The 5 Best Free Sites for Online Newspaper Research for Genealogy

 

 

I have been an historical newspaper research addict for a long time. In the past several years I have decided to ratchet up my interest and share what I have learned through newspaper research-related blog articles, huge link lists, as well as video tutorials.

For all my articles about newspaper research, just navigate to the Newspapers Page of this site and browse. There are plenty of articles to read.

And please check out the Bonus section below for access to the most comprehensive list of links to free online historical newspapers in the U.S. and Canada.

What I would like to relate now is my list of the best free sites to find historical articles about your ancestors in newspapers. These are the first ones that I would use if I were starting out. They have been chosen not because of their interface – because some are better than others and some are not ideal. These are presented in no particular order. And remember that these are Free sites only and you do not have to go to a library to access them.

  • Elephind – over 200 million items (newspaper pages/articles) and 4,345 titles from several countries. You can search multiple collections all at once.
  • Trove – over 23.8 million pages from Australia
  • Google News Archive *** – over 2,500 newspapers from the U.S. and Canada – gets an asterisk. You can still get to all of these newspapers, but the search function is pretty much restricted to newspapers since 1970. And although these are the rules, some pre-1970 pages might sneak in. This is really too bad, since this is quite a large collection of otherwise non-digitized smaller newspapers.

BONUS

There used to be several sites that listed links to online newspaper titles that regularly updated their lists. Sadly, none remain that are active, except for one. Gone are the very good lists from Bowling Green State University and the University of Pennsylvania. Still existing, but rarely updated are the lists from Wikipedia, ICON, and Xooxle.

But one remains that actively updates, every 4 months for the U.S. and every 6 months for Canada. Initiated in 2013, it is right here:

The Ancestor Hunt – Newspaper Research Links  – over 39,000 free newspaper titles and links for the U.S. and Canada. (Note: includes all the titles from Chronicling America, Fulton, Advantage Archives and Google).

Good Luck and Happy Hunting!

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41 Comments

  1. Two thumbs up for Fulton! With all of my ancestors in NYS, I am so lucky to have Tom’s site. Huge finds for me there.

    1. Thanks Kim. Yes the Fulton site indeed does deliver. An interesting interface, and even if one does not have NY ancestors it has to be in the top 5 because of its shear size. There are many other state based sites, but none as expansive as Fulton.

    2. Absolutely! I was able to flesh out so many of my NY ancestors. I even have a couple thick files on my paternal grandfather and great-grandfather

  2. Thanks so much for highlighting my Online Historic Newspaper site. A few weeks ago I completed adding every link I could find to any free or subscription site on the Oregon page. Now I’m working on Montana. All 50 states and several countries are represented. It is a work in progress (always!).

    1. You bet Miriam. We “newspaper lovers’ have to stick together! And I use your site quite often for reference.

  3. Thanks for the tips – I’ve grown weary of the promise of finding my relatives in newspapers that have then linked me to pay-for-use sites… which have been totally useless in searching our common family name of “SHAKE”. Funny but non-helpful searches have been the result. I’m looking forward to trying your links. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks Elaine. I wish you great success. I have a similar problem with the surname “marks” since is has other meanings as well. Good luck!

      1. Try the surname ‘Monday!’ Also ‘Easter.’ Now those will get you!
        Thanks for this great site. It has been a wonderful source for me.

      2. I have the surname, Doe. Sometimes it’s not immediately apparent in searching a record if it’s really the person’s surname or if its being used for an unknown person.

  4. Great list of resources, much appreciated. I’ve used the Fulton site but haven’t done much with the LOC site. Now you’re encouraging me to plug in some surnames and start searching!

  5. Thank you so much! I was just asking the members of my local genealogy society for their advice on moving my research forward, and everyone said, “Newspapers!” These links are exactly what I needed right now. Much appreciated.

  6. Newspaper Archives is also an excellent site. While it is a pay site, many libraries have it available for free. Bettwe that Genealogy Bank!

  7. Old Fulton NY Post Cards will be adding over 1,250,000 more newspaper pages from the past end of September 2014, Now adding newspapers from out side New York State.

    1. Thanks Tom for the heads up. I will look for the updates and let all my readers know when it comes out.

    1. My best advice online Lindsey is to go to the Newspapers! page on this site, scroll down to the middle of the page and pick the state(s) that you are interested in. This will show you a article of tons of free online newspapers to search. Good Luck!

  8. Hi Kim. I was wondering if you would know a good place to look for an Oklahoma paper? Early 1900s

  9. Wonderful article….You can also visit <a href=”http://www.maalaimalar.com/”> <i>Maalaimalar</i></a> to get latest news!!!

  10. any one know how to find articles written by a certain writer from 1930-50’s? my great grandmother supposedly wrote for the toledo blade, but we have no records of it?

    1. Unless it’s been pulled Google News Archives has 2 big Toledo Papers with a LOT of coverage one of the last things they did before pulling the plug a long time ago.

  11. I have not found much in the way of Pittsburgh, PA newspapers – there seems to be more available on small towns and cities in PA. Any suggestions?

  12. trying to find ella l ulbrich and her parents. she was born in 1902 in Maryland and died in 1969

  13. Thanks so much..as others have said…tired of paying for sites that I can never find what I am looking for…so greatly appreciate having alternate free choices to view. Thanks a million!!!

  14. Thanks for the links. I was able to get microfilmed and donated to the local university the originals of an old local newspaper (Lafayette Gazette 1896 on for 14 years). Happily the issues are online for all to see. My father’s family was the publisher so I had the actual publisher’s bound copies.

  15. Do you have any suggestions for the best paid on-line historical newspapers for New England? I have a lot of ancestors from MA, RI, NJ, NY. immigrants from Italy and Germany.
    Thanks

  16. Unfortunately, the Lib of Congress site ends in 1943 and what I am looking for is in 1980.
    The list should have included that end date.

  17. Hi. I am looking for someone who can help me find certain physical newspaper clippings 1910-1930.
    Do you do that, or do you know anyone who can help?
    Thanks!

  18. The pay for service NewsBank has all the way pulled the plug. When you click on their link it leads to a 404. They told me a few weeks ago they were going to do that when I asked why they were removing their pass plans.
    The first to go was their monthly pass till it was down to the single article.

  19. very nice list of collection, I am working on above sites and trying to create more backlinks for my website.

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