Genealogy 101: Researching using newspaper archives

Genealogy tips and tricks by Margaret Houben - using newspaper archives

In this digital age, the computer can be a huge help in tracking down interesting and helpful information on past generations of your family history.  For instance, newspaper archives.  Nowadays, newspapers are online as a matter of course, although for some, you need to have a subscription in order to view back issues.

With older newspapers, though, someone has to have scanned them in, in order for them to be accessible.  This is slowly being done.   Not just here in Canada, but all over the world.

Wikipedia, happily, has a list of online newspaper archives – a lengthy list of newspapers, past and present, from around the world who have some, if not all, of their issues online.  Some are even ‘searchable’!

For instance, the Kranten National Historical Library in the Netherlands not only has scanned in many copies of their newspapers, but they have done it in such a way that the pages are searchable.  You can type in the last name(s) of those individuals you are researching, and it will find ever instance in which those names appear.  Their website is

I have a cousin for whom I wanted more information about her brothers and sisters.  I knew there were brothers and sisters but I didn’t have their names.  On the Kranten site, I typed in her parents’ last names (maiden name of the mom) and checked out the list of ‘matches’ that the site found.

It did take some patience, as many of the hits were not of interest… pages where both names were found but not in the same article, or pages where only one of the two names appeared… then the jackpot.  The obituary from both of her parents (in separate issues). In both obits were listed the ‘surviving’ children and the towns they were living in at the time, as well as their spouses names for those that were married.

Of course… all the pages are in Dutch, so I have to translate any words I don’t recognize (I do speak a little Dutch), but all in all, it is a very useful site.

If any of you out there have relatives who lived in the province of Limburg in the Netherlands, check this site out.  And check out any of the other links suggested by the Wikipedia article; I know I will be checking all the rest of those noted for both the Netherlands and Germany. Happy hunting!

The Barriere Genealogy Group meets on the first and third Fridays of the month at the Barriere Library, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Everyone is welcome.