Tag Archives: Obituary

The Bowling Green Press (1846)

Bowling Green PressWhat was happening in Bowling Green, KY on July 1, 1846 almost 170 years ago? Well, now we know! A wonderful, recent donation lets us learn more about Bowling Green’s early history. This very rare newspaper, with the masthead, The Bowling Green Press, is the only one our Special Collections Library staff have seen, and although it is in poor condition; it is definitely preferable to having no specimen at all. The survival of any periodical is a triumph against many odds. We think of our culture as a throw-away culture but newspapers have always be seen as expendable–meant to be read, passed around and then thrown away, or even used for wrapping paper or other household purposes.
The newspaper noted under its masthead, that it was devoted to “Politics, Agriculture, Literature, Morality and General Intelligence.” Headlines in the issue focus on the Mormon conflict and controversy at Nauvoo, IL, President James K. Polk and his declaration of war with Mexico and the “Awful Calamity” in Quebec as the Theatre Royal burns killing 50 people. “The Theatre Royal, Saint Lewis [street], took fire from the overturning of a camphene lamp, at the close of the exhibition of Mr. Harlean’s Chemical Dioramas, and the whole interior of the building was almost instantly in a blaze. Local news highlights include the deaths of Mrs. Sarah Cox, 87 of this county and Mrs. George (Adelaide) Milliken of Simpson County, KY in her 30th year. There are a few handsomely illustrated advertisements of products or services offered and they portray many aspects of daily life. Butter was selling for 10 cents per pound, coffee at 9 cents and sugar, 7 cents. Books and “tationary” were for sale at Townsend’s store and the most “fashionable style” hats could be had at William Whiteman’s store. The Louisville Steamer packet, “General Warren,” left regularly at 10:00 every Saturday. Also, if you did not feel well, Dr. S. A. Withrs (sic) requests that you stop by the Green River Hotel or his office across the street from the Market House for treatment.
We are so pleased to have this early Bowling Green, KY newspaper and will preserve it for future historians. You may see this and other items in the WKU Department of Library Special Collections by visiting or by searching TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

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Genealogy Question of the Week

I want an obituary or a death certificate for my grandmother who died January 7th 1903. Can you help me?
This is a very frequent request as obituary information is very helpful to family historians/genealogists as they are conducting research and creating and verifying family ties. Unfortunately, it is a request that is many times difficult to fulfill. Kentucky did not require its counties to register births and deaths until 1911 and did not require marriage registrations until 1958. There was a short period in 1852 when statewide registration was first enacted but Kentucky’s compliance was sporadic. This early requirement lasted only ten years with some births and deaths being recorded for 1852-1862, 1874-79, 1892–1910. Some larger cities such as Louisville, Covington, Lexington and Newport maintained registered births and deaths for the years 1890–1911 in their respective health departments. See Jeffery M. Duff’s Inventory of Kentucky Birth, Marriage and Death Records, 1852–1910 for county holdings. At the Kentucky Library and Museum, we hold microfilmed copies of death certificates from 1911 to 1959. These certificates become public records after 50 years.
Local newspapers are a great source for obituary information if one has a pinpointed date of death. However, there are not always extant papers for the years sought. The Kentucky Library and Museum has an extensive collection of microfilmed newspapers for this area and surrounding counties. The KLM also has death registers from various funeral homes and select Bowling Green, Kentucky – Death Records, 1877-1913 that are “physician’s death certificates and undertaker’s certificates relating to permits for burials within the city of Bowling Green. [These certificates] include information on the deceased’s date and cause of death, age, race, and marital status, place of birth, residence, and date and place of intended interment. [And they] may include other documentation if a death occurred outside Warren County.” See http://digitalcommons.wku.edu/dlsc_mss_fin_aid/1246/ for an index. Other indexes for 1911 and after include: Kentucky Vital Records Index (University of Kentucky) http://ukcc.uky.edu/vitalrec/, the Kentucky Vital Records Project http://kyvitals.com/index.php and http://vitals.rootsweb.ancestry.com/ky/death/search.cgi
Sources for online newspapers with obituaries include Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. This site allows you to search and view select newspaper pages from 1860-1922 at http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ The Kentucky Library and Museum also has access to the Historical New York Times (1851-2006), the Historical Los Angeles Times (1811-1986), the Times Digital Archives (1785–1985) and for the local area, the Park City Daily News archive (1999-to present). Please contact klmref@wku.edu for further information.

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