Jewish Genealogy Newspapers
Newspaper publication usually began soon after the initial settlement of a locality. Newspapers may report family information in notices of births, marriages, obituaries, and local news. Some Jews also put ads in newspapers trying to find relatives and friends. To find information in newspapers, you will need to know the place and an approximate date of the event.
In addition to local newspapers, Jewish newspapers were established in areas where there were large Jewish settlements. They may be in the language of the country they were published in or in Hebrew or Yiddish. Local newspapers and Jewish newspapers, if they exist, should both be searched.
You may also find it helpful to place a notice in a local newspaper in order to contact others who may have information about your family.
To find the names and locations of newspapers, use the following sources available at most libraries:
- Newspapers in Microform: United States, 1948–1983. 2 vols. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress,1984. (FHL book 011.35 N479 1984; film 1,145,942.) This is a geographically-arranged list of newspapers on microform and the repositories where the microforms are available. Most of these can be borrowed through interlibrary loan.
- Newspapers in Microform: Foreign Countries, 1948–1983. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1984. (FHL book 011.35 N479f; fiche 6,085,887.) This is a geographicallyarranged list of foreign newspapers and the repositories where the microforms are available. Most of these can be borrowed through interlibrary loan.
- United States Newspaper Program National Union List. 4th ed. Dublin, Ohio: Online Computer Library Center, 1993. (FHL fiche 6,332,710–14 [set of 70].) Many states are collecting and microfilming the newspapers published in their state. The microfilms are often available at the state archives, state historical society, or major libraries within the state. They can usually be borrowed through interlibrary loan at your local library. This list is an inventory of newspapers that have been collected by the Library of Congress and 20 states as of 1985.
An accompanying booklet by the same title contains instructions and the key to repository codes. (FHL book 973 B32u 1989.)
- Brigham, Clarence Saunders. History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690–1820. 2 vols. Worcester, Mass.: American Antiquarian Society, 1975. (FHL book 973 A3bc.) This lists the locations of collections of newspapers published from 1690 to 1820. Most of these newspapers are available at the American Antiquarian Society, 185 Salisbury Street, Worcester, MA 01609-1634.
- Gregory, Winifred. American Newspapers, 1821–1936. 1937. Reprint, New York: H.W. Wilson, 1967. (FHL book 970 B33a 1967; film 483,713.) This lists newspapers published from 1821 to 1936, including those that are no longer published. It identifies where copies of the newspapers were located in 1936.
- Gale Directory of Publications: An Annual Guide to Newspapers, Magazines, Journals, and Related Publications (formerly Ayer Directory of Publications). Annual. Detroit: Gale Research, 1969–. (FHL book 970 B34a 1987.) This lists currently published newspapers. Most newspaper publishers will not search their files for you but some will make a copy of an article if you can provide a specific date and event.
A list of Jewish newspapers is found in volume 1, pages 193–219 of the following source:
- Encyclopaedia Judaica. 17 vols. Jerusalem: Keter, 1972, 1982. (FHL book 296.03 En19j.)
The American Jewish Press Association has a web site that lists, by state, published Jewish newspapers with descriptions and contact information. The Internet address is:
The Newspaper Library in London, England, has a large collection of newspapers, including some Jewish newspapers. Other libraries throughout the world may have newspaper collections. You can access the catalogs of many of these libraries on the Internet to see what is in their holdings. Finally, contact local libraries in the area where your ancestor lived to locate existing newspapers.
Information from a few Jewish newspapers can be found on the Internet, such as a database of wedding announcements from the BostonJewish Advocate. Check the following web site for information about databases for Jewish newspapers:
One project to index announcements in German-language newspaper is the Aufbau Indexing Project. Aufbau, published in New York, printed announcements of birth, engagement, marriage, death and other special occasions that appeared between 1934 and 2004. It also printed numerous lists of Jewish holocaust survivors located in Europe from September, 1944 to September 27, 1946. Issues of Aufbau from the beginning in 1934 to December 1950 have been scanned and are online. To search the database and access the online material, go to:
Indexes to obituaries from Jewish newspapers are also found on the Internet. See “Obituaries” in this outline for further information.
The Family History Library has few newspapers in its collection. It does acquire published indexes and abstracts of obituaries, marriages, and other vital information found in newspapers such as:
- Berger, Doreen. The Jewish Victorian Genealogical Information from the Jewish Newspapers 1871–80. Witney, England: Robert Boyd Publications, 1999. (FHL book – on order.)
Index to Palestine Gazette. Teaneck, N.J.: Data Universal, 1984. (FHL fiche 6,334,296.) From 1921–1948 the official government publication listed legally changed names. Over 27,000 entries are listed during that period, most being Jewish.
Check for these records in the Family History Library Catalog. Indexes are listed under Newspapers – Indexes. Abstracts from newspapers may also be listed under Vital Records.
If there is a Wiki page or portal for the country or state where your ancestor lived, see the “Newspapers” section.