Old Newspaper Archives – Best Pick For Genealogy Tools!

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 ArchivesOld 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 external_harddrive_for_storing_genealogy_informationhard 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

  1. It is one of the largest newspaper archives online
  2. Contains records from 8,900+ papers
  3. New pages are being added all the time!
  4. Easy to use/very user friendly
  5. Relatively inexpensive
  6. Easy to store clippings
  7. Easy to add clippings to some genealogy databases
  8. Completely free basic subscription with Ancestry.com all access account

Downfalls of Newspapers.com

  1. Some newspapers have not been archived
  2. 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.

Old Newspaper Archives

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,

Chas Guevara






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14 thoughts on “Old Newspaper Archives – Best Pick For Genealogy Tools!

  1. I may have to give it a try. I wanna find out more about my great-great grandmother and great-great grandfather.

    Also, I found out that my great-grandfather outlived my great-grandmother. I never knew him ’cause he was abuse to my great-grandmother. No one ever talked about him. My mom said he wasn’t worth knowing. I just wanna know a little more about him.

    1. Hi Lane,

      It is understandable to want to know more about him. I never knew my grandpa on my dad’s side (died before i was born) and my grandma on my mom’s side died when I was 4 and I don’t remember her at all. My dad’s dad had a bit of an interesting past. He was married 4 times and married my grandma when she was 17 and he was 37, to raise his 4 kids from a previous marriage. He had enlisted in the military under an alias. I don’t know everything because my family was never one to talk about the past. They were close, but didn’t talk about family history and it is natural to be curious.

  2. This is so interesting. I would love to dig into my family’s history a little more. What’s funny is that there was this rumor going around that we were part Native American. There were some great stories told about how my great-great grandmother was Native American and it was a big scandal in the family!

    Turns out, someone did some geneology, and the whole thing was untrue! We were so shocked! haha. Now, that’s just on my Dad’s side. There’s a whole world on my Mom’s side to explore.

    I’ll definitely check out Newspapers.com. Seems like it would be fun to trace my family back and see what they were up to. Maybe we had some social butterflies too?

    1. It is very interesting to see what turns up. I actually have a great-great grandmother who is full-blooded Native American raised by a white family. Not sure why or how, but I know she is Native American. There are still come old family stories I am looking into. Will be interesting to see what comes out of it all. Good luck with your searching and let me know if there is anything I can help you out with.

  3. As someone who knows next to nothing about her family tree learning about ways to find this information is fantastic. Coming from a dysfunctional home as many Americans do I have two sides of the family that don’t talk to each other and certainly do not share any information. I will have to start by finding info on Wiki Tree just to get names and dates for some of my relatives. then off to the newspaper I go. Thank you for this great info.

    1. Hi Maryann,

      Glad I can help! My dad’s side never liked to talk about the family so there is a lot I didn’t know to start with. Any information helps to start. If you need anything let me know and I’ll see if I can help. Good luck!

  4. The Newspaper Archive online sounds really cool. I have gone to libraries before and done research before and it is very time consuming. This sounds much easier and faster! Thanks for the info!

    1. This is way faster Dan! I absolutely love it because I can do it when I have time from the comfort of my own home. It is a great way to search, especially because it is as easy as searching a keyword online! Good luck to you and let me know if there is anything I can do to help.

  5. Hey Chas, Thanks for your tips on creating a research plan and sticking to it because I bet if I can sign up for newspaper archives in the UK, where my family tree is archived – heck, I bet I’d soon get sidetracked scrolling through newspaper articles from days gone by.
    I’m going to research the UK to see if they have a similar old newspaper archive online.
    I just checked the newspapers.com and they do have a free trial if you’re from America.
    Thank you,

    1. Thanks for reading my post Simon. I hope you can find something similar in UK. It is a great site! I love going through the archives…from home! I have found out a lot of information on my family from the archives.

  6. This is a good read Chas. I was always intrigued to know more about my ancestors and how to came to migrate to a small village down south in India. I am not sure if newspapers.com can help in my case but will surely look it up.

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I am not sure if it works in India or not. I will have to check into that. I wish you the best with your search and if there is anything i can do to help please let me know.

  7. Hi Chas,
    what a wonderful article, Its just what I needed, I was asking the other day how I could find info on my great great grandfather. Thanks so much for the info this is really going to help me a lot.

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