Using newspapers for family history .................. "Evening News" - Monday 27 Jan 1947
Using newspapers for family history .................. "Evening News" - Monday 27 Jan 1947


You can ask me to search archive newspapers for any location in England for reports of inquests, trials, murders, accidents, suicides, executions, births, marriages, deaths, funerals, obituaries, divorces, theatrical performances, local competitions and sporting achievements.  Where permitted, I can take a photo or copy of the newspaper article for your records.


To enquire about a search of local newspapers, e-mail or use the form at the foot of this page.  If you don't have the details to hand, ask me if I can search newspapers for the district which interests you. 


Archive newspapers include regular columns devoted to announcements of births, marriages and deaths. Marriages during the first half of the 20thC are often reported in local newspapers in great detail and may include details of bridesmaids and ushers and sometimes even details of wedding gifts and donors (often family members). From the 1950s onwards, coverage of a local wedding often includes a photo of the couple.  An obituary search may produce details of an individual's career, place of burial or residence.  A death notice may note when and where a funeral was to be held.  From the late 19thC onwards, local newspapers also carried coverage of funerals, sometimes with lists of floral tributes sent and by whom (many of those listed prove to be relatives of the deceased).  Please contact me for a free initial assessment as to whether a search could be worthwhile or use the enquiry form below.  Please let me know if you would like to see a sample newspaper report.


When Coroner's inquest records do not survive, a search of local newspapers may provide the only surviving report of the inquest.  Old London newspapers are particularly useful when inquest papers do not survive.  If only partial Coroner's inquest records survive, newspaper articles may be more informative and detailed, often with references to family members.  Ask me about a search for coverage of an inquest or use the enquiry form below.  If you have a death certificate stating that an inquest was held, my fee for a standard search of local newspapers for coverage of the inquest is £70.00.


Using old newspapers for family history can be an excellent way to add detail to your own research. Whether you want to learn more about one specific family event, or are looking for a newspaper report of an incident that affected your family, if you know the approximate date and location of an event a newspaper search can be a way of discovering more.  


During the First World War, local newspapers reported on local regiments and carried regular casualty lists. They relied upon families to provide additional details and photos of loved ones who had been killed in action or died of wounds.  Sometimes an article relating to a particular individual can be found, but this is not always the case; it is not unusual for an entry on a casualty list to be the only reference found.


The British Library Newspapers reading room at Colindale closed in November 2013. I can now search historic newspapers for any locality in England at The Newsroom, British Library, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB.  Ask me whether I can access local newspapers for the district in which you are interested.


Excellent collections of 19thC and 20thc London newspapers for Westminster, Camden, Islington, Finsbury, Southwark, Camberwell and Bermondsey are also available in local record offices I visit.



You can ask me to search for:

  • death notice
  • obituary search
  • funeral 
  • birth announcement
  • marriage announcement
  • wedding
  • inquest report
  • accident report
  • local incidents
  • sporting events and articles
  • local events, horticultural shows, clubs etc
  • theatrical performances
  • criminal trials
  • 19th-mid 20thC divorce case coverage
  • WW1 casualties
  • WW1 local regiments
  • old advertisements for local shops and businesses


All enquiries welcome by e-mail or by using the form below.  All enquiries will receive a response: I'll provide a realistic appraisal of the information you provide and an honest opinion as to whether a newspaper search is likely to be successful.


If you know the date of the event and the exact location, a 2-hour search of a selection of local newspapers should usually be feasible, for which the search fee payable is £70.00.


If you have found a very brief item in a county newspaper, please provide details.  I'll advise whether I can access local newspapers for the specific local district, which may have covered the event in greater detail.


For searches of other periodicals and journals at the British Library:  please e-mail your enquiry for a free initial assessment.


For searches relating to old theatre programmes and handbills and performing arts reviews, in material held at the British Library, Westminster Reference Library, Westminster City Archives, V&A Archives Department and other London locations:  please e--mail your enquiry .


Ask about a newspaper search:

Note: Please fill out the fields marked with an asterisk.