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Join us for a week of prize giveaways, starting on Saturday 27 December

We’ll be giving away some fantastic prizes and celebrating the different types of research our newspapers can help with next week. Simply check The British Newspaper Archive’s Facebook page at 12pm (GMT) every day from Saturday 27 December – Friday 2 January to take part.   Visit The British Newspaper Archive’s Facebook page   Win some great prizes with The British Newspaper Archive There are lots of exciting gifts on offer, whether you’re interested in genealogy, local history, studying World

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Thrilling elopement story found in 19th-century newspapers

  While researching A Visitor’s Guide to Jane Austen’s England, author Sue Wilkes discovered an amazing romance which could have appeared in an Austen novel. We love hearing about what you’re finding in the newspapers. Tell us about your own discoveries in the comments section below.   **************   Heiress Augusta Nicholson, a most intrepid young lady, showed great ingenuity when she fell in love with handsome John Giles, a penniless comedian. Miss Nicholson was a ward of chancery and

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Twiggy on Who Do You Think You Are? – Grace Meadows in the newspapers

Twiggy used historical newspapers during her WDYTYA? episode to research the life of her great-great-grandmother, Grace Meadows.   Grace Meadows charged with stealing bank notes The York Herald printed the following article about Twiggy’s ancestors on Thursday 9 July 1874. Grace Meadows and her 14-year-old daughter Lucy were charged with stealing ‘three Bank of England notes for £20 each’ from Lucy’s employer. The newspaper article states that Twiggy’s ancestors were initially discharged as there was no evidence. Grace Meadows was said

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London cabbie George Smith arrested for drunk driving in 1897

The first person to be arrested and charged for driving under the influence of alcohol was George Smith, a London cabdriver. Charged with drunk driving on 10 September 1897 This article from the Morning Post reported that at about 00:45 on Friday 10 September 1897, Smith’s vehicle ‘swerved from one side of the road to the other, and ran across the footway into 165 New Bond Street’. George Smith admitted that he’d had ‘two or three glasses of beer’ and

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Sheridan Smith on WDYTYA: Newspapers reveal a shocking arson story in her family tree

You can find fascinating information about your ancestors at The British Newspaper Archive. Sheridan Smith did just that during her Who Do You Think You Are? episode, uncovering a story about her great-great-grandfather Benjamin Doubleday.   Benjamin Doubleday and the fire at the Woodman Inn On Friday 5 July 1895, the Sheffield Daily Telegraph reported that a fire had taken place at the Woodman Inn. The newspaper stated that Sheridan Smith’s great-great-grandfather was seen at the scene and ‘appeared in

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Mrs Caudle: a 19th-century woman not to be crossed

Mrs Caudle first appeared as a character in Punch magazine in 1845. She was portrayed as the archetypal nagging wife, always telling her husband off for something.     The West Kent Guardian reveals the real Mrs Caudle This article from the West Kent Guardian reveals that the real-life Mrs Caudle was also a woman not to be messed with. The newspaper published the following court report on Saturday 26 July 1845.   West Kent Guardian – Saturday 26 July

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‘Cut your hair’: a court report in the Morning Post

Historical newspapers are full of reports about local criminal trials. These are a great resource for both historical research and genealogy. Not only can you track the sorts of crimes that were being committed and how people were punished, you might also find your ancestors’ names mentioned.   Search local court reports   The Morning Post and the long-haired Londoner Court reports can often make for rather amusing reading, containing the actual words, excuses, and explanations of the people involved. We’ve

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Meet the Product Director of The British Newspaper Archive

Ever wondered what happens behind the scenes at The British Newspaper Archive? We sat down with Product Director Ian Tester to find out who he is and what he does.   What does your job involve? I’m responsible for growing the business in all its myriad forms. My role covers marketing, building a better product, tweaking the pricing, choosing newspapers that we think will be of most interest and generally keeping everything running smoothly. Less excitingly, it also involves balancing

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National newspapers, local newspapers and cases of breach of promise

Denise Bates, historian and author of Breach of Promise to Marry: A History of How Jilted Brides Settled Scores, explains why local newspapers are often more useful for historical research than national newspapers.   **************   Breach of promise was a legal claim. It allowed a man or woman to demand financial compensation from their ex-fiancée or ex-fiancé if they broke their engagement to marry.  Newspapers are the best source of information about breach of promise cases, but there is

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Your newspaper discoveries: Ordered to be detained during Her Majesty’s pleasure

Gordon Martin recently got in touch to show us what the newspapers have helped him find out about his great-great-uncle Charles Alfred Martin. We love hearing about your finds, so please do let us know what you’ve discovered by emailing press@britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk ************** Charles Alfred Martin I had long known the existence of great-great-uncle Charles, the youngest child of a seaman born in Magdeburg, Prussia who served on HMS Achille at the Battle of Trafalgar of 1805. His father had arrived

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