Searching for Newspapers

 Thomas Grayson Fisher, one of my more colourful ancestors, who was known by all three names, is buried at Goodooga Cemetary.  So how can I find an entry for his death in a local newspaper when I don't know the name of the newspaper it might be in?  Here are my steps to finding this information - if it is available!

1. Search TROVE using the name and year of death

Do an advanced search and begin by putting in as much information as you know, take a look at the month of birth if you know it, if it is early or late in the year you may need to include two years.  Thomas died on 29 Dec 1893, so I searched 1893 to 1894. Don't limit the search.

If this does not provide any information, start to limit the search, change the date to 1 Dec 1893 - 1 Feb 1894.  Change the state to NSW.

Try expanding the search by just using the surname.  Expand the years to 1892 to 1894.  Search the whole of Australia.

2.  What is the nearest large town?

Goodooga Cemetary is in Brewarrina, which is a very small town.  Using Google maps I found the town is quite close to the NSW/Queensland border and the nearest large town would be Bourke or Walgett, maybe Dubbo would be the closest thing to a "city" nearby (ish).

3. Find the newspapers for that area.

This is a bit trickier, and I use wikipedia.  Search for "List of Newspapers in (STATE)"

The list of Newspapers in NSW has hundreds of title and looks like this:

The headings of the list are:

  • Newspaper
  • Town/Suburb 
  • Sydney Region  - yes or no
  • Status - either current or defunct
  • Year of Publication

So to narrow down what newspapers I might be looking for, I use an old Microsoft process.  PRESS <Ctrl F>  (ie. the control and F keys).  This brings up a blank search box.  Type in the town you are looking for.  In the case below I used Dubbo.

Next to the word Dubbo you will see 1/25  - this means that there are 25 entries using the word Dubbo, and your cursor is on the first (1) of the entries.

Next to that are up and down arrows, and the X closes the box.

So now you can scroll through the newspapers distributed in Dubbo using the down key  (each one will be highlighted in yellow) and do this process :

  • Check if the newspaper was published in the years you are looking for.
  • Check to see if it is a current newspaper
  • Jot down the NAME of the Newspaper if it fits the years you are after.
Repeat this process for the towns nearby to the town you are looking for.  So in this case I searched Dubbo, Walgett, Bourke and Brewarrina.  I also used the same process for the nearest Queensland towns, Cuttaburra and Hebel.

Now you should have a list of possible newspapers where the death may have been reported.

There were three Brewarrina Newspapers, which would be my first preference, but only one was published in 1893-4.  That is the one I want to look for first.

The Brewarrina Argus and Barwon River AdvocateBrewarrinaNodefunct1892
The Brewarrina NewsBrewarrinaNodefunct1958–1975
The Brewarrina Times and Barwon River GazetteBrewarrinaNodefunct1880–1907

4.  Where is that newspaper available?

  • TROVE - do an advanced search just use a surname and narrow the years and State, you will see a list of newspapers on the right-hand side of the screen, check to see if the newspaper you want is there.
  • Check with the State Archives to see if they have copies of the newspaper you need.
  • Check with the State Library to see if they have it.
  • Check if the National Library has it.
  • Check with the Local Council to see if they have copies or know where they are.
  • Check with the Local Library to find out where copies may be.
  • Do a Google search for the name of the newspaper.  (sometimes I do this first)
I found in the Google search I did that the newspaper is  on the National Library site of Missing Newspapers, only the 1892 issue is held.   (to do this use the <Ctrl F> shortcut).  I also found the Facebook page for the Brewarrina Newspaper, so I posted there to see if anyone may have some information - you never know what I will find.

This is the process I always use when looking for newspaper entries, sometimes I find them, sometimes I do not.  In the case of Thomas Grayson Fisher I am still looking.


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