The array of historical New York newspapers online is very extensive, which is excellent news for the New York family history researcher, because newspapers are crucial sources for genealogy.
This guide outlines all of the principal online newspaper collections, details exactly how many of their holdings relate to New York State, and indicates where you can find them online.
You will also find a list of online newspaper directories - these are invaluable to family history researchers and are essential to determining what publications covered the location, time period, and individuals you are researching.
Many of the resources listed in this guide are free and open to the public - others are available only to those who pay for a subscription. When a $ symbol accompanies the title of a resource, that indicates it is a subscription-based service - all others are free.
If you're interested in a subscription service but do not have a subscription, you may want to check with your local library - some have subscriptions that can be accessed from computers in the branch.
Keep in mind that some historical newspapers exist on more than one website. For some major, long-run papers, the quality of the images and the search engine, as well as the extent of coverage, may vary from website to website - it's always a good idea to look for alternative copies if you're having trouble with a certain set of images.
While there are many New York historical newspaper titles that have been preserved, this guide is only to newspapers that are online. Visits to libraries, historical societies, and other repositories will give you access to many other titles. The newspaper directories at the beginning of this guide cover non-digital newspapers as well.
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Newspaper Directories and Listings
It's always a good idea to start your investigation by determining what newspapers covered your geographic area of interest during the time period you're investigating.
The resources below are perfect for this task. They do not contain searchable digitized images of newspapers, but they do provide incredibly helpful information that will give you an overview of what is available to you as a researcher.
Chronicling America: Newspaper Title Directory
Chronicling America is a website produced by the National Digital Newspaper Program, which is a partnership between the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The website provides access to information about historic newspapers and also has digitized images of select newspapers.
The Newspaper Title Directory contains detailed information on almost all newspapers published in the United States 1690 - present. Bibliographic information for each title includes:
- General information about the publication
- The dates it was active
- The geographic area it covered
- Where digital images or issues can be located
This is an excellent resource and is about as comprehensive as any newspaper directory will get. It's the perfect place to begin your newspaper research - you can see what titles exist for the time period and geographic area of interest, and how to access them. The directory covers all of the United States and lists over 12,000 historical New York newspaper titles.
Rowell's and Ayer's American Newspaper Directories
When trying to generate a list of newspapers that covered a specific time period and geographic area, another good type of resource is a historical newspaper directory.
In the second half of the 1800s and the first few decades of the 1900s, print publications listing information about America's newspapers were produced yearly. The three most notable are Rowell’s American Newspaper Directory (1869–1909), Ayer’s American Newspaper Annual (1880–1909), and Ayer’s American Newspaper Annual & Directory (1910– 1922).
These annual directories are organized by state, then location, and list all titles published in that locality in that year. Many copies are available digitally, though they are on different sites throughout the web.
Library of Congress has produced a very helpful page that contains links to all available issues. See Rowell's & Ayer's American Newspaper Directories on the Library of Congress website.
Online New York Newspapers
There are many websites that have online New York newspapers - there is no one site that has a comprehensive collection, but most major websites are included in this section.
Thankfully, many of these newspapers are available to search and read online for free. Some, however, are only available through subscription services.
This section will list both free and subscription websites - if you see a $ symbol next to the title of the website, this indicates it is a subscription service.
Though we will provide a general overview of the New York newspapers available on each website, we highly recommend visiting each site individually to get the most up-to-date listing of their content.
Please kindly send additions or updates to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ancestor Hunt: New York Online Historical Newspapers Summary
As mentioned above, there is no single website that acts as a one-stop shop for online historical New York newspapers, but The Ancestor Hunt is pretty close to an exhaustive list of all available. This website is a fantastic general resource for a number of genealogy subjects, and its newspaper sections are the best of all.
The New York Online Historical Newspapers Summary page contains a list of over 2,000 free links to online newspapers in New York State.
The links are organized by website, and many have individual links to each specific newspaper covered. Links to specific newspapers are classified by location, so researchers may want to use the search function in their web browser (usually Ctrl or Cmd + F) and enter the name of a specific location.
Most of the links are to free resources, though some of the major subscription websites are mentioned at the bottom of the page.
This website is updated frequently - it's a good idea to check back every now and then to see what has been added. New additions are usually marked in bold.
Old Fulton Postcards
This website, most easily remembered by its address, Fultonhistory.com, has nearly 50 million digitized newspaper pages from all over New York State. Fultonhistory.com is the astounding work of one individual, Tom Tryniski, who remains committed to digitizing historical newspapers regularly and keeping this unusually rich resource free and open to the public.
Mr. Tryniski uses OCR software to make many of the pages fully searchable. Some of the digital images - which are usually created from microfilm - are difficult to read and impossible to run through OCR, so not everything is searchable.
To search all issues, visit the Fultonhistory.com Search Page. Researchers may also want to use an alternative website to search this archive of historical newspapers - fultonsearch.org provides a different search experience, with some search filtering and sorting features unavailable on the Fultonhistory.com Search Page. We recommend researchers use both search engines to ensure exhaustive searches.
The site contains many other kinds of digitized historical documents, but it is most well known for its newspaper collection. Those interested in browsing the titles available can visit this page: Historical Newspapers United States and Canada - Old Fulton Postcards. The Ancestor Hunt also has compiled a list of available titles - some researchers may find that list easier to browse (see section above). You can also find a list of papers on Fultonsearch.org.
NY State Historic Newspapers
The NYS Historic Newspapers website provides free access to nearly 700 digitized historical newspapers from all over New York State. This project is operated by the Northern New York Library Network in partnership with the Empire State Library Network. Libraries, historical societies, and other organizations from all over New York State have contributed their materials.
A list of All Digitized Newspapers (alphabetical by title) is available to browse. By clicking the large New York State map on the NY State Historic Newspapers home page, researchers can see a page dedicated to each county, which shows a list of titles for that county, and allows for a county-only search.
Researchers can search all newspapers at once and filter their search by date, newspaper title, county, city, and other search parameters.
Advantage Community History Archive
Advantage Preservation is a company that works directly with local libraries and historical societys to assist in digitizing and hosting historical newspapers.
Each institution has a distinct sub-domain at advantagearchives.com where researchers can search or browse their holdings. This means there is no one central place to search everything at once, but there is a useful New York State newspapers map that lists every available in the state.
As of March 2021, there are 86 newspapers from 25 different New York counties.
Hudson River Valley Heritage Historical Newspapers
The HRVH Historical Newspapers website is a part of the Hudson River Valley Heritage service, which is a digital library that provides free access to historical materials from institutions in the Hudson Valley. It has searchable digitized images of historical newspapers from the following counties:
Researchers browse a list of all newspapers (alphabetical by title) or browse a list of newspapers by county. It's also possible to search all newspapers at once, and filter searches by publication title, date, and other search parameters.
Independent Voices - Alternative Press
Independent Voices is an open-access website that provides digital collections of alternative press newspapers and other publications. The materials are contributed by participating libraries from around the country and contain a number of publications from New York State.
Researchers can search all newspapers and filter searches by date, publication title, and other search parameters. The titles are not organized by location on the website, but The Ancestor Hunt has a list of the publications related to New York State. It is also possible to browse by title (organized alphabetically) or browse titles by broader categories, such as Black American, Campus Underground, Feminist, LGBT, Latino, etc.
Chronicling America: Select Digitized Newspapers
Chronicling America is a website produced by the National Digital Newspaper Program, which is a partnership between the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The website contains an immensely valuable directory of all newspapers published in the United States from 1690 - present. It also has digitized images of select newspapers from all over America, including some foreign language newspapers.
There are currently 18 titles available for New York State, ranging from 1789 - 1970.
Researchers can search all newspapers at once, and filter their search by publication title, state, date, and other search parameters. It is possible to browse entire issues as well.
American Popular Entertainment Collection
The Digital Newspaper Collections from the University of Illinois has a collection of digitized newspapers that will be of great interest to anyone with ancestors in New York show business. The American Popular Entertainment Collection's newspapers are essentially trade publications for the entertainment industry of the period.
There are currently three titles available, all of which were published in New York. The dates of coverage range from 1853 - 1929.
Researchers can search each title individually, and search results can be filtered by date. It is also possible to view a full list of each issue of each publication and browse issues page by page.
This well-known subscription genealogy website contains a large number of digitized newspapers, including 91 searchable New York State newspapers and newspaper-related collections.
Some collections are digitized issues of a specific newspaper, while others are compiled and abstracted collections of certain types of content found in newspapers, such as obituaries or marriage announcements.
Researchers without a subscription to Ancestry.com should check with their local libraries - many have institutional subscriptions that can be used from library computers.
Genealogy Bank ($)
Genealogy Bank is a well-known subscription website that provides a variety of genealogy records but specializes in newspapers and obituaries.
Their website includes material from 901 New York newspaper titles, with coverage dates ranging from 1738 - 1998. Holdings for some publications are extensive, while others are very limited.
Researchers can browse and sort a list of all New York newspapers, and can also view a map of New York State and municipalities covered by newspapers in the archive.
As with other subscription sites, it's always a good idea to check if your local libraries have institutional subscriptions that can be used on-site or remotely.
This website, a product of Ancestry.com, has millions of newspaper titles from across the United States. It is possible to subscribe to Newspapers.com as a standalone service; it can also be bundled with Ancestry.com membership.
The website has 142 newspaper titles in New York State.
Readex is a division of Newsbank that specializes in publishing digital collections of historical material - the collections on Readex.com cover far more than just newspapers.
The Early American Newspapers collection is very large, containing thousands of titles and almost 600 newspapers from all over New York State. As with other databases, some titles contain relatively few issues, while others are extensive.
Readex is available to access at libraries and other institutions that subscribe.
Online New York Newspaper Resources for Members of the NYG&B
NYG&B members can watch a recorded webinar, Learning More About Your Ancestors Through Newspapers, from our Genealogical Researcher Ashley Lish. In this webinar, Ashley covers many of the above resources, search tips, and has some great examples of what you can find in historical newspapers.
NYG&B Online Records
Our online collections contain a number of newspaper indexes, abstracts, and transcriptions that cannot be found elsewhere.
Index to Marriage and Death Notices in the New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung (1836 - 1870)
This collection contains 10,600 death notices; 1,500 marriage notices, and 50 birth notices from the principal newspaper of New York City's German-speaking community. This paper has long been available on microfilm, but these abstracts make the valuable genealogical material accessible to researchers all over the world. Click here to learn more.
Information Wanted Ads in the Truth Teller (Irish Newspaper), New York City (1825-1844)
This unique collection includes transcribed and indexed ads in surviving 1825-1844 issues of The Truth Teller, New York City's first Catholic newspaper. The ads mention names of several thousand immigrants living all over North America and, best of all for the genealogist, they also mention nearly 1,000 places of origin in Ireland. Click here to learn more.
Queens Marriage and Death Abstracts (1847 - 1870)
Abstracted marriage and death information pertaining to Flushing and its vicinity in Queens and (now) Nassau counties, 1847 - 1870. These abstracts are from unidentified newspapers, but likely including the Flushing Journal. Click here to learn more.
New York City (Manhattan) Marriage Announcements (1833 - 1836)
This collection contains transcriptions of marriage announcements found in two key New York newspapers, The Sun and the New York Transcript. Click here to learn more.
New York Times Obituaries Index (1858 - 1968)
This digitized index includes all the names entered under the heading "Deaths" in the issues of The New York Times Index from September 1858 through December 1968. Once an entry is found, researchers may locate the obituary in the New York Times Article Archive. Click here to learn more.