Elephind is a great service that searches online digital newspaper collections. Best of all, it is available free of charge.
Elephind.com is a search engine that operates much like Google, Bing, and other search engines. The one thing that is different with Elephind is that it searches only historical, digitized newspapers. It enables you to search for free across many newspaper sites simultaneously rather than having to visit each collection’s web site separately.
At this time Elephind has indexed 199,820,058 items from 4,267 newspaper titles. These include such well known sites as Chronicling America (the U.S.’s Library of Congress) and Trove (National Library of Australia), as well as smaller collections like Door County Library in Wisconsin. Many of the smaller newspaper sites are not well known and may be difficult to find with the usual search engines, but they are searchable from Elephind.com. A list of available newspaper collections that have been indexed so far is available at https://bit.ly/2EECuqG.
Additional newspaper collections are added to Elephind’s indexes frequently.
I found that Elephind operates in much the same manner as many other search engines. If you already know how to search for things in Google, DuckDuckGo, Bing, Yahoo, or elsewhere, you already know how to use Elephind. In fact, there are two search methods available on Elephind:
- When you first visit the site at http://www.elephind.com, you are greeted with a very simple search screen containing one data entry box. You can search for words or phases in much the same way as you do on Google although not all of Google’s sophisticated Boolean search terms are available on Elephind. You can find tips for using the search box at https://bit.ly/2S5mCk7.
- When visiting this same site at http://www.elephind.com, you will also see a highlighted link for “Advanced Search.” When you click on that, a more sophisticated search form appears, allowing you to narrow the search to any combination of specific newspaper titles, country, or a range of dates.
I did a search for my own last name between the years 1811 and 1890 in the United States. It returned far too many “hits” for me to search through; so, I started narrowing the search by specifying first names and cities or towns of interest. I was soon looking at information of interest.
I was impressed with the clarity of the newspaper pages I was able to view; but, of course, that is under the control of the individual newspaper collection. Elephind does not host the images on its own web site. Instead, it merely links to newspapers found on a wide variety of servers in a number of different countries from around the world.
Elephind.com is a great tool for family historians, genealogists, and researchers to search historic, digitized newspaper archives from around the globe. Will Elephind locate newspaper articles about your ancestors? There is no way to tell in advance. You need to try it for a while to see. It is a free resource, so why not try it to see for yourself?
Elephind may be found at http://www.elephind.com.
Elephind is continuing to add more newspapers, so if at first you can’t find what you’re looking for, check back later. You also might want to add your name to the Elephind mailing list at https://dlconsulting646.activehosted.com/f/5 to receive an email message whenever a new collection is added.