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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Tuesday's Tip: Look for Your Ancestors in Trade Publications

Trade publications may contain information about ancestors and their work lives. Many of these publications are on Google Books. These are some of my finds from trade publications.

 My great-grandfather John Boe was the president of the St. Louis Motor Car Company. In 1919, he attended the National Automobile Dealer's Association meeting in St. Louis, Missouri (where he lived). The August 1919 issue of American Garage and Auto Dealer contains a photograph from the meeting, and my great-grandfather is in it. 

American Garage & Auto Dealer, vol. 10 no. 5 (August 1919), p. 12. Available from Google Books.

I found another photograph of him in from the same year in Motor World for Jobbers, Dealers and Garagemen. Prior to finding these pictures, I had only seen one photograph of my great-grandfather John Boe.

 Motor World for Jobbers, Dealers and Garagemen, vol. 61 (October 1919). Available from Google Books.

Prior to working in the automobile business, John Boe had a farm machinery company. The February 25, 1914 issue of Farm Implements reported that his company moved to Lewiston, Montana. This information was news to me. By 1915, John Boe and his family were in St. Louis, Missouri. At the time that the news item was published, one of my grandfather's sisters was a newborn baby. Perhaps the family briefly lived in Lewiston, Montana, or maybe L. O. Yonker, of Lewiston who purchased stock in the company, handled the day-to-day operations and John traveled. Perhaps John eventually sold the company to L. O. Yonker.

 Farm Implements, vol. 28 no. 2 (25 February 1914), page 62. Available from Google Books.

In 1915, John advertised for three salesmen with experience selling automobiles and threshing machinery.

Farm Implements, vol. 29 no 4 (30 April 1915), page 57. Available from Google Books. 

John's brother Theodore had previously worked with him in the farm machinery company; it had been called Boe Brothers before the name was changed to the John Boe Machinery Company. The July 31, 1913 issue of Farm Implements reported that Thoedore was working in the implement business in Arnegard, North Dakota.

Farm Implements, vol. 27 no. 6 (31 July 1913), page 54. Available from Google Books.

My great-grandfather Henry Brown Gatlin worked as a printer. In 1904, Typographical Journal included his name on a list of pending applications for membership in the Typographical Union. This notice told me how long he had worked as  a printer and where he had previously worked. I learned that he had gone to Chicago earlier than I had thought.

Typographical Journal, vol. 25 no. 5 (November 1904), page 518. Available from Google Books.

My 2nd-great-grandmother's brother Mathias Joseph Nagel was a gardener. The November 1887 issue of Gardeners Monthly included a letter he wrote about transplanting trees.

Gardeners Monthly, vol. 29 no. 347 (November 1887), page 326. Available from Google Books.


  1. Great finds Beth! How did you manage to access the articles? ~ Cathy

    1. Thanks, Cathy! I found them on Google Books. There are periodicals on there too!

  2. A great tip that I shall keep in mind.