Is There Really Just One Newspaper Account?

There were quite a few articles on Philip.

If your relative was part of a “breaking local news story,” an account of the incident may have made the local newspaper. One account of an event can easily contain incorrect details, particularly if the event took place close to press time or witnesses were originally difficult to find. Obtain multiple newspaper references to the event and compare/contrast the details provided.

  • a reference a few days later may contain more accurate information-or it may not.
  • if the incident resulted in court action, more details may be mentioned in newspaper articles during the trial
  • if the incident was sufficiently noteworthy, there may be retrospective articles on anniversary dates of the incident
  • the incident may be mentioned when a key player dies years later
  • check other nearby newspapers for mention of the incident

Keep in mind some newspapers may have essentially “copied” what was in another paper. Two sources saying the exact same thing does not make it twice as likely to be true–just twice as likely to have been copied.


Learn more about newspaper research in Jim Beidler’s  The Family Tree Historical Newspapers Guide: How to Find Your Ancestors in Archived Newspapers.