Research guide: daily newspapers

Newspapers are an invaluable source of genealogical information. Not only can you find your ancestors’ birth, marriage, or death notice, you might also find them mentioned in general news articles, giving you insight into many aspects of their lives.

Ottawa Public Library has an extensive collection of historical Ottawa newspapers, and provides access to others through our electronic resources.

Where to find historical newspapers

Library Resources

Microfilm

Main Branch:

  • Bathurst Perth Courier 1834 – 1904
  • Bytown Gazette 1840 – 1845
  • Ottawa Citizen 1846  to date
  • Ottawa Free Press 1871 – 1900
  • Ottawa Journal 1885 – 1980
  • Ottawa Sun 1988  to date
  • Le Devoir 1966 – 1998
  • Le Droit 1913  to date
  • Financial Post 1955 – 1998
  • Financial Times of Canada 1974 – 1995
  • Gazette (Montreal) 1980 – 1993
  • Globe and Mail 1967 to date
  • National Post 1998 - 2008
  • New York Times 1964 – 2007
  • La Presse 1974 – 2003
  • Toronto Star 1984 - 2009

Nepean Centrepointe :

  • Ottawa Citizen 1978  to date
  • Ottawa Journal 1970 – 1980

Online Resources

Globe and Mail Historical

  • Digitized version of Globe and Mail, 1844-2011

Canadian Newsstand

  • Major Canadian daily newspapers, 1980s to date.  Contains articles only; no images or birth, marriage, death notices.

Ancestry Library

  • Ontario, Canada, The Ottawa Journal, 1885-1980
  • Digitized Ottawa Journal.  Births, marriages, and deaths are indexed; can also browse the whole paper by date.

Websites

Ottawa-area newspapers

Google News Archive

  • Digitized copies of many U.S. and Canadian newspapers, including selected issues of the Ottawa Citizen, 1820-1990.  Note that coverage is incomplete.

Newspapers.com (subscription)

  • Subscription database contains Ottawa Journal, 1885-1980.  City of Ottawa Archives offers free onsite access.

Almonte Gazette

  • Digitized, searchable Almonte Gazette, 1861-1989, provided by the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum

Canadian newspapers

Provincial collections

On these sites you’ll find digitized newspapers from the different provinces. These collections are not comprehensive; the number of papers included and dates covered vary.

Our Ontario

Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec : Revues et journaux québécois

British Columbia Historical Newspapers

Peel’s Prairie Provinces (covers Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba)

Saskatchewan Historical Newspapers

Nova Scotia Historical Newspapers

Links to online newspapers:

These sites provide links to available newspapers online:

CanGenealogy

  • Lists Canadian newspapers by province, including those on Google News Archive

Genealogy à la carte: Newspapers

  • Another good list of Canadian historical newspaper links

International Newspapers

Chronicling America Digitized Newspapers:

  • From the Library of Congress, over 2,000 digitized U.S. newspapers

British Newspaper Archive

  • Covers England & Ireland 1700s & 1800s.  Search is free but pay to view articles

BGSU Historical Worldwide Newspapers Online:

  • Excellent worldwide list from Bowling Green State University.  Use tabs by continent across the top of the page

Family Search:

  • Very good list of links to digital newspapers worldwide, sorted by country

Wikipedia: List of Online Newspaper Archives

  • Extensive worldwide list

Elephind

  • Free digitized database of over 2,000 papers, mostly U.S. and Australian

Tips for searching online newspapers

  • OCR (optical character recognition) used to index digitized newspapers is not precise, e.g. searching for “Jane” may also retrieve “June”, “James”, etc.
  • OCR indexes miss a lot; browse the paper by date if possible
  • Use quotation marks to search two or more words as a phrase, e.g. “charles best” to find these two words together
  • Early newspapers did not have a separate “Deaths” column; you may need to look at the whole issue
  • Search for name variations, e.g. Liz or Betty as well as Elizabeth, and spelling variations, e.g. Pollack, Pollak
  • Go beyond births, marriages, and deaths; search for names of businesses, organizations, teams, etc. that your ancestors may have been involved with