Not only do newspapers contain birth, marriage and death information -- the facts and figures that are the bones our databases are built on -- but they give us much more. Newspaper articles add so much color to the otherwise drab facts and figures of our research. Reading about the various travels, births, sales of property, scuffles in the town square, reports of local men at war, etc. transforms my project from strictly "genealogy" to "family history."
Having easy access to all of these Missouri newspapers just whets my appetite for similar information on the ancestors who lived other states. And although it's great to be able to view them on microfilm, this is the digital age -- I want to be able to view pages from old newspapers on my computer from the comfort of home! I'm not asking much, am I? (She smiles.)
Well obviously, I'm not the first to wish for such convenience. Ancestry.com includes an historic newspaper collection in their subscription, and both GenealogyBank and NewspaperArchive also give you access (for a fee)to various newspapers from the past. It turns out that there are numerous other websites that give free digital access to historic newspapers. Still thinking about Missouri, one of my favorites is the Missouri Historical Newspaper Project.
I did a quick google-search (using the terms: historic newspapers free digital images) and found a few websites that contain lists of places that you can find such digital treasures:
- Historical Newspapers and Indexes on the Internet - USA
- Wikipedia's list of Online Newspaper Archives
- About.com:Genealogy's "Historic Newspapers Online"
There is definitely some overlap on the lists, and they are by no means comprehensive. My google-search provided several websites that focused on the historic newspapers of one state. I hope you'll find a link to the newspaper that will have you doing your own "genealogy happy dance!"