Remember the Lay’s Potato Chips slogan, “Betcha Can’t Eat Just One”? You should think the same way about newspapers. If you find an article from one newspaper, check other newspapers in the same town, adjacent towns and perhaps the local large city to see if one of them might also have covered the story. You may find additional details, or an alternate spelling of a name.
Here are two newspaper articles about the same event, a skin graft operation for Phil Redmond, a fireman with the Northwestern Pacific Railroad, who was badly scalded in a 1908 train wreck near Novato, California. Phil received skin grafts from over 200 men, and here is some detail on the brave men who stepped up to donate skin for one batch of donations.
You can see from the date and a comparison of these two clippings that they refer to the same event, but they have different spellings of almost every name. The Chronicle article refers to Burns by his first name and initial, William P., while the Call just names him W. P. Burns. Having the Chronicle article gives the researcher a much better clue as to who the donor is. Another man is named Spinney according to the Call and Stinney in the Chronicle article. Without having the two articles to compare, one would have no clue that the names in one article are not the correct names of the parties involved. But seeing multiple articles from multiple sources provides much information to help the researcher.
When you're doing newspaper research, don't "eat" just one!
Mary Kircher Roddy is a genealogist, writer and lecturer, always looking for the story. Her blog is a combination of the stories she has found and the tools she used to find them.