Chronicling America: Resource for Genealogy Research

Newspapers are an important resource in performing genealogical research.  The researcher can find birth, marriage, and death announcements. Obituaries and articles on ancestors that made news headlines can also be found. Since newspapers are prone to deterioration, many institutions are using preservation methods that include digitization and microfilming in order to preserve the historical contents found in newspapers. Chronicling America provides access to information on historic newspapers and selected digitized newspaper editions.  Chronicling America is produced by the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP). The NDNP is a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress.  Chronicling America is accessed by  Digitized content is limited with select newspapers. Chronicling America allows the researcher to access digital content using a user-friendly interface. Frequently, the advanced search feature is used to narrow the search results to a select state, select newspapers, and select years from 1789 to 1963, subject to specific newspapers. Searches can be limited to the front page, a specific page, or a specific language.  Another great feature found in the advanced search is keyword searching. Keywords are used with the following options:

  • Enter search with any of the words
  • Enter search with all of the words
  • Enter search with the phrase
  • Enter search with the words within X words of each other. A drop-down menu allows the selection of numbers from 5, 10, 50 or 100 words between the keywords.

Chronicling America has a listing of newspapers indexed by title. The newspaper directory can be browsed by the first letter of the newspaper. After selecting the first letter of the newspaper, a list of newspapers with the select letter will display, along with the city, state, and years of publication. This feature is helpful in determining the specific newspaper that was in circulation which may contain information on an ancestor.