Download and Search While You Can

Two years ago one of the fee-based websites that has digital images of newspapers had images of my hometown newspaper for the year in which I was born. I am absolutely certain of it. I downloaded a copy of my birth announcement, my grandfather’s obituary, and my great-grandfather’s obituary.

Two days ago, I went back to search for another item from that same time period. The newspapers were not there.

Always search and download when you can. You never know when that website may no longer have the database you need.

Or that you simply can’t find that item that it took you hours to locate.


9 thoughts on “Download and Search While You Can

  1. Janice Harshbarger

    I’ve had a similar experience. I was new to genealogy and didn’t understand the importance of a book I found. I read it on line but didn’t try to download it. I can’t find it again, and it was about my direct ancestor. Sometimes it’s hard to live and learn.

    1. michaeljohnneill Post author

      Thanks for the reminder. That works for some sites, unfortunately the fee-based sites are usually not included.

  2. toni

    I learned the hard way, too. Now I have multiple family folders of “Unknown Surname”, “Potential Surname”, and “Possibilities Surname”.

    1. Ros BUrke

      Hah – that’s a good idea! I actually found a letter written by an eyewitness of my GGGrandfather at Gallipoli. It reported him as having said something which some historians have disputed. So I dutifully saved it in a “safe place” and promptly forgot where that was. I recently found it again by luck. I am going to create a folder called “SAFE PLACE” for future use! BTW some of we older researchers are, ourselves, getting a bit “historic” and should remind ourselves don’t trust anything to memory.

      1. michaeljohnneill Post author

        It can slow one down, but sometimes I think that whenever I “think about an ancestor,” I should type that thought process up immediately. Because I will forget.

  3. Patricia McMahon Regan

    Michael John – Your are certainly hands up on this one. Back in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s after finally getting a computer, I gathered addition clue information on my many families (and for others) and also personal information on myself (from college days) and my siblings. In 2005 I suffered a total loss of my home (in Fl., furnishings (computer included) and personal belongings (much my Library) to Hurricane Wilma. Not all, but still a considerable amount of my research (especially current) was either lost or severely damaged. Fortunately I had a 2nd copy of a great deal of my research (done prior to computers) at my sons house in NYS (but not all that I should of had), and I still suffered the total loss of much of my hard work at archives, info I had written for in and out of the Country and travels (not to mention the high cost of many documents). I also had an excellent small Library of Genealogical books. Part of this information I had found such as newspaper articles on the internet after finally getting a Computer and downloaded a great deal to add to my research and I made paper copies for many of my older files. As soon as I had used my knowledge on how to salvage records, books, etc., and discovered all my missing Newspaper records that I previously took off the Internet I found that many of these items were no longer on the Internet. In a few of them the entire Newspaper was no longer available, but in many the Newspaper was still listed, but the Articles in my Records I was seeking were no longer available. One newspaper website even states the total numbers of pages since their inception of the site, which would lead one to believe that was the current number still available on the Site and yet everything I needed was no longer available. In looking through to replace better and damaged copies of other newspapers articles I found the same thing. So make sure in case of a disaster you have all of your work protected elsewhere. The reason I did not have some of my material protected, is because I had researched by 2005 close to 60 years and it would of been impossible to go back and recopy all my past work when I was still actively researching for myself and others.


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