Free Websites for Searching Old Newspapers

By David A. Fryxell Premium

California Digital Newspaper Collection

Read all about your California kin in this fast-growing collection that (at last count) contains 199,925 issues comprising more than 2.1 million pages and 17.5 million articles. The University of California, Riverside project can be searched or browsed by tag, county, date or title.

Chronicling America

Now topping 11.9 million pages from coast to coast, this Library of Congress project digitizes US newspapers from 1789 to 1924 and offers a directory to help you find newspapers in libraries.




One click seeks your ancestors in 175 million-plus items from more than 3,300 newspaper titles. Elephind searches big collections (including the aforementioned Chronicling America) as well as small, such as academic archives, and goes overseas to include plenty of Australian papers.

This specialized site will have you perversely wishing all your ancestors had died in train wrecks, fires, floods, shipwrecks, plane crashes or other disasters. Search by keyword or browse by type of disaster, state or province, or year to find transcribed newspaper accounts of the events.

Online Historical Newspapers

Though still a work in progress, this website is worth bookmarking for help in answering these key questions: Are newspapers from my ancestors’ town online? And if so, where?

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Learn about your ancestors with the Newspapers Cheat Sheet!

Order this essential reference for researching online newspaper databases to find records.