If you took your local newspaper and organized all the articles in it by the location of the event being reported, you would find that the majority of the news comes from outside of the city, county or even state where the paper was published. This has been true throughout history. Search for family history information in newspapers as follows:
1. First, search with just the last name.
2. Then narrow the search by date range (using advance search feature) if you get too many results.
3. Once you have searched with this criteria and still getting too many results, narrow further by using the city or state name as a keyword.
It is important to keep in mind that GenealogyBank’s search engine is very specific. This applies to the names and keywords fields. When searching nationwide for an article from San Francisco, California, there are a variety of keywords you could use: California, Calif, CA, San Francisco, San Fran, SF.
When something noteworthy occurs such as a birth or death, news is first printed locally.
If that person has ties to other areas, then other newspapers may carry the story. Newspapers may do this either on their own accord, or at the request of the original publisher. What you want to watch out for is a “please copy” notice, which can be a valuable clue that your ancestor had ties to another part of the country where you might find additional articles or records about him or her.
Here’s just one example of the many “please copy” notices found in the newspaper article below from New Orleans, Louisiana:
Because these death notices were originally published in a New Orleans newspaper, you want to search that area for more news about your ancestor. But thanks to these “please copy” notices, you are given additional locations for further searching.
People are usually known by a variety of monikers, both formal and informal. Keep in mind that this is the rule, rather than the exception, so don’t ever limit searches to just one version of a name. Include titles, nicknames, initials, middle names without first names, and other variations. For example:
Use Keywords: You can add a series of keywords into the “Include Keywords” box. Keep in mind that adding too many keywords all at once may not be an effective research strategy. Add them one at a time until you get down to a reasonable number of results to search, around 100-200.
Exclude Keywords: You can also use the “Exclude Keywords” box to narrow results. Let’s say you were searching for a man named Eric Clapton, but you weren’t looking for the musician. Glance through the results and find words that often appear in articles about the musician. These may be things like: album, concert, or guitar. Enter those words into the “Exclude Keywords” box as follows: album OR concert OR guitar. This eliminates articles with those words.
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