broadsides have been scanned at digital.nls.uk/ broadsides though of more use to family historians is The Scotsman archive available from 1817 to 1950 at archive. scotsman.com.
Newspaper indexes are also on Ancestry for some Scottish titles Don’t believe everything that you read in the papers – an obituary proclaiming John Hurt’s ancestor descended from a younger branch of the Marquis of Sligo was false. Equally, you may see discrepancies between various reports of the same event, so double-check the ‘facts’ you read in print with original documents. and other regional newspapers at tinyurl.com/86dwyp5.
The National Library of Ireland’s immense newspaper compendium is one of its most heavily used collections, and a surprising number of historical Irish titles are found online at irishnewsarchive.com.
The Irish Times archive goes back 150 years at irishtimes. com/archive but if it’s scandal and sedition you’re after, look no further than the Freeman’s Journal, published in Dublin and available on the BNA and other online platforms, packed with news about the latest outrages suffered by the country’s impoverished population. A report in February 1847 revealed ‘another death from starvation in Liverpool’, this time John Cowley’s baby who died shortly after the family fled Sligo during the Great Famine.
The coroner ordered the parish surgeon should take steps to save the child’s mother from the same fate, and it’s likely that their names will appear in contemporary Poor Law records.
Criminal and civil courts provided newspaper hacks with inspiration for reams of lurid copy picking apart the intimate details of people’s lives, which might lead you to additional legal and transportation records in the archives.
As early as 1710, the Newcastle Courant included an account of fisherman Thomas Soper, indicted for assaulting a Mr Musgrave in Hammersmith Chapel.
Old newspapers are brimming with extraordinary anecdotes about our ancestors, and as online collections grow by the day, genealogists are promised plenty of fresh leads in the years ahead.
Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, SY23 3BU, Wales + 44 ( 0)1970 632 800 gofyn@ llgc.org.uk llgc.org.uk/ catalogue National Library of Scotland
George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1EW, Scotland + 44 ( 0)131 623 3700 enquiries@ nls.uk www.nls.uk/ collections/ newspapers National Library of Ireland
Kildare Street, Dublin 2, Republic of Ireland +353 1 603 02 00 info@ nli.ie www.nli.ie/ en/ newspaperspublishing-in-ireland.aspx BOOK British and Irish Newspapers by Chris Paton ( Unlock the Past, 2014).
A newsagent in Oxford delivers his papers in a trailer made from an
old bath chair, 1932