Breamlea, Victoria

Breamlea, Victoria

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Treasure TROVE Part 2

Hi Everyone!

This blog is a continuation of the previous Treasure TROVE blog.  We are continuing to explore how to access the digitised newspapers portion of the TROVE website, which is the collection of the National Library of Australia. (

Today we will look at what Trove can and can't do to find articles about your ancestor.

Now first note, this is very important.  Not everyone is going to find articles about their particular ancestor. There are many reasons for this.

1.  Obviously, not all newspapers have been digitised yet. At this stage in society's development towards digitisation of documents, we just haven't yet been able to scan or transcribe all the paper in the world into files that we can use on our computer.  Much has been achieved but it is a massive undertaking when you think about it. There is lots yet to be done. That is exciting in a way though, because as volunteers go through the backlog of documents, new documents appear regularly.  I will write more about how we can all assist in getting documents into the public arena in a later blog.

2. Trove does not cover all newspapers.  Trove is a massive resource, but there are still some newspapers that it does not cover.  For example I know that Trove has some of the Geelong Advertiser for early decades, but for more recent years you need to go to the Geelong Heritage Centre.

3.  Trove does not cover all eras.  Sometimes, even if the newspaper is listed in Trove, there are gaps in the years they actually have digitised. With the centenary of  Gallipoli upon us, a lot of organisations have pushed to have those war years readily available to the public. Suffice to say there can be gaps in various eras, and you can check that out.

4. Maybe your ancestor did nothing noteworthy.  No crime, no massive charitable works, no massive society parties, no going to war, no letters to the Editor.   Think about what would make your ancestor newsworthy from the point of view of a newspaper in THEIR era.  Most people would be"un-newsworthy", people living law-abiding lives and raising children quietly in their community.

5. Nothing in the Family Notices section?  Maybe the family was too poor to put notices in the the family notices section when a birth, death or marriage happened.

These are all reasons why your ancestor may NOT be in the newspaper.  I know my great grandmother Nellie Clarke personally really hated the idea of being in the newspaper, as newspaper was used for toilet paper in those days. People would cut the newspaper into squares, thread a large bodkin with string, and pierce the corner of the squares so the paper hung off the string like a huge paper keyring.  Then the whole lot would be hung off a nail in the toilet.  I remember that for myself and I'm only in my early 50's, so it's not that long ago.

Seems really funny now though.

Your search in Trove may come up a blank.  Keep patient, and search again later to see if any documents have been newly digitised.

But if  your search in Trove does find some reference to your ancestor - wow! - it is just like striking gold.  And I guess that is why they call it TROVE.

Historically yours,
Valerius Copernicus

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