Friday, June 28, 2019

Tracking A Relative in the 1870s

For the past couple of decades, people have become interested in searching for their ancestral roots. Lucky for them, the search is easier with companies like Ancestry, 23 and me, Family Tree DNA, CRI Genetics (to name a few). But what did someone do in the late 1800s when tracking down a relative? My heroine Ciara Morrissey in Dreams of Gold, while still grieving the loss of her mother, discovers a stack of letters in her mother’s possession. She thought he’d disappeared years earlier and is surprised to learn her parents had been in constant contact. Using the address of the most recent letter, she sets out for Wyoming Territory to find her father.

Newspaper articles were also helpful in locating someone. In my research for this story, I discovered that back then just about any snippet of news hit the papers. Relatives visiting from out of town, someone being taken to hospital, a speech given at a garden club meeting, a new hire at a company, someone with an item to be sold, and, of course, engagements, births, and weddings could all be found in a newspaper. One had to be a bit of a detective because many newspapers in the 1870-1880s weren’t organized in the same format as today’s are. I found a personal ad for the sale of a lamp placed at the bottom of a column touting the opening of a bank complete with a list of its officers and their expertise. Obviously, the ad was the right size to complete the column. Pull up an image on Google images of newspapers from a certain year or target a topic like Billy the Kid or Jesse James. You’ll be amazed at what you find surrounding the lead article. Like this one for P.T. Barnum’s circus has an ad for fabric to the left and an announcement of a talk at a literary society to the right. Reading must have been so entertaining.

Dreams of Gold is included in Beneath a Prairie Sky: A Western Historical Romance Sampler, which includes the first chapter of novels by ten authors. A sampler is a great way to discover new authors and try out a story before buying.

99 cents (should price match soon)


Free elsewhere

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 BLURB for Dreams of Gold

In 1871, Easterner Ciara Morrissey travels west to honor a sacred promise to her mother and locate her fortune-seeking father. Caretaker to her grandparents and mother until their deaths has created a thirst in Ciara to see the wider world.

Sheriff Quinn Riley hunts the Irish charlatan who swindled half of Bull City, Wyoming’s residents. He’ll stick close to the newly arrived opinionated woman. Within only hours, easterner Ciara Morrissey upsets the townspeople by making inquires about his prime suspect. He’s duty-bound to keep her safe but being near the green-eyed beauty sets off a stampede in his heart.


  1. This is very interesting. Your book sounds and looks like a good read! I love the cover! :)

  2. Great article. Looking forward to reading this book