Have you tried to find a newspaper article on a relative and you think you know when and where the event occurred, but couldn’t figure out what newspapers may have been published for that time and where you could find them today?
Would you love to have one place to go, a site with a growing collection of newspapers by location, the time range of publication, and a location to access them?
In the past, finding newspapers has been a challenge. Things are changing with more newspapers accessible on the Internet.
Miriam Robbins has created a great tool for you, the Online Historical Newspapers Website. This massive database includes newspapers from Australia, Canada, Ireland, Mexico, and the United States. The site is easy to navigate. i If searching in the U.S., just click on the country, then scroll to the state, county, and city. Robbins’s table shows lists whether the site is subscription or free and links right to it. This is a growing collection, so check back periodically for the newspaper you seek.
Other databases worth searching include:
Newspaper Archive Collection. This collection has 2,100,000,000 names! It is available by subscription at WorldVitalRecords and also available free at Family History Library centers.
GenealogyBank by Tom Kemp, another growing collection available by subscription. This collection dates from 1690 to the present time. Also included are rare and historical documents, 1789-1984, and the Social Security Death Index from 1937 to the present.
NewspaperAbstracts.com is free for searching and has organized these abstracts by country, state, then county. You can search all collections by the given and surname, or narrow to the collection you want and then search for your family name. The results ARE selected abstracts, so you should try to find a copy of the original and search for other related articles.
Ancestry has an obituary collection. Access this site from my sidebar under “Popular sites.”
Utah Digital Newspapers.org for Utah newspapers.
Raglinen.com for rare and historic newspapers.
Local Public and State Libraries usually have a great newspaper collection for newspapers published within the state. Many of these may be borrowed through inter-library loan.
If you haven’t been able to find a local paper on the Internet, you may need to consult one of these directories found in many public libraries:
- Clarence Saunders Brigham, History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690-1820, 2 vols. (Worcester, Mass. : American Antiquarian Society, 1947)
- Winifred Gregory, American Newspapers, 1821-1936: A Union List of Files Available in the United States and Canada (New York: H.W. Wilson, 1937).
- N.W. Ayre and Son, 1869-1929, N.W. Ayer & Son’s American Newspaper Annual and Directory (Philadelphia : N.W. Ayer and Son, annually).
As a last resort, if I’m unable to find an obituary or news item online and I know the person’s date of death or event, I phone the local public library and ask the reference librarian if he or she will conduct a search for the few subsequent days after the death date. Most times they have obliged!
So what are you waiting for? Go find that newspaper. It’s easier now than ever.