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Newspapers

Daly, Peter Obituary Stamford Advocate 5 Sep 1944

Peter Daly born in County Mayo, Ireland (from the Stamford Advocate, Connecticut)

   Newspapers are always a wonderful source of family information.  My biggest problem is stopping to read all the interesting articles!  I remember, back in the 1990s visiting Fayette County, Pennsylvania and spending a full day at the Carnegie Library, reading the local paper on one of the oldest microfilm machines I’ve ever seen.  This, of course was before anything was digitized, so I would look at newspapers where I had information about a death, or accident, and then read the society notes of who was visiting or traveling.  Today, most of that information is online so I can find it much more easily.  Remember to search not only for your immigrant ancestor, but also for their family, associates and neighbors.  Sometimes an article or obituary might mention a location in Ireland, or point you to family members who had migrated to other cities so you can continue your research.  

1935 Moughty, Mary Obituary

   Of course, there are also newspaper databases in Ireland.  For a number of years, I’ve used the Irish Newspaper Archives at the National Library when visiting Dublin. This database is not available remotely, but only onsite at the Library.  One of my big finds was the death notice of  my husband’s great grandmother.   Although she died in 1935, her death was not recorded in the civil registration records.  At the time, I used  the FamilySearch Irish Civil Registration Index, but I had also checked at the General Register Office in Dublin and had even written to the local registrar in Westmeath. I’d been looking for her death date for years.  When I found the above obituary, I was definitely doing the happy dance!   Back when I wrote about this database is 2012, an annual subscription was €350 ($430), a bit too pricey for me.  They also had a 24 or 48 hour subscription which I used when necessary.  The price of this database has come down to €178 ($209.35), but is currently 40% off at €106.80 ($125.61) for National Heritage Week.  Use the code NHW40.

   FindMyPast also has a large number of Irish newspapers which you get with either your Ireland only subscription or a World subscription.  FMP's parent company owns the British Newspaper Archive so they frequently add Irish newspapers to their coverage. 

   Newspaper Archive, primarily a US newspaper database, also has newspapers listed for Dublin, Ireland.  They have a 7-day trial subscription for $6.95.  

   GenealogyBank has been around for a long time.  In addition to US newspapers, they have a collection of ethnic newspapers, including Irish American papers.  Papers in Ireland will frequently ask US newspapers to copy or republish notices where relatives live and you might find a mention with a locality in Ireland.   

   Ancestry also has newspapers as part of their subscription (use the Card Catalog and type the locality and the keyword “Newspaper”).  They have a couple of Irish newspapers.  There is a larger newspaper collection at Newspapers.com, also an Ancestry company, of both US and Irish newspapers.  Newspapers.com offers two subscription levels, a Basic subscription for $9.95 a month and a Publisher Extra service for $19.90/month.

   Finally, for US newspapers, don’t forget to check Chronicling America, a free site at the Library of Congress.

   The digitization of additional newspapers is going on constantly, so it's always good to check back and see what's new.  But remember, not all newspapers are digitized, especially those from the small towns where your ancestors might have lived.  You should always check for microfilm of local papers both here and abroad when you're traveling.  Although not as easy to use since you can’t search, knowing an event date can lead you to an article on the event.  If you can’t find a newspaper online and are not local to where an event such as a death took place, Google the local library and use the “Ask a Librarian” feature.  If you have a date, they will typically look up the obituary and send you a copy.  

   For more recent obituaries, there may not be a newspaper article at all.  Most newspapers now charge for obituary placements, and you are more likely to find the obituary online.  Again, Google the person’s name.  You may find it on the funeral home site, or in a local online newspaper.  So don’t forget to check newspaper databases as well as local newspaper microfilms and Internet sites in your research.  

     Happy Hunting!


Do you enjoy cruising?  Why not combine a cruise with a genealogy conference.  Next April I’ll be speaking, along with Dick Eastman and Gary and Diana Smith on a Caribbean cruise on the beautiful Celebrity Equinox.  Sign up now to take advantage of the free incentives. Early registration is important as cruise blocks have to be sold early.

© Donna M. Moughty 2007- 2017