RECORD ROUND-UP

What’s avail­able on­line and in the ar­chives

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - FOCUS ON -

There are so many news­pa­per data­bases and repos­i­to­ries out there that you can save a great deal of time and money by car­ry­ing out a bit of plan­ning be­fore div­ing in to start your re­search. Re­mem­ber that your an­ces­tors were more likely to be men­tioned in news­pa­pers pub­lished close to where they lived.

Most re­gional li­braries and ar­chives will have hold­ings of lo­cal ti­tles on mi­cro­film – staff at Sur­rey His­tory Cen­tre keep a handy map be­hind the desk il­lus­trat­ing the ge­o­graph­i­cal cov­er­age of the news­pa­pers that are held there.

Lo­cal li­braries

NEWSPLAN data­bases help re­searchers to lo­cate copies of lo­cal news­pa­pers across Bri­tain. This col­lab­o­ra­tive ini­tia­tive be­gan in the 1980s to pre­serve and col­late hold­ings, and there are now find­ing aids for pa­pers pub­lished in the East Mid­lands, Lon­don and South East Eng­land, Wales, Scot­land and Ire­land at bl.uk/reshelp/ bldept/news/newsplan/ newsplan.html.

Some lo­cal li­braries of­fer mem­bers free ac­cess to on­line ref­er­ence ser­vices at home in­clud­ing The Times Dig­i­tal Ar­chive, the 17th and 18th Cen­tury Bur­ney Col­lec­tion of News­pa­pers and 19th Cen­tury Bri­tish Li­brary News­pa­pers (the lat­ter two data­bases are now in­te­grated into the Bri­tish News­pa­per Ar­chive).

Some li­braries also pro­vide free on­line ac­cess to the Bri­tish News­pa­per Ar­chive, Find­my­past and Ances­try us­ing com­put­ers on site.

On­line

An ex­ten­sive list of links to news­pa­per data­bases from around the world at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Wikipedia: List_of_on­line_ news­pa­per_ ar­chives clearly marks out free web­sites, like the Na­tional Li­brary of Aus­tralia’s Trove site ( trove.nla.gov.au/ news­pa­per) and the Na­tional Li­brary of New Zealand’s Pa­pers Past web­site ( paper­spast.natlib. govt.nz/cgi-bin/paper­spast). Links to sub­scrip­tion ser­vices are also in there, in­clud­ing the Manx Na­tional Her­itage col­lec­tion ( tinyurl.com/qda4x2v).

Na­tional in­sti­tu­tions

The na­tional li­braries of each coun­try have the most com­pre­hen­sive hold­ings of orig­i­nal pa­pers and mi­cro­filmed sur­ro­gates, and of­fer free ac­cess to dig­i­tal col­lec­tions in their read­ing rooms. This in­cludes sub­scrip­tion data­bases pro­vided by GaleCen­gage Learn­ing solely for use in in­sti­tu­tions, like The Daily Mail His­tor­i­cal Ar­chives 1896–2004, along­side com­mer­cial web­sites in­clud­ing the Bri­tish News­pa­per Ar­chive. The Bri­tish Li­brary’s hold­ings are by far the most ex­haus­tive, how­ever, cov­er­ing all cor­ners of the Bri­tish Isles and much of the for­mer Bri­tish Em­pire.

If you can’t find any­thing in the scanned col­lec­tions on­line, then it’s worth search­ing for news­pa­per ti­tles us­ing Ex­plore The Bri­tish Li­brary Cat­a­logue’s ad­vanced op­tion which can be found at ex­plore.bl.uk, se­lect­ing ‘News­pa­pers’ from the list of ma­te­ri­als.

Typ­ing in a town or county is enough to bring up a range of ti­tles pub­lished at var­i­ous dates – com­pe­ti­tion was tough and many news­pa­pers didn’t last long. Reg­is­tered read­ers can or­der items in ad­vance, which is a must if the pa­per is only avail­able in print since it takes 48 hours to ar­rive at the St Pan­cras News­room or the Bos­ton Spa Read­ing Room. Mi­cro­filmed pa­pers take 70 min­utes to be de­liv­ered to St Pan­cras but are not avail­able at Bos­ton Spa.

The front page of the on 10 Jan­uary 1868 – the day the last con­vict ship ar­rived in Western Aus­tralia from Bri­tain

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