Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Check Local Libraries for Old Newspapers - Tuesday's Tip

Remember to check the local libraries in the areas where your ancestors lived to learn if they've published online digital versions of historic area newspapers.  Not all libraries are part of organizations such as Chronicling America and not all newspapers are available through Google News Archive, Ancestry, or MyHeritage.

When you do a Google search, a direct link to newspaper databases at the library may show in the results.

If you are a frequent user of the library's website,  bypass a Google search, and go directly to the library's website, you may not be aware that the library has published OCR versions of local newspapers.  Libraries don't seem to announce historic newspapers as a major feature.

When you reach the library's website, search deeply.  The newspaper collections often aren't evident at first view.  Sometimes the search box will led you to local newspapers but in the case of the Niles McKinley Library it did not.  Next I clicked on "Reference and Internet Links," then "News," but did not find Niles newspapers.  When I moused over "Library Services" there was the link to "Niles Newspapers" near the bottom of the list.  Choose the most likely possibility to find newspapers at the library's website.

Once you've checked your ancestors' local library for online versions of historic newspapers and found nothing, check again at a later date.  Libraries continue to add and update resources.

I've found newspapers to be a great resource when searching for ancestors.  There are plenty of times that the information is not accurate but more often than not, the news articles I find give me more information than I previously had and lead me to other resources to further my knowledge of my ancestors.


Copyright © 2014 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.


  1. I'm puzzled by libraries' reluctance -- or maybe it's slowness -- to make historic newspapers more readily available. Thanks for the tips on how to find them.

    1. Hi, Wendy. I wonder if funding -- or really, the lack of it -- plays a part in libraries' slowness to scan and make available the newspapers in their collections. I've never heard or read anything about the expense of the process.


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