Finding an obituary, marriage notice, or news article about your ancestor in a newspaper can be thrilling, giving details to an event that the official record doesn’t convey. But where and how can you find these gems?
The answer is three-fold:
- Some newspapers have been digitized and are available through subscription databases
- Some newspapers have been digitized and are available free on Internet websites
- Some newspapers are not digitized but have been microfilmed and are available at libraries across the country.
Cook Library subscribes to the following newspaper databases: Access Newspaper Archives (in library use only), Chicago Tribune Historical Databases, and New York Times Historical Databases (both available from home with a Cook Library card).
Here are a few of the free sites to keep in your toolbox.
- Google News Archive (Google has dropped their newspaper digitization project but they have kept what they already digitized.)
- Chronicling America (hosted by the Library of Congress)
- Elephind (a portal that leads to sites with digitized newspapers. Use the browse feature to find a specific paper or search to cast a wide net).
- Old Fulton New York Post Cards (Not just New York papers! Use the Excel spreadsheet for an easier view of what is available)
Please realize that there is no one-stop shop for newspaper articles. Every site, whether fee or free, has different newspapers and different time frames. And new items are being added to every site every day. Both of the images on this post were found in newspapers, the first from 1932 and the second from 1961. I’ll post more later. Try out the sites and let me know if you find anything!