A little while ago, I wrote a post about online newspapers, featuring the Library of Congress’ Chronicling of America site and Google’s Newspaper Archives. Both are excellent repositories for free, online historic newspapers and the places I’d go first in looking for articles.
Since then, more noteworthy sites have come to light.
If you’re an Ancestry.com subscriber you may have already seen advertisements for this site. If not, allow me to introduce you to Newspapers.com. In a nutshell, here’s what you’ll find.
- The site is www.newspapers.com That’s easy enough to remember and find.
- They offer access to 1,200 newspapers, though I’m sure that’s growing daily.
- I must say, I’m very impressed with the interface. It’s big, bold, links are easy to use and the navigation is simple. Each newspaper has its own directory page which includes the masthead (top section of the paper with the name), the number of pages they have uploaded, and the years the digital, online issues cover.
- You can search by individual name or any keyword, i.e. Rough Riders, or Lindbergh’s plane, Pickett’s Charge, for all of the papers. Or you can search just one paper at a time.
- They have really nifty timelines for each paper and the site in general that not only represent the years reflected by the paper or site, but a proportional measure reflecting the volume of papers for a given year. For example, the “bar” or measure for the 1940s is high because they have a lot of papers for that period; not so much for 1750.
- Which leads me to my last observation, generally speaking it looks like their collection concentrates on the 20th Century. In time, I’m sure that will expand. But for now, it’s a nice compliment to the Library of Congress Chronicling of America site, which stops c. 1920 – 1930 for now.
- Cost? It is a subscription website. They charge $79.95/year, but they’ve offered an introductory price of $30/year for ancestry.com subscribers. And you can try it out with a free 7-day trial.
GenealogyBank is another online source for historic newspapers. They tout having more than 6,100 newspapers covering more than 320 years. It’s notable that they have partnered with the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, MA. The American Antiquarian Society is a premier Colonial American archive and museum with a leading Colonial newspaper collection. If you’re looking for early American newspapers, this may be the place for you. Other observations:
- It’s a nifty website with a pretty easy to use interface.
- You can search the entire site or all of the newspapers at once, or you can drill down by state using the hyperlinked list of states to the right of the map. You can click on Kansas and search all of the Kansas newspapers or you can click on any of the individual cities, i.e. Wichita or Abilene, and search only those cities. (scroll down on the home page to find the interactive map)
- Speaking of the map, if you click on a state in the map, it will give you a list of all of the papers on the site for that state. It will tell you in what city they were published, what years are uploaded, and if you click on the newspaper name, it will take you straight to a search page for that newspaper.
- Cost? They, too, are a subscription site. Their fee is $69.95/year, but they offer a 30-day free trial.
My recommendation on either of these sites would be to thoroughly review the times and places you’re interested in before subscribing. You can do trial searches without subscribing to determine if there are articles that would be of interest. Do narrow your search by state or paper to get the best results, and try different name variations. My ancestor, Elizabeth Watson, was featured in a front page news article (she died in a pedestrian/car accident in 1937), but she was only referenced as Mrs. Frank Watson and never “Elizabeth Watson.”
If you find there are potential articles of interest, then do the trial subscriptions. Finally, if you find that you’re in the website a lot and you’re having success, then consider subscribing. If you don’t find articles of interest now, don’t throw these resources overboard. Come back in 30, 90 days. They are growing by leaps and bounds and what once was a dead-end, may prove very fruitful in the near future.