First, let’s take a look at newspapers. Newspapers are one of my favorite subjects to speak about. Finding your ancestors in the newspaper gives you a nice, albeit often short, snapshot into their lives and gives their lives extra flavor. It helps turn them into real people that existed rather than just names on a document.
There are some fantastic online options for finding newspapers. The big three sites for subscriptions:
And there is not one that is better than the other. They all have different collections, so the one that is right for you, is the one that has the series of newspapers with your ancestors in them. Be sure to check their catalog for coverage before buying a subscription. All of these sites let you do that, so don’t skip this step and then get disappointed if they don’t have the papers you needed.
There are many free sites for newspapers across the U.S. Many states have a state digitization project and corresponding website. Here are just a few:
- Wyoming Digital Newspaper Collection
- Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection
- California Digital Newspaper Collection
- Utah Digital Newspapers
- The Portal to Texas History
Of course, there is the Library of Congress’s collection of digitized newspapers:
Internationally, there are also some free digital newspaper sites as well. I know of a couple where I’ve done research:
- Trove – Newspapers & Gazettes – Australia
- Digitaal krantenarchief – Stadsarchief Aalst – Belgium
- ANNO Historische Zeitungen und Zeitschriften, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek – Austria
- Historic Mexican & Mexican American Press, University of Arizona – Mexico
Then there are link sites such as:
- Cyndi’s List – Newspapers
- The Ancestor Hunt – Newspaper Links
- Wikipedia: List of online newspaper archives
The above, is a lot. But is is literally just scratching the surface of what you can do with newspaper research. In Part 2 we will look more closely at finding newspapers online. In Part 3, we will delve into finding and accessing newspapers offline.