WEEK 8 Search news­pa­per ar­chives

Scour old news­pa­per cut­tings to un­cover fas­ci­nat­ing sto­ries­ries about your an­ces­tors

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Amanda Holden turned to old news­pa­pers to find out more about her 5x great grand­fa­ther who lived in the early 19th cen­tury be­fore cen­sus re­turns were avail­able. There are many news­pa­pers on­line now and they can some­times pro­vide the most de­tailed in­for­ma­tion you’ll find about an an­ces­tor any­where. Obit­u­ar­ies, sto­ries of men and women who saw mil­i­tary ac­tion, re­ports on crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties, anti-so­cial be­hav­iour and even prize win­ners at lo­cal agri­cul­tural shows fea­ture in mil­lions of pages from re­gional news­pa­pers digi­tised at british­news­pa­per­ar­chive.co.uk and taken from the Bri­tish Li­brary’s na­tional col­lec­tion. The same con­tent can also be searched on Find­my­past and Ge­nesRe­u­nited. These pa­pers and many more (dig­i­tal, mi­cro­filmed and orig­i­nal) can be ac­cessed for free in the Bri­tish Li­brary News­room at St Pan­cras ( bl.uk/sub­jects/news- me­dia).

In a sim­i­lar vein, the Na­tional Li­brary of Wales has launched news­pa­pers. li­brary. wales, putting on­line 15 mil­lion ar­ti­cles from its col­lec­tion of English and Welsh ti­tles, which can be viewed for free. Most large li­braries and county ar­chives also have fa­cil­i­ties for read­ing col­lec­tions of lo­cal pa­pers on mi­cro­film. News­plan was an ini­tia­tive started in the 1980s to pre­serve re­gional news­pa­per hold­ings, and now there are data­bases to help mem­bers of the pub­lic fifind copies of pa­pers held by li­braries in Wales(www.newspl an wales. info ), Scot­land ( www.nls.uk/about- us/work­ing­with-oth­ers/news­plan- scot­land), Ire­land ( www.nli.ie/en/news­pa­pers- news­plan­pro­ject. aspx), South West Eng­land ( swrls. org.uk/news­plan.html), the East Mid­lands and East of Eng­land ( news­plan.liem.org. uk) and in Lon­don ( city­oflon­don.gov.uk/ news­plan). Many lo­cal li­braries can give mem­bers free ac­cess to ma­jor sub­scrip­tion data­bases like 19th Cen­tury News­pa­pers (which in­cludes a se­lec­tion of the ti­tles avail­able at bri­tish news­pa­per ar­chive. co.uk) and The Times Dig­i­tal Ar­chive.

Most na­tional pa­pers still in cir­cu­la­tion have on­line ar­chives which can be searched for free, although you need to pay to view pages, at pqasb.pqarchiver.com/ guardian/ ad­vanced search. html, The Daily Mir­ror, Daily Ex­press and Sun­day Ex­press at uk­pres­son­line.co.uk and The Scots­man go­ing back to 1817 at ar­chive. scots­man.com. The Ir­ish News­pa­per Ar­chives con­tains one of the largest col­lec­tions of on­line ti­tles for the coun­try at irish­newsarchive.com.

There are lots of on­line in­dexes for lo­cal pa­pers cre­ated by vol­un­teers. Tran­scrip­tions from old Mersey­side news­pa­pers can be searched for free at old- mersey­times.co.uk and there’s an in­dex of 22,000 peo­ple men­tioned in 1914–1918 edi­tions of The Cum­ber­land News at ww1search. cum­ber­land­news.co.uk. Pages from the Tees­dale Mer­cury have been scanned, and these can be searched for free at tees­dale­mer­cur­yarchive.org.uk.

Mil­i­tary ci­ta­tions, no­ti­fi­ca­tions of bank­rupt­cies, changes of name, pro­bate no­tices and busi­ness an­nounce­ments were pub­lished in The Gazette, an of­fi­cial pub­lic record es­tab­lished in 1665. The en­tire run has been scanned and can be searched at www.thegazette.co.uk.

If your an­ces­tors went abroad then they may be named in one of the in­ter­na­tional ti­tles which are avail­able for free at news. google.com/news­pa­pers, or ele­phind. com, which fil­ters other sites like trove.nla. gov.au ( run by the Na­tional Li­brary of Aus­tralia). A list with links to loads of news­pa­per data­bases from around the world and in­clud­ing the UK at en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/wikipedia: list_of_on­line_ news­pa­per_ ar­chives high­lights those that are free to use.

Most na­tional news­pa­pers have on­line ar­chives

Old news­pa­per cut­tings can be a great source of de­tailed in­for­ma­tion about your an­ces­tors

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