Where your ancestors involved in politics and major events of the day? Were they heroes or horse thieves (hopefully not)? Back in the days before the television and the Internet, newspapers and post was how official news traveled. Now you can “travel” back in time and view archives from many different newspapers. You’ll defienlty learn more about the times and you just might find an ancestor.

Google News Archives for Genealogy

Google launched the Google News Archive Search, and you can use the service to search for terms, names, places, or whatever else you might be looking for. The results are organized by date. So if you’re looking for information in the past 10 years, no problem, click on the date range you’re looking at. If you’re looking for information in the 1880’s you might be surprised what you’ll be able to find.

Depth of the Archive

The archives go well in the past in many cases. Try typing Abraham Lincoln and you’ll find articles from the 1860’s. Search for George Washington and sources will appear from the 1700’s.

Cost of Viewing

Depending on the newspaper, you may have to pay to view the whole article or have some type of subscription; however many have an abstract that you can at least view.

How to Search

Try a variety of strategies to find information about your ancestors. You don’t necessarily have to find their names in a news article (although it would help) to find out more about them. Try searching on:

  • First and last name
  • First and last name and state
  • State or city and navigate back to the era when your ancestor was living

There are a lot of ways to use this resource. Be creative, and have fun!