In December of last year, we did an overview of the Delaware newspapers available online noting the fact that the large Wilmington newspapers were nowhere to be found. Things have changed!
I knew that Ancestry had struck a deal with Gannett in August of last year to digitize many of their newspapers but, other than the handful of papers mentioned in the press release, I was unable to find out what papers were included in the deal and if any of the Wilmington papers were on the list.
The Wilmington Newspapers
- The News Journal – 147,806 pages from 1871 through 2016
- The Morning News – 32,894 pages from 1880 through 1965
- The Evening Journal – 61,042 pages from 1888 through 1932
Note that their “News Journal” category includes many of the earlier versions of the paper, such as the “Every Evening”. Also note that these are not continuous runs at this point. For example, the Morning News has almost nothing between 1921 and 1964. However, Ancestry is adding additional content all the time and I expect these gaps will be filled in before long.
But at what cost?
The downside is that Newspapers.com requires a subscription, which might be a little steep for the genealogist on a budget. The basic plan runs $79.95 a year and includes access to all of the older papers, generally before 1922. Why 1922 you ask? It’s all about copyright and depends on when the paper was first published, if and when the copyright was renewed, and how the publisher feels about their copyright. “Circular 22” published by the US Copyright Office provides more information than you’ll want on this topic.
For many of the papers first published on or after January 1, 1923, Ancestry has to reimburse the publisher before putting the papers on Newspapers.com and they pass this along to you through a new subscription plan called “Publisher Extra”, which gives you access to all of the additional pages. This plan costs $139.90 per year, although there is a monthly option that costs $19.90. The plan details are on the Newspapers.com website, and a description of Publisher Extra can be found in “Fishwrap”, the blog of Newspapers.com. Not all of their subscribers are enthusiastic about the new plan, and the comments to the blog post are worth reading.
Is it worth it?
I’ve had a basic subscription to Newspapers.com for a year or so, and I spent a couple of hours looking at pre-1923 content. In that time, I solved a mystery about a property once owned by an ancestor (it burnt down), found details on an ancestor’s death (he had a heart attack while riding his bike to work on the construction of a DuPont farm), and found out why an ancestor abruptly relocated to Florida (he was evading taxes). I’m really looking forward to having more time to mine these papers, and I’m going to try the monthly subscription to Publisher Extra.
As discussed in the earlier article on this subject, there is a University of Delaware project that will make these pre-1923 articles available for free at some point. Until that time, Delaware content on Newspapers.com looks like a good deal.
Let us know if you find any genealogical nuggets in these papers!
“Every Evening” banner image courtesy of Newspapers.com