Using the British Newspapers

Many researchers have ties to the United Kingdom through their ancestors.  My father and his family came to America in 1912 from Manchester, Lancashire County, England. Some earlier branches of that family came even earlier, many in the 1880s. Once you know if you have some British lineage; with some names, dates and locations, using newspapers of the times and places can be a great benefit to learn details.

Available online from the British Newspaper Archive (source the British Library) are now some 40 million newspaper pages in digital format. What makes it even handier is that keywords, names, titles, dates or locations can be searched through the millions of newspapers.  Newspapers are wonderful resources for announces on weddings, anniversaries, births and obituaries. You might even have an ancestor who wrote a letter to the editor to express an opinion on an issue of the day. Even if articles relating to any ancestors are not located, you still can learn of the daily life of the people in a certain region where your ancestors lived. Seeing the advertisements of those regions during different times really makes the search worthwhile.

Most of the first set of the millions of pages online are before 1900 from numerous city newspapers from London and surrounding areas, as well as from Nottingham, Manchester, York, Leeds, Derby, Birmingham and Norwich. Then there are countless newspapers which covered counties throughout the United Kingdom.  The newspapers not only cover England but include many locations in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Locations are on a map which can be clicked on or from a dropdown list.  Many of the published papers span into the 20th century such as the Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser covers from 1825 to 1916.

A timeline of British historical events in the 18th through the 20th century is done to aid the researcher looking to add such information to the details of an ancestor’s life. Anyone can search free on the site, a thumbnail image highlighting the location on the paper for your search, but a fee is charged to view the images in full detail. To have full access to the papers by British Newspaper Archive they have several difference subscription packages. Anywhere from a year’s subscription to one month, one week or two days are available.  They do offer 30 credits (fee method) for first time searchers to examine the site.  You just register and 30 credits are immediately available to view any paper you locate in a search.

With any United Kingdom or Irish ancestors this site is worth investigating.

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