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broad­sides have been scanned at dig­i­ broad­sides though of more use to fam­ily his­to­ri­ans is The Scots­man ar­chive avail­able from 1817 to 1950 at ar­chive. scots­

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

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 irish­

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@ cat­a­logue Na­tional Li­brary of Scot­land

Ge­orge IV Bridge, Ed­in­burgh, EH1 1EW, Scot­land + 44 ( 0)131 623 3700 en­quiries@ col­lec­tions/ news­pa­pers Na­tional Li­brary of Ire­land

Kil­dare Street, Dublin 2, Re­pub­lic of Ire­land +353 1 603 02 00 info@ 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

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