Newspapers Expose Smith Family Mystery

If birth, marriage, and death records are the skeleton of family history, then newspapers are the flesh and muscles? A recent newspaper discovery exposed a family mystery for my Smith line that has me perplexed.


For years, I avoided newspaper research because it could only be accessed on microfiche or archives far from my home. With digital newspapers, I’m singing a different tune.


My major problem now is that the Columbus Dispatch is available to Columbus Metropolitan Library card holders (which I’m not) or the Der Westbote German newspapers from Columbus, Ohio is in the GenealogyBank database, which I haven’t yet purchased a subscription to.


However, there are newspapers I can research at my local Family History Center!

Newspaper Archive Finds an Article


My grandmother’s adopted line is filled with very common names such as Smith, Long, Marvin, and Young. I was playing around on NewspaperArchive.com, I tested the database with these names.


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Suddenly, I found a few gems. Newark, Licking County, Ohio is 40 miles east of downtown Columbus. Looking in the Newark Advocate turned up this notice.

“Sale Lacks Bidders,” Newark Advocate, September 28, 1929, 6th column

Sale Lacks Bidders


The sheriff’s sale of the Loumar hotel, formerly known as the Jackson hotel, in Scheidler street, and opposite the B. and O. depot, failed for want of bidders when Deputy Sheriff A.A. Bollinger offered it at public auction in the court house today. The appraised value is $12,000, and the first offer of $8,001, or two-thirds of the amount was not taken. The sale is the result of a suit filed by Andrew N. Smith against Lura S. Long and others.


Andrew N. Smith is my Grannie’s adopted grandfather. Lura S Long is Grannie’s adopted mother.


Why had my 2nd great-grandfather Andrew Nelson Smith filed a lawsuit against my great-grandmother Lura [Smith] Long over a hotel?


Andrew was supposedly a barber, not a hotel owner. My great-grandmother Lura was a homemaker, not involved in property. Her husband Harry Howard Long was a stenographer.


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How on earth did this court case come to be? Was it amicable? Was it an inheritance?

Finally, how could a court case filed in September 1929, which could develop ill feelings, leave room for Andrew to be recorded in the 1930 US Census in the home of his daughter Lura Long and her husband Harry?


You have to love genealogy when a new discovery leads to more questions than answers.


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