Newfoundland Ancestors: Online Newspapers at Memorial University of Newfoundland

I\’m always on the lookout for online newspaper sites. Especially free ones. Recently while doing some housekeeping on my internet bookmarks, I found one from Memorial University of Newfoundland of their online collection of newspapers.

http://collections.mun.ca/cdm/landingpage/collection/cns_news

This collection is part of their Digital Archives Initiative. The site claims that this only comprises of a small part of their off line collection. Here\’s hoping they will add to it. Right now, they have the following titiles:

Banner of Temperance Jan. 18, 1851 – Dec. 6, 1851 (12 issues)

  • The Carbonear Herald and Outport Telephone – Carbonear Herald and Outport Telephone, May 22, 1879 – Feb. 17, 1882. (120 issues), Carbonear Herald and Railroad Journal, Mar. 17 – Aug. 26, 1882. (5 issues)
  • The Conception-Bay Man Sep. 3, 1856 – Feb. 16, 1859 (100 issues)
  • The Confederate Volumes 1..14 for Apr. 7 – July 16, 1948. (14 issues)
  • The Daily Globe Daily (except Sunday), Dec. 16, 1924 – Apr. 26, 1926. Three times a week, Apr. 29 – June 5, 1926. (298 issues)
  • The Daily Tribune – Daily Tribune Nov. 4, 1892 – Dec. 2, 1893; (272 issues), Tribune Dec. 6-30, 1893. (5 issues)
  • The Enterprise Oct. 21, 1896 – Nov. 3, 1897 (103 issues)
  • Fishermen\’s Advocate Published Coakerville, St. John\’s and Port Union N.L 1910-1980 (5 issues)
  • The Independent Volumes 1..14 Mar. 22 – July 15, 1948 (14 issues)
  • The Mercury And General Advertiser Feb. 3, 1846 – Oct. 15, 1846 (28 issues)
  • Morning Advertiser and Shipping Gazette Sep. 21, 1844 – Apr. 26, 1845 (109 issues)
  • Morning Despatch. Published St. John\’s N.L. Jul. 13, 1892 – Aug. 22, 1892 (32 issues)
  • The Morning Herald Nov. 28, 1879 – Feb. 21, 1880 (54 issues)
  • The Newfoundland Commercial Journal Jun. 22, 1881 – Dec. 8, 1855 (69 issues)
  • Newfoundland Mercantile Journal Earliest issue located: Sept. 11, 1816 (no. 108). – Last issue located: June 7, 1827 (376 issues)
  • The Newfoundland Vindicator Jan. 2, 1841 – May 14, 1842 (69 issues)
  • The Newfoundland Weekly – Newfoundland Weekly, Began publication: Jul. 19, 1924. – Last issue located: Jan. 9, 1932, The Newfoundland Times, Began publication: Sep. 6, 1941. – Last issue located: Dec. 20, 1941, The Newfoundland Weekly, Began publication: Dec. 7, 1940. – Last issue located: Aug. 23, 1941.
  • The Newfoundlander. Oct. 6, 1934 – Dec. 20, 1934 (10 issues)
  • Our Country Aug. 25, 1883 – May 11, 1885 (152 Issues)
  • The Plaindealer Published St. John\’s N.L. Jun. 1, 1907 – Aug. 16, 1921 (29 Issues)
  • The Record Jan. 18, 1862 – Dec. 29, 1863 (94 Issues)
  • The Register Sep. 17, 1880 – Dec. 16, 1880 (70 Issues)
  • The Reporter Jan. 31, 1856 – Dec. 25, 1856 (47 Issues)
  • Sentinel and Conception Bay Advertiser – Sentinel and Conception Bay Advertiser Oct 27, 1836 – Jul 20, 1837 and Dec 13, 1838 – Nov 19, 1844. (148 issues), The Carbonear Sentinel And Conception Bay Advertiser July 27, 1837 – Nov. 29, 1838. (26 issues), The Sentinel, Mar. 13, 1945 – Oct. 30, 1845. (12 Issues)
  • The Star And Conception Bay Weekly Reporter Feb. 4, 1874 – May 6, 1875 (39 Issues)
  • The Star And Newfoundland Advocate Nov. 14, 1840 – Jan. 14, 1847 (295 Issues)
  • St. John’s Free Press and Semiweekly Advertiser – The St. John\’s Free Press And Daily Advertiser Apr. 9, 1877 – May 29, 1877 (37 Issues), The St. John\’s Free Press And Semi-Weekly Advertiser Jun. 11, 1877 – Jul. 22, 1878 (46 Issues)
  • Terra Nova Advocate – St. John\’s Advertiser, May 5, 1875 – Apr. 29, 1876. (97 Issues), Terra Nova Advocate and Political Observer, May 4, 1876 – May 5, 1880. (377 Issues), Terra Nova Advocate, May 8, 1880 – Dec. 12, 1890. (786 Issues)
  • The Vindicator And Brigus Reporter Earliest issue located: May 4, 1898 (v. 1, no. 2). Ceased publication: Oct. 28, 1903 (14 Issues)
  • The Weekly Express Began publication: Jan. 6, 1858. – Latest issue located: Dec. 27, 1859 (102 Issues)
  • The Weekly Herald And Conception-Bay General Advertiser Jan. 1, 1845 – Jun. 6, 1854. (483 issues)
  • The Weekly News Began publication: Mar. 29, 1894 – Dec. 6, 1894 Ceased publication: June 1906. (36 Issues)

You can use the site by a few different ways

Browse the Collection
This will bring up digital images of every issue in the collection. There are over 5,000 issues.

http://collections.mun.ca/cdm/search/collection/cns_news
You can either click on the image of the issue or the issue title. This will take you into the image viewer. I\’ll explain the image viewer at the bottom of the post.

Search Boxes
Now, there are 2 search boxes on the site. If you use the large one at the top, it will search all the newspapers in the main list I provided above. If you use the smaller one, then not only will it search the newspaper titles featured, but also

  • The Colonist
  • The Daily News
  • The Daily Star
  • The Evening Advocate
  • The Evening Herald
  • The Harbor Grace Standard
  • The Morning Courier
  • The Patriot And Terra-Nova Herald 
  • The St. John\’s Daily News
  • The Telegram
  • The Twillingate Sun
  • The Western Star

Seems like a no brainer to use the smaller search box. I typed in Greening, which is a Newfoundland surname I\’m familiar with. The search resulted in 1887 issues with that surname mentioned. On the results screen, you can filter the results by Relevance, Title, Subject, or Description. The default setting is by Title.

Now, the system isn\’t foolproof. Several issues I clicked on did not actually have Greening anywhere in the issue. But for those that did, the image viewer helpfully told me how many places and where.

By Newspaper
This function lets you click on a particular newspaper. Clicking on a newspaper title will take you to one of two screens. If you click on the main list of newspapers, then it will take you to the familiar results screen. Just pick an issue and it will take you to the image viewer. As you can see from the screen shot above, you can then narrow by date by using the menu on the far left sidebar. You can do a search within the image viewer of the issue, which I\’ll talk about in a minute.

If however, you click on one of the titles in the second group of papers, you will be take to a different screen.

http://collections.mun.ca/cdm/landingpage/collection/daily_star

Here, you can browse by particular year and/or month. You can also use that large search box at the top to search keywords within the publication. In this case you don\’t want to use the small one, because it will search all newspaper titles.

Image Viewer
Ok, so I decided to make a section about the image viewer itself, because it\’s fantastic. As with most online viewers, you can zoom in and out. You can print the page, and you can also download it to your computer in 3 different sizes. But it also has some great tricks.

First of all, it has its own search box to search within an issue. Click on the Text Searxh tab and put your search word. Like I said, it isn\’t fool proof. It will miss mentions, mainly due to the fonts used. But it does highlight when it does find a result. It will also tell you what page and where. Here\’s an instance for searching for the word schooner in the Newfoundland Mercantile Journal, 1816-09-11, no. 108


Also in some issues, they have indexed article headings. If you click on that article, it opens in a new window by itself. You can then download or print the single article

Newfoundland Mercantile Journal
To finish off this post, one newspaper title I want to highlight in the collection is the Newfoundland Mercantile Journal. This newspaper can give you some more unusual tidbits on your ancestors than you would normally find. According to the collection description, it focused less on what we regularly find in newspapers such as local gossip and BMDs. It\’s focus was more business orientated, so there was shipping news, industry advertisements, legal notices, and articles from foreign press sources. Here\’s a few examples of what I found among its pages.

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