Historic American Newspapers Website Bug

Last weekend, I became aware of the fact that the Library of Congress Historic American Newspapers website had recently added more than one million digitized American newspapers to its collection. I spent the bulk of my free time the next four days running searches and doing data entry in my genealogy database.

Main page of the Chronicling America Historic American Newspapers website

In the course of this activity, I noticed a “bug” in the display of filtered search results when using the Advanced Search form. By default, search results on this site are ordered in terms of Relevance, or how many times your search terms appear on the page. Since I typically prefer to see my results ordered by date, I change the Sort by parameter by using the drop down arrow. However, when this option is selected, search results limited by state are no longer retained. The upshot is that my “hits” balloon and include states that I did not select at the outset.

Chronicling America Advanced Search form 

My search for Thomas Mulkey initially yielded 8 results from Missouri and Oregon newspapers

Changing the default sort order to Date causes my hits to increase, and includes states that I did not select in my original search 

This problem does not occur when using the search box on the main page and changing the sort order of the results, but you cannot limit your search to newspapers from only two states if you use this form. For now, my advice would be to search a single state at a time if you want to sort your results by date.

I tweeted this issue yesterday, and reported the bug to the Library of Congress via their website comment form. Hopefully it will be an easy fix for them. I will report here when there is a response.


In case you are interested, John Thomas Mulkey is my third-great-grandfather, a son of the noted preacher, Philip Mulkey. Many from the extended Mulkey family were early pioneers who relocated from Missouri to Oregon via the Oregon Trail to stake Oregon Donation Land Claims.

1889 Obituary of Samuel Fryman

Transcription of the 1889 obituary of Samuel Fryman, a member of the Home Guards in the border state of Missouri during the Civil War


Holt County Sentinel masthead 22 Nov 1889

An earlier post included the newspaper image of the obituary of Samuel Fryman, my 3rd great-grandfather (through his son, Frederick Fryman). I have posted the transcription here as well to aid other researchers. Please note that I have taken some liberties with the formatting to improve readability for this media platform, but all wording remains true to the original. Like many obituaries, it provides a neat capsule of his life, but is incomplete and contains incorrect information.

[Transcription follows]

Death Roll.


Samuel Fryman was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, January 15, 1807, and died at the house in this place, November 13, 1889. His first wife was Mary Shepherd, to whom he was married February 9, 1832 in Belmont County, Ohio.

They came to this county in 1853 and located on a farm three miles east of the Court House. By this union there were 11 children, 7 sons and 4 daughters. Of these, 4 sons and 2 daughters are now living. George and James Fryman who live here and Mrs. Josiah Smith, at Forest City. Frank at Seneca, Kansas, Mrs. Jacob Baskins in Jewell County, Kansas, and Thomas in Custer County, Nebraska.

Mr. Fryman left 31 grand-children living. Of these, George has 7, James 2, Mrs. Smith 4, Thomas 3, Fred 6, Mrs. Baskins 9. There were also 18 great-grand-children—7 by George’s children and 11 by Mrs. Baskins. Mary Fryman died, August 9, 1879. After a year or so Mr. Fryman married Margaret Dunkelberger, who died a few years afterwards. October 22, 1885, he married Mary E. Crumb, who survives him. All of his children were by his first wife.

Mr. Fryman after the death of his first wife left the farm, and went to Minnesota Valley, where he lived awhile, when he came here, and remained ‘till his death.

His death was the result of kidney disease and the immediate cause of death overwork. He was a man of a vigorous constitution, but overestimated his strength. He was confined to his bed only a few days. The burial took place at the family burying ground at the old place east of town.

Mr. Fryman, though a Democrat before the war, early espoused the cause of the National Government against the states in rebellion. He served in the Home Guards at all times when their services were required and was ever a consistent, law-abiding citizen. He joined the M. E. Church in Ohio more than sixty years ago, and when he came to Holt County attached himself to the Richville congregation. When he removed to Minnesota Valley he dropped his membership in the church, and never renewed it although he remained consistent to the faith ‘till his death.

[Transcription ends.]


“Death Roll,” Holt County Sentinel (Oregon, Missouri), 22 Nov 1889, p. 4, col. 3, Samuel Fryman obituary; digital images, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers, Library of Congress (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn90061417/1889-11-22/ed-1/seq-4/ : accessed 12 Apr 2014).

Three Deaths in March 1881: A Dabler Family Tragedy

Perusing the Chronicling America historic newspaper database in preparation for my upcoming talk, I decided to do a search for my 3rd-great-grandfather, David Dabler. I received a grand total of 5 hits, all from The County Paper, a newspaper published in Holt County, Missouri.

When reading through the search results, I realized the deaths of two of his daughters and his first grandchild were reported in two successive issues of that newspaper in March 1881. I cannot imagine how devastating the loss for the family would have been. Eliza Josephine Dabler Dreher was only 21 years of age at death, and her sister, Julia E. Dabler Oliver was 23 when she passed away. They were younger sisters of my ancestor, Anna Maria Dabler Fryman.

County Paper mastheadThe ornate County Paper masthead, published in Oregon, Missouri

Newspaper: The County Paper (Oregon, Mo.), 18 Mar 1881, p. 1, col. 2

–Mrs. Eliza Dreher, wife of William Dreher and daughter of David and Margaret Dablers [sic] of Seneca, Kansas, died on Saturday morning, March 12th, 1881, at her home near Nickell’s Grove, aged 21 years and 13 days. Her infant babe died just three days before. Her funeral was preached on Sunday, 13th, inst., at the German church at Nickell’s Grove and her remains immediately afterwards interred in the adjacent cemetery. She had been married but little more than a year. Hers was a sweet and lovely disposition, and, as remarked by the Minister who preached her funeral, “she had not an enemy in the world.” Her afflicted husband and relatives have the heartfelt sympathy of all her acquaintances. Seneca, Kansas, papers please copy.

Newspaper: County Paper (Oregon, Mo.), 25 Mar 1881, p. 1, col 4

–Died: Mrs. Julia Oliver, wife of James Oliver deceased, died, at the residence of her father, Mr. David Dabler, in Seneca, Nemaha county, Kansas, Thursday morning March 17th, at the hour of 7 o’clock, of consumption. The deceased was buried, Friday, March 18th at the Seneca grave yard, Rev. William Stewart officiating. The deceased was the second daughter of David and Margaret Dabler. She was born March 8, 1858 in Shelby County, Indiana, whence she, with her parents, in the 11th year of her age, moved to Holt county, Mo., where, at the age of 17, she became the wife of James Oliver. The death of her husband 18 months afterward, made her a widow, in which state she lived until her death.