"Researching newspapers is a marathon, not a sprint"
OK, enough of the platitude, but why can't I find what I am looking for?
Here are 10 reasons why you might be unsuccessful and what to do about it:
- All newspapers are not online. Period. My guess is that it is in the 10 to 15% range, but that is just a guess. You may have to visit a library or archive and browse through microfilm and original newsprint.
- All newspapers online to search are not free. You might just need to invest in one of the subscription sites. I have done so and found articles and obituaries that are not in the free collections. There are often free trials available if you are strapped financially.
- You have found newspapers available but they don't have the dates that you are looking for. This happens all the time, so check the dates available in the collections before you search.
- Your search criteria is lacking. Please check the Newspapers! page on this site for tips and articles on how to search to produce the best results. Don't just search surnames. Vary your spelling. Etc.
- Are you Browsing? If the OCR process doesn't convert the dots on the newsprint to the proper text, then the word will not be indexed properly. But browsing through pages may find what you are looking for. More tedious? Yes. I have found a bunch of pertinent articles by browsing. Add browsing to your repertoire.
- Don't expect Chronicling America, or Google News Archive, or the subscription sites to always have what you need. Check out 15 Huge Lists of Free Online Newspaper Collections for Genealogy to find free online collections.
- For your geographical area of interest, check city, county, state, local public library, college and university websites for new online collections. Those 15 lists above can't keep track of every new collection immediately, so do a bit of research for new collections yourself in the targeted area.
- Ask for help. In the Genealogy and Newspapers Facebook Group, there are several librarians who have offered to look up newspapers for members in the collections that they have available, as just one example.
- Have a plan. Keep track of your searches and ancestors that you are searching for. Maybe in the future additional dates and/or collections will have the target newspaper that you are waiting for.
- Be patient. Don't give up. Educate yourself in the meantime. Become a patient researching machine.