Tips & Tricks to Search Online Newspapers at GenealogyBank

Introduction: Mary Harrell-Sesniak is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background. In this guest blog post, Mary shows some of the search techniques she uses when researching GenealogyBank’s newspapers collection—to help our readers do more efficient searches and save them time with their family history research.

Every American family has a heritage to celebrate—whether it is a connection with a specific event, such as the arrival of the Mayflower in 1620; a military event, such as the Civil War of 1861-1865; a particular country of origin; or person of interest, such as a president, suffragette or abolitionist.

I’m lucky to have proved connections in my family history to many of the above (alas, no president), and like most family researchers have jumped for joy at finding the documented proof.

Once we find the genealogical connections (sometimes with the help of others’ research), we feel enormous satisfaction. However, many genealogists don’t realize that search engines can be tweaked to shorten searches and make family history research more efficient— in particular the genealogy search engine within GenealogyBank.

The trick to more efficient searching is to experiment with specific targeted keywords, related to events or ancestry, along with adding wildcards (more on that below) that accommodate for variations.

Keyword Search: Lineal Descendancy

Let’s start with searches related to specific descendants, using the keywords “lineal descendant,” with or without an added surname.

In this example (long before lineage societies became popular), we read that Mr. Michael Kett, a Quaker, was a lineal descendant from Robert Kett, described as the famous tanner and political reformer in the reign of King Edward the Sixth.

Michael Kett obituary, Providence Gazette newspaper article 27 March 1784

Providence Gazette (Providence, Rhode Island), 27 March 1784, page 2

Doesn’t an ancestral report like that get a genealogist excited!

Most of us are happy to research to an immigrant’s arrival in America, but this gentleman had reportedly traced his ancestry to King Edward VI of England, whose brief life occurred between 1537 and 1553, having been crowned at the young age of nine.

Search Newspapers for Events

Another suggested query is to incorporate the word descendant with a specific event, such as the arrival of the Mayflower in 1620.

Enclosing the search in quotes, “Mayflower descendant,” produces a different result than if you searched on each term without the quotation marks. The difference is that when you simply input terms without quotes, the search engine will find results whenever the two words are located anywhere within the same article—but if you enclose the terms in quotation marks, the terms have to be next to each other in an article in order to show up on the search results page.

Note: generally the “s” is ignored, along with capitalization, so don’t worry about entering “Mayflower descendants” or “mayflower descendant”; either will suffice.

Mayflower Descendants, Daily Inter Ocean newspaper article 14 April 1896

Daily Inter Ocean (Chicago, Illinois), 14 April 1896, page 10

This obituary for Sarah Harlow of 13 March 1823 mentions that she was a descendant from “Mr. Richard Warren, who came in the Mayflower, in 1620, of the 4th generation.” It was found without using quotation marks around the words Mayflower and descendant.

Sarah Harlow obituary, Repertory newspaper article 13 March 1823

Repertory (Boston, Massachusetts), 13 March 1823, page 4

Accommodating Spelling Variations with Wildcards

Try variations of queries that accommodate spelling variations, by using either a question mark (?) or an asterisk (*). Known as wildcards, the first option replaces a single character in a word, and the other takes the place of several characters.

For example, “Harrell” can be spelled in a variety of ways, such as “Harrall” or “Herrell.”

If you want to search for all of these variations at once, substitute vowels with question marks. In addition, many early newspapers sometimes abbreviated “Samuel” as “Saml,” so try entering the given name as “Sam*” or “Sam*l.”

screenshot of GenealogyBank's search box looking for Samuel Harrell

When I search for American Revolutionary War patriots, I often find the war described in various ways. One article might mention the Revolution, and another might describe someone as a Revolutionary War patriot. The solution is to abbreviate the term and add a specific surname.

screenshot of GenealogyBank's search box looking for Gilman

Don’t forget that you can direct the genealogy search engine to ignore certain words using the “Exclude Keywords” box.

If you are looking for one of George Washington’s namesakes, it might be useful to ignore the title President, whether it is abbreviated or spelled in full. And if you are repeating a previous search, you might wish to limit the query to the content added to GenealogyBank since your last search. Simply select the “Added Since” drop-down arrow, and limit by date.

screenshot of GenealogyBank's search box looking for George Washington

These newspaper search techniques usually carry over to your favorite Internet search engines.

Many search engines, such as Google Chrome, have advanced search options. However, if you can’t spot how to do that, you can still succeed. Without complicating things, you can apply what is known as a Boolean operator to a search query.

The three most common Boolean operators are AND, OR and NOT (in capitals).

  1. AND is usually a given in searches, but if you wish to be specific for search engines that ignore certain terms, be sure to add it.
  2. NOT is equivalent to adding a minus sign (-), and indicates that you want a search that does not include something.
  3. OR is an option that tells the search engine to find one thing or another.
  • Harrell OR Herrell OR Harrall
  • “George Washington” NOT President
  • “George Washington” -President
  • George Washington AND Adams

Occasionally you’ll find additional operators, such as the mostly undocumented NEAR in Bing, or AROUND in Google, as well as the ability to search by date ranges.

  • “Susan Smith” 1940…1950 (finds references for this person between two dates)
  • “Egbert Jones” 38…48 (finds a range of numbers connected with this person, such as a specified age)

You’ll need to experiment with the various search engines, and browse their help features. Click here to find a reference on search operators from GoogleGuide’s list: http://www.googleguide.com/advanced_operators_reference.html.

In addition, you’ll find that many popular social network and e-mail programs have additional shortcuts and search options that can be useful for searching.

Please let us know your favorite search techniques in GenealogyBank. Other readers may find them useful!

Michigan Newspaper Archives: Search 120+ MI Newspapers Online

Read the history of your ancestors from “The Wolverine State” as they lived it, day by day. Dig into GenealogyBank’s deep newspaper archives of old Michigan newspapers from 1837 to today. Read about Michigan’s history from the exploits of Father Marquette to current news. Our Michigan newspaper archives contain over 30 million articles—just click and start reading!

collage of Michigan newspapers and state flag

Collage of Michigan newspapers and state flag

City Newspaper Date Range Collection
Adrian Daily Telegram 1/3/1893 – 12/28/1922 Newspaper Archives
Adrian Daily Telegram 10/2/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Ann Arbor Ann Arbor News 1/2/1909 – 12/30/1922 Newspaper Archives
Ann Arbor Ann Arbor News 7/1/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Ann Arbor AnnArbor.com 7/25/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bad Axe Huron Daily Tribune 12/17/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Baldwin Lake County Star 1/1/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bay City Bay City Times 1/2/1889 – 12/30/1922 Newspaper Archives
Bay City Bay City Times 9/3/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bay City Bay City Times, The: Web Edition Articles 10/22/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Big Rapids Pioneer 4/2/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bronson Bronson Journal 3/3/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Charlevoix Charlevoix Courier 1/2/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cheboygan Cheboygan Daily Tribune 10/2/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Coldwater Coldwater Daily Reporter 10/2/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Dearborn Arab American News 10/27/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Detroit Associated Newspapers of Michigan 7/20/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Detroit Detroit Independent 1/13/1923 – 1/13/1923 Newspaper Archives
Detroit Detroit Informer 1/13/1900 – 1/13/1900 Newspaper Archives
Detroit Detroit News 1/1/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
Detroit Detroit News, The: Web Edition Articles 10/28/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Detroit Michigan Chronicle 8/2/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Detroit Plaindealer 9/20/1889 – 5/19/1893 Newspaper Archives
Detroit South End, The: Wayne State University 5/5/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Detroit Weekly Detroit Free Press and Supp.. The Household 1/2/1886 – 6/4/1887 Newspaper Archives
Fenton Tri-County Times 3/23/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Flint Burton News 8/14/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Flint Clio Messenger 4/20/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
Flint Davison Flagstaff 6/13/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Flint Fenton Press 7/24/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Flint Flint Journal 1/3/1898 – 12/31/1922 Newspaper Archives
Flint Flint Journal 4/3/1995 – Current Recent Obituaries
Flint Flint Journal, The: Web Edition Articles 10/15/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Flint Flint Township News 3/21/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Flint Flushing Observer 10/12/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
Flint Grand Blanc News 6/12/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Flint Swartz Creek News 4/20/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
Frankfort Benzie County Record Patriot 6/24/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fraser Fraser-Clinton Township Chronicle 2/23/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Gaylord Gaylord Herald Times 1/1/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Gladwin Record & Clarion 10/6/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
Grand Rapids Afro-American Gazette 1/1/1991 – 8/7/1995 Newspaper Archives
Grand Rapids Cadence Advance 10/10/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Grand Rapids Grand Rapids Herald 1/1/1898 – 12/31/1900 Newspaper Archives
Grand Rapids Grand Rapids Press 1/11/1893 – 12/30/1922 Newspaper Archives
Grand Rapids Grand Rapids Press 7/25/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Grand Rapids Grand Rapids Press, The: Web Edition Articles 10/18/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Grosse Pointe Grosse Pointe Times 1/30/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hart Oceana’s Herald-Journal 10/2/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hastings Hastings Banner 7/7/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hastings Lakewood News 7/9/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hastings Maple Valley News 7/9/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hastings Sun & News 7/16/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hillsdale Hillsdale Daily News 2/28/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
Holland Holland Sentinel 10/2/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Holland myZeeland 11/3/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Homer Homer Index 5/2/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hudsonville Grand Valley Advance 11/19/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Ionia Sentinel-Standard 10/14/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Jackson Jackson Citizen 8/15/1849 – 10/16/1903 Newspaper Archives
Jackson Jackson Citizen Patriot 6/23/1859 – 12/31/1922 Newspaper Archives
Jackson Jackson Citizen Patriot 1/1/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Jackson Jackson Citizen Patriot: Web Edition Articles 10/22/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Jenison On-the-Town 12/1/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Jonesville Jonesville Independent 4/8/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Kalamazoo Hometown Gazette 3/26/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Kalamazoo Kalamazoo Gazette 1/23/1837 – 12/31/1922 Newspaper Archives
Kalamazoo Kalamazoo Gazette 1/1/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Kalamazoo Kalamazoo Gazette: Web Edition Articles 10/19/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Kalamazoo Western Herald 9/14/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Kentwood Southeast Advance 9/30/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lansing Lansing City Pulse 3/3/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lansing New Citizens Press 7/9/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lowell Lowell Ledger 7/6/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Ludington Ludington Daily News 2/5/1998 – Current Recent Obituaries
Macomb Macomb Township Chronicle 3/24/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Madison Madison-Park News 3/9/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Manistee Manistee News Advocate 3/1/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Marlette Marlette Leader 3/2/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Midland Midland Daily News 6/20/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Monroe Monroe Evening News 10/31/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Mount Pleasant Morning Sun 7/1/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Muskegon Muskegon Chronicle 1/30/1869 – 12/30/1922 Newspaper Archives
Muskegon Muskegon Chronicle 1/3/1997 – Current Recent Obituaries
Muskegon Muskegon Chronicle, The: Web Edition Articles 10/17/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
New Buffalo Harbor Country News 4/8/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Ontonagon Lake Superior Miner 10/6/1855 – 9/10/1870 Newspaper Archives
Owosso Argus-Press 2/9/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Petoskey Petoskey News-Review 4/16/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Pontiac Oakland Press 8/8/2004 – 1/28/2011 Recent Obituaries
Portage Portage Gazette 2/12/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Reed City Herald Review 4/4/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Reed City Pioneer – Osceola Edition 6/6/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Rochester Rochester Post 6/21/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Rockford Northeast Advance 10/15/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Royal Oak Royal Oak Review 10/8/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
Saginaw Saginaw News 5/2/1881 – 12/31/1922 Newspaper Archives
Saginaw Saginaw News 11/16/1998 – Current Recent Obituaries
Saginaw Saginaw News: Web Edition Articles 10/22/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Sault Ste. Marie Evening News 1/26/1901 – 1/10/1923 Newspaper Archives
Sault Ste. Marie Evening News 10/2/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Sault Ste. Marie Sault Ste. Marie News 5/12/1887 – 12/29/1900 Newspaper Archives
Shelby, Utica Shelby-Utica News 10/7/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Southfield Detroit Jewish News 2/23/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Southfield Southfield Sun 8/4/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Sparta, Kent City Northwest Advance 8/18/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
St. Clair Shores St. Clair Shores Sentinel 1/23/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
St. James Northern Islander 12/12/1850 – 6/20/1856 Newspaper Archives
St. Joseph Herald-Palladium 4/1/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
State-Wide County mlive.com: Blogs 8/5/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Sterling Heights Sterling Heights Sentry 2/5/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
Sturgis Sturgis Journal 10/2/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Temperance Bedford Now 8/3/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Traverse City Grand Traverse Herald 2/19/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Traverse City Traverse City Record-Eagle 10/4/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Troy Troy Times 6/4/2003 – Current Recent Obituaries
Vassar Vassar Pioneer Times 3/9/2005 – 3/16/2011 Recent Obituaries
Vicksburg Commercial-Express 1/22/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Warren Advertiser Times 8/4/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Warren Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle 2/9/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Warren C&G Newspapers Web Exclusive Articles 1/13/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Warren Mount Clemens-Clinton-Harrison Journal 3/2/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Warren Roseville-Eastpointe Eastsider 9/4/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Warren Warren Weekly 5/15/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Wayland Penasee Globe 12/17/2007 – Current Recent Obituaries
Whitehall White Lake Beacon 10/13/2009 – Current Recent Obituaries
Woodward Woodward Talk 5/19/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Wyoming Southwest Advance 12/16/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries
Ypsilanti Eastern Echo: Eastern Michigan University 11/7/2008 – Current Recent Obituaries

Handy Quick List: 40 Rhode Island Newspapers Now Online

GenealogyBank is rapidly growing—we now have over 40 Rhode Island newspapers online for you to trace your genealogy. That’s a lot of local RI papers!

Search for your ancestors in multiple newspaper titles from Providence, Newport and other popular cities in Rhode Island. Here is the complete list of RI newspapers currently available in our archives. Bookmark this list of Rhode Island newspapers that is frequently updated to stay abreast of newly added titles.

City

Title

Date Range

Collection

Bristol Mount Hope Eagle 1/10/1807 – 10/8/1808 Historical Newspapers
Charlestown Charlestown Press 8/3/2006 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Coventry Coventry Courier 1/14/2011 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Cumberland Valley Breeze 7/19/2001 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
East Greenwich East Greenwich Pendulum 1/20/2011 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Hopkinton Wood River Press 8/3/2006 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Newport Companion 5/2/1798 – 7/20/1799 Historical Newspapers
Newport Gazette Francoise 11/17/1780 – 1/2/1781 Historical Newspapers
Newport Guardian of Liberty 10/3/1800 – 9/26/1801 Historical Newspapers
Newport Newport Gazette 1/16/1777 – 12/26/1777 Historical Newspapers
Newport Newport Herald 3/1/1787 – 9/17/1791 Historical Newspapers
Newport Newport Mercury 6/19/1758 – 12/30/1876 Historical Newspapers
Newport Rhode-Island Gazette 10/4/1732 – 3/1/1733 Historical Newspapers
Newport Rhode-Island Museum 7/7/1794 – 12/29/1794 Historical Newspapers
Newport Rhode-Island Republican 10/3/1801 – 4/21/1841 Historical Newspapers
North Kingstown Standard-Times 1/20/2011 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
North Providence North Providence Breeze 2/2/2006 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Pawtucket Pawtucket Times 1/1/1898 – 2/28/1921 Historical Newspapers
Pawtucket Times 10/7/2009 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Pawtucket Valley Breeze, The: Pawtucket Edition 8/19/2009 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Providence American 10/21/1808 – 10/17/1809 Historical Newspapers
Providence American Journal 3/18/1779 – 8/29/1781 Historical Newspapers
Providence Columbian Phenix 1/2/1808 – 1/8/1814 Historical Newspapers
Providence Impartial Observer 8/11/1800 – 3/6/1802 Historical Newspapers
Providence Literary Cadet and Rhode-Island Statesman 4/22/1826 – 7/18/1829 Historical Newspapers
Providence Manufacturers’ & Farmers’ Journal 1/3/1820 – 9/18/1876 Historical Newspapers
Providence Microcosm, American and Gazette 4/17/1830 – 6/5/1830 Historical Newspapers
Providence Providence Evening Press 3/14/1859 – 11/13/1878 Historical Newspapers
Providence Providence Gazette 8/31/1762 – 10/8/1825 Historical Newspapers
Providence Providence Journal 1/2/1799 – 12/30/1801 Historical Newspapers
Providence Providence Patriot 1/15/1814 – 12/27/1834 Historical Newspapers
Providence Providence Phoenix 4/28/1802 – 12/26/1807 Historical Newspapers
Providence Religious Intelligencer 5/13/1820 – 11/4/1820 Historical Newspapers
Providence Rhode-Island American 10/20/1809 – 2/1/1833 Historical Newspapers
Providence State Gazette 1/4/1796 – 7/2/1796 Historical Newspapers
Providence United States Chronicle 1/1/1784 – 5/17/1804 Historical Newspapers
Smithfield Valley Breeze & Observer 2/2/2006 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Wakefield Narragansett Times 1/21/2009 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Warren Bristol County Register 3/11/1809 – 3/31/1810 Historical Newspapers
Warren Herald of the United States 1/14/1792 – 12/12/1812 Historical Newspapers
Warren Telescope 11/6/1813 – 6/28/1817 Historical Newspapers
West Warwick Kent County Daily Times 1/22/2011 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Westerly Westerly Pawcatuck Press 7/1/2009 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Westerly Westerly Sun 4/27/2000 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Woonsocket Call 10/8/2009 – Current Newspaper Obituaries
Wyoming Chariho Times 1/20/2011 – Current Newspaper Obituaries

 

 

Warren, RI Newspaper archives 1792-1849 now online

GenealogyBank has put the Warren, Rhode Island newspaper archives: 1792-1849 online.

Click here to search Warren, RI newspaper archives 1749-1849 online

Or click on the individual titles below to search a specific Warren, RI newspaper:
Bristol County Register 1809-1810
Herald of the United States 1792-1793
Telescope 1800-1849

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