Monday, February 01, 2021

Tip - Where can I find old newspapers?

Q. Where can I find old newspapers?

A. Old newspapers can give us so much information about our ancestors’ lives.  In addition to major life events such as birth announcements, marriage notices, and obituaries, we can learn everyday details.  Newspapers often reported on social happenings, such as which family members were visiting from out of town.  Court proceedings ranging from land transfers and divorces to criminal cases were frequently newsworthy.

A good place to start to find a newspaper of interest is at the library in that town.  They often have microfilmed copies of their newspapers.  The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield has a large collection of microfilmed newspapers from around the state.  Their holdings are listed at:

There are several online collections for Illinois newspapers.  The University of Illinois has an Illinois Digital Newspaper collection at  Several libraries around the state have also digitized area newspapers, such as Marshall Public Library at .      More sites are going online all the time.

There are also several online repositories for newspapers from around the country.  Many are subscription sites but there are free sites as well.  The Library of Congress has the largest free collection of US Newspapers at  And some digitized newspapers can be found on Google at


Note: This was originally published in the "Tips from the Genealogy Committee" column in the Illinois State Genealogical Society Newsletter (November 2020).  While these tips were written for those researching Illinois ancestors, many of the principles can be applied to other locations.

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