Thursday 15 June 2017

How to find and manipulate Google news archive information

As a family historian I aim to find as many records as possible for individuals. It is not always possible to visit repositories where copies of required articles are held or indeed to find them online.

I had located a death date for a Thomas Joseph Horgan on 8 December 1975 through the Ryerson Index. I searched in the Sydney Morning Herald archives narrowing by date for the notice but without success.  However I am aware that there a quite a few editions of this paper in the Google News Archive as I have used it several times to obtain information about other relatives.

Here’s the process I follow to locate and then transform an image into something useful. The Google news archive search function is usually not specific enough to locate particular information needed.

1. Select Sydney Morning Herald from the list of newspapers.

2. Enter the the month and year, this seems to be the most efficient method of getting to the required edition. An exact date sometimes only takes one to a near month.
The search bars in Google News Archive

3. Select the edition required – in this case I was interested in December 9

Individual editions detail - Google news archive

I then scrolled through the pages until I came to the page with the Death Notices. Oh no! the scanning had been done as a mirror image! No quality control applied....

Several pages in this issue had been scanned in reverse

4. I clipped the two notices and saved the image. [N.B. in most cases one can click on the headline to get a link to the section where the notice is published but this was not possible with the reversed image]

5. Open photo editing software. I used Photoshop but this can be done in most robust photo editors such as the free IrfanView or free online Pixlr editor Use Flip Image then rotate to make the text legible. I added some pixels to the canvas size and included the citation on the bottom of the image obtained.

6. The final product – blurry but legible

Clipped notices with citation added

7. Before adding this to my family history database I opened the image in Google Keep and used Grab the image text. This minimises the amount of typing I need to do but gives me plenty of exposure to analysing the text as as I look for the errors that may need correction.

Image in Google Keep - Grab image text
Transcription of notices – with Google’s help.

HORGAN Thomas Joseph.
December 8, 1975 at hospital of Glebe, dearly loved brother of Agnes (Mrs Daly)
and Mary, dear friend of Rheta. Requiescat in pace.
See Wednesday's Herald for funeral announcement.
HORGAN. Thomas Joseph.
December 8. 1975 devoted friend of all at Mount St. Margaret's
Little Sisters of the Poor, Randwick.

1975 Deaths, Sydney Morning Herald, 9 December, p.30 online in Google news archive,
viewed 15 June 2017.

This post first appeared on

Thursday 8 June 2017

Picture this

Noosa river at sunset
A view of Noosa river at sunset

Each day in April I posted a picture along with my short recollection for the day over on Earlier Years. Many of those pictures I had sourced throughout the year from my own files and some from Pixabay. I created the daily graphics in Canva, Pixlr, Over, WordSwag or Haiku Deck. Some of these are available as apps on both iOS and Android, some have a web interface and all require minimal skill to output an acceptable graphic.

Now as the cooler weather of winter bids me spend more time indoors, I’ve sorted many digital snaps taken on my daily walks around the local area along with some photos from trips we’ve taken. I’ve  added some generic text that may focus my thoughts on a particular area of family history.

Dead palm frond
Dead palm frond
So far I’ve uploaded 35 of these pictures to Flickr in this album Images for family history blogposts. They are in a variety of sizes and shapes and will load quickly on any page. Some of these may prove useful for my readers, so I’ve made them public and set the date on all of these as June 2017, not the original date these photos were taken. If you have suggestions for further graphics along these lines, please add your ideas in a comment.

For those who will be attending Congress 2018 in Sydney next March be sure to get along to Jill’s session on Beaut Blogs: Ideas for Tarting up your Geneablogs. She will have lots more, ideas galore, for you to explore.

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