Check with your local, college or state library to see if they offer access to the ProQuest Historical Newspapers collection. Many offer free in-library and remote access to their patrons.
- Two word queries (such as daniel boone) are searched as an exact phrase by default.
- Queries with three or more words (such as mary powell cemetery) are not searched as a phrase, but do need to appear in proximity to one another (within a 250 word block).
- Use "quotation marks" to search for exact phrases, such as "little big horn."
- Use parentheses to control the order in which your search terms are combined. Whatever appears inside the parentheses is searched first, and then those results are searched with the terms appearing outside the parentheses. Searches without parentheses are interpreted from left to right.
Search Operators & StrategiesLocating information in more than 150 years of historic newspapers can be quite a challenge. Just typing in a name can yield thousands of results. To help you refine your search results, the ProQuest Historical Newspapers database provides several advanced search features.
Wildcard Search - Wildcard searches allow you to use a special character to represent one or more letters in your search term.
- The asterisk symbol (*) is used as a right-hand truncation character to represent one or more characters at the end of a word. This symbol can only be used at the end of a word.
Example: pittsburg* will find "Pittsburgh" or "Pittsburg" and marri* will find "marriage" or "married."
- The question mark symbol (?) is used to replace any single character within a word. It may be used at any position in the middle of a word, or at the end of a word, but cannot be used to begin a word.
Example: smi?th will find "Smith" or "Smyth" and wom?n will find "woman" and "women."
Boolean Operators - Boolean and other special operators can be used to broaden or narrow your search results.
- AND Use AND between words to find documents in which all the words occur in the same paragraph (within approximately 1000 characters).
- W/DOC This operator offers a broader search range than the AND operator, returning documents where the words appear anywhere within the document text.
- AND NOT Finds articles or documents which contain the first word, but not the second.
- OR Find any of the words of phrases. Since two word queries are automatically considered to be phrases, you can also use OR between two word search terms. Alternatively, include the alternate phrases in quotation marks.
- W/# Use this operator to fine tune the proximity in which the terms you're searching for must appear. Enter a number from 1 to 100 to find documents where your search terms appear within that number of words apart.
- PRE/# This operator is useful for finding specific search phrases where one or more of the words in the phrase might be slightly different. Enter a number to find documents where the first word appears within that number of words before the second word.
Limit with Search FieldsTo further refine your search you can use search fields to find articles from a particular newspaper, by a particular author, or within a particular time period. You can even limit your results to articles that have image captions! These search fields are presented via dropdown menus on the Advanced Search screen of the ProQuest Historical Newspapers database so it generally isn't necessary to remember or use the following search constructions.
- author(author name) - Find articles written by a specific author or reviewer. Example: author(edgar allen poe)
- source(newspaper title) - Use the source field to restrict your search to a specific newspaper. Example: source(new york times)
- PDN(mm/dd/yyyy) - Search by the published date field to limit your search to a specific newspaper issue or range of issues. You can limit your search to a specific date, to a specific year, or to a range of dates (using the greater than (>) or less than (<) symbols. Example: PDN(>06/03/1876 AND <12/31/1876)
- YR(year or year range) - Limit your search to a particular year or range of years. Acceptable arguments include a single year (1899), a year range (1911-1914), before a certain year (<1857), or after a certain year (>1992). Example: YR(1911-1914)
- AT(article type) - Limit your search to articles or documents of a certain type. Valid article types of use for most genealogy searches include: obituary, marriage, birth, front_page, review, display_ad, fire loss, letter, classified ad, editorial article, legal notice, weather, real estate transaction, and photo_standalone. Example: AT(photo_standalone) limits your search terms to articles with image captions.
source(New York Times) AND Albert Einstein AND PDN(>10/07/1933 AND <04/30/1955)