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Newspaper archives collection

Family historians are no longer limited to tedious research in a local library or traveling overseas to trudge through microfilm. Essentially, newspaper resources from a few centuries ago are now available online in the same manner as today's print publications.

Newspapers are unofficial record keepers that by design will give the full background story of an event with names, details and unexpected anecdotes. Missing ancestors may appear in unexpected locations: the bride that ran off with the groom’s brother, an aunt that is missing from census records shows up in another state’s county fair proclamation, business dealings that are the talk of the town, and court notices about a dramatic win.

Why use newspaper archives and books for family history?

Newspapers have reported local color, national tragedy and opinions that reflect the time since their modern day editions were first printed in England in the 1620s. The evolution of newspapers has long been a craft of national obsession with local publications in almost every small town in Europe and the U.S. during the 18th century to arrival of today's online publications.

All genealogists should use newspaper archives and books are vital resources for family history. Accurate digital copies found on findmypast offer respected newspaper titles and unparalleled resources for finding ancestry information outside of government documents.

How to search newspaper archives

Newspapers are an important resource for an ancestry search where civil records are absent. For example:

  • Obituaries are possible substitutes for death records, as well as a detailed account for how an ancestor lived.
  • Marriage announcements are especially important for states that did not record ceremonies until the 20th century.
  • Birth records are another obvious celebration found in newspapers.

  • What can I find in findmypast’s newspaper archives?

    Community newspapers caught daily events, historical milestones that touched the world and opinion of society. Unlike modern newspapers that emphasis a report with an air of objectivity, the first newspapers made no such effort. This also means that newspapers cannot always claim complete accuracy or to be free of bias.

    Newspaper archives in findmypast include the following:

    1. News Articles
      read about national events, local reports, special events and gossip. Historical events from a local viewpoint will uncover your ancestors’ daily lives.
    2. Family Notices
      search for your family's birth, marriage and death notices, as well as anecdotal engagements, anniversaries, birthdays and celebrations.
    3. Community Letters
      read letters to the editor written by the newspaper's readers, exposing contemporary debates, community aspirations and social anxieties.
    4. Obituaries
      view a wealth of contemporary information on the lives of your ancestors or notable individuals who led fascinating lives or left gossip.
    5. Advertisements
      step back in time with job classifieds, political announcements and commercial wares that are direct reflections of the times.
    6. Illustrations
      find your ancestors in breaking photographs, professional engravings and regional maps, or just view antiquated graphics and scathing editorial cartoons.