Saturday, February 14, 2015

Extra! Extra! Research All About It

newspapers research immigration
Newspapers are a great source for information. I have not made wide use of them in my own research, but I know they are out there. They are becoming easier to use as an increasing number are being digitized and indexed. You will find that some papers like the historic Cleveland Plain Dealer archive are available via a subscription held by your local library and others like the New York Commercial Advertiser are available through a subscription service available anywhere.

Here is a sampling of sources for newspapers. I have not used many of them and can offer no endorsements. Many of the fee sites offer short trial periods, which might be worth taking advantage of. If you intend to use the site for a research project for work or school, it is probably worth getting a subscription especially if they offer terms of less than a year. Also check to see what newspaper resources is available vie a your local library or university.

Subscription Sites: **Read this article published in June 2104 before subscribing to NewspaperArchive. There have been complaints about billing, but not about content.**

Check to see what papers these sites have. NewspaperArchive and GenealogyBank have maps on their homepage and a list of states; click on state to see city; then click on city to see newspapers and dates of publication included on the site. has a similar process, just click on “see papers by location” first.

These aggregate sites exist primarily to serve the family historian, but there is no reason why students and historians cannot use them. Don’t be put off by the phrase “enter ancestor’s name.” Simply enter in the name of the individual you are interested in, like “John Witherspoon.” Or leave the name section blank and enter a term in the keyword section, like “enlightenment” or “immigrants.” The search can even be limited to state, city, or even a particular newspaper.  

Free Sites
Google’s United States Online Historical Newspapers here or here. Visit this page from for tips for using newspapers on Google.

ChroniclingAmerica from the Library of Congress 

Lists of Digital Newspapers 
Historical Newspapers Online from the University of Pennsylvania  This is an enormous list. It is organized by state; the first column begins with Alabama, the second column begins with Missouri.

Wikipedia: List of online newspaper archives  This is a world wide list organized by country. You can skip to the USA (organized by state) by going here.

Your Local Library 
Check you local library to see what sources the offer. Here is what is available from the Cleveland Public Library. Most of their newspaper databases require a Cleveland Public Library card to access from home.

Articles on using  newspapers in genealogical research:
Using Newspapers for Genealogical Research
Family History in the News: How to Find & Use Newspapers for Genealogical Research

nb. This post originally appeared on The Historian's Family in August 2014.

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