There are several types of UK newspaper archives: those that are free, archives available only by paid subscription, and archives available online, offline, or both. There is a mixture of all these types in the list below, along with a brief description. Archives of UK newspapers, or any country's archives for that matter, are a valuable tool in the genealogist's tool chest.
What to Look For
Things to look for in any newspaper archive include:
- Advertisements posted by ancestors who were merchants
- Awards / honors announcements
- Birth announcements
- Community sections
- Engagement announcements
- Estate sales
- Expert or eye-witness interviews
- Graduation announcements
- Letters to the Editor
- Local news with historical events and perspectives
- Marriage announcements
- Real estate sections, which often give descriptions and special details of ancestral homes and estates
- Sports write-ups
Any and all of these items may aid in your search for ancestors. One of the most exciting things that historical newspapers and periodicals can do is to help you color in the details of your ancestor's life based upon local events and perspectives. Reading historical newspapers can make history seem to come alive. From notices about the British royal family to parish news and events, UK newspaper archives contain a treasure trove of information.
UK Newspaper Archives
Here is a list of some of the free UK newspaper archives available online:
- Internet Library of Early Journals - 18th and 19th century journals are available in this database.
- ActivePaper Archive® consists of UK papers from 19th and 20th centuries. Although it is a small collection, it is worth noting.
- The Scotsman Digital Archive covers Scottish history from 1817 to 1950. You may search for free, but copies carry a fee.
- NCSE is a free, online edition of six nineteenth-century newspapers and periodicals. Download any of them freely. The archive includes:
- Monthly Repository and Unitarian Chronicle
- Northern Star
- English Woman's Journal
- Publisher's Circular
Irish Newspaper Archives
Villanova University, Falvey Memorial Library is a database of Irish and Irish-American publications. It covers the year 1848, along with 1918 through 1922.
World's Largest Online Newspaper Archive
Newspaper Archive calls itself the "world's largest online newspaper archive." This paid subscription database features billions of articles from newspapers in:
- United States (every state)
- South Africa
- United Kingdom
- U.S. Virgin Islands
Offering pages that are fully searchable, this company also allows members to interact with each other in community forums. It is one of the most comprehensive resources available online, although the UK section is a relatively small part of the overall collection.
The collection covers 1753 to present with tens of millions of newspaper pages. Owned by Heritage Microfilm, this archive adds one historical newspaper page every second, for a total of approximately 2.5 million new pages monthly.