More than 1 billion newspaper articles on Findmypast


08 July 2024
"The potential of newspapers as a source for family history research is enormous," advises professional genealogist David Annal. Learn how the more than a billion digitised newspaper articles made available via the British Newspaper Archive and Findmypast can help you trace your family history and find things you would never have imagined about your family story.

How do I trace my family history with newspapers?

In the August 2024 issue of Family Tree, professional genealogist David Annal shares insights to the many ways in which we can mine newspapers for family history. The advice largely relates to the vast collections of material digitised on Findmypast and the British Newspaper Archive which have now topped 1 billion newspaper articles, from more than 80 million newspaper pages, digitised from nearly three thousand different newspaper titles. What's more 33 million of the articles are free to search and view. Find out more below.

Here are some take-away tips to help you start searching newspapers today.

Firstly, remember that the newspaper pages have been made searchable by OCR (optical character recognition). It is improving, but it is far from perfect. So if you don't find what you are seeking, do not give up. (You may need to resort to browsing the pages for the place and period of interest to you, for instance).

Secondly, decide whether to be focussed or scatter-gun in your search. Do you want to construct a precise search? This may be useful if you know exactly what you're looking for. Or do you wish to search more broadly (scatter-gun) and see what may turn up about the person, place or topic of interest to you?

David Annal advises: "The truth is that you just never know what you’ll find. Even if it’s something as seemingly insignificant as winning second prize for their parsnips in the annual district vegetable competition, or scoring 16 not out for the works cricket team, it was important to your ancestor at the time and you can imagine the pride they felt at seeing their name in print. It helps us to see them as real people and it adds an extra layer to the stories of their lives."

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How many newspapers are digitised on Findmypast?

To date (8 July 2024) more than a billion newspaper articles have been digitised. So far 2,385 newspaper titles have been digitised, and the earliest publications digitised by them date back to 1699. The quantity of digitised newspapers available via Findmypast and the BritishNewspaperLibrary continues to grow and grow every week.

How do I use historic newspapers on Findmypast for family history?

Access to millions of British newspapers is available through the British Newspaper Archive

Access is from £14.99 a month, on a monthly membership. See also the pay-as-you-go £21.99 payment allowing access to 40 pages, or the annual membership which costs £8.34 a month (billed annually)

Access to the newspaper collections is also available via Findmypast (newspapers are included in the Pro membership, priced £184.99 per year).

Even when you are not logged in to Findmypast, you can explore the newspaper collections, to see what places and periods of time are covered, for instance. See the listing of newspaper collections here.

Are there any free newspapers on Findmypast?

Yes there are millions of free newspaper pages at Findmypast.

Findmypast wishes to help people access history and as such you can enjoy 33 million newspaper pages free of charge at Findmypast.

1. To begin exploring the free newspaper pages at Findmypast, simply login to Findmypast (if you've not already done so you'll need to register to login, but you don't need to subscribe). 

2. Then go to

3. Enter your search terms. Near the bottom of the search fields, toggle access from 'All' to 'Free to view'.

Where else can I find historic newspapers online for free?

Free Australian newspaper archive Trove really is a treasure trove for family history researchers. Family history author and blogger Patsy Trench shares expert search tips for using this impressive collection from the National Library of Australia.

For New Zealand see PapersPast, for Wales find 15 million free newspaper pages and for residents in Scotland see the National Library of Scotland newspaper eresources access

How to search smarter when using historic newspapers

Sometimes you may not find what you're seeking in the newspapers. Professional genealogist Chris Paton shares ideas to help you ensure you are searching as effectively as you can. Read how to search better here.

Learn ways to use newspapers to search local history

Through the 19th and 20th centuries local and regional newspapers flourished, gradually expanding to include greater coverage of the places they reported on. Find details of the inhabitants of your place of interest, and learn about the news of the day, major events, celebrations, industrial accidents, building projects, new schools and hospitals and more when searching old newspapers for clues about the history of a place. Many early newspapers were not many pages long, so we would advise browsing the pages, reading them in entirety, to help you gain a full flavour of the area. Find out more about using newspapers for local history research here.