In Britain Newspapers survive for the greater part of three hundred years. Only from the middle of the 18th Century might they contain some useful personal information. Before that date the information tends to concern the upper classes only.
In recent years some libraries, like York Reference Library have organised Newspaper Indexes which contain the names of people mentioned in the newspapers. The Minster Library also has a collection of Eighteenth Century newspapers.
We tend to see Newspapers as carrying just birth, marriage and death News for family history researches. We need to be aware that they also carry divorces, bankruptcies, crime, deeds of valour, scandal, business news, news of officials in the community and sports information.
In the Colindale Newspaper Library, also known as the British Newspaper Library, Colindale Avenue, London, NW9 5HE there are daily and weekly newspapers and periodicals from the UK and Ireland dating back to 1700. They also have a large collection of Commonwealth and Foreign newspapers.
Locally The Times (1785-) can be found on Microfilm and indexes to The Gentlemen`s Magazine (1731-1868) can be found in many libraries and a full set can be found in the British Library, Public Record Office and at the Society of Genealogists.
For further information see the Gibson Guide to Local Newspapers which covers Newspapers from Counties 1750-1920 or the McLaughlin Guide to Family History from Newspapers.
My advice would be to contact libraries in the area that you are researching and see what indexes and newspapers they hold. Note also that many Family History Societies are compiling indexes from Newspapers.
This page is compiled by Timothy J. Owston of York, England,
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