Irish Roots

December 5th, 2011

John Grenham


Until recently only two websites have had decent quantities of Irish newspapers online. The Irish Times (www.irishtimes.com/archive) has a (nearly) complete set of issues from the paper's beginnings in 1859, available via a subscription service but free in any public library or secondary school in the Republic of Ireland. Irish Newspaper Archives (www.irishnewsarchives.com) is also a subscription service, with complete runs of The Irish Independent and The Irish Press from 1905 and 1931 respectively, as well as a decent selection of provincial papers and a substantial if incomplete run of the Freeman's Journal between 1763 and 1924. The Independent in particular has long been the medium of choice for that obligatory part of the twentieth-century Irish country funeral, the death notice, and having all 106 years instantly searchable makes these notices invaluable as a way of tracing extended family and identifying burial records. Both sites adhere to what is now the basic archival standard, a full-text search combined with images of the originals.

For Irish newspapers published before 1922, the biggest repository of hard copies is the British Library in London. A subscription site launched last week, www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk, aims to digitise all of the BL's out-of-copyright newspaper holdings, a huge undertaking which will eventually include more than 40 million pages. For the launch the site understandably concentrates on areas in the present UK, with 3 million pages from more than 170 publications. But the project's first stage aims to cover all pre-1900 publications, meaning that within a few years virtually all surviving 19th-century provincial Irish newspapers should be included, from the Athlone Conservative Advocate and Ballinasloe Reporter (1837), to the Wicklow People (1882).

The Irish elements are limited for the moment, with the main offerings the Freeman's Journal and the Belfast News-Letter from 1820 to 1900. But the full run of The Cork Examiner from 1841 to 1846 gives a tantalising foretaste of what's in store.

Corrections, comments and suggestions are welcome, to irishrootsatirishtimes.com.


Current column

2014

Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
6
3
3
7
5
2
7
4
1
6
13
10
10
14
12
9
14
11
8
13
20
17
17
21
19
16
21
18
15
27
24
24
28
26
23
28
25
22
 
 
31
 
 
30
 
 
29


2013

Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
7
4
4
1
6
3
1
5
2
7
4
2
14
11
11
8
13
10
8
12
9
14
11
9
21
18
18
15
20
17
15
19
16
21
18
16
28
25
25
22
27
 
22
26
23
28
25
23
 
 
 
29
 
 
29
 
30

 
30


2012

Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
2
6
5
2
7
4
2
6
3
1
5
3
9
13
12
9
14
11
9
13
10
8
12
10
16
20
19
16
21
18
16
20
17
15
19
17
23
27
26
23
28
25
23
27
24
22
26
24
30
 
 
30
 
 
30
 
 
29
 
31


2011

Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
3
7
7
4
2
6
4
1
5
3
7
5
10
14
14
11
9
13
11
8
12
10
14
12
17
21
21
18
16
20
18
15
19
17
21
19
24
28
28
25
23
27
25
22
26
24
28
26
31
 
 
 
30
 
 
29
 
31
 
 


2010

Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
4
1
1
5
3
7
5
2
6
4
1
6
11
8
8
12
10
14
12
9
13
11
8
13
18
15
15
19
17
21
19
16
20
18
15
20
25
22
22
26
25
28
26
23
27
25
22
27
 
 
 
 
31
 
 
30
 
 
29
 


2009

Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
6
2
2
6
4
1
6
3
7
5
2
7
13
9
9
13
11
8
13
10
14
12
9
14
20
16
16
20
18
15
20
17
21
19
16
21
27
23
23
27
25
22
27
24
28
26
23
28
 
 
 
 
 
29
 
31
 
 
30