The British Newspaper Archive

Search for information about your ancestors amongst millions of pages of historical local newspapers from all over England, Wales and Scotland.

We are working in association with the British Library to digitise their newspaper collection, and we're adding new pages to the site for you to search through all the time. When the project is finished, you'll be able to search 40 million newspaper pages from the British Library's collection. The collection contains most of the runs of newspapers published in the UK since 1800: including 660,000 bound volumes and 614,283 reels of microfilm containing tens of millions of newspapers.

As the scanning team has access the original bound volumes of newspapers, they're able to scan some of the rarest and most fragile newspapers in the library's collection, unlike many other newspaper digitisation projects.

What articles will you find?

The newspapers we have span the period 1710 to 1953 and include more than 200 local titles. Amongst the articles you will discover:

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

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!

How is the newspaper collection helpful?

A quick search is often all you need to discover whether your ancestors ever made it into the newspapers. If you do find them mentioned, then you may be able to discover:

Your ancestor's story - Why are they mentioned? What tale was significant enough about them to warrant the newspaper article in which they feature?

In-depth information about your family - The article may contain infornamtion about as yet undiscovered relatives, 

Details you wion't find in other records - Articles that feature any mention of your ancestors will add much more colour to your understanding of them, and you will likely find fresh details about their lives that have the potential to open up all kinds of new enquiries - particularly when you feel like you may have hit a brick wall in your research.

Understanding your ancestor's world - As well as reading the information about your relatives, we recommend taking the time to read other articles from the same paper and others of a similar date. You will learn much about the way of life your ancestor had, from small local stories to the big nerws that was affected them at the time.

Find out more information about our newspapers project with the British Library here.