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Treasures in old newspapers

Saturday November 21st, 2009

Mum spent the evening chopping fruit for the fruitcake, marking the start of Christmas preparations. Cliff and I had the pleasure of assisting.

The round pans had been taken down from the back pantry shelf and Dad had built a rack to place in the large boiler to steam the cakes. It seemed everything was ready for Gram and Aunt Sadie to come down for the baking the next afternoon.

When we entered the kitchen after school that day we expected to be greeted with the sweetest aroma. But we discovered Gram, Sadie and Mum thumbing through papers and magazines.

While Aunt Ethel had been visiting on Sunday, she had torn a recipe for a Christmas cake out of a magazine or newspaper and given it to Mum. The ladies thought they would forget about the old recipe and use the new one this year. But partway through the preparation, they discovered half of the recipe had been printed on another page. The search was on.

Last week, my friend Regina gave me part of a newspaper page that had a hand-sewn binding. The date printed on it was Tuesday, Dec. 1, 1829.

When I got home, I was like an old cow who had jumped over the fence into the turnip patch: I had to read every word.

I was astonished to find a block ad with the headline "Farm for Sale."

"A Farm in the Parish of Hampton (Kings County), fronting on Hammond River, containing 200 acres, 15 of which are cleared, the remainder well-stocked with hard and softwood is offered for sale. Eight tons of hay was cut this year. There is on the premises, a well-finished one-and-a-half story frame house, a log barn, and other improvements. The farm adjoins the property of Mr. Jonathan Titus; and is but 24 miles from the city, with a good turnpike road all the way. For terms and further particulars, please apply to Messrs. Crookshank & Walker, St. John, or to James Robertson, on the premises."

Another block ad read: For Sale: "400 acres of excellent land situated in King's County, forty-two miles from Saint John, upwards of twenty acres cleared and in good cultivation, with a house on the same. For particulars, apply to John Cook, Druggist." October 14, 1828.

I was most anxious to head to the Saint John Free Public Library and read other pages but the only clue I had to the name of this newspaper was: "Saint John, Published every Tuesday by Cameron & Seeds at their office in Mr. Hatfield's Building, West side of Market Square."

Fortunately, I knew the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick at had a directory that contains 697 newspaper listings where you could view the index by place, publisher and chronological order.

I chose "publisher" and found Cameron and Seeds published only one newspaper - The Weekly Observer, weekly from 1828 to 1857 under various titles including Saint John Observer, The Saint John Observer, Saint John Observer and General Advertiser. The directory also offered the location of the originals. When searching by place, I discovered 81 newspapers have been published in Fredericton, seven in Hartland, 68 in Moncton, 16 in Sackville and 272 in Saint John.

If you have a date for an event in your family tree, this directory can help you identify the papers to choose to search.

<>Query 1693
McDowell: James McDowell born circa Nov. 8, 1818, possibly in Saint John, married Jane Smith at Cobourg, Ont., Sept. 8, 1845, and died around Indian Head, or Colfax, Saskatchewan on Jan. 21, 1905. Who were his parents and his siblings? Are there any existing descendants from the siblings with additional family records?
Marjorie (McDowell) Bradley,  Email<>

Query 1694
Fowler - Sentell: Are Charles M. Fowler and Maggie Sentell parents of Albert Fowler who was born in New Brunswick in 1872 and died in B.C. in 1956?

Ruby M. Cusack is a genealogy buff living in New Brunswick, Canada. Send your New Brunswick genealogical queries to her at:  Please put "Query" followed by the surnames in your query as the subject. For more information on submitting queries, visit

Ruby contributes a "Family History" column to the Telegraph-Journal on the third Saturday of the month.

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