Tracing Immigrants Origin Newspapers

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Tracing Immigrant Origins Gotoarrow.png Country of Origin Gotoarrow.png Newspapers

Current newspapers can help you find living relatives of an ancestor. Find a newspaper that covers the area you think the emigrant came from. If you only know the country, find a newspaper with as wide a coverage as possible. If you know a county or state, choose a newspaper that covers that area. Directories of newspapers are available for most countries. They tell the coverage of the paper and give addresses. One such directory is—

  • Benn's Media Directory International. Tonbridge, Kent, England: Benn Business Information Services.

Place an advertisement or ask the editor to run an article in the newspaper requesting information on relatives of an emigrant or anyone having information about an emigrant. Sometimes living relatives of your ancestor will respond. Write to the newspaper first to determine prices and procedures. The editor of a local paper may take an interest in your story and publish it at no cost to you. If a foreign language is involved, you might need to have the letter or advertisement translated.

Newspapers published at the time the ancestor left the country of origin may identify the emigrant's origin. In some areas, newspapers listed people who were leaving. Newspapers may also contain advertisements for missing people, runaways, or people who emigrated without the family's knowledge. Many newspapers refer to births, marriages, and deaths. These have often been indexed. Newspapers with large coverage or from earlier time periods are less likely to mention people from lower social classes.

Copies of old newspapers and indexes to the newspapers are generally found in libraries, record offices, or national archives. A directory or bibliography of newspapers identifies what newspapers exist or existed. Some professional researchers who specialize in tracing emigrants keep files of newspaper announcements. They usually advertize in genealogical periodicals.