Thursday, February 18, 2016

Searching Newspaper Records on Findmypast

I was reviewing the latest digitized databases on Findmypast (a subscription site) today, and discovered that they have a sizable collection of U.S. Newspapers, based on the large  NewspaperARCHIVE collection.  However, it is unclear if they have all of the NewspaperARCHIVE collection, or just part of them.

1)  The Findmypast description ( of the collection says:

"Our massive collection of more than 130 million newspaper pages will allow you to watch history unfold in front of you. Our intuitive search will help you explore more than 5 thousand newspaper titles by keywords, date and ancestors' names. "

2)  On the Findmypast U.S. and World Newspapers page (, I could search all of the available newspapers for a given name, a last name, and keywords.  

I wanted to limit my search for my father and grandfather, both named Frederick Seaver, to a specific newspaper - the Fitchburg Sentinel.  In order to "Filter" my search, I wanted to filter the collection "By Publication."  There is a blue button to "Show Filters" in the left-hand column of the screen above.

3)  When I clicked on "Show Filters," I was presented with the list of available newspapers (only the name, not the inclusive years).  There is a list of first letters above the list on the screen below:

Since I wanted to search Fitchburg newspapers, I went to the "F" list and scrolled through them (using the blue arrows on the side of the screen) to find the Fitchburg newspapers.  I selected the "Fitchburg Sentinel" on the screen above.  When I clicked on the blue "Apply Filters" button, the screen showed me all of the articles available for that newspaper:

4)  On the screen above, I entered "First Name" = "frederick" and "Last Name" = "seaver" and "Keywords" = "leominster" and clicked the big blue "Search" button, and received 32 matches:

Almost all of those matches are for my father, my grandfather, or my grandmother ("Mrs. Frederick Seaver."

5)  I reviewed the list and found an article that I had not seen before.  I clicked the image icon next to the article description and OCR derived text.  The newspaper page appeared for the article:

I could zoom in (but only so much - the text was difficult to read at the highest zoom setting), move the image around the window, and I could download the page image to my computer.

6)  I downloaded the page image, opened the image file, and zoomed into the article of interest.  I used the Windows Snipping Tool to make an image of the article and saved it to my surname and family file for my father:

It turns out that my father, Frederick W. Seaver, Jr., at age 20, had an accident driving his "machine" and injured a bicyclist in Leominster, Massachusetts on Saturday, 9 May 1931.

7)  I did a search with no filters later and received 42 matches for the same search terms.  That search found articles in other Massachusetts newspapers, but included the specific newspaper I searched above.

8)  I like this search system and the quickness of the results.  I would like to see more magnification of the page so I can read the text easier (I had to use a magnifying glass).  The Optical Character Recognition (OCR) snippet of the search results page (in 3) above) usually sucks, but it sucks for everybody that has this NewspaperARCHIVE collection.

9)  This search capability adds even more value to a Findmypast subscription, since NewspaperARCHIVE is a subscription site that costs $99 per year.  I note that and MyHeritage also have access to NewspaperARCHIVE through their subscriptions.


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Copyright (c) 2016, Randall J. Seaver

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Becky Jamison said...

How interesting. Thanks for the good information, Randy!

Lisa Gorrell said...

I really appreciate you reviewing this. I've had FMP but hardly used it. Now I have found a few newspapers articles. I wish the name that was searched was highlighted on the newspaper page. I'm having trouble finding it on the whole page!

Karen Trearchis said...

Thanks Randy, I was looking at Newspapers, this evening, on Find my Past! Thank you for showing us your technique.

Judythn said...

Randy, I read it as Frederick lived at 20 Hall street - not that he was 20 yrs old,

Randy Seaver said...

Judythn, thanks, I know.

I skipped a step - my father was born in October 1911, so he would have been 19 years old when he had this accident in May 1931.

mbm1311 said...

I have also had very good luck with My Heritage and Newspapers. The hints they give me are right on. Occasionally I will get the ancestor who was in the paper 100s of times because of his job etc. I also believe they use newspaper archives. Mary Beth

Jana Last said...


I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

Have a great weekend!

Robert F. Crocker said...

It’s hard to find knowledgeable people on this topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks thisday newspaper