Search Advertisements in Newspapers 1704–2010

Search Advertisements in Newspapers 1704–2010

Historical ads in newspapers can help you find long-lost ancestors that went missing or ran away from enslavement or servitude. Discover real estate & items that your ancestors owned in old newspaper ads.

Enter your ancestor's name below and we'll search newspaper advertisements to help you learn more about your family history.

Try different name spellings

Ex: Jenson, Jensen, Jens?n; Carrol, Carol, Caroll, Car* name search tips »

Try variations of the first name

Ex: William, Will OR Bill, Wm., W., etc. name search tips »

Try adding a word to narrow the hit results

Ex: occupation, university, home town, etc. keyword search tips »

Try excluding a word to narrow the hit results

Reduce records from a particular state. Ex: Texas keyword search tips »

Getting limited results? Broaden the date range

Use a range beyond the ancestor's life span. Ex: 1800 - 1890 or Jan 15, 1890 - Nov 22, 1890 date search tips »

Newspaper Ad Search Tips

Search Newspaper Ads By State

Check your selection to search newspaper ads by state, city, or newspaper title.
Old Advertisements Reveal Unique Information about Our Ancestors' Lives

Our ancestors advertised their shops, trades, goods for sale, missing items such as lost horses, and rewards offered for runaway servants or slaves in newspapers. Old advertisements like these take us beyond the names, dates, and other basic facts about our ancestors and give us a sense of the lives they experienced.

The images in these historical ads offer us a window into our ancestors' past, providing a rich context of the places, faces, objects and times in our family's history. Search millions of old newspaper ads in our archives and discover your ancestry online.

Advertisements Found in Newspapers:
  • Missing Person Advertisements

  • Ads for Lost Items

  • Real Estate Classifieds

  • Runaway Indentured Servants Ads

  • Ads for Runaway Slaves

And many more!

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Ads & Classifieds Search Tips

Use this search to find advertisements for missing persons and items, runaway slaves and indentured servants, real estate and property, and more in the historical newspaper archives. This online collection contains ads and classifieds as published in U.S. newspapers from 1704–2010.

Runaway Slave Ads

Search for runaway slaves by name. Often this was only a first name so be flexible in your searches. Try searching for the slave owner’s surname and the location of the local slave market or owner’s residence if known.

Runaway Indentured Servant Ads

Try searching for runaway indentured servants by using the person’s name and/or the employer’s name.

Real Estate & Property Ads

Try searching for your ancestor’s home or property ad by using the address in the Include Keywords field.

Missing Relatives and Friends

If you are searching for old advertisements run by people who were searching for missing family members or friends, try including the keywords "information wanted," "lost" or "missing" in the Include Keywords field along with the surname of the target person.

Visit the Blog

Need additional help tracing your family tree? Visit our genealogy blog for more search tips that will help you do better family history research with GenealogyBank.