2019 by Donald R. Snow
This page was last updated 2019-02-03.
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ABSTRACT: Newspapers began in the US in 1690 and are a great source of information about our ancestors and what happened. This class will discuss how to find newspapers for the time and locality you are interested in, which ones are digitized and online, and how to search them. We will see examples of family history information in newspapers, including vital records, obituaries, stories, and history. The Library of Congress and other agencies are funding groups to digitize newspapers in all the U.S. states and post them online. These start with small-town newspapers since they contain so much family history. The FamilySearch Department of the LDS Church has a major program of indexing newspapers, including obituaries and other information in them. Since newspapers are public, they also have information about living people. The notes for this class and related articles, all with active Internet links, are posted on my website   .


  1. Instructor is Donald R. Snow ( of Provo and St. George, Utah.
  2. See  for these and other related notes. 
  3. Tips: (1) To put an icon on your desktop for these notes, or any webpage, just drag the icon from in front of the address in your browser onto your desktop. (2) To open a link, but keep your place in these notes, hold down the Control key while clicking the link.
  4. The problem for today:  How to find and use information in online newspapers.

  6. Newspapers started in the U.S. in 1690 (see Library of Congress website) and are a rich source of genealogy data.
  7. Types of information
    1. Vital records, birth, marriage, divorce, death and obituaries -- some newspapers published lists of vital records at the end of the year  
    2. News articles and photos -- school, military, current events, both local and worldwide  
    3. Social and society columns
    4. Stories about people
    5. Legal notices and public announcements  
    6. Historical information in newspapers like The New York Times and The London Times  
    7. Classified ads -- e.g. "Search for Missing Friends" Irish ads in The Boston Pilot -- 
  8. Humorous example -- Warren Ladd read his own obituary in the morning newspaper -- The Lowell Sun 30 Dec 1893 --

  10. Saving and referencing articles 
    1. When you find something, keep track of it and make a copy -- estimated that one-fourth of all websites change every year    
    2. Save the reference, link, and even the webpage itself in a program like EVERNOTE -- free from  
    3. May help to save a screen copy using a screen capture program -- see details below  
    4. Link the website to a person in your genealogy database and on FamilySearch Family Tree
  11. Do screenshots of part of all of screen -- FastStone Capture is a good screen capture program   
    1. FastStone Capture has many features including copying scrolling windows and has an option to join images side-by-side, e.g. newspaper columns  
    2. Last freeware version was 5.3, still available from  
    3. Current version 9 is shareware, available from   for a one-time license fee of $20
  12. My system for naming screenshots, document scans, and files so they sort into a timeline for the person's life  
    1. Name of file -- "SurnameGivenNames(Married name)(birth year-death year)-(Event date YYYY-MM-DD)-Event-Description--DateOfScreenshortOrScanned.ext"  
    2. Example -- ManwaringDiane(Snow)(1934-2012)-2012-10-10-Obituary-SaltLakeDeseretNews-2012-10-13-Ancestry-com--2014-04-10.pdf   
    3. Including birth and death years shows time period and distinguishes people with same name, so no need for Jr., Sr, etc., unless that was really part of their name 
    4. Maiden name of woman is at start so everything for her sorts together -- married name in parentheses helps in identification  
    5. For events and type of record I use one or more keywords in caps like BIRTH, MARRIAGE, DEATH, NEWS, LDS, DOC, SCHOOL, EDUCATION, CENSUS, LETTER, MEDICAL, MILITARY, HISTORY, GENEALOGY, TALK, AUDIO, etc. -- this allows showing only certain types of events, if you want   
    6. Event dates are in International Date Format YYYY-MM-DD after name so the files sort chronologically for each person -- putting date anywhere else or in another format makes titles not alphabetize chronologically to form a timeline   
    7. Freeware program EVERYTHING from  finds and lists all files for the person chronologically, wherever they are on your computer and by using keywords you can show only certain types of events or documents  
    8. See more details in my Screen Capture and Freeware Corner notes on   


  13. FamilySearch
    1. FamilySearch Wiki has more than 14,000 articles with the word "newspapers" in them -- Wiki article about U.S. Newspapers is
    2. FamilySearch Catalog -- -- keyword search for "newspaper" has more than 15,000 hits; "newspapers st. george utah" has 157 hits  
    3. New FamilySearch pilot program called "Zoning" for indexing -- -- has indexers specify which parts of newspaper pages have genealogy data and should be indexed  
  14. Linkpendium -- -- major listing of newspapers in each state, county, and town, whetber hard copy, filmed, digitized, and if online        
  15. Elephind -- -- searches and links to world-wide newspapers; list of Elephind newspapers --   
  16. BYU Library Newspaper Links -- > 
  17. BYU-I Library Newspaper Links --
  18. Utah newspapers
    1. Utah Digital Newspapers -- -- University of Utah has grant from Library of Congress to digitize all Utah newspapers; chart of papers and dates currently online -- 
    2. Pioneer Library website --  or    Pioneer Library Newspaper Portal -- -- Some require your Utah public library card to access   
    3. Deseret News -- and Deseret News Archives -- , and -- -- -- not all back issues have been posted  
    4. For links to early vital records extracted from Utah newspapers see Don's class notes about LDS and Utah Records on          
  19. Obituary searches --    
  20. Library of Congress Digital Collections -- , and .
  21. National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) --
  22. Wikipedia list of newspapers and links --
  23. The Ancestor Hunt -- links, helps, and lessons --  and   
  24. Online Historical Newspapers Website --  
  25. GENUKI -- -- UK and Ireland  
  26. RootsWeb --  
  27. US GenWeb -- -- Go to state > county > city  
  28. Cyndislist -- -- more than 1000 links to newspapers   
  29. US Newspaper List -- 
  30. Internet Public Library --
  31. Old New York newspapers -- -- can search many old New York newspapers, including the New York Times; read the FAQ before using it  
  32. Small Town Papers -- -- list of several hundred current small town newspapers with archives  
  33. The Olden Times Historic Newspapers Online --  
  34. Google Newspapers -- -- and Google News Archive --  (Wait for the search box to open.) -- also see more info about Google Archives Search at  and Google Newspapers at  
  35. Michigan State U Guide to Historical Newspaper Databases --  
  36. Illinois Newpaper Project (INP) -- -- has more than just Illinois newspapers  
  37. California Digital Newspaper Collection --  
  38. Quincy (Illinois) Public Library website -- , then click on Reference and Research tab  
    1. Historical Newspaper Archive -- many articles about the Mormons in Nauvoo  
    2. US National Newspaper websites -- links to many current national newspapers    
  39. New York Times photos --
  40. Ethnic and trade-type newspapers, e.g. Polish language in Chicago, military newspapers, and Carpenters Union newspapers in various places  

  42. Genealogy Bank ($) -- -- large collection of historic newspapers; can search and see snippets for free; claims that 95% of its newspapers are only on this website and not elsewhere  
  43. Godfrey Memorial Library ($) -- -- free at FHC's -- includes the following:
    1. Newspaper Archive ($) -- -- claims to be the largest online newspaper archive, includes several New York City newspapers and New York Times archive through 1857-1909  
    2. London (Digital) Times ($) -- 
  44. Newspaper Archive and 19th Century British newspapers available in FHCs through the FHC Portal -- see Wiki article      
  45. Gale Digital Collections ($) -- -- search "Products by Name" to see newspapers 
  46. ($) --  -- owned by Ancestry  
  47. Ancestry's Newspaper Collection ($) --  and -- free to LDS and at FHCs      
  48. The British Newspaper Archive ($) -- -- commercial, but you get a few pages free   
  49. Last Chance To Read ($) -- -- 18th and 19th Century British newspapers   
  50. Fold3 ($) -- -- owned by Ancestry; mostly military records, but includes some newspapers -- free at FHC's   
  51. MyHeritage Newspaper Collection -- -- then Research > Newspapers -- free to LDS and at FHC's   
  52. Personalized Newspaper Gifts ($) -- -- sells newspapers of various dates, etc. 


  54. Newspaper websites with archives worldwide --  
  55. New York Times -- -- free registration, but they charge for some articles; starts with first NY Times in 1851 -- knowing the date and title you may be able to find the same article for free on other websites    
  56. Chicago Tribune Archives --   
  57. Toronto Star --     
  58. Los Angeles Times -- -- free registration   
  59. Salt Lake Deseret News --  Try
  60. Salt Lake Tribune -- -- Salt Lake Tribune Archives back to 1991 -- -- charge for each article, but may be able to get it free elsewhere   
  61. St. George Spectrum --

  63. Many newspapers are only in paper, microfilm, or microfiche format -- search  and  to see where located    
  64. FamilySearch Wiki (see above) -- -- do a search for something like "newspapers idaho" (without the quotes)   
  65. Kimberly Powell -- Search The Google News Archive --  
  66. US Newspaper Program --
  67. Readex Newspaper Archive -- -- Click on Digital Collections (upper left side) for Archive of Americana   
  68. Discover Your Ancestors in Historic Newspapers --  
  69. Tips For Newspaper Research For Genealogy --  
  70. Learn More About Using Old Newspapers for Genealogical Research --       
  71. Dick Eastman on digitizing small town newspapers --  
  72. British Newspapers 1800-1900 --  
  73. Silicon Valley Computer Genealogy Group article -- 


  74. Newspaper articles written at the time are a good source of primary information, stories, and data about our ancestors.   
  75. More and more newspapers are being digitized and posted online, so check back often.  

Return to the  Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group Home Page  or  Don's Class Listings Page .