A librarian through and through, Virginia Allain writes about book topics, researching, and information for library users and librarians.
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
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.
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
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?
© 2019 Virginia Allain
Kathryn Grace on July 11, 2019:
Excellent article, Virginia. I have learned some amazing things about my ancestors using Newspapers.com but boy is it hard when I have to hunt for a common name like Smith or Burns. I didn’t know about the wild card tricks, so thank you! Can’t wait to put them to use!
Virginia Allain (author) from Central Florida on July 11, 2019:
Katherine Bopp - I just save them as clippings on Ancestry and on Newspapers. com. Only a few have I saved to my photos in my computer using Jpeg and those have been clear for me.
Katherine Bopp on July 10, 2019:
This is awesome and I have bookmarked it in a couple of spots in my genealogy bookmarks so I will find it again. I had previously tried using quotes around names without much success, but will go back and try it again. Do you have any suggestions for what to do when you go back to an article and it is blurry instead of clear when you first saw it? If given the option between PDF and JPEG, which is the better option to prevent a blurry save?
Liz Westwood from UK on May 16, 2019:
This is a very useful guide for anyone who plans on using newspapers.com for genealogy research.