Online Journals – Amazing Genealogy Resource
You can use newspaper databases to find genealogical information such as birth, marriage, and death records, obituaries, and probate cases. You can also find interesting information about your ancestors. In the past, newspapers published all kinds of news – local, national and international stories. Because they print almost everything that happens in a community, newspapers are a wealth of information about people’s daily lives.
Start your newspaper search
Go to our popular genealogy tools to find free databases and other helpful genealogy resources. Unfortunately, not all newspapers are available for digital search. If you can’t find the city newspaper you need, broaden your search to the department or region. My father grew up in very small towns with no newspapers, however, the county seat newspaper covered those towns. In a diary from 1922, I found a story about my grandfather’s car being stolen from his garage. It was just a few sentences, but it was a fun find.
Looking at old newspapers provides insight into a moment in time. Give yourself enough time to immerse yourself in this moment. There is an immediacy. It almost feels like being there and you can discuss the day’s news, weather, gossip, social events and advertisements with your ancestors. You get insight into their daily lives and learn their stories. To me, that’s what genealogy is – the facts and stories that created you.
The library has the sources you need to find your family, no matter where they lived.
Potential Barriers to Research
Since the digitization of newspapers is a long and expensive process, not all newspapers have been digitized. Also, some copyright holders will not release the digital rights. An example of this is that Topeka’s major newspapers are only available from the years 1870 to 1922. From 1923 to the 2000s, newspapers are not available digitally and there is no general index. We have a limited newspaper index for the Topeka Capital-Journal. It is searchable by keyword and contains articles and events for the years 1989-1999. It can be very difficult to find an article in these newspapers without a specific date.
Sources of digital logs
The Fcomplete list of journals in our library includes the New York Times (1851-2011)USA today and news from around the world. Heritage Hub is a comprehensive collection of obituaries and obituaries newspapers (1704-present) with an easy-to-use interface that covers all 50 states and territories. If you’re looking for local obituaries, check out our obituaries index. This index covers Topeka newspapers from 1906 to present. Obituaries are not digitized, but the index will give you the name and date of the newspaper to find it on our microfilm. Here is some information about our most popular journal sources for genealogy researchers.
We recently added Newspapers.com Library Edition to our database collection. It’s a great resource if you’re researching family from other states. This extensive database provides online access to over 4,000 historical newspapers dating from the early 1700s to the 2000s.
As I mentioned earlier, historical logs covered everything. You can find out who came from out of town or who drove into town for work or shopping. These newspapers also reported on crime, commodity prices, national news, local news, obituaries, and school events. While researching my grandfather, I found that the local newspaper reported names of students who were doing well in school each term. I found his notes and those of his brothers when they were in elementary school.
NewsBank is a great source for researching recent articles and obituaries. This database contains over 12,000 searchable titles, including newspapers, blogs and videos. NewsBank has national and state newspapers. The Topeka Capital-Journal is available in two editions. The text edition has more years available, but not all articles carry over for copyright reasons. The cover of the text edition is from 2001 to date. I prefer the image editing that looks like the newspaper. Everything published in an issue is available. Image edition coverage starts in 2017. We also have access to text and image editions for the Kansas City Star and the wichita eagle. All the sources available in NewsBank are searchable by keywords, which greatly facilitates research.
If you’re researching your Kansas family, Kansas Digital Newspapers from Kansas Historical Society is an excellent source. The KHS Archives has newspapers from across the state. Kansas Digital Newspapers is a collaboration between public and private partners to digitize Kansas newspapers. This makes them easily accessible to researchers, genealogists, historians, and anyone interested in learning about Kansas history. Newspapers from 1922 and earlier are digitized and can be searched by keyword. If you are looking for articles and obituaries from 1923 to the present, you may need to contact the historical society or local public library to access their microfilm.
America Chronicle is a free website that allows you to search American historical newspapers from 1777 to 1963. It is very similar to Newspapers.com. You can search for articles and obituaries, but this site doesn’t have the same extensive coverage as Newspapers.com. An amusing example of the kind of articles you can find is a letter published by General George Washington to his wife on January 1, 1778, in the Newport Gazette (RI). Chronicling America is jointly sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress.
Newspaper research can bring your ancestors’ stories to life, flesh out the facts, and give you insight into their lives.