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The News Examiner provides a great historical and family history resource, and it’s free. No subscription required.

When my husband and I decided to compile a family history book for our grandchildren for Christmas, I realized that I knew very little about my maternal grandmother. I knew that she was born in St. Charles January 13, 1893. She married David Edwin Butler 19 June 1918. And she died of breast cancer 14 July 1936 in St. Charles when my mother was 15 years old.

Aside from a brief history written by my Aunt Beatrice, I had nothing. So, my search began.

Surely, there must at least be an obituary in the local newspaper.

I went to https://www.hjnews.com>montpelier and clicked on Archives. The link brings up the digital archives of the Bear Lake County Library. There are twelve newspapers included in the archive: News Examiner, The Paris Post, Daily News, The Bear Lake Democrat, Post, Bear Lake Gazette, Montpelier Examiner, Bear Lake County News, South Idaho Independent, Bear Lake Booster, The Paris Review, and The Montpelier Examiner. You can browse by newspaper title or by year. The years covered are from 1880 to 2019.

I selected the search method of “any of the words” and typed in my grandmother’s full name, Sarah Elizabeth Pugmire Butler. In the date field, I typed between 1/1/1900 and 12/31/1936 and clicked the Discover button.

The next screen showed the names and publishing dates of newspapers with partial phrases surrounding and highlighting any Sarah, or Elizabeth, or Pugmire, or Butler. For example, Montpelier Examiner, Thursday, July 11th, 1929, Elizabeth Passey, exemption granted Sarah J Law, Mrs James R Pugmire. . . .

Clicking on the name of the newspaper brings up a digital image of the actual printed page.

Perhaps I should have refined the search, but I was an anxious sleuth. Admittedly, as a youth, I joked about those social tidbits of what I considered non-news in the local paper. But when I found this under the heading of St. Charles Chats in the Paris Post, Thursday, August 11th 1932, I was elated: “Friday last Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Pugmire, M. D. Pugmire of Salt Lake, Mrs. Elizabeth Butler and children of Montpelier, Mrs. Cassie Bowman and son of this place took their lunch and journeyed up Big Creek Canyon where they enjoyed a real outing, visiting the Porcupine Cave and other points of interest. The occasion was in honor of Mrs. Sarah Pugmire’s birthday.”

I found other notices of my grandmother driving from Montpelier to visit family in St. Charles, of her parents accompanying her to Salt Lake City where she underwent a critical operation, of family members attending to her when she was seriously ill, and I found her obituary in the Bear Lake County News July 16, 1936. My grandmother had died before I was born, but now I felt like I knew her.

Historically, this archive is a treasure trove of information. I also found display advertisements for the store my grandfather, George B. Spencer, owned in Paris.

And although I’m not related, this report caught my attention: The Paris Post, Thursday, December 29th, 1927: “Oldest Citizen in State Resides at Bloomington. George Bateman, 102 years old, oldest man in the state of Idaho and second oldest in the LDS church ate Christmas dinner with his granddaughter Mrs. Marjorie Floyd at St. Charles Sunday December 25.”

You can also find many of the old News-Examiner’s actual copies at the News-Examiner and may come search the archives. They will help you make a copy of the articles.

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