Newspapers


Stamford Advocate, Stamford, Connecticut, 5 Sep 1944

   Newspapers are always a wonderful source of family information.  My biggest problem is stopping to read all the interesting articles!  I remember, back in the 1990s visiting Fayette County, Pennsylvania and spending a full day at the Carnegie Library, reading the local paper on one of the oldest microfilm machines I’ve ever seen.  This was before anything was digitized, so I would look at newspapers where I had information about a death, or accident, and then read the society notes or other interesting articles.  Today, most of that information is online so I can find it much more easily.  Remember to search not only for your immigrant ancestor, but also for their family, associates and neighbors.  Sometimes an article or obituary might mention a location in Ireland, or point you to family members who had migrated to other cities so you can continue your research.  The obituary of Peter Daly (above) was the first hint I had about a location of the my husband's Daly family in Ireland. Before I found the obituary, all I knew was that the family was from Irishtown. This obituary of a half brother, told me that the Irishtown I was looking for was in County Mayo.

   Of course, there are also newspaper databases in Ireland.  For a number of years, I’ve used the Irish Newspaper Archives at the National Library when visiting Dublin. If you have a subscription to AmericanAncestors it is also available for members through their website. One of my big finds was the death notice of  my husband’s great grandmother. I’d been looking for her death date for years. Although she died in 1935, her death was not recorded in the civil registration records.  At the time, I used the FamilySearch Irish Civil Registration Index, but I also checked at the General Register Office in Dublin and had even written to the local registrar in Westmeath. I've since checked IrishGenealogy.ie, but no luck.  When I found the above obituary, I was definitely doing the happy dance!   Back when I wrote about this database is 2012, an annual subscription was €350 ($430), a bit too pricey for me.  This database is now available for €29 (about $33) for one month or €149 (about $170) for a year.


FindMyPast also has a large number of Irish newspapers which you get with either your Ireland only subscription or a World subscription.  FMP's parent company also owns the British Newspaper Archive so they frequently add Irish newspapers to their coverage. As of yet, their coverage is not as widespread as the Irish Newspaper Archive. 


Newspaper Archive, primarily a US newspaper database, also has newspapers listed, but only for Dublin, Ireland.  They have a monthly subscription for $19.95 and an annual subscription for $74.95. They seem to have a large collection of Dublin papers covering 1700-1951, but it's difficult to tell what years are covered for each publication.


GenealogyBank has been around for a long time.  In addition to US newspapers, they have a collection of ethnic newspapers, including Irish American papers.  Papers in Ireland will frequently ask US newspapers to copy or republish notices where relatives live and you might find a mention with a locality in Ireland.

Ancestry also has newspapers as part of their subscription (use the Card Catalog to select Newspapers and type the keyword “Ireland”).  Their largest collection is "Belfast, Northern Ireland, The Belfast Newsletter (Birth, Marriage and Death Notices), 1738-1925."  Their "Ireland, Newspapers, 1763-1890" is less helpful since it can only be browsed, and not searched. If you have a specific date, you may be able to find something. There is a larger newspaper collection at Newspapers.com, also an Ancestry company, of both US and Irish newspapers.  Newspapers.com offers two subscription levels, a Basic subscription for $7.95 a month and a Publisher Extra service for $19.90/month. also has newspapers as part of their subscription (use the Card Catalog to select Newspapers and type the keyword “Ireland”).  Their largest collection is "Belfast, Northern Ireland, The Belfast Newsletter (Birth, Marriage and Death Notices), 1738-1925."  Their "Ireland, Newspapers, 1763-1890" is less helpful since it can only be browsed, and not searched. If you have a specific date, you may be able to find something. There is a larger newspaper collection at Newspapers.com, also an Ancestry company, of both US and Irish newspapers.  Newspapers.com offers two subscriptionlevels, a Basic subscription for $7.95 a month and a Publisher Extra service for $19.90/month.


   Finally, for US newspapers, don’t forget to check Chronicling America, a free site at the Library of Congress.


   The digitization of additional newspapers is going on constantly, so it's always good to check back and see what's new.  But remember, not all newspapers are digitized, especially those from the small towns where your ancestors might have lived.  You should always check for microfilm of local papers both here and abroad when you're traveling.  Although microfilm is not as easy to use since you can’t search, knowing an event date can lead you to an article on the event.  If you can’t find a newspaper online and are not local to where an event such as a death took place, Google the local library and use the “Ask a Librarian” feature.  If you have a date, they will typically look up the obituary and send you a copy.

 

   For more recent obituaries, there may not be a newspaper article at all.  Most newspapers now charge for obituary placements, so you may to find the obituary online.  Again, Google the person’s name and date of death.  You may find it on the funeral home site, or in a local online newspaper. I've written many times about Jack Moughty, my husband's 3rd cousin in Ballymahon. While I was at Jamboree in Burbank a few weeks ago, I got a message from an individual in Ireland letting me know that Jack had died. I was able to quickly find the information at RIP.ie.

  So don’t forget to check newspaper databases as well as local newspaper microfilms and Internet sites in your research.


     Happy Hunting!


Are you planning to visit Ireland this summer? Here's a link to a blog I wrote last summer on A Genealogy Vacation in Ireland. For additional information you can go to the top of this page to the menu line that starts with "All Posts" and select "More" then "Research in Ireland."




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