5 Most Popular Searches in Historical Newspapers–and Tips for Improving Yours!

The British Newspaper Archive celebrated its 3rd birthday recently by looking back at how people are searching its 9 million+ newspaper pages. To date, the five Genealogy Research in Newspapersmost common searches are:

1. Football

2. Murder

3. Death

4. Jack the Ripper

5. Railway

Not what you expected? Your digitized newspaper searches as a family historian may be a little more specific and less sports-and-murder oriented. But are they too general to yield successful results?

Here’s a tip from Lisa: “With 9 million searchable pages, the key to finding what you want is to use the Advanced Search.

 

“You’ll find it under the search box. My initial search for my husband’s great grandfather resulted in tens of thousands of hits until I included mandatory keywords, his name as a phrase, a defined time frame, and zeroed in on advertisements. The 299 results were far more manageable and resulted in several fantastic finds!”

Armed with these tips, those with Irish or English roots should explore The British Newspaper Archive, even if you’ve searched there before. “We’ve come a long way since the website launched on 29 November 2011 with 4 million historic newspaper pages,” says a press release. “The collection is now more than twice the size, with over 9 million fully searchable pages available from 300 British and Irish titles. The newspapers cover 1710 – 1954, a much broader time period than at launch. If you weren’t able to find a particular person, event or place when The British Newspaper Archive launched, it’s well worth looking again now.” Visit www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk to try a search for free.”

Learn more about searching historical newspapers in Lisa’s book, How to Find Your Family History in Newspapers. Chapter 4 is all about the newspaper search process, and includes a copy-able Newspaper Research Worksheet.

Last of all, check out this fun infographic below from the British Newspaper Archive in honor of its birthday:

 

British Newspaper Archive

Send Family Birthdays and Events Right to Your Phone

MyHeritage family events calendarOne of my favorite features on MyHeritage family websites is the family events calendar. This calendar automatically populates itself with living relatives’ birthdays and wedding anniversaries. In addition to giving you a streaming calendar feed, you also get helpful reminders of how old that person is turning or which anniversary it is.

As you can see from the image on the right, you can also post new family events: graduations, showers, weddings, and reunions (from a last-minute picnic to a full-scale gathering).

Now you can get those event reminders sent directly to your mobile phone. MyHeritage says, “Enable this feature by going to Account > My profile > Edit site preferences > Family event reminders. Choose the option to recieve reminders via Text Message (SMS) and enter your phone number to start getting reminders of your loved ones’ big days.”

Julian calendarI always wanted to be more like my Uncle John and Aunt Deb, who remember all family birthdays with cute cards in the mail. (Thank you for that!) But I haven’t been organized enough over the years. Sending event reminders to my phone can prompt me to take baby steps forward: to Facebook my cousins when their young children have birthdays, remember important anniversary years and not have to count on my fingers to know how old my brother is turning this year!

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