We are blessed to live in a time when newspapers are being scanned and, within reason, indexed. Although sometimes the indexing capacity is not as accurate or clear-cut as we would like, we still have to keep in mind the way we did research a decade ago!
I was working on a case where a murder was involved. This was in the late nineteenth century. It was a pretty bad one where the husband kills his wife and then disappears. When caught, he was tried and convicted. In my mind, that entire process from murder to conviction, spoke of a news worthy drama which would certainly make the local newspaper.
Consulting Historic Newspaper Websites
To say the least, I was disappointed when I discovered the newspaper I needed was not yet added to the collections on GenealogyBank or NewspaperArchive. However, I reasoned, there was potentially enough drama involved perhaps it was syndicated to other newspapers around the country.
I was exactly right. So taking those two main newspaper websites, I began plugging in familiar names and places as keywords in the search engines for the websites. Bingo! I found references to the murder, the manhunt and the eventual trail and conviction. It was syndicated in many newspapers around the country. Some of the states did not even border the one where the crime was committed.
Filling in the Gaps Through Syndicated Articles
Now with all the newspaper facts at my fingertips, I could begin to fill in and clarify the family lore. The information also opened up a broad range of sources. Did anybody hear me say “prison records?” Yes, one source leading to another.
Although I did not have access online to the newspaper I actually wanted; I was able to successfully substitute it with syndicated articles from other newspapers around the country. That makes for a good day in family history research!
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