As genealogists, we all know that microfilm machines, books, and records for birth, death, land, etc. are all important aspects of the search. I recently wrote a post on some genealogy supplies, you can read about HERE. In this post I spoke about how to get a free printable family tree chart which is a must have for any family tree researcher! It just makes the whole process so much simpler because it gives you a visual of your family tree (helps from getting lost).
Now I want to dig deeper into the well and talk about another important genealogy research tool. Old newspaper archives are a must for any researcher! Why is that you say? Well read on and I’ll tell you!!
Why Old Newspaper Archives?
Old newspaper archives give us a glimpse of what was. It is a journey into the lives of those that lived before us. Newspaper articles can give you a wealth of information about those you are researching such as birth notices, death notices (obituaries), social events, land deals, lawsuits, and so much more!
When you are searching for a relative’s name in a database such as WikiTree, you are primarily searching census records, birth records, death records, etc. Everything is very formal and doesn’t really give you a glimpse of the life of your ancestor. However, when you search newspaper archives online or in print/microfilm, you are getting another side of the view. You are seeing into the lives of the people you are researching.
To illustrate my point, I’ll tell you a true story. I was searching for my great-grandmother on my mom’s side. I found some information out when I searched the databases. I found out her birthday, death date, how she died and area she lived in. I confirmed what my mom told me about her grandfather dying at a very young age (32) when her dad was young. What I didn’t find was who my great-grandmother was. I didn’t get a feel for the person she was when she lived.
By searching the newspaper archives I discovered my great-grandmother was quite the social butterfly! She attended banquets, church events, strawberry socials, charity events, etc! She was in the newspaper articles all over the area where her and her second husband lived in. I got a real feel for who she was while she lived.
I found this so interesting because noone in my family is social! We are all pretty much stay at home, non-social people so seeing how my great-grandmother was intrigued me.
Kinds Of Newspaper Archives
Newspaper archives are typically all on microfilm. Microfilm is found on huge reels at libraries. Typically you’ll only find articles in the local area where the news would have been published. This makes it difficult for researchers because, in the past, you would have to take a genealogy trip to complete your research! Larger libraries such as the LDS Genealogy and Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, contain records from many newspapers across the country, and as a result are primary tourists spots for genealogists from all over.
But let’s face it….not everyone has the time, energy, or moolah to travel! Some of us, like me, have busy lives, but still want to be able to complete research for genealogy. Well the answer for those us that cannot travel, is to utilize newspaper archives online. Yes there are actually old newspaper archives available from the comfort of your own home!
Best Practices When Researching The Archives
#1 – Know what you are researching!
There is nothing more frustrating than searching for long hours and finding absolutely nothing! By having your duck sin a row, so to speak, you’ll have much better chances of finding information on your relatives you are searching for.
#2 – Have a research plan.
By this I mean create a list of things you hope to accomplish while searching the newspaper archives. For me, I search the archives after I filled out a branch of my family tree completely. I then will take each name from that family unit and will search the newspaper archives where the family lived. I have found that by doing my searches this way, it narrows down what I am researching to a specific geographic location. Once I find one family member in the archives in that area, it makes finding the rest so much easier!
#3 – Stick to the plan and don’t skip around!
By sticking to you research plan, you’ll be able to find out everything possible for a family unit at a time and this does a few things. First of all, it helps you stay focused on the names and dates you are researching. This will save you time so you don’t have to refresh your mind each time you switch gears and search another branch of your family tree. It will also save you some confusion…particularly where you have multiple people in your family tree with the same or similar names.
Secondly, as you are searching each family member within a family unit, you are discovering new leads. By continuing with searching all the leads until you hit that “brick wall,” you will know that branch is completely done for a time. New records are being added to databases all the time, so by “for a time” I mean that every once in a while you should check back and see what new information is available.
Lastly, it simply save you time and effort. Skipping around will cause you to lose stamina in your search since you’ll have to recheck all the dates and names you are searching for. If you are on a time crunch, this could cause some headache. For me, I have limited amount of time each day I can devote to research and every minute counts!
#4 – Save all of you information you find!
Everything you find related to your genealogy search is important and should be treated as such! Whatever method of storage you choose, stick to it and save everything. If you like handwritten notes, then keep journals or notebooks for notes organized. If you like printed out sheets from a computer, either type your notes out or if you are searching online, then print out copies of everything you find. Read about my tips for organization here.
My #1 way to store the information I find, is via a portable external hard drive which I back up everything onto. I have an external hard drive that is 1TB and I save all the data I find on it as well as pictures, family mementos, death notices and so much more! Read my portable external hard drive review today! I have had this for years…and I do mean years! Probably 10+ years and I have everything on it so when I am on the go, vacationing or whatever, it goes with me so I always have all of my research readily available!
My Top Pick For Newspaper Archives Online
Now you are probably asking yourself, where do you search old newspaper archives online? well I have an answer for you! Newspapers.com is a great source for newspaper archives online.
Benefits of Newspapers.com
- It is one of the largest newspaper archives online
- Contains records from 8,900+ papers
- New pages are being added all the time!
- Easy to use/very user friendly
- Relatively inexpensive
- Easy to store clippings
- Easy to add clippings to some genealogy databases
- Completely free basic subscription with Ancestry.com all access account
Downfalls of Newspapers.com
- Some newspapers have not been archived
- 2 levels of subscription and papers you need may be only available in the extra publishing subscription
Cost of Newspapers.com
Well, the true question is, how much does it cost to have a subscription to Newspapers.com? Below is all the pricing information for Newspapers.com.
Why Do I Need A Newspaper Archives Online Account?
Do you complete research for genealogy? Do you have relatives/ancestors you want to research? Do you have time to travel to large libraries and comb through endless hours of microfilm?
If you answered yes to either or both of the first questions and no to the last question, then Newspapers.com is for YOU! Sign up for your free trial at Newspapers.com today and see what is like for yourself! I know you’ll love it when you use the account. It is so easy to maneuver and store your clippings. It is easy to organize them and get everything you find into your ancestry family tree file.
Newspapers.com Is The Answer To Your Prayers!
Any genealogist will be happy with an account at newspapers.com because of all the time and effort it will save you! You’ll absolutely love the ease of use the account affords and the ease of storing all of your clippings. It is slightly annoying that not all newspapers have been archived, but be patient because new papers are being archived every day!
Newspapers.com will definitely help make your research easier! Try it out today and see for yourself! You will be happy you did!!
I hope this article was helpful for you. Please leave any comments and/or questions below and like/share this post so others like you can have the information too!
Thank you for stopping by,