Sunday, October 19, 2014

Find old newspapers (for free!)

Click on the image to go to the original source

I saw this pin on pinterest and I was so excited! Newspapers are a great resource for family history because they can give you a glimpse into your ancestor's life in a way that a government or church document just can't. 

For example, I recently found a newspaper clipping about my grandma. It listed "the out-of-town guests" that came to her wedding! But, along with the article about my grandma, there were articles about that year's fall fashions, ads for local businesses (a bedroom suite for $229!), and other news that she probably would have been interested in. The newspaper gave me a better idea of what life was like for her and what kinds of things may have been important to her when she got married.

So I looked her up on the Google news site and there were no matches! I looked up a couple of other ancestors as well with no luck. In fact, I couldn't find any articles from before a few months ago. I started to doubt the pin...

But I wasn't ready to give up, so I googled "google news historical newspapers" and the first result was This is different than the main Google News site and there are some great (totally free) resources there. I haven't found any of my ancestors using this site yet (the search function could be better); but I have read some newpapers from the place where I know my ancestors lived at the time they lived there and I've really enjoyed it.

I highly recommend learning about the places where your ancestors lived and the major (and minor) events that happened during their life. Even if learning about these things doesn't give you specific information about your ancestors, it can help you to better understand what their lives were like. Isn't getting to know them the point of your research anyway?

Have you found any news stories about your ancestors? Do you find that reading about the place and time where your ancestors lived brings you closer to them?

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