British Newspapers 1710-1953
About the British newspapers
Search for your ancestors in millions of pages of historical local newspapers from all over England, Wales and Scotland.
The newspapers span the period 1710 to 1953 and include more than 200 local titles.
We are working in association with the British Library to bring you the newspapers and we're adding new pages to the collection all the time. When the project is finished, you'll be able to search 40 million newspaper pages from the British Library's collection.
We are constantly adding new pages and titles so the best way to find out exactly what's covered is to search the newspapers for free.
What kinds of articles are included?
Search a wide range of newspaper articles, including:
What our customers think
Stuart Jones, Genealogy Group Leader for East Devon U3A, told us:
- News reports – coverage of local and national events. These include local court reports, which reveal whether your ancestors were ever in trouble with the law or were victims of crime
- Birth, marriage and death notices – casting a fresh light on our ancestors' life events
- Other notices – useful for finding out about the other important events in our ancestors' lives, e.g., engagements, birthdays and anniversaries
- Advertisements – including classifieds, appointments, photos and illustrations
- Letters to the editor – what were the hot topics of the day?
- Obituaries – a useful source of information about notable public figures
What can the newspapers tell me about my ancestors?
Discover your ancestors' stories
A quick search for your ancestors reveals if they ever made it into the news. As the newspapers are local, you'll be surprised at how easy it is to find mentions of your family.
Our product executive Amy found her great-great-great-grandfather Richard Howard in the newspapers – see the article on the right. She discovered that he was charged with stealing a watch and chain from an inn owner in 1867. The article goes into a fantastic amount of detail about Richard's appearance in court – he caused quite a stir! Click on the image for a larger version.
Reveal incredible details you won't find in other records
Newspapers perfectly complement the traditional records used for family history research. They can actually reveal much more in-depth information about your family than you'll find in sources like census records or birth, marriage and death records.
Amy's discovery of her great-great-great-grandfather Richard Howard in the newspapers also clarified two things she had been unsure of after consulting other family history records. The newspaper article confirmed that Richard's father's name was James and also explained why Richard was living in Biggleswade at the time of the 1861 census – something which previously hadn't fitted with the rest of Amy's research.
Newspaper articles can add fresh details to what you already know about your ancestors and are invaluable for casting new light on the 'brick walls' in your research.
Understand the world your ancestors lived in
The newspapers add context to the world in which our ancestors lived by telling us about the key events that happened in Britain during our ancestors' lives. Do you know the big news the day your ancestors were born?
Searching for your town or street in the newspapers offers a glimpse into the past of your local area. A search for 'Shoreditch, London', where findmypast.co.uk is based, produced many articles, from advertisements for local shops to notices of births, marriages, deaths and suicides in the area. This is so useful for painting a picture of what life was like in our local area in the past.
Find out more
Starting your search
You can search the newspapers by first name, last name, date range, county and keywords. You don't have to enter information in all the search fields at once – we recommend that you start your search with basic information, such as a first and last name or a keyword. This means you'll get the widest possible selection of results, which you can then narrow down if you need to.
Searching by date
When searching the newspapers using a specific date range, it's best to try a wide range to begin with. You can always narrow the range if you get too many search results.
Searching by location
To search the newspapers by area, select a county from the drop-down menu. It's worth remembering that news stories were reported around the country, not just where they took place, so leaving the county field as 'all' will give you broader search results.
The keywords box lets you make your search even more specific. Keywords can be anything you like, from your ancestor's occupation or a town name to a historical event like 'coronation' or a crime such as 'murder'.
You can enter as many keywords as you like in the same search and findmypast.co.uk will show you any articles that include all of these words.
You can search for an exact phrase by putting quote marks around the keywords you enter. For example, if you search for "votes for women", findmypast.co.uk will show you any articles that include this exact phrase.
It's also possible to search with keywords alone – you could enter these instead of an ancestor's name if you're interested in researching a place or an event.
Filtering your results
On the search results screen, you'll see a list of filters on the left of the page. Tick the box next to any of the filters you'd like to apply to narrow down your results.