Monday, February 11, 2013

Newsclipping Serendipity!

I found a news clipping that mentions my 2x great grandfather on my paternal side, and also a cousin several generations back on my maternal side!  Two for one!

The RootsWeb website for the tiny town of Essex, Massachusetts has a collection of news clippings from the Cape Ann Advertiser 1868 – 1894 and also from the Essex Echo 1887 – 1910.  Both collections are just a few news clippings (not entire newspapers) that mention residents from the town of Essex.  The nice part is that there is a name index.

My mother is an ALLEN, and this family has lived in Essex since the 1630s, when it was originally part of Ipswich, Massachusetts.  My family lived there until about the 1930s, when my grandfather moved next door to the town of Hamilton, but there are still Allens living in town. 

I was searching through the collections for Allens when I found this mention of a music recital.  My Great Great grandfather, Caleb Rand Bill (1833 – 1902) lived in the next town of Beverly, Massachusetts at the time of this news clipping in 1880.  He was known as “Professor Bill” and he was the head music teacher in the Beverly schools, as well as running his own music business.  The news clipping also mentions his two daughters, Isabella and Mary.  Isabella Bill is my great grandmother, and she would have been about 18 years old at this time.

Among the singers in the recital is Cora Allen (1865 – 1885).  She would have been only 15 years old at the time of this musical performance.  She would have been my great grandfather’s first cousin.  Cora was married on 2 February 1884 and died on 15 July 1885 one day after giving birth to twins.  Among the other singers and musicians are the surnames BURNHAM and ANDREWS, all cousins on my mother’s side of the family from Essex.

It was fun finding a news clipping over 130 years old, with cousins and ancestors from both the maternal and paternal side of my family tree together enjoying a music recital! 

from the Cape Ann Advertiser 21 May 1880

Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


  1. What a great find! Congrats!


  2. You certainly have a well-established family, with familiar names that turn up again and again. I love the detail that was a crowd for the concert, and that next week's musical entertainment will be crowded also. "Go early, if you wish to secure a good seat."

  3. where does one find newspaper clippings from this time period?