Google Newspaper Archives

The Best of the Best

Update: Hate to say it, but Google’s newspaper archives have gotten rather messy and hard to use. What a shame!

Google (big surprise!) heads the list with its wonderful Google News Archive Search. In one fell swoop (whatever that means) you can search thousands of newspapers, millions of pages and billions of articles dating back to the 1700’s up through modern times. And it all happens at Google speed, and with their familiar set of search tools.

Wonderful as it is, though, there are a couple of sizable caveats and limitations:

  • Google’s news archive change very rapidly, and not always for the better. As Google wrestles with publishers over copyright and access issues, they sometimes have to build in limitations to their archives. Material you can access today, may not be there on your next visit.
  • Viewing the newspapers at Google’s archives is a clumsy process, and the pages sometimes are garbled or not fully viewable.
  • Saving or printing articles is even worse. I’m reasonably sure this harks back to my first point about wrestling over publication rights and such.
  • Actually finding out what content is available in the archives is difficult. I’ve posted the full list of the Google News Archives newspapers (large list…may be slow to load!) along with the dates of coverage.
  • For some unfathomable reason, Google doesn’t include geographical information in its listings. There’s no way of knowing that the Beaver Times (1900-1906) is from Beaver, Pennsylvania until you actually open the newspaper to have a look.
  • Not all content is free. You may wind up at a newspaper page requesting a fee to view the article you so desperately want to look at.

But now that I’m done whining about its limitations, make no mistake…this is a marvelous and very valuable resource.

Google isn’t the only game in town, however. One of the best archives available is the aptly-named NewspaperArchive. This is a subscription service, but well worth it. I use them constantly in my research, and recommend them highly.

There are plenty more archives, historical sources, people-find tools and family history research resources worth knowing about:

Court Record Searches

Public Records Searches

Online State Archives


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