Yes you may get lucky and get some results, but are they ALL the results, or the BEST results? Likely the answer is a resounding NO.
There are a lot of articles about newspaper research for genealogy, but most tell you what sites to search and they don't tell you what to do once you get there!
So here are just a few tips for beginners (and it is always a good review for more advanced folks as well.) After reading this, I would highly recommend perusing the Newspapers! page on this website for a bunch of newspaper research-related articles as well as a ton of links to websites that contain newspaper research databases.
- Large nation-wide databases, such as Chronicling America and world-wide, such as Elephind, are terrific resources. You might decide to just go to these sites and enter a simple surname search, and then depending on the rarity of the surname may get few results or too many to go through. I always advise that you use the ADVANCED SEARCH capability of these sites. This will allow you to hone in on a persons full name or the specific locations where they might have lived. Some of the Advanced Search features allow you to search for ANY of the words, ALL of the words, an EXACT PHRASE, or even a proximity search, which searches for Word A within say 5 words of Word B in the text. You also can narrow the results to a specific date range.
- Look for LOCATION BASED DATABASES. Select a site where your target ancestor resided. Then do your search. There are hundreds of county, state and province based collections that may provide with you with newspapers that are not in the big collections. If you don't know which newspapers are available for your desired location, you can always use this Library of Congress database. it also shows where offline newspapers might be located in archives, libraries and other institutions. Or again - check the Newspapers! page on this site for links in The U.S. and Canada.
- Vary your search criteria. For example, DELIBERATELY MISSPELL the target ancestors name as you may have seen it misspelled in the past. Both OCR and scanning errors may alter the name in the index from how it was originally published. Also, the journalist who wrote the article may have misspelled the name in the first place!
- Vary your search criteria, Part 2. DON'T JUST SEARCH FOR NAMES. Try searching for a known address, or an occupation, or a club or lodge that your ancestor may have belonged to.
- Remember that many words in older newspapers were HYPHENATED, so use parts of names or words in your search criteria.
If you are a visual learner, you can also check out these Tutorials on how to use many of these online sites.
These are just a few tips to get you started and obtain the most and best results. Don't type and hope!