Tuesday, November 6, 2018

TUESDAY’S TIP–Didn’t find that record in the newspaper? Here’s how to look a little deeper...

This morning I was looking for an obituary on my 2nd great grandaunt’s husband, John R. Tibbits.  He died 3 Oct 1903 in Port Huron, St. Clair, Michigan.

I went to the newspapers.com website and entered his name “John Tibbits” and the year 1903 along with the state, Michigan.

The only two records that showed up were an estate hearing notice and a list of those who had died.  No obituary.

Here’s the results of my first search. 
(Click on any image to enlarge it)
John R Tibbits search results

Here’s the hearing notice.
John R Tibbits estate hearing_annot

This is good information, but I wanted more.

Was there an obituary published?  If so, why isn’t it coming up in my search?

We all know that broad searches result in more hits.  I could narrow it down to the exact month and year.  But, I decided to look for this obituary by going directly to the newspaper itself.  I happen to know that this was then a small newspaper, not like a big city paper with dozens of pages.

I brought up the image that took me directly to the page with the notice of his estate hearing.  The green arrows indicate the entry for John Tibbits.  The red arrow shows you the name of the newspaper, date and page number.

John R Tibbits hearing page annot

The next thing I did was click on the name of the newspaper, to take me directly to that publication.
Daily Herald selection annot

Since I had information that John Tibbits died on 3 Oct 1903, I didn’t want that exact date.  Obituaries are usually published a day or several days later.  In this case, there was no option for 4 Oct 1903 (perhaps that day of the publication hasn’t been scanned yet). 
So, I selected 5 Oct 1903.  LOOK!  Only 6 pages!

Daily Herald pages

Such a small newspaper, so let’s begin with page 1.  Although, I generally wouldn’t expect obituaries to appear on the first page.

Right there on page 1, about half way down, in column 5 is a section titled OBITUARY

05 Oct 1903, 1 - The Daily Herald at Newspapers_annot

Would I find John Tibbits’ obituary in that article?  Yes!

Copy (2) of 05 Oct 1903, 1 - The Daily Herald at Newspapers

Here’s a readable close up of John’s obituary.

TIBBITS_John R_obit_cropped_5 Oct 1903_MI

Now we have a little more information than we got from the death notice, which only gave his name and age.  Or, the estate hearing notice, which only gave his name and the date of the hearing in 1903.

I know that John’s wife, Olive Parmelia Hart Tibbits did outlive him (she died in 1915).  And I know that he is buried in Armada, Macomb, Michigan at Rose Hill Cemetery, FindAGrave #32188509.  I’ve been to that cemetery and taken photos of headstones, including his.

REMEMBER – Just because you don’t find what you’re looking for on your first or second or tenth try, doesn’t mean it’s not there.  Try to think of others ways you can search. 

I hope this tip has been helpful.  I’d love to hear how you may have located a record by thinking outside the box.


THOSE PLACED THURSDAY - Armada, Michigan & Rose Hill Cemetery

Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl
Copyright ©  2010-2018   Diane Gould Hall


  1. Love that you have shown the step by step process. This really works. I've used this strategy before. It's also good to use this same strategy at Ancestry and search within specific databases instead of site-wide. I have found that during the 1920-1960 when my family appeared in the paper they were generally listed by their initials and surname. Were they conserving ink?

    1. Marie - I agree with you on using this strategy on Ancestry. We have to become very good problem solvers and hunters to get good results in our searches. LOL on the saving ink :)
      Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Great tip, Diane. Sometimes perseverance really pays off! :-)

    1. It sure does Elizabeth. I had used this method before, but sometimes we forget, as we are going along. We get so eager to find information and it's hard to slow down and think outside the box or even remember what worked before.
      Thanks for your comment.

  3. Great tip. I’ve never had much luck with finding my people in newspapers.com. But they’ve shown up quite a few times in the papers in newspaperarchives.com. But maybe that’s because I find the search function at the latter much easier to use. Maybe if I could just figure out newspapers.com I’d find more.

    1. Jo,
      I have to admit I’m a little addicted to finding ancestors in newspapers. I subscribe to both genealogy bank and newspapers.com. I have much better luck and find the search capabilities on the latter much easier. I have had very little luck at Chronicling America and some luck on the Fulton Postcard site. I’ve never tried the site you mentioned. Oh oh, one more place for me to look.
      I hope my post give you better luck on Newspapers.com in the future.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  4. I have used this method to find lots of information about my families. One recent success was finding a birth announcement for a baby that died young but we had no firm dates. Knowing that this area published births and deaths once a month, I followed up and browsed for several months to find his death information which included his exact death date and exact age. It wasn't coming up by searching so this was the key to finding it.

    1. Great effort by you, looking for several months. I know that all of us miss information that is out there because we don't dig deep enough. I'm certainly as guilty as anyone.
      Thanks for your comment.

  5. When dealing with a common last name like Matthews, I will sometimes add the street name to the search as sometimes it is included in the item, like Arthur Matthew's of Nafus street. This helped me find additional items in a small town newspaper.

    1. Anna,
      I've used that method a few times and it has helped. I probably need to use it much more often. Thanks for the reminder.


I look forward to reading your comments. If you have any connection to the people mentioned in this blog, please let me know. I write about mine and my husband's ancestors and would welcome new information or meeting a new cousin or two. Thanks for visiting and come back soon.