Finding Newspaper Articles in NYS Historic Newspapers

The Office of Innovation collaborated with offices across the National Archives, as well as external partners like Ancestry and FamilySearch, to reach this milestone in August. 

Whether used as a primary or a secondary source, newspapers can provide a valuable research tool. [1] Millions of historic newspapers all over the world are now digitally accessible online. They are much more accessible to family historians if they know where and how to find them. [2]

Old newspapers can reveal a wide range of facts about individuals and families. Old newspapers are valuable resources for family history information. They also provide possible information about unique events and experiences of individual family members in the past. They also are great sources of information about the ‘daily lives’ of people in specific historical contexts.

“(H)istorical newspapers are rich possible resources for family history information. In their forgotten pages, a determined sleuth can turn up birth, marriage, death records, maiden names, names of ancestors’ friends and relatives, insight into their long forgotten community.” [2]

The explosive growth of digital online newspaper records is reflected in efforts of the U.S. Library of Congress. Between 2017 and 2022, the number of digital newspaper pages in their archival database has grown almost fivefold from 35,901,853 pages to 205,039,339 pages.

“Technical upgrades that improved how the agency uploads images have been critical to meeting this milestone and staying on track for the ultimate goal: 500 million digitized pages in the Catalog by September 2026.” [3]

One online archival newspaper site that has been particularly valuable for research the various branches of the Griffis Family is the New York Historic Newspaper project. Many of the Griffis Family members that lived in the late 1800’s and the 1900’s can be found in local newspapers in Fulton County, New York. For example over 940 newspaper articles were found on the police exploits of Fred and Louis Sperber.

The New York Historic Newspapers project has an online presence that provides digital access to historic newspapers for every county in the state. This collection contains 1,290,460 issues comprising 12,871,962 pages. [3]

This archive is created and administered by the Northern New York Library Network in partnership with the Empire State Library Network.

Online copies of the Newspaper can be accessed at: NYS Historic Newspapers: From the home page, click on the specific county where a person may have lived. You then can search all or specific publications that existed in that particular county.

Locating Newspaper Articles in the NYS Historic Newspaper Website

The easiest way to read a specific news story referenced in the Griffis Family stories is to locate the exact issue of the paper.

As an example, the following tips are provided to locate the following news article:

Reappointment as a Policeman, The Johnstown daily Republican, March 15, 1894, Page 5

  1. Go to
  2. Click on Fulton County

3. Click on The Johnstown Daily republican

4. Scroll down to “1894” and click on “March”

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5. Click on the 15th of March

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6. Click on the arrow in the upper right hand function box to go to the 5th page.

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7. Once you have located the specific page where the news article is located, you can then decide your plan of action to view the news article.

The “Action Box” in the upper right hand corner provides a number of actions that you can implement to view a specific page. You can zoom in and out locate the article. You can then clip the article to save. You can also save the page as an image or PDF file.


[1] Michael Flieri, Why use Newspapers, The Ohio State University, Research Guides,

[2] The following are representative free and fee based sites for digital newspaper archives:

Chronicling America is the Library of Congress’ Historic Newspaper site. It covers published papers from 1836 to 1922. The online directory provides additional information on countless other American newspapers dating back to 1690.

Stanford University’s Rural Newspaper Initiative plots 140,000 historic newspapers published over 300 years in the U.S. The data comes from the Library of Congress’ “Chronicling America” project. is another free research site that includes geographical search within the United States. It also includes international publications with Google Translate integrated into the site

World Catalog is another free service that provides links to online historic newspapers. Setting up an account is free and provides full access to all features. Narrow your search to “newspapers” in the left hand column to focus your search on newspapers. is an international newspaper search engine that culls through 120 million articles from 1,500 newspapers.

The Google News Archive, although Google is no longer actively scanning newspapers, it can provide possible finds for researchers.

There are also a number of very good fee-based newspaper sources online:

[3] Paul Nauta, Great Web Tools for Searching Historic Newspapers, May 27, 2014, FamilySearch Blog,

Lisa Louise Cooke, “Tech Tools that Catapult the Newspaper Research Process”, May 8 2014 presentation given at The National Genealogy Society 2014 Family History Conference in Richmond, Virginia, on May 8th.

[4] Digitization of Historic Newspapers on a Growth Trajectory, Managed Outsource Solutions, May 2, 2023,

[2] Angela Tudico, National Archives Tops 200 Million Digitized Pages in Online Catalog, National Archivesews,

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