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The Basics of Researching FindMyPast's Newspaper Collection

Newspaper page for searching Findmypast Newspaper Collection

Think like a reporter and discover the cool articles on Findmypast for your British, Irish, and US ancestors.

For folks with British and Irish ancestors, Findmypast has the largest online newspaper archive for your research. That alone might be reason enough to purchase a subscription. However, Findmypast also has newspapers from all 50 US states plus Washington D.C., Panama, and the Virgin Islands.

To follow the process step-by-step, watch this video.

VIDEO: The Basics of Researching FindMyPast's Newspaper Collection

How to Begin Searching for US Ancestors in Findmypast Newspapers

Newspapers, even the ones on Findmypast, do not have all the details we offer in each article. In fact, reporters were notorious for using abbreviations to save space the make a column fit.

Thus, if you will start with a broad search and then narrow down your results, you'll have more chances of success.

In the "Who" box, only fill in a surname. Often articles are reported as Mr. Finlay or Mrs. Robertson. Adding the first name does not improve your searches. Only add a surname in the "Last Name" box.

newspaper clipping for George Finlay's marriage

If your results are too broad, add in keywords, as shared in the following blog posts, to filter your results

Filter Your FindMyPast Newspaper Results With Caution

Findmypast offers additional filters that can help you narrow down your newspaper results.

You can filter by city, by publication, and by date.

Be careful with filtering your results by city and publication. There are times when your relatives can appear in a newspaper outside of where they lived. For instance, in our video about traveling ancestors, Mrs. Stewart from Washington, D.C. appeared in a Philadelphia newspaper.

However, filtering by publication can be useful once you isolate a newspaper in which your ancestor appears. You can filter your results to the Newark Advocate and run a variety of keyword combinations on your searches.

Filtering by date is useful, especially in Irish and British newspapers or common name research. Searching for Smiths can prove difficult until you fine-tune the date to a 10-year range.

HOWEVER, some articles are written many years after you expect to read about your ancestors. If you are not finding the documents you expected, expand your date range.

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Save Your Images to Events on Findmypast Family Tree

At the time of this post (and video), you can not directly save your newspaper discoveries to your family tree.

Instead, you can save download a PDF version of the file to your computer and attach it to your genealogy software program or file it in your digital folders.

Or you can add an event to a profile on Findmypast and save the link.

  1. Open a new browser window.

  2. Navigate to the profile page for the individual mentioned in the article.

  3. Click on "Fact & Events"

  4. Click the "Add Fact" button

  5. Select a fact from the list or create a new one.

  6. After the fact is selected and a new entry created, click on "Sources" and complete the form. Add the hyperlink from the newspaper image on Findmypast to the field labeled "Web".

  7. If you downloaded the PDF, you can click on "Media" and upload the PDF to this fact as well.

You can use this technique to save any image to any fact on the Findmypast Family Tree.

More Newspaper Tips and Tricks

If you want to continue learning about how to use newspapers in your genealogy research, read the following:

More Findmypast Research Tips and Tricks

If you want to continue learning about how to use Findmypast in your genealogy research, watch the following:

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