Thursday, March 7, 2024 Is Good News - Devier J. (D.J.) Smith Is In the McCook, Nebraska Newspaper

 I posted MyHeritage Launches A New Website for Exploring Historical Newspapers last week on Friday after the MyHeritage announcement at RootsTech 2024.  

I've had the opportunity to work on the website and have found some very useful and interesting articles.  Here is the home page for

1)  There are three Search fields at this time:

*  Name, event or keyword (names can be "exact")

*  Publication year (a choice of exact year, +/- 2 years, +/- 10 years, +/- 20 years)

*  Publication place (place names can be "exact")

2)  My best finds so far are a number of short articles about my 2nd great-grandfather, Devier J. "D.J." Smith (1839-1894) in The McCook [Nebraska] Tribune newspaper between 1880 and 1900.

I searched for "Devier Smith" (exact), 1890 +/- 10 years, and "Nebraska" (exact) and received 14 matches, and specifically in The McCook Tribune newspaper:

The uer can select to see 10, 20 or 50 matches on the web browser.  The default is 10.  

The "best" new article for me from this search was dated 4 May 1894:

This obituary says:

"Suddenly Called Hence

"After a brief illness Devier J. Smih passed away, Tuesday morning, dying suddenly and painlessly from a complication of inflammatory rheumatism with dropsy.  The funeral took place on Wednesday afternoon from the Methodist church.  The services were in charge of the A.O.U.W. lodge, of which the deceased was a member and in which he carried $2,000 insurance.  Rev. A.W. Coffman conducted brief services in the church.  His son David D. Smith was the only member of the family here.  He leaves a divorced wife and three children."

A source for that article is:

"Suddenly Called Hence," The McCook [Neb.] Tribune, 4 May 1894, page 1, column 6, Devier J. Smith obituary, imaged, ( 

Previously, I had an obituary from another McCook newspaper that provided some of the above details, but the information about rheumatism, dropsy, and the insurance policy was new to me.

A subsequent article on 11 May 1894 noted that the divorce was not final.  His wife, Abigail A. (Vaux) Smith was in San Diego with her daughter, my great-grandmther, Abbey Ardell (Smith) Carringer since about 1890.  Now I'm wondering "did she receive the insurance?"

3)  Because Devier was called "D.J." everywhere he lived (Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska), I decided to search for him as "D.J. Smith":

There were 66 articles about D.J. Smith in the search results, almost all referring to Devier J. Smith.  One article was (dated 29 December 1893):

One of Devier Smith's business opportunities was to sell hair tonic for $2 a bottle to balding men.  

Another article of interest was (from 30 July 1885):

There are many more articles about D.J. Smith's horse trading, livery stable, taxi service, and business dealings, plus several articles about Mrs. Smith's travels to visit family and her health.

In other searches, I have tried to combine a name with a keyword, such as [Seaver survived] or [Seaver obituary] but the results indicate that the two words need to be near each other on the newspaper page - either one next to the other, or one just above or below each other.  

If a user does not specify an exact search, the search results will be very broad.  There were only 100 matches for [devier smith] (not exact) and no date range or location.  But there were 9,675 matches for [john seaver] and 3,554,603 matches for [john seaver].  The user at least should specify a state location and a range of years to reduce the number of matches.  

4)  It would be very helpful for those of us searching for obituaries to have a separate "Keyword" search field, so that other names, or words like "obituary" or "survived," could be searched on the page.

5)  The site permits users to print and/or download the complete page to their computer as an image file (.jpg) using the print and download icons in the top right of the page.  Users can also click on the "View text" button on the top right of the screen to see an OCR transcription of the text.  The user can then copy and paste it into a document on their computer.

6) does not yet provide a source citation for the digitized pages.  The heading on the digitized newspaper page provides the newspaper name and date above the image, and the page number below the image.

7)  As with every digitized newspaper site, does not have every newspaper ever published for every year they were published.  Therefore, the pages for your ancestors may not be on the website you are using.  I looked for Devier J. (and D.J.) Smith in Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas without much success.  

8)  A listing of the newspapers, and the years available, on the website would be very useful.  It would save the user significant time if they could determine if newspapers are available for the location and the time frame of interest.  In addition, a listing of newly added nespaper titles and issues would be helpful on an occasional basis. 


Disclosure: I receive a complimentary subscription to MyHeritage, and have received other material consideration in past years. I uploaded my autosomal DNA raw data to their DNA product. This does not affect my objective analysis of MyHeritage products.  I am a subscriber to Family Tree Webinars and love it.

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