Ancestors lost in the crowd?
New to family history research?
Perhaps these articles on our website may help:
Census 1841 - 1911
Birth, Death and Marriage Registration
The London Gazette
British Newspaper Archive and other archives.
Newspapers can be a good source of information for finding out about the lives of your ancestors. The type of articles in 19th century newspapers are just as varied as ours are today and there are all types of articles you can find.
Apart from the obvious birth marriage and death announcements, your ancestors could feature in court reports, social or sporting events in the parish or town, church and chapel services and news, school events, the administration of the Poor Laws, and so on.
Whether your ancestors were upper, middle, or lower class, it does not matter. Whether they be vicars, tradesmen or agricultural labourers, there is every chance that their names would have appeared in a newspaper.
One archive is the British Newspaper Archive. This is a pay-to-view site: one year, 30 day or 2 day packages available, but sometimes they do offer introductory free articles. The British Newspaper Archive is a partnership between the British Library and brightsolid online publishing. Their aim is to digitise up to 40 million newspaper pages from the British Library's vast collection over the next 10 years.
Essex newspaper titles so far in the archive (as at 7/11/2012)
· Essex Standard: 1830 to 1900 4,168 issues
· Essex Newsman: 1870 to 1899 1,420 issues; 1900 to 1949 2,294 issues
· Chelmsford Chronicle: 1750 to 1799 329 issues; 1800 to 1900 2,355 issues; 1900 to 1949 2,087 issues (recently added)
Here is a formatted search to start you off. This link is formatted to search for "essexparish" and "firstname surname" in newspapers published in Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk. Just change essexparish to the name of the parish or town in Essex, and firstname surname to that of your ancestor. If there are too many hits try narrowing it down by date.
Or if you prefer, this formatted search is just for Essex newspapers in the archive. You can type in the words yourself.
Remember to try variations of searches as well. Perhaps "surname firstname", or if they were middle and upper class try "Mr surname". A guide to searching is provided on their 'Getting Started' page.
For a full discussion of the pros and cons of newspapers and the available archives see our article: Newspaper Archives.