A week of wonderful websites – Day 4

5 December 2013

Today, is all about newspapers…. Consulting newspapers, periodicals and magazines can provide plenty of background information about your ancestors.

The British Library‘s newspaper collections are among the finest in the world. They were stored at Colindale until earlier this year but this facility has now closed and work is underway to move the Library’s newspaper collections to a purpose-built Newspaper Storage Building (NSB) in Boston Spa, West Yorkshire.

A new exciting resource – the British Newspaper Archive – is being published and managed by brightsolid, in collaboration with the British Library. Giving access to over six million fully searchable pages and featuring more than 200 newspaper titles from every part of the UK and Ireland, it is hoped that a further two million pages will be added over the first two years of the project, with 8,000 new pages every day.

These newspapers mainly date from the nineteenth century and cover every aspect of local, regional and national news. A list of searchable titles is located on the Findmypast website.

There is also a free online newspaper resource available from the National Library of Wales – Welsh Newspapers Online – where you can discover millions of articles from the Library’s rich collection of historical newspapers. And don’t think that because you don’t have any Welsh ancestry, you won’t need to search this site! I located an amazing article in the Evening Express, detailing my great-great- grandfather’s heroic actions whilst on duty at HMP Dartmoor (Devon) as a prison warder. This is a particularly  interesting newspaper article as the records of prison officers and warders were lost in the riots at the prison in 1932, when the administration block was set alight.

Welsh Newspapers Online currently lets you search and access over 420,000 pages from forty newspaper publications (generally up to 1910) and 4.5 million articles. This resource will also include some newspaper content that is being digitised by The Welsh Experience of World War One project and some publications will grow to include editions published up to 1919.

So many websites to search and so little time!

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