How to Find Old Newspaper Articles Online....For Free

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You never know what you might find in old newspaper archives
You never know what you might find in old newspaper archives

Old newspaper articles are a great resource, regardless of whether you're searching for your family's history, or writing a school paper. Even if you're just curious about historical events -- the sinking of the Titanic, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, or the price of gasoline in 1915 -- there's nothing quite like seeing the headlines, stories and advertisements from the actual newspapers of the day.

While there are several excellent subscriptions sources for newspaper archives, there are also quite a number of free resources. This eHow article tells you where you can find old newspaper archives online, for free.

Instructions

    • 1

      **Focus Your Research**

      Think about what you want to search for. This may sound like a Big Duh!, but it pays to give some thought to the actual search terms you'll be using.

      Say you're searching for news of your grandfather. If his name was Jedibiah Utzenpfeffer, you might have pretty good luck searching just on his name alone. But if grandpa's name was Robert Smith, you'll need some additional details -- like a town he lived in, his job, big event in his life, spouse's name -- in order to narrow down the results.

      It also helps to use special search tools. If you want old newspaper articles on the sinking of the Titanic, for instance, a search on 'Titanic' may bring up tons of articles about the movie, rather than the actual event. But using Advanced Search features to focus results on the period prior to 1915 will bring up news articles about the actual sinking of the ship.

    • 2

      **Start With Google News Archives**

      Head for Google News Archives and begin your search. Believe it or not, their collection of newspaper archives spans more than four centuries, and is a very rich resource.

      You can use the Timeline feature to restrict your results to particular years. Their Advanced Search also lets you choose results from particular areas (nationally or internationally), or otherwise narrow down your search results.

    • 3

      **Make Use of Freebies**

      Now for the best part. Step two, above, will give you a good feel for how many articles are available, and what they cover. But a lot of the results from Google News Archives are from subscription services that can cost a lot to access.

      Instead, head to FreeNewspaperArchives.us, where you'll find a terrific collection of links to (go ahead, guess) free newspaper archives from the US. Use these to fine tune your search, and get just what you're looking for.

      Another site with a comprehensive list of free newspaper articles is XooxleAnswers.com (click on the Free Newspaper Archives link). They have information on free resources in the US, in Europe, and elsewhere around the world. Many of the available newspapers are in languages other than English, which can be very useful to those familiar with the language.

      XooxleAnswers also includes a good list of free magazine archives, college newspapers, and other speciality collections.

Tips & Warnings

  • Spend some time getting familiar with the collections at FreeNewspaperArchives.us and XooxleAnswers.com, as they cover a lot of territory, both historically and geographically. Choose the newspaper and magazine collections that are best suited to your particular interests and the time in place in history you want to know about.

  • DANGER! There's something very habit-forming about perusing old newspapers. Before you get started, make sure you're calendar's clear, and there are plenty of snacks on hand.

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