Finding Old Newspapers for Free at Google Books – Audio Podcast Episode 276

Finding Old Newspapers for Free at Google Books – Audio Podcast Episode 276

Show Notes: Google Books is known for having millions of free digitized books. But did you know that it’s also packed with hidden old newspapers? Since newspapers don’t typically appear in your initial search results in Google Books, I’ll show you two ways to filter down to only newspapers. Plus I’ll also show you some of the most effective ways to quickly find the right ancestor and the right article.

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Show Notes & Video Version of this Episode

Show notes article and watch the video version:How to find newspapers in Google Books for free.

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5 Genealogy Search Hacks (Premium Exclusive)

5 Genealogy Search Hacks (Premium Exclusive)

Elevenses with Lisa LIVE show exclusively for Premium Members. These 5 search hacks are going to move you into the category of genealogy search ninja! Premium Members can join me for the live show and join in the chat. Or watch the video replay afterward at your convenience.

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Show Notes

Download the show notes handout. The first page can be printed separately as a one-page cheat sheet. 

1. Quickly find free stuff on the big genealogy websites

You probably have a subscription to one or more of the big genealogy websites like,, or The fastest way to find out what’s new at these websites is to visit these specific pages, and bookmark them on your web browser.

FamilySearch (free):

Click “Last Updated” to sort all the collections starting with the most recently updated. Use the filters to narrow down to only the types of collections you’re interested in (record type, location date or any combination.)

Bookmark webpages on your web browser bar:

  1. Right-click on the browser bar and select Add Folder.
  2. Name the folder something like Gen Sites.
  3. Navigate to the first website.
  4. In the browser bar, click the icon and URL.
  5. Drag and drop it on to a blank area of the browser bar.
  6. Continue to go to websites and add them to the folder.
  7. Right-click on any item in the folder or on the browser bookmark bar you want to delete or rename. (It can be helpful to shorten the site names.)
  8. When you want to check a site, simply click the folder and click the website.

Ancestry’s Recently Added and Updated Collections on Ancestry page does a nice job of differentiating between New and Update. Since collections may be regularly updated, it’s nice to spot the ones that are brand new.

The dropdown menu at the top of the page is set to United States by default. However, you can use it to view the new content for other countries as well.

Free Collections at Ancestry:


Findmypast is primarily focused on records from the United Kingdom, although they do have some records from other countries including the United States. While they do have a “What’s New?” page, it’s not a list directly from their catalog. Instead, it’s a compilation of their weekly Friday blog post on new and updated records starting with the most recently published. This means you’d have to click through and read each post. Here’s a search hack to work around this.

  1. Go to
  2. Type in the keyword(s) for what you want, followed by a space.
  3. Next, Type site: and paste the page’s URL (
  4. Here’s what your search will look like:
  5. “derbyshire advertiser” newspaper site:
  6. On the results page, click Tools. A filter menu will pop up. Click the Any Time drop-down and select the desired timeframe such as the past month or past year, or a custom range of 2020 through 2023.
  7. Press Enter on your keyboard and your results will narrow down only to matching results from that timeframe.


This website, owned by Ancestry, has a primary focus on military records, although you will find other records as well.

You can find the most recent content additions by going to the search page and selecting a country and other descriptions of types of records that interest you. Then on the results page, click the Sort: Relevance button and select Sort: Newest First. You can narrow the list down further by clicking the Any Time button and selecting increments up to the last year.

2. How to Search a Specific Website

Use site search to dig into websites:

  • that don’t have a search feature,
  • that have a search feature that’s not great,
  • or to double-check that you found everything at that site.

Essentially, you can use Google search as a custom search engine for a specific website.

For example, USGenWeb is a free genealogy website that has been around for a long time and has a vast number of pages and content. There isn’t a search box on the home page, but you can click Search & Site Map in the menu. However, you’ll notice that their search engine is powered by a third party called FreeFind which has been around since 1998. Because it’s free and a third party, the search field is definitely not secure. Since that’s the case, you might as well use the largest and most powerful search engine in the world, Google,  to search to run your search instead. Google’s site search is the way to do that.

A note about websites like USGenWeb: Make sure that you are searching the correct website.
Notice the URL for the USGenWeb website: Click the desired state on the map on the home page. Now, look at the URL again.

Example: Indiana

Notice that it’s actually a different website. Each state has the two-letter state abbreviation at the beginning of the URL. Use the state address when conducting a site search.

Example Search: If I wanted to find all mentions of a surname in the state, my site search would look like this:

Hulse site:

You can use the Google search operators listed in my book The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox to be even more specific about what you want to find.

3. How to Search Websites from within RootsMagic

As genealogists, we spend a lot of time in our genealogy software programs. The one I use, and it’s one of the most popular, is RootsMagic. So, it would be really convenient to be able to run searches at genealogy websites where I have a subscription, or in search engines like Google which will scour the entire internet. Well, you can so let me show you how to do that in RootsMagic.

  1. Select the individual you want to research.
  2. Click SEARCH in the menu.
  3. Click the WebSearch
  4. Edit the person as needed.
  5. To select which websites to search, click the Provider
  6. Check the box “show results in external web browser” for more flexibility and to get the URL for Web Tags (which you can add on the Person profile page.)

The main part of the WebSearch screen is a web browser window that displays your results.

The left and right arrows at the top of the page display allowing you to go back and forth between web pages.

Add WebTag adds a link to the current website to the card of the person on whom you’re searching. To open your results in your regular web browser instead, click the Use External Browser checkbox. (Note that this disables the Add WebTag button.)

For websites that require logging in (such as FamilySearch, Ancestry and Findmypast) the initial result will be a log in page on the website. Once you log in, the search results should appear.

How to Manage Search Providers in RootsMagic

You can add and edit providers.

  1. Click SEARCH in the menu.
  2. Click Edit Providers (at the bottom of the search box, above the list of people.)
  3. Under the Standard Search Providers you’ll see not just genealogy websites, but also search engines like Google and Bing.
  4. Click the Custom Search Providers
  5. Click the Add
  6. Type in the name of the provider.
  7. In your web browser, go to the provider’s home page.
  8. Use the search engine to search for John Doe 1700-1800.
  9. Copy the URL (Ctrl + C) of the search results page.
  10. Paste the URL (Ctrl + V) into the Search Results URL field in RootsMagic.
  11. Click the OK button which will close the box.
  12. You will now find the provider you just added at the bottom of the Provider list.
  13. If there are any providers listed that you don’t want to show up in the list of providers, uncheck the box for that provider in Manage Search Providers.


  • You can always resize your windows to fit side by side.
  • Right-click links in RootsMagic to open in a new browser tab at any time.
  • If you want searches to be conducted immediately without editing the person’s information, check the box for AutoSearch.
  • Click PEOPLE in the menu to return to that person’s profile in your tree.

4. Browsing Offline Websites

In order for Google to be able to deliver websites as search results, it has to visit them. It has bots that “crawl” the website. When it does, it keeps a copy known as a cached version. Google keeps cached version of all websites.

Occasionally websites are down, or they go offline temporarily for a variety of reasons. This search trick will give you a way to browse the website until it comes back online.

The Cache: search operator can be used in the Google search field followed by the URL of the webpage you are trying to access. Here’s an example of a search query that will let you browse the Genealogy Gems website if we are temporarily offline:


It’s slow for browsing a website because you need to run a cache search for each page. But it’s great if you already have the link (such as a link to a video and show notes in our newsletter – just right-click on the red button and copy the link). It’s very handy if a link you have is broken and you want to see it again and perhaps try and track down a working link (as in the case where they have moved the page.)

5. How to Search with Photos and Images

How to Upload an Image to Google Image Search (Reverse Search):

  1. Digitize the image and save it to your computer.
  2. On your computer, go to or google Google Images.
  3. Click the camera icon in the search field.
  4. Navigate to and select the digitized photo you saved to your computer.
  5. Google will attempt to find that exact image, or the closest visually. Currently, Google can identify basic elements in the photo and better-known subjects.
  6. Adjust the frame to crop or click dots to focus on search certain elements in the image.
  7. Click the Find Image Source button at the top to dig further.

How to Search an Online Photo with Google Images (Reverse Search)

  1. Right-click on a PC (Control-Click on a Mac) on the image on the web page.
  2. In the pop-up menu select Copy Image Address.
  3. Got to Google Images.
  4. Click the camera icon in the search field.
  5. Paste the image URL that you copied to your computer clipboard (on a PC use Control V on your keyboard.)
  6. Click the Search by Image button to run your search.

Learn More:


Download the show notes handout. The first page can be printed separately as a one-page cheat sheet. 
Using Google Scholar for Genealogy (Premium Audio Podcast Episode 206)

Using Google Scholar for Genealogy (Premium Audio Podcast Episode 206)

(PREMIUM AUDIO PODCAST) Google Scholar is an amazing free tool, and in this episode, you’ll learn how to use it for genealogy research. Not only will you learn what can be found, but I’ll show you how to use the built-in tools and strategies for getting the most out of the website.  

Genealogy Gems Premium Podcast episode 206

Audio podcast and show notes


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Show Notes

Click here to read the full show notes. You can also download the show notes PDF below in the Resources section. 


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