to Frankenmuth in 1859 is particularly valuable as it lists the full names of all of his children who are emigrating, as well as their birthdates.

Several websites include some of these newspapers where the emigration notices can be found including Google Books, Internet Archive, and Bavarica for papers specifically from Bavaria, Germany. These government-sponsored newspapers are usually titled “Intelligenzblatt” or “Amtsblatt.” Searching for one of these titles plus a locality (such as “Mittelfranken”) will return several results. Searching with the surname of interest may or may not return results; optical character recognition (OCR) is not perfect, and in my experience, even less-so with the Fraktur font used in these publications.

A helpful and amazing finding-aid for emigration notices published in newspapers in Mittelfranken, or Central Franconia, Bavaria from 1837-1874 was produced by the City of Gunzenhausen, Germany. Staff of the Frankenmuth Historical Association translated and compiled the information they provided. The finding-aid is published on the Saginaw (Michigan) Genealogy Society, Inc.’s website. This index includes not only immigrants to Frankenmuth and the surrounding Franconian colonies but throughout North America. Included in the index are the emigrant’s name, status and/or occupation, place of residency in Bavaria, North American destination when known, possible additional information on the emigrant’s birth or family, and, importantly, a reference to the newspaper where the notice can be found.

German newspapers are a great source of information on one’s ancestor’s immigration to North America, particularly when ships’ manifests can not be located or are extant. Emigration notices may hold the key to the ancestor’s village or town of origin, as well.

Reference Notes:

1. Königlich Bayerisches Intelligenzblatt für Mittelfranken: 1845 (Ansbach, Bayern: Brügel, 1845), 26 February 1845, cols. 361 & 62, item no. 8; digital images, Google Books ( : accessed 13 February 2016).

2. Königlich Bayerisches Intelligenzblatt für Mittelfranken (Ansbach, Bayern: Brügel, 1847), 24 February 1847, cols. 331 & 32, item no. 8; digital images, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Bavarica ( : accessed 13 February 2016).

3. Königlich Bayerisches Kreis-Amtsblatte von Mittelfranken 1859 (Ansbach, Bayern: Brügel, 1859), no. 4, 15 January 1859, cols. 60 & 61, item no. 5; digital images, Bayerische StattsBibliothek, Bavarica ( : accessed 17 February 2016).

Old News Beat : The Fourth of July, 100 Years Ago

Independence Day happenings in the lives of our “FrankenGen” ancestors, 1915:

Frankenmuth News header
“The Frankenmuth News” header, 08 July 1915. [1]

Annual Big Time at Birch Run

The annual celebration of July 4th and picnic was held in Smith’s grove at Birch Run. A local band and a number of special features made an enjoyable day. Among the sports, the relay races and the needle race were the most closely contested. The speakers were Clarence Hall and James Lempman of Detroit, and Rev. Scott, Jos. Winslow, M. L. Hadseil, and William McGregor of Birch Run. A ball game between the married and single men was a feature of the afternoon. The married men were the victor by a score of 6 to 5.[2]

Richville Hotel Destroyed by Fire

The large wooden hotel at Richville, known as the Richville house, owned by Jacob Raquet Jr of Saginaw and conducted by Fred Ranke, was burned to the ground Sunday [4 July] morning. Nearly all the furniture was destroyed. With hard work nearby buildings were saved and the total destruction of the little town averted.

Mr. Ranke awoke and smelled smoke and running out of the house found the roof and third story in flames. He got his family out and the piano and children’s bed, but all the rest went up in smoke. Help from Reese and the efforts of the town people saved the rest of the town from destruction.[3]

And the The Saginaw Daily News reported:

Saginaw Ready For The Fourth

Several events are scheduled for Sunday [4 July] afternoon, including the automobile races at the Saginaw Racing association half mile tracks, and the public outdoor meeting at Hoyt park, where it is expected Senator William Alden Smith and Congressman Joseph W. Fordney will make addresses. At the Auditorium The News’ war pictures will be shown in the afternoon with two performances in the evening…

Monday for Main Celebration

Monday, July 5, is to be celebrated as the main holiday by the general public, and it is for that day the small boy has loaded up with firecrackers and similar preparations. Of the events Monday the culmination will be the fireworks display at Hoyt park in the evening following the admirable custom of other years; this eliminates any reason for private fireworks and bringing all the Saginaw family together for one joyous demonstration, the actual work being in the hands of experts, assuring safety with pleasure. In the afternoon, the big attraction will be the Ringling Brothers’ circus out on Genesee Avenue, near the city limits. In fact, the circus is expected to be here Sunday all day and this will unquestionably draw large crowds to that vicinity, the arrival and tenting of a circus still being one of the most powerful magnets known.

Special value is being given to Independence day this year, by reason of the European war, bringing its perplexities to this country and emphasizing the need of true patriotism and true citizenship. July Fourth is the Americans’ day, and all over the land the spirit of Americans is to see to it that it brings its lessons to all peoples living under the Stars and Stripes. The double holiday calls for the display of the Flag, both Sunday and Monday, and it is looked for that every Saginaw home and every Saginaw building possessing a flag display the same.[4]

Reference Notes:

[1] Header, The Frankenmuth News, 8 July 1915, p. 1; digital images, Frankenmuth Wickson District Library, Frankenmuth News Archives ( : accessed 3 July 2015).

[2] “Annual Big Time at Birch Run,” The Frankenmuth News, 8 July 1915, p. 1, col. 4; digital images, Frankenmuth Wickson District Library, Frankenmuth News Archives ( : accessed 3 July 2015).

[3] “Richville Hotel Destroyed By Fire,” The Frankenmuth News, 8 July 1915, p. 1, col. 6; digital images, Frankenmuth Wickson District Library, Frankenmuth News Archives ( : accessed 3 July 2015).

[4] “Saginaw Ready For The Fourth,” The Saginaw Daily News, 3 July 1915, p. 1, col. 3; digital images, GenealogyBank ( : accessed 3 July 2015).

More free local newspaper archives

A few weeks ago I posted an article on 3 free local newspaper archives. Here are several additions to that list for papers in the Saginaw Valley and the neighboring Thumb region. The public libraries in Michigan’s Thumb have been especially hard at work, recently adding digitized newspapers and other local history resources to their websites.

Saginaw Valley and Central Michigan:

Clare County Newspapers (various titles, 1896-1999)

Corunna Journal and Corunna News (1887-1913 and 1934-1949, respectively)

Isabella County Enterprise (1875-1906; scroll down, found on the same website as the Clare County Newspapers)

Michigan’s Thumb region:

The Huron Times and The Harbor Beach Times (various titles, 1862-2000)

The Marlette Index and The Marlette Leader (1880, and 1882-1956, respectively)

Minden City Herald and Sandusky Republican Tribune (1893-1942 and 1930-1985, respectively; several other titles of scattered dates are also available)

The Sanilac Jeffersonian (1876-1985)

3 free local newspaper archives

Archives of four local newspapers covering Frankenmuth and neighboring Tuscola County have been digitized and are available online for free.  If your ancestors resided in Tuscola County, don’t overlook the Mayville Monitor and Cass City papers.

Cass City Chronicle and Cass City Enterprise Archives (beginning 1881)

Frankenmuth News Archives (beginning 1906)

Mayville Monitor Archives (beginning 1884)

It’s worth mentioning that all three digital archives are sponsored by local libraries.

Shipping Intelligence. Arrived – 08 June 1845.

Bark Caroline (left), window detail, St. Lorenz Lutheran Church, Frankenmuth, Michigan.

Shipping Intelligence.
Port of New-York,

 Sunday, June 8 [1845].

“Bremen barque Caroline, Volkmann [sic],from Bremen, April 22 with mdse, &c. To E. Pavenstadt.”[1]

The story of the fifteen original Frankenmuth colonists sojourn in America began with their ship’s 08 June 1845 arrival into the Port of New York. The Bark Caroline departed Bremen on 22 April 1845 with Captain Fred. Volckmann at the helm and cleared United States customs on 09 June 1845. Of the 166 passengers on board, eight were in cabin class, the rest in steerage. Four passengers died on the forty-eight day voyage. Among these was the youngest of the party headed for the Saginaw Valley, Margarethe Haspel, daughter of Martin and wife Margarethe Haspel.[2]

[1] “Shipping Intelligence. Port of New-York, Arrived.” Spectator (New York, New York), 11 June 1845, p. 3; digital image, GenealogyBank ( : accessed 12 January 2014), Newspaper Archives. Other literature suggests the Bark Caroline departed Bremen on 20 April 1845.

[2] Manifest stamped no. 391, Bark Caroline, 09 June 1845; “Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897,” Microfilm Publication M237, roll no. 058, National Archives at Washington, D.C.; digital images, ( : accessed 21 January 2014).

“Passing of the Last of the Old Pioneers.”

Front Page News.
Front page news.[1]

On 17 January 1911 Johann Leonhard Bernthal, age 89, passed away. Neither businessman nor politician, news of his death was published across the state and, indeed, even made at least one national outlet.[2]  The last original pioneer of Frankenmuth, when Frankenmuth became the northern frontier of settlement in Michigan, was gone. The end of an era, noted.

The headlines…

“Last Pioneer of Frankenmuth Dies,” Detroit Free Press, 19 January 1911, p. 6. The Free Press included a photograph of John Leonhard Bernthal.

“One Founder of Frankenmuth Dies: John L. Bernthal, 89 Years Old, Came to this County 65 Years Ago,” The Saginaw (Michigan) Daily News, 18 January 1911, p. 6, cols. 4 & 5.

“Last Pioneer of Early Band Dead: John L. Bernthal Succumbs at age of 89–Was One of First Settlers,” The Kalamazoo (Michigan) Evening Press, 19 January 1911, p. 2 or 3, col. 5.

[1]”Passing of the Last of the Old Pioneers,” The Frankenmuth (Michigan) News, 19 January 1911, p. 1; digital image, Frankenmuth News Archives ( : accessed 15 January 2014).

[2]”Church News and Comment: At Home [item 1],” The Lutheran Witness, vol. 30, no. 5, 02 March 1911, p. 38, col. 1.  “The last of the men who participated, in 1847, at Chicago, in the founding of the German Missouri Synod, J. L. Bernthal, died recently in Frankenmuth, Michigan.”