Posted by Kristen Hyde on April 29, 2020 in United Kingdom

Newspapers are an amazing resource for not only finding new information or details about your ancestors, but understanding what was happening in the world around them. They are a rich tapestry of stories which can add colour to the lives your ancestors lived. provides a valuable resource for uncovering these stories. With newspapers from 35 cities within the UK and from as early as the 1700s, can help fill in gaps as you research your ancestors through the centuries (and can often make for some entertaining bedtime reading!)

Want to learn more? Watch Ancestry Canada’s interview with Anne Gillespie Mitchell and read on for expert guidance on how to use newspapers to further your family history research. 

Clip articles when found!

Don’t assume you’ll be able to find the article later.  Clip any article you find that might be relevant to your research and make a brief annotation so that you use the search in clippings to easily find who you were researching.

Check spelling variations.

Will, Bill, Billy and William might all be ways an ancestor was listed.  Also, even names like Smith might be spelled as Smyth or something else. Check for any variation you can think of.

Research siblings and cousins.

Your ancestor may not be mentioned in an article, but an article about a sibling or cousin might have a clue to breaking down a brick wall.  Or maybe just an interesting story you have never heard.

Research places of business

Did your ancestor work at a place of business that you know by name? Look for ads or articles about that place of business for more information.

Military units are often discussed.

Military units are often discussed during a conflict or on special anniversaries even many years later. Research any group your ancestor may have belonged to.

Love newspapers? Make sure you check out our Behind the Headlines of History podcast where you can hear amazing stories about the people who broke the big news back in the day. Seasons One and Two are available to stream on Stitcher and Apple Podcasts.