Thursday, 25 February 2016

Newspaper Research...

I'm very pleased I didn't need any newspapers to write my short story- it's now on its way, and after the final editing came out at 1,799 words, so 1,800 as the magazine requires. When I eventually get an answer (around 16 weeks from receipt) I'll let you know if it's a yes or no.

So with that story out of the way I'm free to get back to my longer works in progress.

At the moment I'm checking a few facts- dates of events that cannot be manipulated; such as the date the Treaty of Amiens was actually signed. It's only a background detail but if it was signed later in the year then everything in the story has to be shifted too.

This is where old newspapers come in useful.

Old newspapers are being digitised and added to the British Newspaper Archive each year. It's a partnership between Find My Past and the British Library, their aim is to digitise 40 million newspaper pages "over the next 10 years".

It's possible to search for free, but if you want to access the page and save/print the details there is a charge, but they do have a number of subscription options which is helpful.

Old Newspapers...
The last few days I've been checking for ancestors, and today discovered one of my grandfathers was fined (in December 1940) for "a black-out offence" the previous month - shows how seriously it was taken.

I did eventually discover in the Morning Post when the Treaty of Amiens (between the French and the English) was actually signed- 25th March 1802. Admittedly the article was that date the following year, looking back on events, but another article elsewhere confirmed the date too.

So the 25th of next month it will have been 214 years ago, and we can still read the views expressed at that time...

From 1850 onwards there's a lot more available than 1710-1830's, but those early newspapers and sheets that survived would probably be very delicate anyway.

While the annual subscription seems like a lot of money, when compared with the time and cost of travelling to places to scan through film, or maybe even microfiche in some cases, it doesn't start to look too bad for my needs.

As with any research there's the risk of distractions, so I'm limiting myself to an hour or two in the early or late evening, and I bookmark anything relevant in folders in my account, so I can come back to them again.

image courtesy of Naypong &


  1. Good luck with both the story and avoiding getting seriously distracted by the research.

    1. Thanks, Patsy.

      Distraction is a big problem when there's so many story ideas lurking within the pages.:-)

  2. Good luck with the story! The newspaper archives are fascinating aren't they :-) xx

    1. Thanks, Teresa.

      It's amazing what I've come across in just a few searches, and I'm sure a few things have struck a spark somewhere in the back of my mind.

  3. I've never used the newspaper archives. I definitely shall now though. Fingers crossed for the story.

    1. Thanks, Wendy.

      They are a useful resource, and there's a lot I still want to search out, so I'm making a list for myself.

  4. Good idea but I will find it very addictive as I love history so much...I might not come out to do any actual writing! :-)

  5. That is the risk for me too, Maria.:D

  6. I used this facility at the local library when researching an article on a local monument. Having limited time did stop being distracted too much but I often find I take off at a tangent when researching a topic and have to make a note to return to things later. A good tip to check the anniversary of an event to see if that throws up any references, Carole.

  7. Local library's are useful for information like that aw.

    Yes, it's very easy to go off at a tangent- I've had to bookmark useful things I've come across online so I can refer back to them later. :)

    When I found the confirming details for the actual signing date for the Treaty I was looking for, that was as the result of a first anniversary article; so it is useful to check later years.


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