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Newspapers report details on the major events in our lives—births, marriages, graduations, anniversaries, deaths. They also chronicle local events, business and sports, crimes and gossip. Few sources provide better insight into our ancestors’ lives. Websites now make it easy to search through millions of old newspaper pages at once.
These search techniques will help you find articles and records mentioning your relatives:
Optionally, add a range of years, such as 1880 to 1910 or July 1880 to January 1910. Or select Date and enter a year, such as 1880, or a specific date, such as July 4, 1880.
Power User Tips
- Use search wildcards. Use * to match up to five characters in a name and ? for one character. Rob*son finds Robertson, Robson and Robinson. Rob?son finds Robison and Robeson, but not Robson or Robinson.
- Use proximity searching in the keywords box. For example, if you type military NEAR/5 service, you’ll get matches with military and service within five words of each other, in any order.
- See only new content. The Newspaper Archives collection search form has a dropdown box that lets you search only content added since a specified month. This is a quick way to check for anything added since your last visit, while skipping matches you’ve seen.
- Browse the matches. By default, the most relevant matches are listed first. You can re-sort them by date of publication using a dropdown menu above your results.
- Find the article you need. Your search terms are highlighted in the newspaper. To search for a word in the article, enter it in the box and click the find button.
- Print or save the article. If you click the PDF button to save the article as a PDF file, it won’t include a citation. Click on Print for a printer-friendly version. Then you can print it or right-click on the image and select Save Image As to save it as a graphical image file on your computer with a source citation.