Free Historical Newspapers at Chronicling America

Sometimes there is a genealogy resource that is so good it deserves to be highlighted and promoted.  The website Chronicling America fits the bill for anyone interested in historical newspapers to support their genealogy research.  The URL for the website is

To overlook this amazing newspaper collection would be a mistake.  They have captured many of those hard to find small town newspapers that could illuminate what life was like for your ancestors back in the day.

Newspapers are particularly valuable to family researchers because they can fill in voids left by missing or destroyed official records.  Notices of births, engagements, weddings, obituaries, foreclosures etc. provide unique opportunities to find details not normally a part of government records.

Chronicling America Website

Chronicling America is the US Library of Congress’ free portal to historical newspapers.  Their collection contains digitized newspaper pages (1836-1922) from 25 states and Washington, DC.  Their web interface displays images in JPEG format dynamically created from source files on user request.

Although their collection of newspapers is quite massive, they do not have everything.  To address papers not contained in their collection, they provide a comprehensive index to all known newspapers published in the United States and where to find them today.

Copyright Policy

The Library of Congress considers the newspapers contained within their collection to be in the public domain or have no known copyright restrictions. According to their website, newspapers published in the United States prior to 1923 are in the public domain in their entirety.  Any newspapers on the website that were published after 1922 are also believed to be in the public domain, but may contain some copyrighted third-party materials.

Researchers using post-1922 newspapers should be alert for modern content (for example, registered and renewed for copyright and published with notice) that may be copyrighted. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item and securing any necessary permissions ultimately rests with persons desiring to use the item.

This liberal copyright policy is great news for genealogists who wish to capture newspaper articles and distribute images as part of their research without the hassle and expense of obtaining copyright permission.


Don’t think for a second that Chronicling America is the only source for historical newspapers. is another excellent source as well as fee based subscription services such as,, or

Since it is free to use and has an extensive collection of newspapers from all across America, make this website your first stop when searching for those hard to find historical newspapers.

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