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Searching Old Newspapers: A Brief Tutorial

by Mary Deaton, Web Manager

Beginning July 5, 2011, researchers can search digital copies of older newspapers published in Granite Falls, Snohomish, and other local communities. The physical papers were digitized by the Granite Falls Historical Society with a grant from the Snohomish County Heritage Organization.

At this time, the digital copies are available on a Web site provided by Smalltown Papers, the company who digitized the papers. You can search the papers at

The page you reach using the Web address above gives you  information about the museum and the newspapers. You can either search for a specific phrase, name, or word, or you can browse several papers. I will walk you through my first search to give you a notion of how simple it is.

First page of the archive

If you click Search the Archives, you see this screen.

Search page

You can type a word, phrase, name, or location to begin your search. I entered the name of a Silverton man, Sheridan McElroy. Once you enter the search keywords, click Search.

The results of my search produced only one result, the June 11, 1970 issue.

Search results page

I clicked the title line to open the page.

Page containing my search phrase

There was nothing to highlight where Sheridan McElroy's name appeared on this page, so I had to scan the page to figure out where his name appears. I also used my browser's ability to reduce the image of the page so I could see more of it on one screen.

The reference to McElroy is in Ellie Loomer's "Up Silverton Way" column, page four of the News-Press. I am not sure if the is the Granite Falls News-Press or some other town's News-Press.

Since I, like Ellie Loomer, live in the house Sheridan McElroy lived in, in wasn't difficult to figure his name most likely appeared in her column.

Have fun finding your own relatives names or news of the town your parents came from or the school you attend. You may discover some family secrets!