Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Update on Using Newspapers for Genealogical Research
Most genealogists have a somewhat fixed research methodology. They begin their research using the same documentary resources over and over again. In the United States, they almost uniformly use the U.S. Census records for any research back to 1850.  The next layer of research usually extends to vital records and, on occasion, some military records such as World War I and II Draft records.

This is also reflected by the way the major websites' genealogical search engines respond to searches. For example, I searched on for William Travis Gilmore, b. 1894, d. 1977. The records that came up as a result of the search included death records, a World War I Draft Registration record, a World War II Draft Registration record, U.S. Census records, and marriage records. How many people go beyond this level of research? Not many.

Obviously, FamilySearch did not come up with any newspaper records because except for a few collections of obituaries and another few collections of newspaper records specifically about obituaries, there aren't a lot of newspaper records on the website. The other major online genealogy programs, with the exception of, have newspaper collections in separate websites beyond paywalls that do not allow those with regular subscriptions to the main record websites to search without paying extra for additional subscriptions. Hence, has for fees that can be as high as almost $150.00 a year. also has additional charges, up to almost $240.00 per year for access to the British and Irish newspapers. Some of these websites are free in Family History Centers and at the Brigham Young University Family History Library.

These larger collections of newspapers are really only a very small percentage of the number of online digital newspaper archives. For example, here is a link to a list of hundreds of websites: Wikipedia: List of online newspaper archives. Some years ago, I did a list of U.S. newspaper websites and I was overwhelmed with the number of websites, most of which were free. See Online Digital Newspaper Collections by State -- The Lists by State. Some of those links have now changed or gone inactive, however.

What is sad is that even though there are millions of pages of digitized, searchable newspapers online, there is so little use of these resources by genealogists.

One more example, I mentioned MyHeritage has integrated millions of searchable newspaper pages, including the Library of Congress's Chronicling America resources in its full data subscription price.

Presently, these collections include 100 collections with 95,540,476 records, possibly one of the largest, if not the largest collection online.


  1. My favorite newspaper resource is It is easy to navigate, provides frequent updates and best of all is it is free.

    1. Thanks for the heads up on the typo. It is b. 1894, d. 1977,

    2. It is actually The Ancestor Hunt - It's my favorite also - but I'm biased - it is my site :) It currently has links to over 35,000 free to access digitized newspaper from the US and Canada

  2. You say "William Travis Gilmore, b. 1894, d. 1877"
    Presumsbly b. and d. means born & died.
    Since 1877 occured before 1894 how can some one die before they were born?