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
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: https://www2.illinois.gov/alplm/library/collections/newspaper/Holdings/Pages/default.aspx.
There are several online collections for Illinois newspapers. The University of Illinois has an Illinois
Digital Newspaper collection at http://idnc.library.illinois.edu. Several libraries around the state have also
digitized area newspapers, such as Marshall Public Library at .http://marshall.advantage-preservation.com/. 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 http://ChroniclingAmerica.loc.gov.
And some digitized newspapers can be
found on Google at https://news.google.com/newspapers.
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.