Using Finding Aids to Discover Newspapers Around the World
October 30, 2020
You’re ready to do some newspaper research. Maybe you’re hoping to find mentions of an ancestor or you just need to add some historical context to their story. How do you find a historical digitized newspaper for a country you aren’t as familiar with? A finding aid might be the answer.
What is a finding aid? In this case, it’s a resource to help you find websites and repositories with the newspapers you need. It’s an important first step in research especially when you are unfamiliar with the research in a particular place. Instead of going straight to a newspaper website, consider searching a finding aid first to learn more about what is available.
Here are a few resources to help you find historical newspapers worldwide. Remember the following websites don’t have the actual newspapers, they merely provide links to direct you to the website that does.
First things first. Cyndi’s List is most likely a familiar website no matter what your genealogical interest. Since 1996, Cyndi has indexed links to websites and today her website boasts over 300,000 genealogical related links. To find newspaper links on Cyndi's List, search for the country and then the category “newspapers.” Some examples include:
- Canada – Newspapers
- United Kingdom & Ireland – England – Newspapers
- Mexico – Newspapers
The FamilySearch Research Wiki is another must-see for trying to locate newspapers. Conduct a search for the place of interest and then you may find the category “newspapers” in the Records Type box. You can also conduct a search for the topic of newspapers (without a specific location) and find pages like Digital Historical Newspapers.
While FamilySearch does not have digitized newspapers they do have newspaper content that includes indexes and abstracts as well as some newspaper titles on microfilm.
In the genealogy world there are so many people who work hard to uncover and share resources. Many times this is a volunteer effort and three such examples are:
- Miriam Robbins’ Online Historical Newspapers
- Kenneth R Marks’ The Ancestor Hunt
- Dave Obee’s CanGenealogy
On the Online Historical Newspapers website, you will find links to newspaper content for Australia, Ireland, Mexico, United Kingdom, and the United States. The Ancestor Hunt includes links for Australia, Canada, Europe, the Caribbean, and the US. CanGenealogy includes historical Canadian newspaper links by Province as well as other Candian genealogy links.
Wikipedia is where you expect to find articles on a variety of topics. But it’s also a great resource find finding websites including newspaper archives. Wikipedia – List of Online Newspaper Archives is a list of online newspaper archives by country.
Newspapers are such an essential source for telling the story of your ancestor. Make sure to take some time to peruse newspaper finding aids to find the newspaper that will help you learn more about your family history.
You can watch my recent webinar "In Black and White: Finding Historical Newspapers From Around the World" on the Legacy website for FREE through Wednesday, November 4, 2020.
Gena Philibert-Ortega is an author, instructor, and researcher. She blogs at Gena's Genealogy and Food.Family.Ephemera. You can find her presentations on the Legacy Family Tree Webinars website.