Finding Family

One woman's obsession with family history.

Trove is an all-encompassing research tool. While I often search and lose myself in the stories and news articles from the past, I also often use Trove as a way to seek out images, photos and illustrations for use on my family tree, in blog posts or to share on my Facebook pages. Thus, today’s Trove Tuesday post is focused on the ‘Illustrated’ sections of Trove Newspapers and the various ways that I utilise it.

Please note: the following examples on how I utilise Illustrated Trove are written from my point of view and the search methods which have worked for me over the years. These methods may or may not work for you.

To access the illustrated section of Trove, enter a search field, click search and thenIllustrated scroll down and click ‘Illustrated’ (located under ‘Category’ on the left-hand side) which will drop down and give you two choices: Not Illustrated or Illustrated (see left). To search for images, click ‘Illustrated’.

The limits on your search results page should show the following.

Search Limited

You’re now good to go. Enter various search terms and further refine your search if need be. I tend to refine my search to my state (Western Australia) and (as an example) searching for ‘Collie Bridge’ yields the following image.

The Avenue

One of the ways I’ve used the illustrated search function is while researching family history. Sometimes I choose to search fairly basically (especially if the surname isn’t too common) by entering a surname (for example Harwood) and refining my results by selecting Western Australia as the state to focus on and then simply clicking ‘Illustrated’.

All illustrated articles (those with pictures) relating to the specific criteria are listed in the search results and (if there are too many options) you may want to further refine the search perhaps by selecting a date. Otherwise, scroll through the listings and see if any of the preview text has any relevance to your family.

It was by following this method that I came across an article relating to my Great Grandfather, Arthur Harwood, and his brothers and brother-in-law.

Harwood Sons

This method also enabled me to find a photo of my 2nd Great Grandmother’s brother, Hugh James Theakston.

As winners of the 1897 junior football premiership, the Central Football Club’s team photo was printed in the Western Mail along with the names of the players. In this instance however, the names were highlighted in a separate article and attached to a different image but both the article and team photo were printed on the same page. Always remember to look for the illustration the text relates to – it could even be on a different page! Being an unusual name, there was no doubt ‘H. Theakston’ was Hugh (seated in the front row, second from the left).

Central Football Club

While this method works best with the more unusual names, you may need to add additional words to refine the search if you have a more common name. Perhaps search for a surname and then add the suburb they lived in, or, more specific, the street name. Try adding an ancestor’s first or second name. Use inverted commas to hone in on exact words or phrases but always be mindful of spelling. How you spell something might not necessarily be how it’s spelt in the paper. For example, my surname (Barratt) is more commonly spelt ‘Barrett’ so I often search both ways.

Another tip to consider is that full names weren’t always printed in the paper. For example searching for Edward James Barratt may yield no results while searching specifically for “Mr E J Barratt” may yield results. Women also may have used initials but always consider the fact that the initials may be that of her husband. I.e. Priscilla Masters married Edward Barratt – her name may be printed as Mrs E Barratt rather than Mrs P Barratt.

It was in considering the above and searching for “Mr E J Barrett” that enabled me to find this image of my 2nd Great Grandfather, Edward James Barratt. With the spelling incorrect, he was not listed as ‘Mr E J Barratt’ but instead listed with Barratt having an ‘e’ instead of an ‘a’.

An Unusual Sunflower

It’s important to note however that when searching in the illustrated section and specifically for photos of people, results will always be variable. Unfortunately you may not find anything and this is simply because not everyone had their photo printed in the paper. Even though I’ve provided a number of examples where my relatives’ images were printed I can quite confidently say that the majority weren’t.

Overall, the best advice that I can give is to use a variety of different search terms and think outside the box. Don’t just search for ‘Edward Barratt’. Search for all sorts of varieties of the name, making sure not to forget about nicknames your ancestors may have had (I.e. Edwd Barratt; Mr E Barratt; Mr E J Barratt; Edward James Barratt; Ted Barratt). While finding images sometimes comes easily, a lot of the time it takes many different searches and a good deal of patience.

If you’re not having any luck locating images of people, utilise Trove in a different way and try searching for something else instead. Search for the area where your ancestors lived and see what photos were published over the years. Search for your own city or town. Hunt down photos relating to a particular subject. Look for illustrated historical ads for products that are of interest to you. Illustrated Trove is a world of fun and there’s no limit to what you might discover.

Happy searching!


5 thoughts on “Trove Tuesday – Illustrated

  1. cassmob says:

    There’s no doubt we have to be super-inventive when searching Trove and you’ve shown some great examples. At present I’m focused on text for a project but I use the illustrated section for a range of other things as well as the photos. I’ve seen lots of examples of Mrs Edward Surname (for example) so yet another variation 🙂

    1. Jess says:

      We sure do Pauline! I also often use the text for my writing. It’s fantastic building a story and being able to introduce minor details into it such as the weather being overwhelmingly hot and extremely wet on a certain day. It certainly helps to build a picture. What would we do if we didn’t have Trove. 🙂

      1. cassmob says:

        Hard to believe that “back in the day” (you know, dinosaur time) we didn’t. I published my family history in 2003 without it…seems incredible now.

  2. ronbarratt says:

    Hi Jessica,

    Thanks for the Trove information. I seem to be missing a step. When you say enter a search field (there only seems to be one) do you mean enter a name? I¹ve done that with a couple of old names but I don¹t seem to get the Category on the left hand side to be able to click on Illustrated. Chers, Ron

    From: Finding Family Reply-To: Finding Family Date: Tuesday, 17 May 2016 3:58 pm To: Ron Subject: [New post] Trove Tuesday ­ Illustrated Jess posted: “Trove is an all-encompassing research tool. While I often search and lose myself in the stories and news articles from the past, I also often use Trove as a way to seek out images, photos and illustrations for use on my family tree, in blog posts or to sh”

    1. Jess says:

      Hi Ron,
      What I mean by search field is that you enter any word or name you like in the search box at the top of the left side of the page ( What name are you entering? If the name is too specific or unusual, it may be that there simply aren’t any pages with that name which are recorded as being ‘Illustrated’.
      Hope this helps.

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