28 September 2012

Repository in Review- NewspaperArchive.com

If I had the time to write everyday, I could cover every topic I want to in a week. Well, maybe if I write twice a day. Unfortunately, I have other projects (and the need to eat/sleep), so I have to pick and choose. I figure I've given you loads of good tips in most of my posts, but really haven't expanded on links to my favorite websites. Today will be my second "Repository in Review" post, having reviewed Fold3 previously. I thought long and hard about which site to review next and chose NewspaperArchive.com. Newspaper Archive has become a daily research tool for me after a great many people told me how useful it has been for them. Honestly, it should be a site every genealogist uses daily.

The Features and Benefits

Newspaper Archive touts itself as the largest historical newspaper database online. Newspapers from several countries (the U.S., Canada and U.K. leading the pack, but there are a few from places like China, Denmark, and South Africa) dating as early as 1607 (the bulk of the papers being late 1800's to present) are available. The site says they have 120 million pages which is truly impressive. I have seen their logo in an Ancestry.com newspaper search, so they do share. With that said, however, they don't share everything. I've had a few people tell me they have found articles on the actual website for Newspaper Archive that never showed in an Ancestry search. Personally, my research hasn't led to many newspaper hits simply because of the names in my family (Householder is too common, Lavinski not common enough). I have been lucky to get quite a few newspaper hits for cousins that made their mark (a governor, a pioneer and a military columnist), but no direct line information. And yet I keep plugging way every day. Even when I can't find anything related to my topic of research, the articles in and of themselves can be fascinating. Knowing how WWI ended, it's interesting to read articles from the years leading up to it. I am always telling people to read more books from the contemporary authors of their ancestors for better perspective. Newspaper editorials are the living pulse of public thought. They can be hauntingly prophetic (or wantonly blind).

With any website, read and understand the terms of use and what you agree to simply by using the website. I read the Terms of Service and found this: You (or "your" defined by your status as an adult user and/or parent or guardian for any minor which you allow to use the Service) may not modify, copy, reproduce, republish, upload, post, transmit or distribute in any way any amount of material from this site including, but not limited to, all documents, images, written material, code and software. You may download Content from this site for your personal, non-commercial use only, provided you abide by all copyright and other proprietary notices and keep any and all Content intact. Publications prior to 1923 are out of copyright (and are found on many websites). Any newspapers after 1923 are still in copyright. Newspaper Archive purchases the right to distribute the images from a newspaper still in copyright. This means you can NOT put that image on another website. You can NOT "clip" the article you need and post the image to another website. You CAN keep a copy on your computer for your personal use. You CAN print out a copy for your personal use. You MUST keep a source citation with it to give credit to where you found it. You CAN add a source citation on your Ancestry tree to let people know you have a copy of this paper and how they can obtain one from the copyright holder. If you wish to publish the article on a website or in a book, you can contact Newspaper Archive or the newspaper's publisher directly to license the image.

Dollars and Sense

There are three pay options: 3 month- $9.99, 6 month- $7.99, annual- $5.99. These are billed in bulk, so keep in mind that if you buy the annual option, you pay the full $72 now. Like most websites, they require a credit card and will use automatic renewal. At the end of your contract term, if you haven't cancelled, you will be charged for the next term. You must cancel 72 hours before your period ends. The Terms and Conditions state three times that it is Non-refundable. While there is an email option, I always advocate calling so you have someone live you can blame if the cancellation doesn't go through. Their phone number is 1-888-845-2887. I didn't mention all the ins and outs of membership charges and cancellations in my post about Fold3, but some recent complaints on Facebook have made me realise that many folks don't understand these basic website rules and I thought I'd do everyone the favor of letting you know up front. Like most websites, Newspaper Archive leaves cancelling your membership up to you. Be a proactive consumer and keep their contact info and your membership renewal date on a calendar or a folder or something so that you stay on top of the charges.

With all that said about the paid options, there is a FREE option. The upper right corner of Newspaper Archive's site has a blue button that says "Login with Facebook". Why would you want to login with Facebook? For the 10 Free images a day! You can search as much as you want, it's just looking at an actual page that counts against your 10 for the day. Now, this does give them permission to tell people what pages you look at. While writing this article, I wanted to know if the Chinese and Japanese pages were from English papers or actually in Kanji (they're English language). So now my timeline says "Rhi read North China Herald, August.... on NewspaperArchive." If a friend sees that and clicks the link, they'll be sent to NewspaperArchive and asked to sign up. Free advertising for them, free newspaper image for me. Fair deal.

My Two Cents

Like I said, I now use this site daily. I log my search on it just like I log any of my research. I know who I've tried to find, what newspapers I've checked, where I left off in the middle of a search, etc. I figure at 10 images a day, I can get what I need without a membership. Just like Fold3, if you have a relative that was pretty famous and written about often, you may want to purchase a membership. If you do a lot of research on historical news articles or are researching for others, you may want a membership to get more use out of the site. If you are a professional genealogist (or aspiring to be one) you should note that their Terms and Conditions specifically state this site is for non-commercial use. You can contact them to license the image for your professional endeavors. (On that note, the Legal Genealogist is a must-read for the legal aspects of genealogy including how to use websites responsibly).

Start with the "trial" by logging in with your Facebook account. If you use it and find nothing, don't go paying for a membership. If you go through your 10 images so fast that you're near tears thinking about waiting another day, pay for the year. Honestly, the 3 and 6 month options are all well and good, but who knows when your search will be fruitful? If you can seriously find all that you'll need on this site with the 3 month option, why not just use the 10 images a day? Keep it leisurely rather than trying to cram all your time into 90 days. The year will save you nearly $50 over the 3 month option if you end up needing to renew every 3 months. And if you get to the end of a year with no new research leads, you drop the subscription and use the 10 free images option until the next time a membership is needed.

Well, that's my opinion at least


  1. That is absolutely ridiculous that you can't transcribe an obituary for your own family tree online.

    1. I agree with you to a point, Kathy. But you can use all factual information from an obituatry or news article without worrying about copyright. The facts cannot be copyrighted, only the format in which they are presented. The format can be a big deal for some companies or individuals. I know that I no longer submit obituaries to any publication that has legalese that gives them the rights to my work (taking away my creative rights as well as restricting use by other family). However, I do know that some people have put a lot of thought into their eulogies included in an obit and that they don't want to see them misused (how they mean misuse is often fuzzy, but when they find themselves insulted, they can use copyright to help their cause). Just like anything else, obits are highly personal pieces of history to some, factual tidbits to others. We must respect the rules of publication so that we can encourage more companies to digitise their resources and make this a more convenient process for all.

  2. Anonymous16/1/13 21:10

    I stumbled upon your blog by googling newspaperarchive.com complaints. You really should try doing that, and read. There are a mountain of complaints about their billing practices and rightly so. You can't cancel a subscription on-line, you must call (try getting a human on the phone, I dare you), or email. If you manage to cancel your subscription, it's effective immediately, you don't get the time contracted for. Auto-renewal is not a unique concept, but they make it very difficult. Ancestry.com allows you to cancel on-line anytime during the run of subscription, ie, you signed up for a 6 month script, you cancel in the 4th month to prevent an auto-roll over, you still have access for the remaining 2 months, the service ceases at the end of the contract. No so with newspaperarchive. You much be hyper vigilant and cancel several days (don't believe the 72 hour window they give you, they never answer their phone, and *might* respond to your cancellation email in a few days. I've had American Express intervene twice, I know how to work their system.

    At this writing there are no published rates on the site, you have to give your data before seeing the rates. Instead of heeding the 5 years of complaints about their billing practices, they decided to be even more difficult and deceptive.

    1. Thank you for your opinion. Prior to writing the article, I did look at the complaints online. I tend to ignore the majority of them for most products as, after I've given the product my own test-drive, I cannot duplicate their problems or see where the complaintant made an error. As for not publishing their rates, I was able to find them in their about section without having to give any of my own information. Each site has it's own foibles and I try to give a balanced review based on what is available compared to other repositories and the ease of use in finding what we need. Interesting that you've had issues with this particular site and I hope that others who stumble upon my review also read your comment.

    2. The latest rate for Newspaperarchive is $99.99 for 6 months -- that right. And I was told (in writing by one of their customer service reps that "unfortunately we do not have any yearly or 24 month membership at this moment."

      When I last renewed my subscription 2 years ago in March 2012, the rates were 18 months for $119.88 or 24 months for $143.76. WoW.

    3. Anonymous20/5/15 14:05

      Do not do business with this organization.

    4. Anonymous21/6/15 08:36

      I get that you don't pay attention to complaints online. A few crankypants an spew hatred all over the Internet. But maybe you should pay attention to their F rating from the Better Business Bureau, or their state's attorney general investigation into their business practices.

  3. I have been a member of NewspaperArchive for years and I have always had to renew by emailing their customer service department. (I'm on an annual membership.) However, this year I emailed them three times in the week coming up to my membership needing renewed and not once did they respond. I have also emailed one of their specific customer service reps and still no reply. My membership has now expired and I am unable to use their service any more. I have emailed them to complain about this and ask for my membership to be renewed but guess what? No reply.

    There is no way to renew on their site either; you just need to take out a whole new subscription. What a way to run a business and treat their loyal customers!!

  4. Anonymous26/3/13 14:25

    The rates at newspaperarchive.com have skyrocketed: $29.95/month for unlimited access, $99.95/for six months, and no break for an annual plan. The $19.95 for three month intro deal is limited to 100 page views.

  5. Anonymous1/5/13 03:02

    Newspaper Archives is a nightmare. I have a yearly subscription that is paid-in-full until the fall 2013 but EVERY single search request that I run is interrupted by a request for more personal information from me, e.g. name, address etc. These painful interruptions started in April 2013. It is surreal. It is the poorest business model that I have ever seen. My plan is to cancel.

    1. Anonymous22/5/13 05:09

      I have had exactly the same problem with constant pop up requests asking to update my profile every time I try to search the Archive. Very frustrating. Like you I am looking at cancelling my subscription but I am concerned that since they have not replied to my previous emails re the interruptions they may also ignore my request to cancel.

  6. Anonymous8/5/13 13:05

    Yes, Newspaper archive is a NIGHTMARE! They renew your annual membership without warning. When I noticed the charge on my Credit Card, I emailed them asking them to cancel my membership and refund my credit card. THey did not, so I called. They could not find my email and said my call was too late since it was past the grace period. I repeated that I emailed them and they said they would research and call me back. They never called. I have called repeatedly over the last 60 days and they refuse to refund my money. It appears that they have maybe 4 people working their support lines because it is all the same people.

  7. Anonymous8/5/13 13:10

    When you cancel, be sure to cancel your Credit Card with your bank and have it re-issued; otherwise, they will renew it anyway.

  8. Anonymous8/5/13 13:17

    A legitiamte company will notify you that your account is about to be renewed when it comes time for annual renewal. Every company I have dealt with that has an annual renewal will do this. Then, when they do renew it, they send you notification that they charged your account. This company does none of those things. Any of the messaging features on their site does not work. I have sent them multiple messages and all you get to indicate is a pop-up that says in incorrect English, 'Your message has been SEND successfully'...and when you click on OK, your message still appears on the screen. Most sites with built in messaging will have that screen go away after you select to send it. There is more than one way to communicate with this company via the Website, and I have tried them all, and I never have goten any responses.

  9. Anonymous8/5/13 13:19

    They only charged an annual rate of $72? They charged me $119!

  10. Anonymous31/5/13 23:16

    Newspaper archive can be a great resource for researching and finding information. Sadly, however, according to the many similar customer complaints, the site seems to be operated by swindlers who's only concern is making a profit, and have no concern about their customers. By making it difficult and confusing for customers to cancel their subscription, it is obvious that these charlatans have little, or no respect, or faith, in what is potentially a very useful product.

  11. Thanks for the info! I've just looking for the price options since there is no way to know unless signing up with your info.
    Thanks again!

  12. newspaperarchive.com is a complete fraud!! I signed up for a FREE look on 12/28/2012. They charged me $21.95 for my "free" account in Jan and Feb 2013. I complained, demanded that they cancel the account and issue a full refund. They refunded Jan & Feb, and then CONTINUED TO CHARGE ME $21.95 per month! What part of "CANCEL" do they not understand? ARCHIVE THIS!!

  13. My story is like most others, NewspaperArchive.com failed to cancel my account when I sent them a notice, and because they didn't send me a receipt of cancellation, its MY fault. So I got charged an extra $70 when they auto-renewed me. Tried going to the BBB, but they have over 100 complaints and refuse to solve any of them. THEY WILL CHEAT YOU! DON'T USE THEM!

  14. Anonymous18/9/13 14:54

    Thanks for the info, folks. I won't be even trying NA out.

  15. Anonymous30/9/13 20:47

    Great resource for genealogy purposes. I've never had a problem in the period from about 2010 to mid 2012 activating and calling in to cancel. Until 9/2013 that is. The message I get is basically, due to unusually high call volumes your expected wait time is 10 minutes or two minutes etc. Then after a few minutes is a request to leave a message after which if none is left the call ends. Finally I ended up calling my credit card company to request all charges from newspaperarchive.com be blocked. Emails are go unanswered, however getting a notification to update my credit card info happened rather quick.My advice, stay away, stay far away there are other ways to get information even if it takes longer and is less convenient.

  16. Anonymous30/9/13 21:37

    Followup to my post on 30/9/13 20:47. Decided maybe a 10th call might help and although I had called my credit card company to block charges they emphasized I should still make contact and formally cancel my subscription. But same old song and dance. This time after holding awhile and being prompted to leave a message I did just that threatening legal action. I hung up, called right back wanting to make clear that threat again. This time on the first ring a rep answered. Subscription finally cancelled and at this time unfortunately for life. I'm done and won't give any company that behaves this way my business. Ever. On top of that wastes time a lot of us don't have and adds more aggravation and stress to daily life that none of us needs.

  17. I also had terrible experience with NewspaperArchive.com. The weird thing is I had enjoyed their website as a paying customer for several years, searching old newspapers regularly. Time for auto-renewal came, but despite charging my credit card NA never extended my subscription another year. Weeks and months went by, multiple emails were never answered, nobody ever answered their 'helpline,' it was impossible to get any response from them. Finally I filed complaint with BBB and through this complaint I got a surly reply from NewspaperArchive.com that they would cancel my account. So I'm now finished with NewspaperArchive.com, yet all I had wanted them to do was to credit my account for the yearly subscription I had paid for. What an unbelievably bad way to run a business and to treat loyal customers. I will never use them again, worst customer service ever. As others have said, their archive of newspapers is impressive but their business model seems fraudulent. They clearly don't value their customers.

  18. Before you wrote this article, you really should have done more research, like checking with the Iowa Better Business Bureau. On their website, they give this company a rating of F and shows more than 100 reports of questionable business and billing practices. Here's the report....


  19. Anonymous25/1/14 11:26

    I am so glad I found these posts. I almost signed up. I believe I will try another newspaper site.

    Thanks for the posts.

  20. Marshall R Jones11/3/14 09:12

    Their user interface is user unfriendly, their prices are 700% higher than newspapers.com with the Ancestry discount, their database is too limited, their customer agreement is so predatory as to almost be laughable, and in my experience, their telephone customer service is nonexistent.

  21. Anonymous11/6/14 22:11

    I didn't notice that anyone mentioned the $2.00/month they charge you for a "donation" to Global Way Makers, a charity that's owned by the owners of newspaperarchives.com, Christopher and Debora Gill. When you register on newspaperarchives.com, there's a box that's already checked for you stating that you agree to the donation. If you don't catch it, you're charged $24.00/year and charged again when they auto-renew your subscription. I checked Global Way Makers out and it's not clear what the organization exactly does. Plus, there's no way to reach anyone there other than email. In just a few year's time, Global Way Makers has gone from less than $10,000 to $200,000 last year.

  22. Anonymous26/6/14 20:13

    If you read the Global Way Makers website, they say that you direct where you want your contribution to go. It appears that customers of newspaperarchive.com weren't provided with the opportunity to direct where their contribution went and many found out they donated only after receiving their credit card statement.

  23. Anonymous21/7/15 09:41

    The Global Way Makers website and facebook page have been taken down. There appears to be no transparency whatsoever for how funds are distributed. In particular, the funds that were hijacked out of unwitting newspaperarchive.com members accounts. There is also no 2014 financial data that has been filed for this charity. For all anyone knows, this tax-free money collected could have been used to fund an extravagant lifestyle.

    1. Anonymous9/7/16 16:14

      That's because they know it's impossible to please the remaining 50 and lowering PC users. Most PC users have PC's still from 2006.

  24. Anonymous9/7/16 16:10

    They no longer update their website and haven't in years. Most of the west coast has hardly anything on it and it's been that way for eons. I figure it's cell phones that makes news archives no longer updating.

    You can't view newspaper archives dot com or Google news archives on a tablet/phone because it's designed for desktop in mind and requires a total reformat and the people in charge are NOT unaware of that fact.

    It doesn't make sense from a business standpoint of pleasing the last 100 people or so who still use a PC or laptop.

    Most cell phone users are generally women especially those in their 20s who have never touched a desktop PC and don't do anything other then chat and shop.

    The whole web has been redesigning itself for two things. Chat and shop.

    Nobody wants to look at the past or learn their history of how things really happened as it will dispel the two political party system illusion.

  25. Anonymous9/7/16 16:13

    If I were in charge of newspaper archives dot com I'd be very afraid due to Windows 10 really f-ing things up with their phone on a PC mindset.

    Windows 10 is basically android (smartphone) on a desktop you can't take with you. If you can get things to run on an Android you can program it for Win 10 with little to no difficulty or otherwise.......fuggitaboutit!

    Even a lot of hidden object games dont' work on Windows 10. Big Fish Games don't even read the disc while Pop Cap games work with a few adjustments.