Newspapers have been around since the early 1600s and are an historical record that will add substance to your researches.
They are well worth a search because as well as possibly reporting an event or story that may include one of your ancestors, they also provide a comprehensive view of what life was like at that time for that family member in that specific locality. Both national and local newspapers can be searched and together they will tell you what was going on around your ancestors.
Local newspapers are particularly helpful, presenting a huge variety of local reports such as society and club activities, school events, crimes and court appearances, births, marriages and deaths notices, awards to local dignitaries and other citizens, sports and others.
For example, one of my late relatives occupied a ground floor flat in a two story building. At the time she was living there, the flat above her was demolished by a gas explosion. Fortunately, no one in the building was hurt but it did result in my ancestor having to be rehoused.
Be aware that photographic images will only have been published following the invention of photography in the 1840s. Prior to that illustrations were engraved for publication, more often for advertising purposes.
Obituaries are another major source for the family historian and merit a page all of their own. For information on how obituaries can help you to map your family tree, please CLICK HERE.
Remember that newspapers aren’t renowned for their accuracy, but if used with a little care they can be hugely important in providing additional information and enhancing your family history records.
The British Newspaper Archive is a partnership between FindMyPast and the British Library. And they are in the process of digitising up to 40 million newspaper pages from the British Library’s collection.
Hundreds of millions of stories can now be searched by name, location, date, title or keyword. The newspapers at the British Newspaper Archive website can be searched for free but please note that payment is required to actually view the pages.
The British Library newspaper collection comprises of nearly all the runs of UK papers published over the last 200 years. The digitisation of the original newspapers and microfilm is still in progress.