Searching for people is one of our primary goals in searching old newspapers. There is an art to finding as many results as we can, beyond the limitations of OCR.
The problem is that most people went by many names: initials, shortened names, maiden names, and of course nicknames. Nicknames were often "assigned' when a person was a child or young adult and they then appeared in a newspaper rather than the actual given name of the person. These names are different than name abbreviations, such as Wm for William or Eliz for Elizabeth. These were often assigned by the typesetter to save space, rather than the author of the newspaper article. Billy or Liza would be nicknames in this example.
Below is a link to a Quick Reference Guide that provides some examples of common nicknames and their associated given name. To obtain the one-page Quick Reference Guide pdf for easy reference, you can view or download it by clicking on the link below.