The Best Newspaper Site for Your Genealogy

There are numerous newspapers sites that could be useful for your genealogy research. Many of them would gladly have you as a paid subscriber. But how do you know which one is worth spending your money on? Here's how to find the newspaper site that's best for you. 

The Best Newspaper Site for Your Genealogy

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Note that I said "best for you." There is no single "best" newspaper site. The site that's best for me may not be the best for you. Here's why:

No newspaper website has all of the newspapers. There is some overlap between the sites, but their coverage does vary. Newspapers.com has different papers than NewspaperArchive which has different newspapers than GenealogyBank. 

The best newspaper site for your genealogy is the one that has the newspapers that you need. 

(If you don't know what newspapers existed for your ancestor's hometown, check out my post on how to identify those.)

Before You Pay for a Newspaper Website Subscription

If you're thinking about subscribing to a newspaper site and you're interested in U.S. newspapers, check out Chronicling America at the Library of Congress. This free website has more than 12 million pages of digitized, full-text searchable U.S. newspapers. You might find what you need right there (and can leave your credit card in your wallet).

Check out Kenneth Marks' incredible list of available digitized newspapers. ​Some are free and some are part of a subscription site. The newspaper you need might be free on a library or university website.

If the newspaper you need isn't free somewhere, check with your local public library to see what subscriptions they have. You might have to use a particular subscription at the library (rather than connecting from home), but it can save you some money.

Check the Titles and Years Included

If Chronicling America or other free sites don't have what you're looking for and you're thinking about paying for a subscription somewhere, check what titles the site has and what years it includes. No sense paying for a subscription site if it doesn't have newspapers that will help you!

On Newspapers.com, click on the "Papers" tab near the top of the page. On the new page, you should see a map on the left-hand side of the page. Click on the state you're interested in and you'll get a list of all of the newspapers they have for that state.

Newspapers.com website

NOTE: They may not have all of the newspapers for all of the years listed. Look at the number of pages that title includes. For example, they have the Cass County (Michigan) Republican from 1858-1880. However, there are only 1,248 pages. Even if it's a weekly paper, that isn't very many pages to cover 22 years; there are likely issues that are missing.

On GenealogyBank, scroll down the page to find the map of the U.S. Click on the state you're interested in and you'll get a list of the titles they have and the years they cover.

GenealogyBank

NOTE: On GenealogyBank, some titles are "Recent Obituaries," which means that it is not the full newspaper; it is only the obituaries. Also, note that any given title could have missing issues from the years listed. Unfortunately, GenealogyBank doesn't list the page count for a specific title, so it is difficult to see how complete their coverage is.​

NewspaperArchive is the most cumbersome to determine what titles are available. First, you need to scroll down to the very bottom of the page and click on the link to the state you want. Then you have to click on the city. ​They also do not indicate the page count for specific titles. However, when you are on a specific newspaper's page, you can use the calendar function under "Browse by Date" to see what is available. For example, even though they say they have the Granville (Ohio) Times from 1880-1987, I can use the year dropdown and see that they do not have any issues between 1955 and 1987.

NewspaperArchive's Browse by Date. Use the dropdown menus to see which issues are available for a specific newspaper.

Newspapers are a "must" in genealogy research. Check what's available for free first. Before you dig into your wallet for a subscription site, dig into what newspapers that site has. No use paying for something that doesn't have what you need. 

The Best Newspaper Site for Your Genealogy

Related Posts:

Subscription newspaper sites for your genealogy can be expensive. Here's how to find the best one for you.

11 thoughts on “The Best Newspaper Site for Your Genealogy

    • I use a program called Snagit that lets me capture part (or all) of what’s on my screen. Then I treat it like any other image.

  1. Amy, I can’t thank you enough for the info in this post. I get quite frustrated looking for articles in these news sites and finding nothing. I just recently canceled all of my subscriptions and I will be checking out your info on suggested free sites.

  2. Amy, this has already helped me. I went to the link for Kenneth Marks, found the California papers, and found info about 3 of my ancestors! Political affliliation, newspaper editor, land transactions. A gold mine, and all for free!

  3. Thanks for the reference/mention Amy. A little clarification – all of the links in all my lists are for free collections. I do mention by state or province the number of titles in the subscription sites, but don’t list all of the “pay to search” titles. Thanks again.

  4. Especially for obituaries, if you have a death date, another place to look is at the public library (or genealogical library) in the geographical area of the death. Most of these libraries have local newspapers on microfilm and will often fill your request with a digital copy by email — usually free of charge or for a small fee. Check the library website for their policies about genealogy research.

  5. Pingback: Friday Finds 14 July 2017 – Copper Leaf Genealogy

  6. I’ve been very lucky in that the newspapers for the locality of my father’s ancestors are all on NewspaperArchive.com and I’ve been able to access the library edtition from home wiht my library card. It’s worth checking out what your options are as a library patron!

  7. Thanks for a very helpful article, Amy. I have been using Newspapers.com with the “Publisher’s Extra” extra-cost option for a couple years. However, it has been frustrating because my ancestors apparently avoided living in areas that Newspapers.com thinks are worthy of digitizing beyond the public-domain years. 🙂 I have often thought about canceling the Extra subscription, but always tell myself, “it’s only $30/year”. Your hints will help me find archives that might let me go ahead & pull the plug. Thanks again!

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