Newspapers are an incredible outlet for investigations into genealogical and family history and are ignored very much.
More than 400 years ago, the first newspaper was printed. And publications have been jam-packed with genealogical knowledge for more than 400 years. Although over time plenty have been missed, there is still plenty to find.
Newspapers.com has gathered thousands of newspapers and digitized them and put them together at your fingertips. Here, try a fast scan.
At a glance
Newspapers.com is the world’s greatest , online archive of historical newspapers. You will discover in their collection:
- More than 8,700 names for people
- More than 400 million newspaper pages
- Per month, millions of new pages are added.
- In the United States (including Guam and Puerto Rico), Canada, England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Panama, newspapers from all around the world
- Most editions date back to the early 1700s.
- Extensive 1800s, 1900s, and 2000s collections
Why the Newspapsers.com?
Given all of the other sources of knowledge on family history out there why the newspapers?
When it comes to genealogy, newspapers are an amazing tool. They include documentation such as birth certificates or census records that do not have references and services.
You will notice, for instance, only in obituaries alone:
- Parents’ names, partners, siblings, children, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, and more
- Places of birth, death, and sometimes marriage
- Funeral plans, like where you bury your ancestors
- Social clubs, sports, attending schools, and membership in the church
You can find a wide variety of other posts with a little bit of luck as well such as:
- Engagement and announcements about weddings
- Announcements on Birth
- Attendance for social tasks
- Places your ancestors are going to visit or have just returned from
- Lists for student admission and graduation
- Appearances in proceedings
- Sales of Land
- Entering the military or withdrawing from it
- And a great deal more!
Don’t hesitate to scan the news on the front page, too. You could just find an article about your great-time grandmother’s saving her neighbor from drowning in the water.
These tales all help to flesh out the lives of your ancestors. They give a different outlook and tend to make them more than just a chart of locations and dates.
And so much of this data is not recorded anywhere else.
What you find, of course, will not necessarily be good news. You can discover that your ancestors were hateful characters, hooligans, and law-breakers. If you notice, be prepared to deal with it.
Over time, tales alter. Memories vanish, or until you can not discern the truth from fantasy, the story becomes exaggerated. But newspaper reports from the time can allow you to ferret out the facts about the story, and can help you to validate (or correct) certain stories that have been passed down for decades by your ancestors.
Newspapers.com provides various ways, including scanning, browsing by place and year and browsing a single newspaper, to find your ancestors. You can also take a look at the clippings that are saved by other people.
Searching by Name
The easiest and most efficient quest technique is usually to type the name of your ancestor and see what comes up. You can use keywords in addition to using a name. The first name of their partner or the name of the town where they lived may be one helpful keyword.
Many times, the results you want will show up here. But there are times when as you expect, the search approach does not perform as well.
Possible difficulties involve:
Highly common names
Difficult to spell names
Instead of first names, several old newspapers used initials
You’ll find a lot of stories on the wrong guy if your ancestor has a common name (such as John Smith). Fear not! There are ways to narrow down the outcome of the quest.
There are two options for Newspapers.com to limit the search: by place and by date. You are more likely to locate the papers you seek by accessing the particular spot you want to look for, or by inserting a time limit.
You should continue to scan for spouses, siblings, and children that may have less common given names if you still have too many results.
Try alternative spellings for names if you’re having difficulty locating posts, especially if your ancestor has an unusual or difficult name to spell. Make sure to try a few initials searches instead of a given name, too.
Whether your ancestor lived in or out of the country in a small place, make sure to search the newspapers in neighboring towns. Reports concerning persons who lived for several miles around were also included in bigger publications.
Browsing by Paper and Date
You may also use Newspapers.com’s Browse functionality to navigate to a particular place and date.
If you already have a clear sense of when and where you want to look, the Browse feature is perfect. It helps you to easily drill down to a particular area, then a newspaper, and even a particular date.
If all of that is not familiar to you, type what you know, and then only use the search box on those documents.
For starters, claim that when she lived in Kansas in 1887, you would like to find your ancestor. You will see all of the newspapers that Newspapers.com has for the state and year (in this case, 694 individual newspapers!) by browsing to the USA, then Kansas, and entering 1887 either in the search window.
But now you can use the search function, rather than all 8,700 papers in the list, to search only certain newspapers.
Finding Specific Newspapers
Have you ever found a mysterious note saying “wonderful article in the Daily Chronicle” about one of your ancestors, but nothing more? The Daily Chronicle in Which? Uh, where?
There’s the redemption at hand. The third search feature of Newspapers.com lets you discover newspapers by name. So even though you don’t know the precise position of the article, from thousands of potential newspapers to only a few, you can narrow it down.
For example, if you enter “Daily Chronicle” in the search box for Articles, you will get only nine results. Now it’s easy to find out whether all of them fit where your ancestor was living.
If you know the journal, to find the details you seek, you can delve in with the browse and search functions.
All of the details you find by hand may be transcribed, but it takes forever and is vulnerable to mistake. Luckily, Newspapers.com has a few different options to preserve what you discover.
One alternative is to save the whole page where the data was contained. But then any time you had to recheck it you would have to read through the entire page.
Using the clipping feature is the best choice. This causes only the part of the page you choose to hold to be illuminated. Then you can print it out, save it to your laptop, or both.
Anything you clip for your Newspapers.com account is now immediately added to the Clippings list.
You also have the luxury of adding the clip directly to the record of your ancestor in your tree if you have an online family tree on Ancestry.com, making it easier to search it again any time you want. This functionality only deals for Heritage, sadly.
Help and Support
Newspapers.com has a wide selection of informative posts about how to get started and how to get the most out of the searches on their website.
They still have instructional videos that guide you through the process step-by-step.
The site has an online service desk to help you out if you do have issues.
The blog of Newspapers.com hosts dozens of stories published in the newspaper pages about strange and fascinating history. On Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social networking platforms, you can also find them.
Just for Fun
Old newspapers are not for genealogy alone. Only for fun, you can easily waste hours flipping through old journals.
For your birthday, what were the headlines? When were your grandparents and parents born? And how many times will you find a newspaper for yourself? Maybe it’ll be more than you thought!
On the Clippings tab, another enjoyable aspect of Newspapers.com can be found. You have the luxury of not only showing the clippings you have made, but also viewing recent clippings made by other individuals. You can not find your ancestors there, but there are a lot of interesting things you can always find to learn.
Perhaps better, it could give you ideas for other ways to locate your own ancestors by seeing what other individuals have dug up.
Newspapers.com and Ancestry.com
Newspapers.com originated as an independent site, but Ancestry.com has since been bought and integrated. To you, what does that mean?
First of all, Ancestry has its own multimedia archive of newspapers that includes a lot of the fundamentals, some 1,500 different publications. In fact, what Newspapers.com has to offer is a great deal of overlap.
Newspapers.com, however, has a much, much wider digital image set. It contains thousands of articles which are not part of the main selection of Ancestors. And this encompasses many more years and problems than Ancestry.
One of the major benefits that came with joining together on the platforms is that you can now directly relate Newspapers.com Clippings to your Ancestry.com family tree. You don’t need to print, copy, or file any of the papers you find, they’re already linked, and you can press a button to bring them up again.
The All Access subscription bundle for Ancestry.com includes the Standard subscription for Newspapers.com, which allows you access to only a third of their set. That’s over 100 million pages now. So you’ll need a different subscription if you want full access to Newspapers.com.
Here are two key avenues for Newspapers.com to subscribe. Your needs depend on what is best for you.
More than 100 million pages of historical newspapers are part of the Standard kit. There’s a fair chance you’ll find them in the Simple kit if you’re searching for articles and information about your family up to about the 1960s.
If you subscribe to the All Access service at Ancestry.com, so you also have full access to the Simple bundle at Newspapers.com.
All 400 million pages of newspapers contain the Publisher Extra kit. Researching more recent relatives is the key benefit of this kit. Much of them are limited to the Publisher Extra kit if you’re searching for results from the 1960s onwards. This collection contains complete print runs, in many ways, all the way up to 2018.
Test Before You Order
Not sure if you are right with Newspapers.com? That’s cool, because they give a free 7-day trial. That should be plenty of time for you to search a little bit around and see whether or not the areas and years you like are covered.
To claim a free trial, you need to enter your credit card data, so make sure to cancel your subscription before the end of the trial if you wish not to proceed.
It’s not ideal, and it might not be right for you but Newspapers.com has a lot to share. Here are a few things to take into account.
Over time, several newspapers were destroyed. There are also plenty more waiting to be digitized. That means maybe you can’t find the newspapers you like or the years you want. But you still can’t search them online anywhere if you can’t find them at Newspapers.com.
To find out what newspapers they have and the years they cover, use the Browse feature of the web. Without needing to sign up at all you can navigate too fast.
Dark, illuminated, distorted, blurred out, twisted, or otherwise impaired are some of the digital pages. Unfortunately, when the original microfilms were made, it probably happens, and Newspapers.com digitizes microfilm rather than original newspapers in most circumstances.
Finally, this platform is not explicitly meant for genealogy and family history, unlike the majority of sites we study. That means that only the technical specifics of accessing the web, and not genealogical analysis, are the subject of the tutorials and support files.
Newspapers.com is an excellent website with a great deal to offer any genealogist or family historian when it comes to it.
With over 400 million pages now online and more being continuously added, it’s almost sure to find many of your ancestors.
Take advantage of their free 7-day trial today and try out Newspapers.com.