I realized how important old newspapers are to genealogy when I stumbled across this 1924 article about my grandfather on GenealogyBank:
What a find! The article has so much “what was he like?” detail that I wouldn’t have found elsewhere. So I wanted to share some resources from contributing editor Rick Crume’s November 2011 Family Tree Magazine cover story on researching ancestors in online newspapers.
In the article, Rick provides a chart with the essentials on 15 large online historical newspaper collections—some free, some by subscription or with society memberships, some available through libraries—including:
- 19th Century US Newspapers
- Accessible Archives
- Chronicling America
- Early American Newspapers, Series 1, 1690-1876
- Google News and News Archive
- New York Times Archive
- Old Fulton NY Post Cards
- Paper of Record
- Proquest Archiver
- World Vital Records
He also notes where the sites’ collections overlap, and offers some advice on finding other, smaller collections of newspapers:
- Your public library might provide online access to newspaper databases or have historical papers on microfilm. Check at the reference desk.
- Portals that can link you to more online newspaper archives include Cyndi’s List, Free Newspaper Archives, Online Historical Newspapers and XooxleAnswers: Newspaper Archives.
- Search the Library of Congress Chronicling America newspaper directory for microfilmed papers you can order via interlibrary loan.
- Surf websites of state archives for their newspaper holdings, which may be available for loan to your local library.
The November 2011 Family Tree Magazine also has articles on using published family histories, researching English roots, finding cultural and ethnic heritage organizations, tracing ancestors in Chicago and Portland, Ore., using Mocavo.com and more. The issue hits newsstands next week, but you can order it now from Family Tree Shop.
For even more help finding ancestors in old newspapers, check out Family Tree University’s Newspaper Research 101 class.