3 essential newspaper archive websites for family historians


22 December 2016
bundle-1853667_1280-65966.jpg Old newspapers are a rich source for family history researchers
Historical newspapers are a rich source for family historians - discover 3 of the best websites with our expert guide

Historical newspapers are a wonderful source for family historians. As well as unearthing traditional notices of births, marriages and death, you may find your ancestor up in court (as a witness or a defendant…), involved in an accident or winning the village pie-eating competition!

There’s no doubt newspapers are a joy to search and to read – and many newspaper archives are increasingly available online, and not only through commercial websites. Keep up to date with new websites and releases in every issue of Family Tree!

Here are our top 3 websites for family history research using British historical newspapers: 

1 British Newspaper Archive (also at Findmypast)
The British Newspaper Archive (BNA), provided jointly by the British Library and Findmypast, features more than 700 newspaper titles from across the UK and Ireland at the time of writing, including local, national and regional titles, with some going back to the 18th century. There are over 17 million pages available with more content being added regularly.  

The records are free to search online and you can buy monthly or yearly subscriptions or Pay As You Go on the British Newspaper Archive site. The newspaper collection is included in a Findmypast subscription.

The BNA is free to view at the British Library’s Reading Rooms in St Pancras and Boston Spa, and at other subscribing libraries and institutes of further and higher education

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2 Welsh Newspapers Online
This fully searchable website run by the National Library of Wales features 1.1 million pages from nearly 120 newspaper titles up to 1910, including some English as well as Welsh publications. The digital collection also features newspaper content from The Welsh Experience of World War One Project. 

The first newspaper to be published in Wales was the Cambrian from 1804 in Swansea; this was followed by The North Wales Gazette (1808) and The Camarthen Journal (1810). The first Welsh language weekly was Seren Gomer in 1814, which saw itself as a national newspaper for Wales. The website is completely free to search and view.

3 The London, Edinburgh and Belfast Gazette
The Gazette was the first official journal of record and the newspaper of the Crown. Its website has a special feature whereby you can search by event such as World I, World War II, Boer War 1889-1902, Great Fire of London 1666 (issue 85), First Awards of the Victoria Cross 1857 (issue 21971) and Battle of Trafalgar 1805 (issue 15858). The London Gazette has an index that is searchable from 1829 while the Edinburgh and Belfast Gazette indexes are searchable only from 2002. All articles are free to search and view.

These are just 3 of a stunning 25 web resources for historical British newspapers – many of them free! 


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