Use Abbreviations in Your Newspaper Searches to Find 50% More Ancestor Articles

In old newspapers, abbreviations were used to save space. Abbreviations were used to shorten many words – the most notable being given names as well as addresses.

Remember that your search criteria are just a series of letters that are matched against a search index that was created from the scan and OCR process applied to the subject newspaper page.

Your search index database is not smart enough, for example, to interpret “ave.” for the word “avenue.”  So if you are entering “335 14th Avenue” – if the search index includes “Ave” the search will not be successful. Therefore you must search both “335 14th Avenue” and “335 14th Ave” to get all possible results.

Given names can provide a great number of increased results by using abbreviations. I have seen as much as 50% more results with given name abbreviations, such as “Wm” for William, “Jos” for Joseph, “Eliz” for Elizabeth, and “Robt” for Robert, just to name a few. Here is a terrific list of given name abbreviations from Genealogy In Time.

So when developing your search criteria for both genealogy and newspaper searches, you need to include abbreviations in your repertoire.

Download the Quicksheet PDF

To download the Abbreviations Quick Sheet PDF, click on the Download button below:

Good Luck and Happy Hunting!

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