In comparison to other countries, Ireland was slow in developing a newspaper industry. An occasional newspaper was printed in the mid-1600s. Ireland's major city and provincial newspapers began in the 1700s. Town newspapers began by the 1800s.
Pre-1750 newspapers included very little local news or other news of genealogical value. By 1750 newspapers included notices of marriages and deaths with increasing frequency. Still, few notices of births were published. Newspaper advertisements published such useful genealogical information as:
- Changes in location or ownership of businesses.
- Disputes over property ownership.
- Notices of bankruptcies.
- Notices of claims against estates.
By the 1800s, notices of births, marriages, and deaths became both more numerous and more detailed than in earlier newspapers. Advertisements, in contrast, generally became less genealogically useful as family businesses declined.
The following books contain chapters that more fully discuss newspapers as genealogical sources:
Ffolliot, Rosemary. "Newspapers as a Genealogical Source." In Irish Genealogy: A Record Finder. Donal F. Begley, ed. (Family History Library book 941.5 D27i.)
Grenham, John. Tracing Your Irish Ancestors: The Complete Guide. 3rd ed. Dublin, Ireland: Gill and Macmillan, 2006. (Family History Library book Ref 941.5 D27gj 2006.)
Archives and Libraries
Copies of Irish newspapers are maintained by many repositories and libraries, including:
The British Newspaper Library. British Library, Catalogue of the Newspaper Library Colindale, 8 vols. (London, England: British Museum Publications, 1975; Family History Library book Q 942 A5cn.) (Worldcat) lists this library's newspaper holdings by town of publication. Volume two separately lists the library's Irish newspaper holdings.
The National Library of Ireland in Dublin. The National Library of Ireland, List of Newspapers on Microfilm (Typescript; Family History Library book Q 941.83/D1 A3n; film 990403 item 7.) (Worldcat) provides a bibliography of the National Library's newspaper holdings.
The National Library of Ireland has a searchable newspaper directory available on its website. It was created in the 1980's and 1990's and can be used to search holdings of the National Library of Ireland as well as other libraries and private holdings. Note: Be sure to check the box "Include titles from the Newsplan Project" to search for newspapers from other libraries. If you want to search for newspapers from an area but don't know the name of the newspaper the title field can be left blank.
Digital Issues Online
- NewspaperArchive.com ($) has a collection of digitized Dublin newspapers online.
- The Irish Times Newspapers (1859 – present) are available online at IrishTimes.com ($).
Indexes of other Irish newspaper holdings include:
Crane, R. S., and F. B. Kaye. A Census of British Newspapers and Periodicals, 1620-1800. 2d ed. London, England: Holland Press, 1966. (Family History Library book 942 B3ce.) This book lists the Irish newspaper holdings of major U.S. libraries.
Newspapers in Microform: Foreign Countries. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, Catalog Publication Division, 1984. (Family History Library book 011.35 N479f 1983.) This source lists all reports from the foreign countries portion of Newspapers in Microfilm from 1948 to 1982, as well as reports received through 1983. This source is arranged by country and city and indexed by title.
North, John S. The Waterloo Directory of Irish Newspapers and Periodicals, 1800-1900. Waterloo, Ontario: North Waterloo Academic Press, 1986. (US/Canada Reference, Family History Library book Ref 941.5 B33n.) This book lists and describes Irish newspapers and periodicals from all fields and sometimes identifies their repositories.
Moorhouse, B-Ann. Notices of Irish-Born Persons in New York City Newspapers. Article covers deaths, original Parish and County were born in Ireland, and relationships and place of burial in New York, - covering years 1819-1891. Article in The Irish Ancestor, vol. V. no. 1. 1973. pages 24-27, Family History Library Ref. 941.5 B2i v.5-6.
Grimes, Marilla R. Some Newspaper References to Irish Immigrants in Oneida Co. New York. Death notices of irish immigrants in various newspapers within Oneida Co. New York State. The irish are from various counties. covers years 1825-1865. Article in The Irish Ancestor, vol.VI.no2.1974, pages 97-98, Family History Library Ref. 941.5 B2i v.5-6.
Punch, Terrence M. Irish Ancestors in the "Lost and Found" of the Boston Pilot, Jan-April 1846.This list is of folk looking for their Irish forbears, that have gone to USA or Canda, and gives the name of the person sought, where from in Ireland, place last known at, and name of person or relation seeking them. Article in The Irish Ancestor vo.IX.no.2.1977, pages 79-84, Family History Library Ref. 941.5 B2 vol.9
Punch, Terrence M. Irish Ancestors in the "Lost and Found" of the Boston Pilot. 1840-1841. Twenty nine of Ireland's 32 counties are represented by the emigrants named in the columns of The Boston Pilot, 1840-1841, with entries relating to old settlers and newcomers. Gives date, name, where from in Ireland, when arrived in U.S.A. and who the information is sought by. Article in The Irish Ancestor, vol. X. no.2, 1978, Family History Library Ref. 941.5 B2 vol 10-11.
Family History Library
The Family History Library has very few Irish newspapers. Those the library does have are listed in the Place Search of the catalog under the following headings:
- IRELAND - NEWSPAPERS
- IRELAND, [COUNTY] - NEWSPAPERS
- IRELAND, [COUNTY], [CITY] - NEWSPAPERS