Tips for Using Newspapers.com
An Example of Information You Can Find
Newspapers.com Is a Valuable Source of Information for Genealogists and Historians
I expanded my Ancestry.com subscription to include the Newspapers.com, and that opened up a wealth of information about my ancestors' lives. Right away, I found some great articles about my great-grandparents in the early 1900s era. These were sometimes just fun items or social events, but others gave solid information about a business the ancestor owned, the names of their children, court cases like a divorce, and the ever-so-valuable obituaries.
Digging deeper using my search skills as a librarian, I found further information that I missed in my early searches. That's why I'm sharing here some tips for getting more from your Newspapers.com subscription. I don't want you to miss any valuable news pieces that might break through some brick walls in your family tree.
Here's the Homepage for Newspapers.com
Try Variations of a Name
James Perkins might be mentioned in an article as:
James Perkins, J.G. Perkins, Jas Perkins, by a middle name, by a nickname, or as Mr. Perkins
Tips to Improve Your Search
- Use a question mark as a wild card in a name that might be misspelled in the paper. Instead of Dimmick, you could put Dim?k. That will bring up the name even if it is incorrect in the paper and is Dimick or Dimmik.
- A wild card for just one letter is an *. The example they give is for a Scandinavian name where they aren't sure if it is spelled with an e or an a. Putting the asterisk in will get you either spelling.
- Use " " around a name (like this: "James Vining") so you won't get a bunch of articles about miscellaneous people having James as their first name and articles about vining plants in the landscaping.
- In the expanded search area, put in a town name or at the very least a state to narrow down your search.
- Later, you can expand and search more widely in case your ancestor traveled or moved.
Take Some Time to Use the Help Section
Saving a Clipping to a Person on Ancestry
- Clip the article.
- Click on the green SAVE TO ANCESTRY button.
- Label the clipping for topic to show in the FACTS timeline.
- Enter the name of the person(s) you want to attach it to (I keep my tree open in another tab so I can verify which Henry Vining is the right match for the clipping).
- I have it set so the clipping shows on the timeline. It will also be listed in the sources and appear in the Gallery.
Married Women Were Not Named By Their First Name in Early Papers
Before marriage, a girl would be mentioned by first and last name. After marriage, it would be Mrs. Perkins or Widow Perkins or Mr. and Mrs. James Perkins. If you are lucky, in the obituary her full maiden name is mentioned. "The former Lucretia Randall"
What You Might Find in Your Searches
- Births, Marriages, Deaths
- Business Information
- Court Cases
- Social and Church Activities
- School Notes
- Moving and Travel
- Political Involvement
Newspaper Clippings About My Great-Grandfather
Be sure that you extract as much information as you can from the article
to put in your family tree. Get the names, dates, places, events and other information saved in your records.
The Clippings Are Shown on Ancestry in 3 Places
Do Some Browsing While You Are There
Besides searching for information by a person's name, use the newspapers to give you background information on that person.
Any time I clip something, I then browse through a few issues of that newspaper page-by-page. You learn about activities, kinds of stores, local politics, weather, community problems, and what their neighbors are doing. This is valuable to family historians trying to get an idea of what their ancestor's life was like.
Look at the advertisements for farm equipment, cars, furniture, kitchen furnishings, children's toys, and clothing. Again, these give you an idea of life at the time and place of that article.
Find Out About Unfamiliar Customs
What Was in Great-Grandma's Kitchen?
A search might bring up hundreds of articles.
You can save the search results to review later if you don't have time to go through the whole list of articles at once. Click on SAVE.
© 2019 Virginia Allain