Digitised from the collections of the British Library the Irish newspaper collection on findmypast is a rich resource for genealogists in search of their Irish roots. Using newspapers vague family stories come to life and entirely new ones are discovered.
Before the invention of radio, television and the internet, newspapers were the most important source of local and national news. The nineteenth century style of newsgathering and reporting make newspapers an invaluable source for family historians. Reporting in the nineteenth century was detailed and colourful, personal details such as names and addresses, that would be omitted today to protect the identity of informants, witnesses, and victims were often published, and national newspapers got much of their content from regional newspapers.
In the nineteenth century most newspapers were just four pages long and the front page was given over to advertisements and notices. In the early days of newspapers they were often published only once a week, some publications then grew to twice or thrice weekly. The dailies were published Monday – Saturday. Sunday newspapers were separate publications.
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What will I find in the Irish newspapers?
- News Reports
Local and national events. These include detailed reports of court hearings (which often include transcripts of the proceedings), annual reports from charitable organisations and the Workhouse Unions.
- Family Notices
Birth, marriage and death notices. You will also find notices of engagements, anniversaries and birthdays.
- Letters to the Editor
Letters to the editors reveal the topics your ancestors were thinking about
Detailed obituaries can reveal a wealth of detail about your ancestors’ lives.
Usually found on the front page of nineteenth century newspapers advertisements include notices of auctions, items for sale, lost & found, job offers and travel deals
Early newspapers were illustrated with engravings, later they were crammed with photographs of big events and local weddings and social events.
Searching the newspapers on findmypast
You can search the newspapers using the first and last names of your ancestor; you can also use keywords to narrow your search to a particular location or event.
Using the filters on the left had side of the screen you can further narrow your search by date or publication.
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A note on issues available
Due to the delicate nature of the materials involved gaps in the newspaper collection are inevitable. Newspapers are usually printed on cheap paper with lower quality inks. This makes their storage and preservation more challenging. As a result where date ranges are listed this does not guarantee that every issue in that date range has survived.