Anyone who is serious about discovering their family history should never pass up an opportunity to supplement their research by using United States Newspapers. Literally tens of thousands of individual newspaper collections can be found on the internet or can be accessed through interlibrary loan. Newspapers provide an excellent source of family and historical information, even in small rural communities that may have few other record sources available.
Newspapers are often the best place to find such useful sources as obituaries, notices of land sales, probate notices, birth, marriage and death notices as well as day to day historical accounts of local community members. While not considered a primary sources of information, newspapers can point the way to when and where such information events took place and where primary sources can be found.
The FamilySearch Wiki provides an excellent class on Using United States Newspapers. This wiki site provides instructions on the value of using newspapers and how they can help your own personal research. It also provides:
- Links to historical newspaper collections.
- Links to where you can go to access current newspaper collections.
- Tips for using newspapers.
- A timeline for when newspapers were available throughout the United States.
- Help for how to identify and locate which US newspapers covered which areas throughout history.
- How to obtain microfilmed copies of old newspapers.
- A list of useful books on what to do to get the most from historical newspapers.
- Links to find what newspaper collections can be found at the Family History Library.
FamilySearch’s Online Learning Center also has several online video classes on how to use newspapers to do family history research. These classes include:
- Newspaper Research
- Finding and Using Historic Newspapers, Part 1
- Finding and Using Historic Newspapers, Part 2
- Ancestors Season 2: Newspapers as Records
- Using the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library’s Newspaper Collection to Assist with African
Start getting familiar with U.S. newspapers and what a wonderful resource they can be for anyone doing American research. You will be glad you did