Find Northern NY Ancestors in Free News Database

By Diane Haddad

Did your ancestors live in New York’s Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis, Oswego or St. Lawrence counties?

Yes? You’ll want to search the Northern New York Library Network’s free Northern New York Historical Newspapers database.

There, access 910,000 digitized pages from 27 newspapers printed mostly during the 1800s and 1900s. The Plattsburgh Republican is the earliest paper featured, with the coverage starting in 1811; Clarkston Integrator issues range from 1920 all the way up to last year.

You can’t search all the papers at once, so click a title from the list, then type your search terms into the box on the left. Narrow your search by putting phrases in quotation marks (“harold smith”) and use Boolean tools (such as a minus sign to exclude a word, as in lake –placid).

See the How to Search page for more tips, and Frequently Asked Questions for a trick to limiting searches by issue date.

Matches show sentence fragments containing your search term, so it can be a bit hard to tell whether a result is relevant.

Just click on a match to download a PDF of that newspaper page. You can zoom in, but your search term isn’t highlighted, so get ready for some reading.