A truth --->
• Newspapers can be extremely valuable in
finding information about your family over a
period of time and in a specific location. And
they may well show movements, married
names, and much other information.
• There are many newspaper that exist which have
not been digitized and put online yet.
• The Central Library in Rochester has large
cabinets of the city newspapers on microfilm,
5500 reels of them, but they are online only in bits
and pieces. Try such sources such as
www.fultonhistory.com. That web site has many
Democrat and Chronicles, and a few Union and
Advertisers. It also has a downloadable Excel
spreadsheet of all the papers on that site.
• How many pages are there?
A couple, you could say…
Why use newspapers for genealogy
Lots of reasons - you can find useful information in
obituaries such as where folks lived, who survived them,
streets where they lived, where they worked, where they are
buried, what the relations are, or what the daughters’ married
Wills might also have some of the same information, but that
means that the person would have had to have had a will, and
there may be be fees to access it. (Monroe County = 90
Newspapers also have birth information, marriage notices,
anniversaries, and social columns that may have family
As Honest Abe said…
Taken directly from the D and C of 17 March 2012:
“Our current business model — based primarily on print
distribution — is essentially the same as it was in 1833…
That does not make sense and it is not sustainable. Nonsubscribers will have access to a limited number of free
articles before they are required to subscribe.”
As of May 3rd 2012, that is the case. And the online search
capability seems to have diminished with less years
Locally it’s bit of a mess…only 5 years and hard to get to.
• There are many more which are not yet in the
Fulton web site. The D and C and the TU papers
from Rochester are included in a massive
newspaper clipping file at the Central Library.
That file has 7500 subjects and 500,000 clips in it,
covering ca 1936 to the present. There is a hard
copy guide to the subjects, but that is not online.
Nor is that guide an index. As of 2013 they no
longer clip and file.
• They have all the town papers, but do not clip
them. Most are on microfilm.
There is this info:
Rochester newspapers published in the 1800’s
1818 – 1828
November 1825 – 1828
February 1827 – 1833
– Name changes
Rochester Daily Advertiser
Rochester Daily Union
Rochester Daily Union & Advertiser
December 1829 – December 1849
Anti Masonic Enquirer
September – December 1833
April 1827 - 1996
– Name changes
Rochester Daily Democrat
Rochester Daily Chronicle
Democrat & Chronicle
June 1839 – December 1839
Rochester Daily American
1844 - 1929
December 1847 - April 1851
June 1851 – December 1853
January 1859 – August 1863
– Name changes
Rochester Evening Express
Rochester Evening & Post Express
January 1859 - 1936
August 1879 – 1926
Daily Evening Times
November 1888 - 1889
February 1834 - current
The Central Library (Rundel) is a Familysearch affiliate;
and there are online ways to search local newspapers such
At this time, there are no papers from Monroe County in
the database, but there are a LOT from the rest of NY state.
What papers were published
where and when?
• French’s Gazetteer of NY (1860) has a great series of
footnotes that go in to detail about the papers and their
Sample from French’s:
• Where can you find them?
• You can start by looking here, although it was unfunded
by NY state in 2007, and papers have been moved from
the locations listed in this web page:
Use them with an open eye and mind…
where is the Brighton Pittsford Post?
• The Buffalo NY public library downtown
does have a large 300,000 item card file,
but that is not yet online, although there are
papers from Buffalo in Fultonhistory. There
is also a large number of 3 x 5 cards of a
newspaper index at the Buffalo and Erie
County Historical Society in Delaware Park
in North Buffalo. Nope, not online.
• The Onondaga County library (Syracuse)
also has a great genealogy collection, but
their web site does not show directories or
newspaper indexes. There are links to
various commercial newspaper databases.
• A few years ago, the LeRoy historian retired. In
his attic he had a large number of clips on various
families going back 100 years or more. He gave
me many copies on the families that I was
researching on that area.
• Which goes to show that any individual office
may have a great collection, but it must be used in
person. And you are dependent on it not getting
A comment on the local RRLC newspaper project
and some other sources • For the rrlcnewspapers.org project, they have been using
the New York State Newspaper Survey
(http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/nysnp/) to identify pre-1923
microfilm holdings in our service area.
• RPL and some of its associated branches do have quite a
bit of microfilm listed on the survey that they are
interested in digitizing. The plan currently is to wait for
funds and to do it in a big batch if possible. The work is
hired out to local contractors.
• RPL’s Digitizing Dept. did scan digital versions of lateissues of the Gates Chili News. They are discussing how
to make these available.
Suggestions for finding your ancestors
in old newspapers
1) Select a place and time of interest for one or more ancestors
2) Determine what newspapers were published when and where
3) Identify which ones, if any, are searchable online or locally
4) Search for your ancestor’s information…
a. via free/low-cost on-line or local sources
b. with free/low-cost help from others
c. via more expensive high-probable-yield sources
5) Visit remote newspaper archive, if necessary
Call, write, or submit a query via their ask-a-librarian services.
1) News search engines
2) Request library help
3) Browse newspapers
telephone microfilm paper
Also, many times papers are loanable from a particular
library or the state library for a modest fee, and you can
look in them yourselves.
Finding old newspapers - more sources
Library of Congress Newspapers
Chronicling America: Newspaper Directory
Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers FULL TEXT
$ FULL TEXT
NewsLibrary Newspapers (1977-2001)
GenealogyBank Historical Newspapers (1690-2007) $
Some other sources
Google News Archives (1758-current)
Footnote's (now Fold 3) Historic Newspaper Archives (1785current)
$ FULL TEXT
And the NY Times:
A private person has done this:
Google, of course.
And more Selected Newspaper Archives:
AJC Historic Archives (1868-1945)
(AJC is the Atlanta Journal Constitution.)
NY Times Archives (1851-2011)
Brooklyn Daily Eagle (1841-1902) *
Fitchburg (MA) Sentinel & Enterprise (1998-2011) FULL
Irish Newspaper Archive (1763-2011)
*Fultonhistory.com has many more years in that
Still other sources
Ancestry.com Newspapers $
Family History Center Catalog
free - CATALOG
A possibly useful link • http://www.libraryweb.org/~digitized/
Help! Where can I find
The United States Newspaper Program
A cooperative national effort among the states and the federal
government to locate, catalog, and preserve on microfilm
newspapers published in the United States from the
eighteenth century to the present.
Here’s a great example of what you could find.
And here are some passenger lists -
How to Find Your Ancestor in an Old Newspaper
Brigham Young University Broadcasting
Family History in the News
How to Find & Use Newspapers for Genealogical
Kimberly Powell, About.com Guide
A free source
A pay source
Their Rochester newspapers
There are always new things being released in 2013 there is this:
St. John Fisher College’s Lavery Library Completes
Frederick Douglass Collection Digitization Project
See the bibliography for more sources!
• When you think about how we did
genealogy 30-plus years ago, you can't
imagine that many newspapers were
used regularly. We didn't use them not
because they lacked importance but
because we would have had limited
access to them in the pre-Internet
Be systematic & plan your search step-by-step
Search free and low-cost datasets first
Search online, call, or visit distant local & specialty libraries
Explore online lists & discussion groups for newspaper sources and
Incorporate quotes, stories, poems, lyrics, pictures in your histories
Cite relevant sources in your work
Enjoy the hunt!!! You’re going to find something very interesting