Genealogy: Newspapers

One of the most underutilized resources in genealogy research are newspapers.  Most people know newspapers are great sources for obituaries, but they can also be used to find information like birth announcements, engagements, marriages, anniversaries and divorce notices, legal notices, family reunions, and community news.  These sources can be particularly helpful when vital or probate records cannot be found.  Newspapers help you build depth in your family tree and begin to understand the everyday lives of your ancestors.  Whether it’s a fire the burned down the family home, a promotion your ancestor received at their place of work or a dinner party they hosted, newspapers help you to understand in more detail who you are and where you came from.  They can also at time expose the darker side of your family by discovering arrests or other nefarious behavior.  There are a number of resources available to help in your research with newspapers.  Some are provided by the Mansfield/Richland County Public Library and others are online.


In the early 1900s divorce notices often were written like a tabloid.

Richland County Digital Newspaper Archive

The Mansfield-Richland County Public Library has partnered with the Mansfield Memorial Museum, The Ohio Genealogical Society and the Richland County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society to digitize newspapers from Richland County, Ohio.  The project was made possible as a result of a $7,885 grant from the Gorman Foundation.  Those looking to research the newspapers can access the content from anywhere; there is no membership or login required.  This service is completely free to those interested.

Simply go to the address,, and enter in your search criteria.  This could be anything from a person, place or event.  The collection includes over 40,000 pages covering the years 1823-1923 and includes Mansfield newspapers in addition to newspapers from Bellville and Butler.  Any articles of interest can be “clipped” and saved to your computer or printed out.  Simply select the crop icon at the top of the page. Drag it around the desired article and select the arrow at the bottom right corner.  Follow the onscreen prompts to download or print the article.

MRCPL Newspaper Index

This is a local newspaper index, primarily the Mansfield News-Journal and older Mansfield newspapers.  A scattering of papers from 1828 through 1899, as well as 1900 though a part of 1921, and a part of 1950 to the present are indexed. The indexing is an on-going project. About 1 year of newspapers is added per year.  This index is good for searching for local businesses, events, and obituaries.  Once an article is found you can email and staff will send back a scan of the selected article.  In addition to this obituaries can be found at the Ohio Obituary Index.


Birth announcements were often limited and only provided the fathers name.

Mansfield News-Journal Index from Proquest

This online newspaper index not only includes articles and obituaries from the News Journal, but also companies, people, products, and more.   It currently contains newspapers from April 7, 1999, to present.  While this is not an image of the actual newspaper, it does contain a transcript of the article from that day’s paper.  These can be viewed from your home with a valid library card.

Newspaper Archive (Currently available at home until May 15)

“NewspaperARCHIVE is the world’s best resource for historical and genealogical information. [Their] unique archive spans more than 400 years of family history, small-town events, world news and more.  Explore your family tree and discover your history at, the world’s largest online newspaper archive.”  This database contains newspapers from all over the world and gives users a variety of search options or the ability to browse by date or location.


Marriage Announcement

Chronicling America through the Library of Congress

“Chronicling America is a Website providing access to information about historic newspapers and select digitized newspaper pages and is produced by the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP). NDNP, a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Library of Congress (LC), is a long-term effort to develop an Internet-based, searchable database of U.S. newspapers with descriptive information and select digitization of historic pages. Supported by NEH, this rich digital resource will be developed and permanently maintained at the Library of Congress. An NEH award program will fund the contribution of content from, eventually, all U.S. states and territories.”


Article about fire of family home.

In addition to this, there are many other sites that offer access through a paid subscription.  The News Journal offers an archive service, for $7.95 a month you can get access to over 1.4 million images dating back to 1891.  Sites like offer access to newspapers from all 50 states dating back to 1690 for $19.95 a month.

No matter how you access these resources, they are often the only information available that can help to solve mysteries in your family tree or get past the brick wall in your research.

One thought on “Genealogy: Newspapers

  1. I agree that Newspaper Archive is the best resource – for me – because it has the greatest number of newspapers in the town I am most interested. It’s good to make sure if that’s true for others. The trial period is a great help. Thanks for a great post on this important subject.


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