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  • Writer's pictureRicki King

Finding old FREE newspapers online

Updated: Jun 19, 2020


A couple of weeks ago I was talking to some people about this blog Long-Ago Community News. I explained how I look at old newspapers to find an interesting story. Once I find a story, I try to find a way to show how it can be used to further your genealogy research. Pretty much all of them asked if I had told you the reader where to find your stories.

I’m sorry. I knew where to find the information and had not thought you might not know where to go. So, today I have included below a list of where to find some old FREE papers. This is not a complete list however it does include sites I use. A few sites include more than Iowa newspapers and others are local to the town or county listed. Just last week I learned about the Digital Archives of Cedar Rapids Public Library . This site is a new one to me.

The library is offering their digital newspapers FREE through Newspaper Archive. Yes, that Newspaper Archive where you pay for access to their collections. I have since found several other Iowa libraries offering their newspaper collections free using Newspaper Archive. Until I learned about the Cedar Rapids library offerings I only knew of libraries and historical societies using Advantage Preservation offering free digital newspapers. When using either site always check with the library to see if they may have a digital newspaper collection not on either site. I know of a couple of libraries where they have some digital newspapers not on either site and only offered in-house. Yet, they do have other papers on Advantage Preservation as well.

When you are researching do not forget to look at college and university newspapers. My alma mater Drake University is listed below showcasing the student paper Times-Delphi. However, the library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign newspaper collection is more than the student newspaper. It includes papers from across the state of Illinois and some from across the United States.

Tip: The Des Moines Public Library (DMPL) has an index of newspapers and obits. The library does not have a digital newspaper collection. What you can do is use their index to find the obituary quicker when looking at a newspaper somewhere else. I use it with the Iowa Bystander found on Chronicling America or when I look at microfilm at DMPL or the State Historical Society of Iowa.

Here is a list of the publications in the DMPL index of newspapers and obits:

Des Moines Register 1986 - date (obituaries 1960 - date) Des Moines Tribune 1907 - 1944 (obituaries 1960-1982) Des Moines Business Record 1982 - date Cityview 1992 - date Des Moines Skywalker 1986 -1992 Iowa Bystander 1894 - 1921, 1927 - 1935, 1949 - 1951 The Iowan (magazine) 2007 - date

Good luck on your newspaper research and remember everything is not found online. You sometimes have to go to the brick and mortar building.


Examples on FREE Iowa old newspapers (Verified active 31 October 2018)

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