Family History Month Day 31 – Use Elephind for Genealogy

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On Day 31 of Family History Month, use Elephind for genealogy research. Elephind is a free, historical newspaper site that is able to search across more than 3,000 newspaper titles at 25 institutions. The website has a very clean design and is easy to use.

Elephind OnGenealogy Family History Month

 

Elephind includes titles from Australia, Mexico, New Zealand, and the United States. They have a specific list of titles from each country on their site. As well as institutions they are able to search (in the image below).

Elephind sources

 

Elephind has some standard search features you’ll want to use including:

  • using the OR search operator if multiple words don’t need to be in the same search result

  • using the – search operator to exclude a word

    • Madison -James

    • would return mentions of “Madison” but not mentions of “James Madison”

    • this is helpful if you’re searching for an ancestor, James Wells, and see tons of articles with someone of the same name involved in oil drilling, so you  search for

      • “James Wells” -oil

      • and those articles won’t be in your search returns

  • using quotation marks to search for an exact phrase (example in image below)

  • using the ~ search operator with a number to say how far apart two words in your search can be

    • “Sarah Webber” ~3

    • allows you to search for Sarah Webber when Webber is no more than 3 words apart from Sarah; this will return instances where her middle names are included in an article, such as “Sarah Jane Webber” or “Webber, Sarah”

  • Elephind doesn’t distinguish between capital and lowercase text in searches

    • If I’m searching for “James Wells” I can’t exclude water wells by searching for

      • “James Wells” -wells

      • this search yields no results because Elephind doesn’t distinguish letter case

In the example below I searched for an ancestor, Harry Webber, who performed in a traveling play, Nip and Tuck. I wanted to find articles about his performances so I put his name in quotation marks, “Harry Webber” and the play name in quotation marks “Nip and Tuck”. Elephind returned only newspapers that contained both “Harry Webber” and “Nip and Tuck”. Technically, you don’t need the AND operator, but I like to use it for consistency to show what I was searching for. If you don’t use an operator between the phrases, Elephind assumes there is an AND search operator.

Elephind AND search operator

 

You’re also able to refine your search results using the options in the left column of your search results page. These options include:

  • Country/State of Publication

  • Decade

  • Source

  • Publication Title

  • Language of Publication

Elephind search options

 

 

These are extremely helpful search tools. In the case of my ancestor, Harry Webber, if I know Harry Webber never traveled to Australia, I can refine my search results to include only publications in the United States. If I know he was traveling in the 1880s, I can also refine my results by decade. If I don’t know how widely he traveled, I let Elephind search every source and publication in the United States, published in the 1880s.

Elephind refined search results

 

Best in your searches at Elephind!

 

October 30, 2017 |

One thought on “Family History Month Day 31 – Use Elephind for Genealogy

  1. […] You can search all titles at once or you can select the area and paper you’re interested in and search from that particular paper. For more Elephind Search Tips, visit the Family History Month blog on Elephind. […]

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