To mark St Valentine‘s Day, we thought we‘d post some historical newspaper stories on our Facebook page about how the Eve of the Lupercalia (aka the 14th of February) was celebrated in the 19th Century.
Valentine Days in the 19th Century
It‘s fascinating to see how the tradition of sending valentines ebbed and flowed during the 19th Century. Just by doing simple searches for ’valentines‘ and ’valentine cards‘ in the archive, it‘s possible to see the boom years when almost everyone was struck by Cupid’s arrow, and also the threadbare times when people appeared less romantically-inclined. Who knows, perhaps it was the influence of the Romantic Poets that acted as a muse during the busy times? We also like the stories about the postal service having to hire extra staff for some Valentine days – this being another useful barometer for measuring the country‘s fluctuating chocs/flowers/cards-buying moods.
Newspaper Reports Add Fine Detail to Ancestral Storyfinding
From a family history viewpoint, the British Newspaper Archive is a terrific resource for helping people to learn more about their ancestors. For although birth, marriage and death records are great for obtaining names, dates and locations, old newspaper reports can add fine detail, colour and character to ancestral stories.
So we really enjoyed reading this newspaper article about how a member of the Northumberland and Durham Family History Society searched a historical copy of ’The Alnwick Mercury‘ to learn more about the life of an ancestor. It really is a terrific story – indeed, it reads like a plot line from ’Downton Abbey‘.
Victorian News Vendors at ‘Who Do You Think You Are? Live’
There are now only ten days to go before the start of ’WDYTYA? Live‘. This show takes place at Olympia Centre in London, and runs from Friday 24 to Sunday 26 February. The British Newspaper Archive will be at stand number 501. It should be easy to find us as we‘ll be dressed up like ’the Artful Dodger‘, will be giving away a free newspaper hand-out and will be bellowing out ’Extra! Read all about it!‘ So if you‘re going to ’WDYTYA? Live‘, then it‘d be great if you could drop in on the BNA news-stand. http://www.whodoyouthinkyouarelive.com/
Your Facebook Posts and Twitter Tweets
The newspaper stories we‘ve been posting on our Facebook page continue to be popular with visitors to the British Newspaper Archive website. We especially enjoy seeing the way in which you interact with these stories – thank you for posting such interesting comments. It‘d be great if you could continue posting and tweeting about what you find in the archive, please, as your stories really help to bring the newspaper archive to life.
All the Best,
The British Newspaper Archive Team.