Saturday, September 4, 2021

Use Google Books to Search Google News Archives

I just recently learned this information and I'm excited to share it (in the off chance you don't already know).  I often use Google News Archive in my genealogy research, particularly for newspapers published in the communities where my ancestors lived.  (There are only a few but I use them often.)  After changes at Google News Archive a number of years ago it became almost impossible to perform an OCR search of a particular newspaper.  I resorted to waiting till I knew a date for a birth, death, marriage, or other event, then looked at the newspaper for that date and a few days after, hoping to see more information, knowing, of course, there was always a chance I would miss something.  But there's another way to search Google's newspaper collection, learned from Lisa Louise Cook's post, 10 Surprising Things You Can Find at Google Books.  There's lots of great information in that post but for me, the very best tip is learning that Google Books will search Google's newspaper archive.  No longer do I need a particular date or location. 

Begin at Google Books,, by typing your search word in the search box.  I typed "Meinzen."
When the results appear, near the top of the page, click on "Any document" and choose "Newspapers."

You can also choose an offering of time periods, or create a custom range.
I chose only "Newspapers" and found this article about my aunt, 7th from the top of the search results.  Had I included her first name it would have probably been one of the first in the results list.
Most of us who use newspapers are probably aware that OCR doesn't catch every instance of a word and that newspapers sometimes had typos which OCR will not recognize.

It can be a bit cumbersome to determine whether Google News Archive has images for a newspaper in the area where your ancestors lived:  it lists the names of the newspapers but not the publication location.  I suppose many states have an Adams County so The Adams County News could be from any of them.  The best way I've found to determine whether newspapers of interest are included in their collection is to find the names of newspapers from my geographic area of interest and look through their list to see if it's available. On the positive side, Google News Archives does tell the dates available for each publication.  The earliest I found was 1800, the latest, 2009.

Two of my fondest genealogy dreams are that Google News Archive would continue to add newspapers and that Google News Archive and Chronicling America would add newspapers from Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio; Mercer County, Pennsylvania; and more newspapers from Butler County, Pennsylvania.  During the mid- to late-1800s into the early 1900s, Steubenville published more newspapers than any city I've researched.   

Be sure to visit Lisa's post to read more about genealogy offerings at Google Books and other tips for using the website.  Excellent post.  Thank you, Lisa!


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  1. Great tip Nancy! Happy Labor Day!

  2. Thank you, Ellie. I hope you had a Happy Labor Day, too!

  3. Many books published by, and bearing either the Genealogical Publishing Company or Clearfield Company imprint are available on Google Books.

    Joe Garonzik

    1. Thanks so much for letting me know this, Joe. I appreciate it.


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