The British Library and brightsolid have launched the British Newspaper Archive with more than 200 newspapers online.
The website offers access to up to 4 million fully searchable pages, featuring newspaper titles from every part of the UK and Ireland.
The newspapers – which mainly date from the 19th century, but which include runs dating back to the first half of the 18th century – cover every aspect of local, regional and national news. Thousands of new pages will be added to the collection every day, to reach up to 40 million pages over the next 10 years. This is a wonderful resource for family history research.
Alongside first-hand accounts of historic events, such as the wedding of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and the Charge of the Light Brigade, the newspapers also provide numerous rich details about how our ancestors lived. You can search a wealth of material to help your family history research, including family notices, announcements and obituaries. The ability to search by name, location, date and newspaper title means that you can search hundreds of thousands of pages at a time to track down those elusive ancestors.
Amy Sell’s ancestor
Findmypast.co.uk’s marketing executive, Amy Sell, has made a fascinating discovery of her own in the archive. She found an article about her great-great-great-grandfather, Richard Howard, who was accused of stealing a pocket watch. We learn Richard’s fate at the end of the article: ‘Verdict: “Not guilty” – this caused much surprise in court.’
As well as adding new and colourful information to her family tree, the article also tells Amy the following about her great-great-great-grandfather:
- His age in 1867 (30);
- His occupation (chimney sweep);
- Where he was from (Hitchin, Hertfordshire);
- His father (Amy’s great-great-great-great-grandfather)’s name (James Howard) and the words he used to describe his son’s character;
- Information about her ancestor’s whereabouts in the 1850s – his father said “he has been at Biggleswade for ten years, and works for all the gentry”.
I’m hoping I’ll find out more about my ancestors too.
According to the Caledonian Mercury for Thursday 21 December 1815, “The legatees of the late Alexander Brodie, Esq. of Tooting in Surrey, a native of the county of Peebles, patentee for stoves and ship hearths, have fulfilled the intention of their deceased relative, by presenting to the Lord Provost, Magistrates, and Council, patrons of the University of this city [Edinburgh], an elegant marble mantle piece and stove, of exquisite workmanship, prepared by Mr. Brodie, to be placed in such apartment of the New College buildings, as the patrons might judge proper. The value of this present is estimated at 700 guineas.”