Virginia's earliest newspaper, the Virginia Gazette, was first published in Williamsburg in 1736. Other towns began publishing local newspapers in the 1780s and 1790s.
Resources for Virginia Newspapers
Libraries and Archives
Library of Virginia
University of Virginia Library
Jones Memorial library
The U.S. Newspaper Directory, 1690-Present is a national directory from the Library of Congress of over 140,000 newspaper titles. The directory provides a list of libraries from around the country that have the newspapers in their collections.
Digital Issues Online
NewspaperArchive ($) has a collection of digitized Virginia newspapers online. This database is sometimes free at libraries. It may be under the name Access NewspaperArchive.
Issues of the Virginia Gazette for the years 1774-1775, 1791-1803, 1807-1809 are available online at Google News - free.
Issues of the Virginia Gazette and General Advertiser for the years 1803-1805 are available online at Google News - free.
Issues of the Virginia Herald for the years 1792-1795, 1807-1809 are available online at Google News - free.
Issues of the Virginia Argus for the years 1799-1802, 1804-1805, 1810-1811, 1816 are available online at Google News - free.
Chronicling America has some historical issues for the state of Virginia online.
The Virginia Historical Society's Marriage and Obituary Index, 1736-1820 (newspaper abstracts) is available for free online. Images of the original index cards are browseable, arranged alphabetically by surname.
Professor Tom Costa and The Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia have created a database of all runaway advertisements for slaves, indentured servants, transported convicts, and ship deserters listed in this source and other Virginia newspapers (1736-1803), see: The Geography of Slavery in Virginia. These newspapers are valuable resources for all regions of Virginia.
The Family History Library
The Family History Library has acquired very few copies of newspapers from Virginia. A bibliography of Virginia newspapers is:
- Cappon, Lester J. Virginia Newspapers 1821-1935: A Bibliography with Historical Introduction and Notes. New York, NY: D. Appleton Century, 1936. (Family History Library book 975.5 B33c; fiche 6104102.)
Earlier newspapers are discussed in:
- Brigham, Clarence Saunders. History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690-1820. Two Volumes. Worcester, Massachusetts: American Antiquarian Society, 1947, 1975. (Family History Library book 973 A3bc.)
Wikipedia contributors have compiled a useful List of newspapers in Virginia in the 18th century.
The Family History Library has copies of some published indexes of newspapers, such as:
- Cappon, Lester J. and Stella F. Duff. Virginia Gazette, Index 1736-1780. Williamsburg, Virginia: Institute of Early American History and Culture, 1950. (Family History Library book 975.54252 B32c; film 1036212 items 2-3; fiche 6051225. The newspapers for these years are on Family History Library films 029718-23.) This duplicates what is now available on the Colonial Williamsburg site.
- Hall, Virginius Cornick. Abstracts of Marriage and Obituary Notices in Virginia Newspapers Before 1820. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1987. (On four Family History Library films 1508537 and 1508567-69.)
- Headley, Robert K. Genealogical Abstracts from 18th-Century Virginia Newspapers. Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1999. FHL Book 975.5 D2hr.
The Library of Virginia has indexes to obituaries and marriage notices printed in the Richmond Whig and the Richmond Enquirer from 1804 to 1857. Some of this information has also been published in:
- McIlwaine, H.R. Index to Obituary Notices in the Richmond Enquirer from May 9, 1804 through 1828, and the Richmond Whig from January 1824 to 1838. 1921. Reprint, Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing, 1974. (Family History Library book 975.5 A1 no. 52; film 908702 item 6.)
The Family History Library has begun to digitize its Virginia newspaper collection, see Virginia, Winchester, Evening Star Obituaries (FamilySearch Historical Records) for an example.
- John Frederick Dorman, "Review of Genealogical Abstracts from 18th-Century Virginia Newspapers," in The Virginia Genealogist, Vol. 43, No. 3 (Jul.-Sep. 1999):235.