British newspapers are an incredibly useful resource for genealogists as well as other historians researching the UK and Ireland. If you are looking for your British roots or investigating British history, then the most comprehensive newspaper collection is in the British Library. Since 1869 it has been a legal requirement that a copy of every newspaper published in Great Britain and Ireland is deposited at the Library. There are also some overseas titles in the collection.
Much of the British Library’s collection is being digitized. This is a 10 year project which started in 2011 in conjunction with FindMyPast. Currently there are around 700 British and Irish newspaper titles available giving access to more than 20 million pages. The pages are fully searchable and can be refined to focus on
- Family notices – birth, marriage and deaths as well as engagements, anniversaries, in memoriam, birthdays and congratulations
- News articles – national and local events; history unfolding
- Illustrations – including photographs, maps and cartoons
- Letters to the editor
All this is very useful to both the genealogist and historian.