Contemporary newspapers are a valuable resource for tracing ancestors. Sylvia Murphy's article in the FIBIS Journal (details below) provides excellent guidance on using newspapers in your research and gives details of many on and offline sources.
There were dozens of English language newspapers published in India and these often include information such as:
- Domestic Occurrences - published announcements of birth, marriages and deaths
- Military promotions, movements and stations
- Shipping news such as Arrival and Departure notices
- Court reports and police news
- Public notices
All sorts of other information can be found in the newspapers and if nothing else they are an entertaining and informative glimpse of the society in which your ancestors were living.
- Newspapers & magazines reading list
- Newspapers and journals online
- Military periodicals online
- Subscription websites-online newspapers, journals and directories
FIBIS has extensive newspaper transcriptions. Online records taken from newspapers and periodicals can be viewed here.
- Times of India Domestic Occurrences - FIBIS volunteers are transcribing births, marriages and deaths published in the Times of India newspaper. There are already thousands of records online and these can be searched or browsed in the database.
- Bombay Times and Journal of Commerce - FIBIS volunteers are transcribing births, marriages and deaths published in the Bombay Times and Journal of Commerce newspaper. These can be searched or browsed in the database.
- Sylvia Murphy, "Using Newspapers and Journals to research your family in British India," FIBIS Journal, No 22 (Autumn 2009), pages 30-41. For details of how to access this article, see FIBIS Journals.
The British Library holds extensive microfilm copies of newspapers. Some are available to view at the Colindale Newspaper Library, whilst others can be read at the Asian & African Studies Reading Room in St Pancras. Colindale based titles can be searched on the Newspaper Catalogue, whereas St Pancras based titles can be accessed via a printed list available in the reading room (on the open shelves in the microfilm reader area). It is understood St Pancras microfilms include copies of The Calcutta Gazette
For a detailed list of pre 1851 newspapers held at Colindale and background to the Indian Newspapers held at the British Library see Early Indian Newspapers
Some newspapers from the British Library are available online, refer external links below.
The India Office Records at the British Library include Government Gazettes IOR/V/11 1831-1947
The Government Gazettes were the official newspapers of the Government of India and its provincial governments. The series held are: Gazettes of India 1865-1947, Calcutta 1832-1947, Assam 1874-1947, Bihar and Orissa 1912-1947, United Provinces, 1850-1947, Fort St George 1832-1947, Bombay 1831-1947, Punjab 1872-1947, North-West Frontier Province 1932-1947, Central Provinces 1875-1947, Coorg 1885-1947, Sind 1869-1947, Burma 1875-1947. Summaries of the contents of each series are to be found in the handlists in the Reading Room of the British Library.
Some issues of the Gazette of India and the Calcutta Gazette are available online, refer Newspapers and journals online
- Google news Free site with vast selection of old newspapers and an overall search facility.
- The Times Digital Archive 1785-1985. Access to the Times Archive is available with various current subscriptions to the Times, unless you have free access through a library . Refer Miscellaneous tips. Available in the British Library Reading Rooms.
- British Newspapers 1710-1950 are available on the pay website findmypast.co.uk. to individuals with a world wide subscription. The newspapers are from the collection of the British Library with these titles. These appear to be the same newspapers as are available on the British Newspaper Archive, see next link, as the websites are part of the same group. (to be clarified)
- British Newspaper Archive is a pay site, with newspapers from the collection of the British Library. The majority of the newspapers were published 1800-1900. However the website does include some published pre 1800 and a few post 1900. A list of publications is located on the Home Page. Search is free with pay to view full article - also available at no cost in the British Library Reading Rooms.
- Newspaper Archive is an American pay site which includes British newspapers and other publications. This India List post advises that several B,M,D announcement for India were found in the newspaper Week’s News
- Irish Newspaper Archives is a pay site also available as a subscription website through subscribing libraries. Currently (October 2012) it contains 23 titles, mainly from the 1900s, but with some earlier publications dating back to the 1700s. This website may also be accessed (free) from the British Library Reading Rooms.
- Illustrated London News Historical Archive 1842-2003. Available if your library has a subscription, refer Miscellaneous tips. Available in the British Library Reading Rooms.
- California Digital Newspaper Collection Free content
- Singapore Straits Times (search) Free content
- For historical Hong Kong newspapers online from Hong Kong Public Libraries, refer Hong Kong. Free content.
- (NLA) Historic Australian Newspapers (1803 to 1954) Free content
- (NLNZ) New Zealand Papers Past (1839 to 1932) Free Content
- New York Times archive index (1851 to date) Index to free and pay articles (or search, changing to the option to NYT Articles 1851-1980).
- Elephind Free search of 1,800 newspapers from 14 countries
- India List post by Noel Clark dated 29 November 2013 advises that Ancestry ( a pay site) has a database "England, Andrews Newspaper Index Cards, 1790-1976", part of Newspapers and Periodicals. "It is possible to search this database for "colonial" entries just using the "keyword" field. No personal name is required. So, for example, it is possible to find all the notices that refer to India, Pakistan etc., to a specific place, such as Simla, Murree, etc."