Tag Archives: newspapers

Family History #10 – Newspapers

A Newspaper cutting about rioting in Andover

While a lot of things have changed over time, some things change very little. Much as today, in bygone days you could read all about what was going on by picking up the Newspapers.

As such Newspapers are a great resource for family history. Birth, Marriage and Death announcements, court proceedings, news stories, and all the usual scandals and gossip can be found in old Newspapers. In fact, you can guarantee that when you are looking for something, you will come across wonderful accounts of murders and executions. And aside from being devilishly distracting, they give you a very good idea of contemporary society.

My local library in Portsmouth has copies of the Hampshire Telegraph from the 18th Century until the 1970’s, and the Evening News from its beginning until the present day, all on microfilm. Better still, these have been indexed by subject in a card index, so if you are looking for a particular person, road, business or event, you can go straight to it rather than sift through thousands of copies.

Further afield, the Times can be searched online, at timesonline. You can search for free, but to access the full articles you need to pay a fee. Also, some libraries have Palmers index to the times, which can also be accessed online.

On a slightly more official level, the official Government Newspapers, including the London Gazette, can also be accessed online here, completely free. These contain details of armed forces promotions, official announcements and awards and honours.

Finally, the British Library Newspaper Archive have made 49 local and national newspapers, from between 1800 and 1900, searchable online here. You can search for free, but need to pay to download any articles.

For more about the British Library’s collection of Newspapers, click here.

You never quite know what you are going to find. For example, if one of your ancestors had a business, you may find an advert placed by them. And even if you don’t find anything specifically about them, you can use Newspapers to give you a very good idea about what was going on at the time, what society was like and what public opinion was like. Try to think in bigger terms than just names and dates, but people, times and events.

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the Sunday Papers – 25th Oct 09

As Sunday is traditionally a day when the newspapers put in their more serious stories that they have been working on all week, rather than simply what happened the day before, I thought I would start a regular round up of what is happening in the Papers relating to the Armed Forces and History.

The Queen is reportedly furious about the rise of the BNP, the News of the World reports. She has ordered all of the Royal Family to stake a stand to ensure that the United Kingdom stays united. She is also angry about their use of Winston Churchill in their publicity. Churchill was the Queen’s first Prime Minister, and she granted him a state funeral after his death for his iconic war leadership. This is an unprecedented move for the Queen, who usually keeps quiet on politics. But being the savvy monarch that she is, it shows how seriously the situation is (News of the World).

The People reports that Jordan is considering going to Afghanistan on a ‘morale raising’ trip for the troops. I can’t help thinking that its just a publicity stunt, funnily enough it comes when shes very unpopular after her acrimonious divorce (The People).

If anyone is still in any doubt about the true colours of the BNP, the Sunday Mirror tells us much here (Sunday Mirror). Meanwhile, the Sunday Express reports that the same blog entry by a senior BNP figure orders Jews to ‘show respect’ or when the BNP get in power they will ‘reap what they sow’. Who wants these people in charge of the country, seriously? (Sunday Express).

Former First Sea Lord Sir Alan West has spoken out in criticism of General Sir Richard Dannatt’s appointment as Tory Defence advisor. Funnily enough, West is serving as a Security Minister under the current Labour Government. Coincidence? He says that it is wrong for ex service chiefs to undermine their successors, but surely its better to have someone who knows what they are doing than a besuited politician who knows nothing? (Sunday Times).

Comedian Jimmy Carr has made a bad call by making fun of amputee servicemen, stating that ‘we should have a good paralympics team in 2012′ (Sunday Telegraph).

Peter Hitchens makes some interesting comments about Nick Griffin’s Question Time appearance, namely suggesting that it might end up provoking a myth that he was ‘stabbed in the back’, much like the lies that the Nazis peddled that the Jews were to blame for Germany losing the First World War (Mail on Sunday).

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