Posted by Ancestry Team on June 12, 2008 in Collections, News, Website

We doubled the size of our historical newspaper collection – adding a billion names and 20 million images. Different than census or other types of records, newspapers can add context through breaking news, gossip columns, entertainment listings, advertisements and much more.

As we dug into the collection, we found stories of local town heroes – such as an article from 1909 in the Syracuse Herald about Patrolman Brunn who rushed in front of a speeding subway train to save a man who had fallen from the platform. We found medicinal cures, including pickled bee stings for rheumatism, described in a 1904 edition of the Washington Post. We found stories of how folks back then made ends meet, like the widows described in one 1909 Sheboygan Press article who could purchase the entire city of Chicago with their fortunes.

Here are just a handful of newspaper titles in our collection to give you an idea of its diversity:

  • The Anniston Star (Anniston, AL)
  • Modesto Bee and Herald News (Modesto, CA)
  • Raleigh Register (Raleigh, NC)
  • Odessa American (Odessa, TX)
  • Xenia Daily Gazette (Xenia, OH)
  • Panama City Herald (Panama City, FL)
  • Chicago Daily News (Chicago, IL)
  • Delta Democrat Times (Greenville, MS)
  • Reno Gazette (Reno, NV)
  • Pocono Record (Stroudsburg, PA)
  • Northwest Arkansas Times (Fayetteville, AR)

Now through June 19th, you can search our entire historical newspaper collection free. Check out our newspaper collection and see what interesting stories you can discover!

Newspaper Image


  1. Mary Jane Bell

    I am so excited about all the newspapers that are available and about the new print options. I accidentally discovered that my hometown newspaper was now on-line back to the early 30’s. It is a relatively small town and I never dreamed that it would be available. I put in our family name, which is rather unique, and got 208 positive hits. It covers everything from my dance recitals and school events 50 years past to my mom’s PTA meetings and Sunday School parties to my dad’s activities on the local political scene. I also found several articles mentioning my aunt going back to 1934.
    I am in the process of taking each article and creating a page in ancestry press. I add a picture of the person at the time and then my personal comments. I then combine the pages into a book. It will take awhile, but it is worth it. What a great service. Thank you, thank you to whomever scanned all those pages and to ancestry for making it available to us.

  2. Athena

    I was excited about this announcement too then immediately ran into several problems.

    1. I can’t find any way to construct a query that will result in anything resembling a usable hit list. If I use “Exact”, I get virtually no hits but if I don’t I get a long list, in apparently random order, of any newspaper article that included the terms anywhere.

    Adding keywords or dates has no effect. There is no way to specify date of article vs a date that might appear in the text. There is no discoverable way to limit a search to a particular newspaper or locale either.

    2. The new custom print option has potential but needs work. Specifically:

    The header doesn’t include the date of the article

    It’s very hard to get printout that is actually legible. The “quality” format isn’t as good as the old print routine.

  3. I am pleased that Ancestry is offering a newspaper collection and at the same time frustrated. I get so frustrated when looking for a name as there are tons of results that are not the name.
    For example I entered the name of Stanhope Ward. An interesting and unusual forename, to be sure, and one newspaper comes up with a page full of results. Now, I ask you, how likely is that?

    And then I go to read the news paper thinking I might just get lucky. The name is to be found no where on the page.

    Missing from the search is the highlight that shows us where the name is found on the page. Even Google Books has the highlight, so how hard is it.

    I don’t find the larger news papers of much use as a result of the above. The local and smaller papers are easier to read but without the highlight I have to troll through them to find any mention of my names of interest.
    Please make them more user friends by including the highlight.

  4. I’m still disappointed in the collection available for Georgia. The only newspapers available are the historic variations of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. For such a large state, I’d think that you might have expanded beyond *one city* when you doubled your collection. Compared to many other states, the Georgia collection is just pitiful. Please keep adding collections and try to cover the entire state – not just one city.

  5. Fran

    I am unable to find a list of newspapers within the collection. How do I locate such a list? Your previous collection included many newspapers from Lincoln Nebraska and I found a number of articles of interest. Since I have done extensive searches on these newspapers, I want to know if additional newspapers are available from areas where my relatives lived.

  6. Joan Renfrow

    It sure would be nice if we could see the articles from our search list.
    I have tried about 4/5 of the new newspaper additions and received errors every one of them. Can’t pull up even one article.
    I am very disappointed as I have been waiting for these to be available. I can see all of the hits but I can’t get into the postings!

  7. Virginia Arnold

    What I do NOT like about searching most of the newspapers is I will put in the first and last name of the person I am searching for and then put in the month and year. I click on search and there are dozens and dozens of pages that is suppose to have my person I am searching that have NO refernce to that person. No where on that page is the person I am searching for. I have more luck getting at least all the surnames right if I just look for a surname. What gives?

  8. Wanda Mcdonough

    It sounded like a good idea but, as usual, you can’t see the images. I got one page to open and could not read the type at any resolution. VERY frustrating. Don’t post something for the public until you get all the kinks out, PLEASE.

  9. Anita

    Having all the “new” newspapers available is great. I find obits especially useful sources of information. Recently, I have been unable to view some of the newspapers I was able to see in the past. Instead of getting images when searching the San Antonio Daily Express, the San Antonio Express and the El Paso Herald-Post I just get the little box with a red x. What has changed? This if frustrating.

  10. Tami

    I am a subscriber to the newspaper database. I am unable to access ANY of the newspapers. I get Error Processing Image Request for each newspaper report that I select. Is the server down?????

  11. Rob

    OT: Will you Ancestry tech staff please address the “Loading” problem with Ancestry Hints?! I’m really tired of it! I’ve been putting up with it for the last 4 days and the “Loading” mode is still on. Come on!

  12. Joan Renfrow

    Is Ancestry out there??????
    By the other comments on this thread, at least now I know that I am not the only one with the newspaper reading problems.
    I’ve notified you by e-mail (2 times), commented on this blog and by phone contact (2 times) and I feel as though nobody is listening, let alone answering!
    Could someone at least be kind enough to let us out here know that someone, somewhere is working on it?

  13. Lee Porter


    Error processing imaging request.

    June 24, 2008

    Ancestry where are you?

    I guess no one is home.

  14. Jeff Seeley

    There are two separate problems. The first problem is, at random times, when loading a newspaper page image, you get the standard message “Loading”, the progress bar appears, but never shows any progress. Choosing any other newspaper or page and the results are the same. The only solution is to close the browser. When the browser is opened again, the problem is gone until it reappears. The second problem is, it appears certain newspapers, which at one time were viewable, now no matter what page you try to view, all give a message “Error Processing Image Request.” I am using Windows Vista Home Premium and Internet Explorer, everything is up to date.

  15. Carol

    It is nice to know I am not alone. I have been getting “error processing image request” for 4 days now. I have a great conversation going with “Joshua” at Ancestry’s tech service which tells me he doesn’t know how to make the new search system work because he thinks that when you get to the small blurb phase that you are done. I have been using Ancestry for years and find it a great service for those of who are doing research at a distance but when I get answers like this – “I apologize that the newspaper databases depend on local newspapers servers. We are constantly working with the local databases however and I encourage you to try the search again soon. I am very sorry for the inconvenience.” “The first five results for George Willey in the Zanesville Signal work fine for me in the following index:” [so he only got as far as the index] from the techs it seems to me there is a communication problem –

  16. betty kelley

    All I’ve gotten for the past month is “error processing image request” when I’ve tried to access the newspaper images on my home computer. The images came up just fine on the public library computer–what gives?

  17. Joan Renfrow

    Gee. A month later and we still can hardly load anything from the newspaper collection. Now I can’t even get into the papers that I could before.

    But WOW, we now have a new front page!

    How about making the items that you advertise as having already work! What a novel thought!

    And all that we paying customers are hearing are crickets.

    No feedback from Ancestry, no dialog, no fixes. We are only being told that it must be an error on our computers. It is not and you know that for a fact.

    Please Ancestry, own up to your problem and get it fixed! It has been long enough.

  18. Mondstrahl

    Not only can’t I get the newspaper images to load (Error processing request), no matter the newspaper, but now I can’t get census images to load with which I had no problem before.
    What am I paying for?

  19. Joan Renfrow


    Someone is working on it!!!!!

    Thank you Suzanne for taking us seriously and thank you all at Ancestry for finally listening to our cries in the dark!

    I received the below e-mail:

    “Thanks for your feedback on problems viewing newspaper images on We are currently working on the problem. If you don’t notice a fix soon, please send me the link to an image you are having trouble viewing.

    Product Manager, Content “

  20. Carl Sevasin

    Yes,I don’t know if you can help with this but I was told that my grandfother [ James Crawford Williams Sr.], had or ownd a shipyard in Baltimore Md. How would I go about looking this up in the old newpapers, around WW 1 time.

  21. Judy Hayhurst

    I am working on preparing my info for a book. I had typed obituaries as part of the stories for different people. When I loaded my book, non of my stories were included. Why?

  22. Dean

    What happened to the Historical Newspaper option to select by state? That was a very useful and simple method of limiting a selection of newspapers to only one state, allowing you to more easily pick out a single title for search. So I tried the card catalogue search box but it failed to recognize and retrieve a newspaper title I know exists from previous searches: Titusville Morning Herald (Titusville, PA) Would appreciate a working method to get back to searching this particular newspaper. Thanks.

  23. JMaule

    Now it’s all the census records. Last night and again tonight. Is it really THAT difficult to get it right and keep it working?

  24. Linda Hopkins

    I agree with Valerie’s post on June 15, 2008. I find a definite lack of information from Georgia sources. In my hometown, Washington,Wilkes County, Ga., there is the second oldest library in the state and the oldest in continuous operation, I am told. The information there would apply to many as Wilkes County is one of the oldest in the state and the “gateway” to many families passing westward. The old newspapers there are available on microfilm but it is time consuming to do research on site. Nearby, the newspaper records of another old Georgia county, Richmond County, are only available by online subscription. These records are probably available at the Georgia archives but again there are time and distance constraints. I have just read of the Ancestry.Com venture with various state archives but hope that digitization and preservation on a local level could be initiated more quickly. Needless to say there are also many early records available at the Wilkes County Court House.

  25. Although not part of the collection if you are interested in the North Coast Region of Queensland Australia have at look at: . This website archives the Nambour Chronicle & North Coast Advertiser first published in 1903. Lots of local history recorded here. The site is free and you can search the entire paper by keyword or issue date from 1903-1955. You can download any pages of interest also for free

  26. Evie Rice

    It would be extremely helpful & useful if the COUNTY newspapers were published in was included along with the city, in its description. It would help to locate nearby papers, when Ancestry does not have one for the specific area of interest.
    I have yet to find a good place to send/post suggestions. Is there a central place for such? If not, please let me know if there’s a better place for this.

  27. Neoma Walshaw

    Until Ancestry installs a true boolean search or some other logic to this Newspapers and Periodicals “feature”, it is virtually useless to thousands of us. Quit expanding the database and making your shiny press announcements – and make the search feature work properly.
    I’ve been with Ancestry since your earliest days; in the past year, I’ve spent at least 4 out of every 5 research sessions debating whether it will really be worthwhile to renew my subscription this year.

    Signed, Disgusted “Supporter”

  28. Nancy L. Morris

    I would love to read an article about how you select the newspapers you include, and what kinds of problems you encounter in the process. I have to believe that there is a really good reason why the Michigan selection studiously avoids the Detroit Metropolitan area and focuses instead on the U.P. or far West/Lake MI area. Are the really useful papers in the heavily- populated areas more expensive to acquire? Or do you get shut out by the owners of the archives? Thank God my secondary families are from Ohio; there’s a lovely bunch of papers available for that area.

  29. Anita

    Nine months later. In June I asked why I was no longer able to view several Texas newspapers in the Historic Newspaper collection. The San Antonio papers were soon viewable again, but the El Paso Herald-Post (El Paso, Texas) still just provides error messages, so it is just a waste of time. If cannot be fixed, I suggest removing it from your site. Thank you for all the other papers that we can see and for the enhanced viewer!

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