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Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

newsboy hawing newspapers

This week we celebrate newspapers and the volumes of information they hold for the genealogist. Let's talk about some of the resources available to you for your research.

Happily, coincidentally, we celebrate the anniversary of the first "Newsie!" hired on March 20, 1833. In their heyday, newspapers were sold by subscriptions, in newsstands and by young newsboys roving the streets. When papers were the only source of news, they used to put out a morning edition and an evening edition of the newspaper. There were competing multiple newspapers in larger cities. If there was breaking news, the would issue an "EXTRA!" edition. Nowadays we get beeps on our phones and subscribe to papers on line, if at all.

analog roman numeral clock face

Were they desperate for content? I'd like to go back in time to ask. Besides wedding announcements and obituaries, they used to publish who was in town visiting, who was out of town, who was sick, who was getting divorced, and up until the 60's and 70's, birth announcements often including all the vital stats including weight, length, etc.

If you are looking for clues as to family relationships or lost ancestors, you can look it up in the newspapers! is owned by Ancestry, and a subscription can be included with your membership there. They have papers from the 1700's to the 2000's, a free trial period, and if you subscribe you get a discount to military records at

Another biggie is I have to admit I have not fully investigated this site, but am sorely tempted. They have U.S. census records, a specialized obituary collection, the Social Security Death Index, various cultural collections, and other resources for genealogists. They say their newspapers date from 1690 - today. They also have a free trial, and subscriptions starting from $19.95 a month.

person in front of lighted globe sculpture

There are online resources for international searches, of course. A worldwide collection is held at After their free trial continues for $22.00 a month, $15.99 a month for a 6 month subscription. also has a great collection, with a free trial period too.

But, wait, there must be some FREE RECORDS, somewhere? Of course there are! ChroniclingAmerica is a collection of the Library of Congress with digitized papers from 1770 to 1963. The Internet Archive is a free site of millions of books, movies, software etc. working in connection with Google Books, for one.

Don't forget about GenUKI for free research and records for the UK and Ireland, and one of my personal favorites, The Portal to Texas History sponsored by North Texas University which covers waaaaay more than Texas. We have talked about these sites before in earlier blogs.

So, let's celebrate these wonderful tools! Put on your newsie cap and share your favorite sites - free or subscription! If you need help with your family tree or DNA research, drop me a line. Let's talk! A free initial no obligation consultation on your goals is awaiting you!

Best wishes for a productive Spring,

Leslie Ryan

No compensation is received for any of these links or references. No copyright infringement is intended.


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