The free newspaper site is from the Library Of Congress. Chronicling America offers newspaper pages in digitized format from all 50 United States. When you enter the website you will be able to search for a person, place or event and will be able to look through the years 1836-1922.
If you are like most people, you will be searching for a person within the Family Tree. Using the basic search type in the name of the person you are looking for. I have been helping a friend search for information on her family line in Hawaii so I will use it as an example.
My friend has been looking for anything on Rebecca Perry. In the Federal Census she found out Miss Perry was born in Hawaii so you would start the search by looking for stories in Hawaii newspapers. Go to 'All States' and use the arrow to drop down the box, scroll to Hawaii and click. Then you will type the name Rebecca Perry and click Go.
When you use this site it is very important that you know more than the last name. You will save a whole bunch of time if you know the person's first and last name and State in which he or she resided in. This is why. If you just typed the name Perry and kept the Default, All States, you would get 803,623 results. If you add the State, in this case, Hawaii, you will now get 658 results. If you keep Hawaii and now type in her full name, Rebecca Perry, then you will get 2 results.
After getting results from the name you typed in how will you know the name will be in the article? Each name you typed in will be highlighted in a reddish pink color. If you have more than one result, click the newspaper image you want to see first. After it comes up, move the cursor to the middle of the page and drag your mouse to the highlighted area. Try and center it then use the wheel of the mouse to magnify the image.. If you need to move the image then drag it again with your mouse.
Unfortunately, a major drawback about Chronicling America is after you typed the name and indicated the State, Chronicling America will pull up all images with the name "Rebecca AND "Perry". The 2 results I found in the example above related to a "Rebecca" Nakea and Isabella "Perry", not the name I was originally looking for. Despite this, do not let this deter you from looking cause you could find the person you are looking for.