Two Newspapers For Genealogy Research: A Review

by Paul_Takeo

Using newspapers for Genealogy research is a vital tool to help in your search. A wealth of articles spanning many years in the past can help you find that one lead you need.

You probably had a newspaper delivered to your home or bought one on your way to work. You read articles on local and national news, sports, the weather, classifieds just like millions of people have done in the past.

If you did something in your town that was newsworthy, it was published. In the future that same article can be looked up through microfilm at your local library or even on the Internet at different sites that specialize in newspapers.

I will be reviewing two such newspaper sites. One free and one pay site. I have used both and I still use the free site and will gladly pay to use the pay site.

Chronicling America Homepage
Chronicling America Homepage

Chronicling America

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.



About my Grandfather
About my Grandfather

Prime example is the story above. I was looking for a relative in the State of Washington and I inadvertently found my Grandfather in a Tacoma Times 1918 article.  He was living in Vancouver, WA at the time so if you search for your relatives, chances are you may find it in a newspaper article on Chronicling America.

Genealogybank Home Page
Genealogybank Home Page


Genealogybank is a pay subscription site owned by Newsbank Inc. and is similar to Ancestry but the site delves more into newspaper stories and articles.  According to the home page over 6,500 newspapers from all 50 States are featured.  Over 215 million obituaries can be found and 95 percent of newspapers featured are exclusive to Genealogybank.

If you want to try this site, you are offered a 30 day access to ALL records that is available. Be aware the 30 day offer is NOT free.  You will be charged $9.95 and if you decide not to cancel before the time expires you will then be charged $19.95 per month.  You can get an annual subscription for $69.95.

I tried the 30 day access and I had to put in my credit card number.  I do not have a credit card so I used my local bank VISA Debit card and it worked.  Although it does say on the site that if you want to cancel you must call the toll free number that is listed but I was able to cancel online.  This procedure may have changed so it is best to check.

I was able to find a lot of obituaries here.   Newspapers from Portland Oregon, Omaha Nebraska, San Diego California and St. Joseph Missouri.  You can access the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) and in fact you can access it without a membership but that is the only thing that is free.

I have not tried the other newspaper pay sites like Newspaper Archives or so I cannot compare the three but in my opinion Genealogybank is worth the money.

Searching For Your Ancestors in Historic Newspapers

Every genealogist needs this book, if they're serious about researching their family history. Family stories of all kinds, not just obituaries, can be found in newspapers. While...

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform  / $15.95  $11.36

View on Amazon

Preserving Local Writers, Genealogy, Photographs, Newspapers, and Related Materials

Preserving Local Writers, Genealogy, Photographs, Newspapers, and Related Materials draws on the practical knowledge of archivists, preservationists, librarians, and others who ...

Scarecrow Press  / $64.00  $43.57

View on Amazon

Basic Newspaper Research to Genealogy

Karen Barnes shows you where to find old historical newspaper to research your ancestors. She shows you what types of things to look for when researching old newspapers.

View on Amazon

Updated: 03/09/2015, Paul_Takeo
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?


blackspanielgallery on 07/29/2015

In some lines I have gotten past the United States, back to Europe. But, I still have some lines that are not complete. I will try the free one at least.

You might also like

1001 Arabian Nights: The Stories Behind the Story

1001 Nights, for many more known as Arabian Nights is one of most popular col...

The Secret to Writing a Killer History Essay

History essays can be a daunting task, especially college history exams. Luck...

Disclosure: This page generates income for authors based on affiliate relationships with our partners, including Amazon, Google and others.
Loading ...