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Getting started with British Newspapers

Welcome to the largest digitization project of British newspapers in history– 10 years in the making, three centuries of information, more than 65 million articles– and it’s found all together on findmypast.

British Newspaper project in a partnership between brightsolid and the British Library

Findmypast’s collection of nearly 200 titles accessible through our exclusive partnership with the British Library will open a treasure trove of family history to explore. British Newspapers provide a vivid window into the past – people will be able to find their ancestors and discover what life was like on their street, their town and their time period from 1710 to 1953.

Early British newspapers captured the pulse of the time and reflected the beliefs of the people. Learn about your ancestor’s hobbies, work accomplishments, community involvement, bizarre community tales and how major historical events affected local communities.

Click to view full image image © The British Library Board. All Rights Reserved.
Click to view full image image © The British Library Board. All Rights Reserved.

What is the British Newspaper project?

The British Library has one of the world’s most comprehensive newspaper collections – more than three centuries of local, regional and national newspapers from every corner of the United Kingdom. During a 10 year project, findmypast’s parent company, brightsolid, partnered with the British Library to scan and upload starting with 6 million pages dating from 1700 to 1953. This evolving collection of British Newspapers will be available on findmypast with about 8,000 new pages to search online every day.

To gain access to these newspapers, family historians had to travel to London and trudge through the British Library’s newspaper archives page by page. Now you can search your family tree at home with ease.

Ancestors are fully searchable by name, keywords, dates, title and tags. This accurate search is possible using optical character recognition, software that searches through thousands of pages, clippings and letters to find the exact word or ancestor that you are looking for.

British Newspaper facts:

  • The removal of England's "pre-publication" censorship laws in 1695 allowed for the UK newspaper boom- about 31 papers emerged by the 1730s.
  • Despite London's high illiteracy rates in mid-1700s (around 55 percent for men and 30 percent for women), an average of 42 percent of the population read or heard the news read aloud daily.
  • It would take the average adult 106 years (with no breaks and no sleep) to read up to 4 million pages at the average adult rate of reading 250 words a minute.
  • If you joined up all the sentences in 6 million pages, they would reach for about 90,000 miles - that's about three and a half times the circumference of the world.