Directories and Newspapers

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Newspapers

Not all towns had papers so need to check where nearest was published, and not all lasted so check dates. Some provincial papers start late 1600s, most 1700s.

Gibson guide by county and town.

SoG has the 'Colindale printed catalogue' inc. London from 1880, British Isles from 1700, overseas. (May have full access to the Times as a member??)

Local papers are held in local libraries and study centres; Try university websites and local councils.

British Library (BNA) -

  • Check the catalogue using material type = newspaper, + area. Will tell you what titles were around.
  • BL has a collection guide
  • Burney Collection 1757 - 1817, English news media inc. papers and pamphlets. Some for Scotland, Ireland and USA.
  • //access.gale.com/gdctrial - free trial 19th century BL papers

Ancestry have some eg: Poor Law Unions Gazette, Police Gazette, Andrews index. Check the card catalogue to see what collections there are.

Look at the marriage, obit notices, coroner's inquests (there is a Gobson guide to these) and court reports.

London is hard to search as it really was a collection of villages. The 'Evening Standard' didn't come until later. 'London Gazette' had medals, dispatches, bankruptcies, legal, official appointments, money in Chancery (unclaimed funds deposited witht the courts funds office)

'The Times' - 1785+, national news, institutions, societies, business, places and people. Need subscription.

'Andrews Newspaper Index' - 1790 - 1976, collection of notices from papers, births, deaths, marriages, wills, inc. colonial.

Directories

Trade directories help with addresses but note that street numbers have been changed by local councils many times.

Search strategy:

  • Search by name and place
  • Look for actual paper first (eg: via Gibson Guide)
  • BNA first then the BL or an archive to see the ones not online.

Kelly's Directories were the Post Office; also Pigot & Co. by county/shires; P.O. London had different sections Court (priv. residences not Royalty) / commercial / streets / traders / legal / financial.

Note, you had to pay to be registered, for many years. Not for Ag Labs or servant but for their employers. By mid 20th century most householders are listed.

USA city directories better than UK ones.

If not in a census you may find someone in a directory, with address.

Ancestry - BT phone book 1880-1984. Has directory collections, so ID a directory by place, download the PDF, then browse.

FamilySearch wiki for English directories.

Try Guildhall Library and SoG. SoG has catalogues and reference books covering directories.

Uni . of Leicester has Special Collections online inc. Historical Dir. of Engand & Wales (also Ancestry).

London Merchants 1677.

'Holden's triennial directory' for early 19th century.

Websites

British Newspaper Archive. Need subscription.

Connected Histories British newspapers 1600-1900.

British Library guide

Trove for Australian papers.

Papers Past for New Zealand. 1839-1950.

London Gazette.

Haithi Trust has searchable directories.

Literature

'Local Newspapers 1750-1920 England and Wales', 2nd ed., by Jeremy Gibson.

'Newspapers' by K. John Westmancoat, 1985.

'An introduction to using newspapers and periodicals' by Colin Chapman, 1993.