You Still Need to Manually Search Digital Newspapers

Only found when “reading” the gossip columns after finding someone on a different family. I almost missed two Troutvetter items.

Digital images of newspapers are wonderful, but they will not catch every reference to the names for which you are looking. The problem is compounded if the original print was difficult to read or the microfilm from which the digital image was made was of poor quality. While looking at a reference for a different family, I found a newspaper reference to my Trautvetter ancestor that I had not located previously using digital searches.

The name was spelled Troutvetter, but I learned years ago to include variant spellings–and that’s an easy one for that name. The image was not in my folder of references I found when going through every Trautvetter and Troutvetter reference–other spellings were used as well.

I’m not certain why the original reference was not located originally. The newspaper I was using has articles in a variety of font sizes and some of those smaller fonts are more difficult to read and tend to be blurred–sometimes.

Manual searches of newspapers are still necessary, particularly when you have good cause to think there should be an item. It’s not possible for most of us to read every page, however there are a few things to look for specifically if digital queries of newspaper images don’t bring them up:

  • vital events (birth, marriage, death);
  • anniversaries;
  • court actions (if you have the date of something)
  • and other significant life events if you have the date