Sunday, June 15, 2008

Ancestry Newspaper Collection has doubled the size of its Historical Newspaper Collection, adding a billion names and over 20 million images. And they're offering free access until June 19.

Searching the Ancestry Newspaper Collection or any newspaper collection is a little bit different than searching other genealogy databases and here are a few tips for better success:

  • If you don't see your hometown newspaper in the list of available newspapers, don't despair. Just like today, articles from one newspaper are reprinted in other newspapers near and far. I found a 100 year old article about a NJ cousin in newspapers as far away as Alaska. If you are not successful in the state where you think the article should be, check other states.

  • Sometimes newspapers refer to people by Mr. and Mrs. instead of their first names, and many times refer a woman by her husband's name; i.e. Mrs. John Smith. Try searching by just a surname. And search for a woman by both her name and her husband's name.

  • Use quotes whenever possible in the keyword field to minimize false results.

  • Try changing criteria if you are unsuccessful in a search. I was searching for articles about a railroad explosion that took place in Locust Gap, PA. When I entered Locust Gap in location field as "exact", it didn't find the article. When I unticked the "exact" field, it found the articles. Go figure.

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