The first thing I start looking for on Trove are the family notices – births, birthday wishes, deaths, funerals, marriages, engagements, wedding anniversaries. But while I’m there, I’ll look for any information I can find for the person I am researching.
I first start by searching for the person’s full name. For example, for my grandfather, I typed in “John Ernest Whimpey”. There were no matches found, so I then modified my search to “John E Whimpey”. There were still no results, so I then tried just “John Whimpey”. There were now 45 results. Since my grandfather lived all his life here in Victoria, I narrowed my search to articles from Victoria. This now brought the results down to 7. Not all of these belonged to my grandfather, since there were a few people in the family with the name John. Since I knew that there were more articles for him, I then tried using “Jack Whimpey”. There were only 3 results, from when he was playing with his brothers for the Tarnagulla Football team. My next search was for “J E Whimpey”. This brought up marriage and engagement notices for my dad, some articles about when my grandfather enlisted, an advertisement for my grandfather’s store in Albert Park, and a marriage notice for one of my dad’s brothers. I could also try searching for “J Whimpey”, but his father’s name was Joseph, he had a brother called Joseph, so this tends to bring up too many irrelevant results.
Another tip is to try searching for the name without the quotation marks, such as just entering John Whimpey. Since John is a common given name, this doesn’t really work as it brings up too many results, but if you have a less common given name, it can bring up results that you haven’t yet found. For a less common surname, such as my maiden name Whimpey, you can also search for the surname, and narrow your search by decade, to find all the articles for that surname in that decade. For a less common surname, I will also select all the collections on Trove, to find anything in the other collections for that surname.
In some cases, the name might have been entered with the surname first, and the name hasn’t been picked up by searching with the first name first then the surname, so you can also try searching by the surname and then the first name “Whimpey John”. I found some entries in the government gazettes for my uncle Keith that were not picked up by entering “Keith Whimpey”, but did come up using “Whimpey Keith”.
Another tip is to add the location to the search. When searching for articles for my surname Whimpey, I can narrow my search to a particular location by entering “Whimpey Albert Park”. This then brings up articles for the family from the time that John was living at Albert Park. Searching this way will often pick up articles where the name or initials have been indexed incorrectly because the OCR hasn’t been able to read the text properly.
For more tips on using Trove, I recommend viewing Legacy Family Tree’s Webinar Trove: An Australian and Beyond Genealogical Treasure. You will need a subscripton to view this webinar, but there are so many useful webinars in their library that I believe a subscription is well worth it.