Today’s post is about newspaper serendipity in 1884 Brooklyn. I love newspaper research. Even in those somewhat seasick days of cranking a microfilm reader, reading old newspapers has always been my jam. And I know I’m not the only researcher out there who can lose track of hours following a juicy story. And surely I have company when I get sidetracked on another story entirely.

Finding Newspaper Serendipity

So I’ve decided to start a new series at Sassy Jane and post some of the articles I find that amaze, fascinate, appall, and delight me. (Gotta have something to show for all those rabbit holes I go down, right?) If you’re looking for effective ways to find and search vintage newspapers for genealogy research, click on this link. But if you love a good human interest story, read on.

Jacob and Rosalie Klein’s Dairy

Newspaper Serendipity

The Brooklyn (New York) Daily Eagle, 9 Mar 1884, p. 12.

My great-uncle John Ross’s in-laws owned a dairy that grew into a grocery store at 200 Ellery Street in Brooklyn, New York. Jacob and Rosalie Klein started the dairy in about 1872, soon after they’d emigrated from Germany, met in New York, and married.

I decided to search the New York newspapers to see what had happened at that address during the decades the family lived and worked there. And the answer is a lot: bigamy, hit-and-run accidents, larceny, and more. Life at 200 Ellery Street was lively. And then it became precarious.

On 9 Mar 1884, an article entitled “Aiding a Starving Family” appeared. Heart-breaking, yes? Good on the police officer who took up the collection, and on the judge who dismissed the case. I am sooooooo tempted to see what became of the starving Stricker family. Did Gottlieb find a job as a bricklayer? Is the building still there on Ellery Street? Are there records for the Non-Sectarian Home for Children? And did my relative contribute milk to the starving family?

This, my friends, is why most of today’s to-do list remains…undone. But I enjoyed my excursion into newspaper serendipity in 1884 Brooklyn.

Is Newspaper Serendipity the Right Title?

What do you call it when you get sidetracked reading old newspapers? And what have you found in newspapers that took you by surprise…or even off your research course?