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Newspapers Document Local History

Updated: May 22, 2020

From time to time we share some tidbits from the local newspapers. A great source for newspapers published throughout New York State, available to search for free, is

So, if you are researching your family roots in New York, interested in state history, local or national events, or perhaps just for the latest in fashion or entertainment this is a site for you. Check back from time to time with NYS Historic Newspapers as new titles and dates are always being added.

Researchers may be familiar with the older site Suffolk Historic Newspapers which was “absorbed” into the New York State site several years ago. It is still available at

(Note: Be aware of the limited issues and time periods on this site as no new content is added. Many of the titles and time ranges have now been expanded on the NYS site.)

The Suffolk site is still worth checking out as search options are different and we have found it can result in additional hits from those found in the NYS site and visa versa. One main issue to be aware of is that in select cases some individual issues of newspapers from the Suffolk Historic Newspapers site did not transfer to the NYS Historic Newspapers database. For example The Long Islander issues from 1863 and 1905 did not transfer to the NYS site but can still be found on the Suffolk site. The calendar view option is handy for checking on or verifying missing issues.

In searching these sites you may have to get "creative" and they are not 100% perfect. The searches are not intuitive like Google. It basically searches for exactly what you type. Realize names and words may be misspelled or abbreviated in the newspaper i.e. William may appear in a newspaper article as Wm. You may need to approach a search from different angles i.e. in the older newspapers women are often referred to with their married names i.e. Mrs. John Smith. Also the clarity of the newspaper image itself and the typeface may affect the search. You can also browse the individual issues using the calendar view option especially if you want to look for or follow a specific event or headline.

Start with a local paper, if it exists, but then branch out. Early papers were not restricted to carrying news from only their immediate community. Other papers such as the Brooklyn Daily Eagle carried news and social events on Long Island and in Suffolk County.

Other Newspaper Resources

A searchable repository of historic newspapers published in New York State and the United States between 1795 and 2007 is available at This site is the work of one dedicated individual.

Chronicling America, through the Library of Congress, provides access to information about historic United States newspapers and select digitized newspaper pages

Explore your public library's website for access to databases and online tools including those for newspapers such as Newsday, New York Times, and New York Amsterdam News.

Looking back at some news items from 100 years ago

Port Jefferson Echo, March 20, 1920

Teachers’ Salaries Raised

The teachers of the Port Jefferson High School have been granted a substantial increase in salary. During the last year the board has experienced much trouble in keeping sufficient teachers, some of them leaving without giving notice, and this notwithstanding they had signed a contract to stay the entire term. The increase will not only eliminate this trouble, but will be the means of securing good teachers to fill any vacancies that may occur for the coming term.

The increase amounts to over $4,000 for the 16 teachers and the principal. In the grades an increase of $200 is allowed to each teacher. The high school teachers will also receive an increase of $200, while the principal receives an additional $450 a year. The grade teachers formerly received $900 for the term and the high school teachers $1,000. The principal will receive a salary of $2,500.

Port Jefferson Echo, March 27, 1920

Check out the latest fashions from Paris in the Port Jefferson Echo of March 27, 1920. In this timely article make your own “Ever Useful Shopping Bag : A shopping bag is useful nowadays, when most of us find it simpler to bring our own purchases home with us.”

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