For #FamilyHistoryMonth Day 8, check out The British Newspaper Archive for UK research. There are both fee and free options so keep reading and learn how to use it to your advantage for free.
“The British Newspaper Archive is a partnership between the British Library and findmypast to digitise up to 40 million newspaper pages from the British Library’s vast collection over the next 10 years.”
It’s free to search and you’ll see snippets from each paper where they find a “hit”. If you want to read the entire article you’ll need a subscription plan. Don’t stop here, I’m going to show you the subscription options, but you don’t have to subscribe to benefit!
You can always do free, unlimited searches. If you decide it’s worth it to see the entire article, choose a subscription plan, including a pay as you go option.
Now, for how you can benefit from free searches.
I did a quick search for a Welsh ancestor, Sophia Webber, from Monmouthshire. I’ve hit a brick wall tracing her family. I typed “Monmouthshire” into the search window to see what papers they have from that area.
I selected the paper with the most digitized pages, the Monmouthshire Beacon.
Then I searched for “Sophia Webber” and one of the top search returns gave me this snippet: “… St. Woollos church, Newport, the Rev. Edward Hawkins, M.A., Augustus, youngest son of Mr. Webber, proprietor of the Guardian newspaper, Cardiff, to Miss Sophia Lee Bishop, niece Henry Williams, Esq., Victoria-place, Newport. …”
So from the free snippet I learned:
Augustus Webber is Sophia’s husband (knew that already)
Augustus Webber’s father was the proprietor of the Guardian newspaper
Augustus is the youngest son
Augustus is from Cardiff
Sophia’s full maiden name is Sophia Lee Bishop
And I finally know Sophia’s connection to Henry Williams-she’s his niece
Next, I created an account (there’s no fee to create an account) and saved my search results. The benefit of creating a free account is they allow you to save your discoveries.
As you can see in the image on the left, next to each snippet there will be a bookmark with a + symbol inside it.
If you select the + symbol, the bookmark will turn red and BNA will save this article to your “Saved” folder for you to use whenever you need it.
On any page at British Newspaper Archives (BNA) you’ll see the menu options and next to the “Home” category is the “Saved” category. Select the “Saved” category to find all your bookmarked newspapers. You can create folders in the “Saved” area to organize your finds. (I’ve created a folder and labeled it with the surname I’m researching.)
All this was free, took less than 5 minutes of my time, and I’m on my way to breaking through a brick wall. Not bad, huh? I’ll do more searches and saves before I opt to pay but I’ll definitely be choosing one of their subscription plans for my UK research.
Best in your research whether it’s fee for free!