Irish Newspaper Archive

Series: Our favourite State Library eresources.

People often ask us what our most loved eresources are. Admittedly we all have a favourite, or two, or three. It’s hard to pick as there are so many wonderful State Library eresources available. In this series our Librarians and Library Technicians share with you their most favourite eresources and how they’ve been used to solve research queries. 

Next in the series we look at Irish Newspaper Archive, a big favourite of Library Technician Kirsten Perris.

Irish Newspaper Archive database home page

So why is Irish Newspaper Archive so fabulous?

It’s the largest online database of Irish newspapers and the archive dates from 1763 to the present. It provides word-searchable access to articles. It’s a fantastic resource for family history research.

Best of all, you can access Irish Newspaper Archive online from home with your free State Library membership

Find Irish ancestors through Irish Newspaper Archive

Hunting for Irish ancestors is always tricky, but old newspapers can be a wonderful source of information for family historians as they help add detail and colour to your family history. The Irish Newspaper Archive database enables you to search for ancestors in over 80 newspapers, ranging from 1700s to present day. 

What sort of information can you find in newspapers?

Births, deaths and marriages – The births, deaths and marriages column can give that all-important basic data you might be looking for. The notices in the column can provide dates of events, additional family members’ names, and places of residence. 

As several of the newspapers in the Irish Newspaper Archive go to current day you may be able to find more recent events, such as a birth in the 1970s. Make sure to use the word ‘birth’, ‘death’ or ‘marriage’ as part of your search.

Birth notices from the newspaper The Irish Press, 15 March 1952 p.12, Irish Newspaper Archive database

Clues – Many news stories can offer up extra bits of information that you don’t already have or provide clues that can guide your research in new directions. You might find an article in the Personal or Social column, or a write-up of a marriage including guests’ names.

Obituaries can provide you with some additional background information that describes your ancestor’s life such as occupation, community activities, interesting stories, and who attended the funeral. Your ancestors don’t need to have been well-off or of importance to have appeared in a news story.

Reports – Reports published in the newspaper can provide an extra insight into the character of your ancestor. The level of detail provided in reports such as criminal proceedings, inquests, marriage scandals and other such stories can be an eye-opening discovery. Perhaps you have an Irish convict ancestor. It might be possible to find out what they did, how they were convicted and even what became of them.

For example, Eugene Lombard in June 1867 plead guilty to treason felony and was sentenced to 7 years penal servitude. You can find his arrest and trial in the newspapers. He was sent to Western Australia. He sent letters back to his family, which were then published in the local newspaper.

Letter published in The Fremans Journal, 29 July 1868, Irish Newspaper Archive database

How to use the Irish Newspaper Archive database

You’ll find a few short helpful videos on the left side of the home page screen. 

  • Searching the Archives
  • Viewing your results
  • Browsing the Archives
  • Viewing the Full Editions

Browsing – Maybe you have an exact date and know what newspaper you want to look at. Click on the 'Browse' tab. You can browse the newspaper by date by selecting the newspaper title and the time period that you want to look at specifically.

Searching – Click on the 'Search / Results' tab. You can search by keyword or exact phrase anywhere in the article, or even what might be in the by-line. You can choose to search all newspaper titles (the default) or choose a specific title and/or specific date range.

Once you click 'Search' your results will appear to the right of your search box, and these can be sorted by ‘Articles’, ‘Pictures’ or ‘Ads’ and by ‘Relevance’ (default), ‘Newest’ or “Oldest’. Just click on the article to view it and once finished click on ‘Close’ at your top right corner. This will take you back to your search results. If you use the back arrow it will take you to your previous search.

Search / Results screen for Irish Newspaper Archive database

Join now, start searching Irish Newspaper Archive to discover more about your Irish forebears.

Look out for the next blog in this series #FavouriteEresources

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