Explore Your Family History and More Using Ohio and Cincinnati Newspapers

Written by Steve Headley, Reference Librarian, Genealogy & Local History, Downtown Main Library

Over 120 historic Cincinnati newspapers as well as hundreds of other Ohio newspapers from Akron to Zanesville are at your fingertips with your library card! Giving you free access to many research databases including Newspaper Archive, opens a new window, your library card lets you search dozens of newspapers in one database provides you with a wealth of historical information that you can use for all sorts of projects.

Find Your Family History

CHPL has partnered with the Newspaper Archive, opens a new window and shared our vast historical Cincinnati newspaper microfilm collection with them to be digitized and made searchable. Now, these great resources are accessible from your own computer or electronic device. Gone are the days when you had to make a special trip to the Downtown Main Library to use the microfilm readers and printers to view old Cincinnati newspapers (although you can still visit us to see them in person!).

Historical newspapers are a great tool to research your family history or genealogy. If you have ancestors from the Greater Cincinnati area, you may be able to learn more about them by finding an obituary published in a newspaper when they died. With Newspaper Archive, you may be able to find an obituary even if they were from a smaller town in Ohio.

Research Your Historic Home

We often receive requests from people looking to find out more about the history of their home or perhaps a particular building in Cincinnati. You can find information in Newspaper Archive, opens a new window by searching its newspapers using a street address. You may find when it was sold, who lived there, and any events that may have happened there such as a fire. If you are really lucky, you may even find a historical photograph of your home that was published!

Complete Your History Project

For students, the historic Cincinnati newspapers are an invaluable resource for doing research on a local history topic. It provides a primary resource for your subject, including articles and maybe even images. For example, if you were researching St. Rose Church, you might be interested in this small map of the area surrounding the church from an 1887 newspaper.

Peek Into Local History

If you are simply interested in knowing what Cincinnati was like in the past, there is no better way to find out than by looking at local newspapers from whatever time period interests you. See what was happening in Cincinnati 100 years ago, by searching the Cincinnati newspapers for that date and see what made the newspapers that day. Newspapers that far back published all kinds of stories that included many details that would never be published today!

Search a Trove of Diverse Local Newspapers

Newspaper Archive, opens a new window is a unique resource not only because it provides so many Ohio and local historical newspapers, but also because it provides a great diversity of newspapers such as religious newspapers, German-language newspapers and African American newspapers. These provide great insight into those specific communities that cannot easily be found in the daily newspapers.

Some of the local religious titles include The Catholic Telegraph and The American Israelite. Prominent African American local newspapers are The Union and The Cincinnati Herald. There are many German-language newspapers such as Cincinnati Freie Presse, Cincinnati Volksfreund, and Cincinnati Anzeiger (but be prepared to have to read the old German script!).

To learn more about Newspaper Archive or for assistance using the database, call 513-369-6909 to speak to Genealogy & Local History staff or email research@CHPL.org. To view even more newspaper databases visit our Magazine & Newspaper Article Research Databases, opens a new window.