How to Search Historical Newspapers Free: Elephind and Chronicling America

By Julia Morse

Our Favorite Free Family Research Tools page lists two excellent ways to search freely-available historical newspapers: Elephind.com and the Library of Congress’ “Chronicling America” Collection.

Elephind.com is a comprehensive search tool that includes the “Chronicling America” newspapers as well as other regional online collections. It is a quick tool for searches across the U.S. or a specific state. (Australian newspapers are also included.) The following video demonstrates how Elephind works:

As in the example above, Elephind will often identify and link to articles found in the Library of Congress “Chronicling America” newspaper collection. However, getting into Chronicling America through Elephind, your term of interest will not be highlighted on the large newspaper page, leading to an often troublesome and time-consuming hunt reminiscent of “Where’s Waldo.” Running a similar search directly through the Chronicling America site will highlight your search term on the page.

Here’s an excellent video introduction to the process of searching and navigating the reader in Chronicling America:

It is often useful to determine specific newspapers to search on the Chronicling America site. This silent video demonstrates the method for searching out what historic newspapers are available in your county or city of interest:

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