Newspapers



Newspapers

Newspapers are one of the most enjoyable but also one of the most difficult of genealogical sources. Faced with so much of the everyday particularity of the past, it is impossible to confine oneself to biographical data; again and again research is sidetracked by curiosity. In addition to this, the endemic imprecision of family information means that it is almost always necessary to search a wide range of dates. A sustained search for genealogical information in original copies of newspapers is extremely time-consuming. If the efficient use of research time is a priority, newspapers are certainly not the place to start.

This proviso notwithstanding, the destruction of so many Irish records in 1922 gives a disproportionate importance to Irish newspapers, and when they do throw up information it can be extremely rewarding. Events are reported virtually as they happen, within a few weeks at most, and the reports have an authority and accuracy that is hard to match, even making allowances for journalistic errors. In addition, as more and more Irish newspapers become available in online archives, the balance between research time and results has shifted dramatically; the ability to quickly trawl entire ecades of publications has made them much more genealogically useful.
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