I have been 3 days, yes 3, searching through the Fulton Newspaper site. Here are some key ways I made some fantastic discoveries.
If you do not know about the Fulton site it is created, maintained and added to by one guy, ONE GUY. Its official name is Old Fulton NY Postcards and contains over 43,000,000 newspaper pages from mostly the USA, with some from Canada. I also discovered another page on the site that contains hundreds of historical documents covering both countries. After spending some time searching on the site I have some tips that may help you along.
Here is where you will start searching
The “All of the words” has a drop-down menu,
With “all of the words” selected type in your search.
Tip #1 Use brackets around the name you are searching for and add in a keyword, you can use a second name like a wife’s first name or maiden name. Example “Thomas McMahon” Culliton. The search will find all instances of the name in quotes and the other name has to show up on the page.
Tip #2 My favorite though is to search for locations. I did a search for a family that had connections to Buffalo but they were from Delhi, Norfolk, Co., Ontario. Voila, I found a mention of a marriage for William McMahon of Delhi, Ontario.
McMahon-McNerney wedding Buffalo Courrier June 11, 1916
Notice how the search parameters are highlighted? Makes it so nice for finding where the name is mentioned on a page.
Tip #3 Do you know where your family was living in New York? If not have a look in a Street Directory and find the house address. When you have the address try a search for it. This time change your search parameters to “the exact phrase”. Newspapers often gave the address of the people they were writing about.
I found John Lindsay when searching for his home 140 Chenago street. It turns out John was one of the owners of the Queens Hotel in Toronto before moving to New York. John was married to my great grandmother’s sister Margaret McMahon.
John Lindsay obituary, Buffalo NY Evening News 1927
Tip #4 What about an occupation? I knew my 2x great Aunt Elizabeth McMahon worked for Hengerer store, I did a search for the store name and McMahon and I found this clipping.
Buffalo Evening News Jan 27, 1932
A name search can also reap rewards, you will need patience when scanning all the results, I promise it will be worth it. I discovered I am not the only one searching the McMahon boys who were in Philadelphia. This article indicates that Margaret, their Aunt, was looking for them back in 1919.
Philadelphia PA Inquirer 1919
Tip #5 Search names and add the word probate or will. Probates were reported on regularly and can be a wonderful lead to more genealogical information.
Our ancestors were a mobile bunch so searching far and wide for them or more distantly connected relations may be the nugget you need to find unexpected links.
All in all, time well spent and I wish you happy hunting!