5 ways to use newspapers for local history research


27 June 2020
Ah - the days when a village cricket match was a regular occurence... And imagine if your ancestor was named on the team
Turn back the pages to the past and see how newspapers can help you work on your #StoryOfOurStreet project and learn about the history of your local area

1. Remember that street names may well have changed. Before diving into the online newspaper collections be sure to track down a map of the area for the era you wish to search. The map will show you which street and place names you need to search on for a particular time period.

Need a hand learning about historic maps? Check out the August issue of Family Tree - containing our guide to maps for family historians. Pre-order your copy here.

2. You can just search for a place or street name, or combine your search with a specific event, for instance ‘Corby AND Coronation’. Feeling brave? You could search on your street name, combined with terms that might reveal crimes and misdemeanours.

3. In addition to searching for a street name, perhaps expand your search to include the local area ­– to gain a feel for the community (the local market, shops, entertainment and sporting fixtures) and to understand how national events affected it too (from the Coronation, to the world wars).

4. Remember that news was often reported far and wide, so expand your search beyond the local county paper (this can be particularly useful if the digitised collections for the area you’re researching are a little lean).

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5. Don’t just search – take the time to browse. Browsing through the pages of an old newspaper will give you hints and insights that you will never have thought to search for and give you a richer understanding of the area.

For more street history...

Download our free #StoryOfOurStreet checklist when you sign up to the FREE Family Tree newsletter here

Order your #StoryOfOurStreet Research Kit for just £1.99 here.

And if you're up for some educational local history fun - check out our historical bingo game (also £1.99) - here.

Find out more about the #StoryOfOurStreet challenge here.