You are likely familiar with Chronicling America, Newspapers.com and Genealogy Bank when searching through United States newspapers for genealogy clues. Have you looked at newspapers outside of the United States to see what family history nuggets you could find? Let’s look.
I have had some luck researching in Canadian, French and Luxembourg newspapers in the past few years. While you may not find your exact person, you might find out about the community and neighbors. It does help if you have a particular period in mind or know the village of your ancestor. By fine tuning the search, the data will be more relevant, and your time better used.
When searching outside the United States, you can use Google Translate or another translation program to translate the newspaper articles. In addition to searching for a family surname, I’ve also searched for a village or region. It provides interesting insight into the happenings at a particular time and place.
Here are some sites that I’ve found helpful in my research.
eLuxemburgensia This site allows to you search across several publications and narrow the search by dates. Among the things I like about this site is that the text from the articles show up on the left-hand side of the page. You can copy this text to Google Translate or your translation site. No need to retype the newspaper article by hand. Great timesaver.
Here’s an example. This article talks about people who emigrated from Luxembourg to the United States on the Red Star. Luxemburger Wort - 20.02.1887 (eluxemburgensia.lu) As you can see, you can view the actual newspaper but also have the printed text available to copy and paste for translation.
I also search for the place in the United States where I knew some of these Luxembourgers had traveled. Here was an interesting obituary of a gentleman originally from Luxembourg who moved to Lake City, MN. Luxemburger Wort - 05.06.1892 (eluxemburgensia.lu) We tend to think of the communication between the old country and the United States to be limited but as you can see, people received information via newspapers.
Digitized newspapers - French - French and Francophone newspapers - Oxford LibGuides at Oxford University
France: Historical Newspapers and Journals Online - EuroDocs (byu.edu)
Here is an example of a newspaper search from Gallica. Within this newspaper article there is a note about a relative who was divorced from her husband and receiving some funds related to some property. We learn a lot in this paragraph: her address, her employment, her daughter’s name, daughter’s address and her divorce from husband, including his name. An interesting tidbit of history in the family. You will notice that with this search you will need to retype the text and then translate it. However, searching for places and names will have them highlighted in the text.
Bulletin municipal officiel de la Ville de Paris | 1920-04-01 | Gallica (bnf.fr)
No.285. – Section E, No 872.-
Place called Sorins.—One-story residential house, with garden, fences and plantings, 2 ares 34. –Marice, Vannoy (Auguste-Louis), rue de la Mairie, in Naterre. -Actual owner, Miss Suzanne Leysen, employee at the tobacco factory, residing in Issy-les-Moulineaux (Seine), rue Ernest Renan, no. 36, above, and currently residing with Mme Villefeu, her daughter, in Paris, rue de la Convention, No. 195, the said lady Leysen, divorced from Mr. Georges Founrier. – Indemnities, 9,000 fr – Study of M Deraine, notary in Vanves, March 1 and 22, 1919, - Taking possession, October 1, 1918.
Home - Historical Canadian Newspapers Online - LibGuides at BGSU University Libraries
Using The British Newspaper Archive for Family History (familysearch.org)
I hope you explore the international newspapers to find information about your family history. Sometimes there are listings of birth, marriages and deaths or emigration available in these resources. In addition to specifics about your family, you can learn more about the political climate and what was important to the people of that time.
With a lifelong passion for genealogy and history, the author enjoys the opportunity to share genealogy tidbits, inspiring others to research and write their family story.