This is just a brief posting to alert those who have not yet discovered them to two on-line sources for old newspapers.
You can find the Jamaica Gleaner archives dating back to 1843 here.
The latest addition to the world of digital newspapers is the British Newspaper Archive which came on-line this week.
Both are subscription services – the Jamaica Gleaner offers a one day pass for $7.95 with reductions on quarterly and annual membership. Searching without having taken out a subscription displays the number of potential hits for your target but no detail.
The British Newspaper Archive operates a points system, searching is free and displays a brief few lines of context (often with optical character recognition problems which don’t affect the article when displayed). The charge to access the articles is points based, a two day 500 credits account costs £6.95 with subsequent reductions for a thirty day or annual subscription.
Unless you are going to need regular access, I’d suggest dipping your toe in with a basic package. I was amazed at how much I found out in a couple of days, including extra information about the Landovery that I included in the article about Stephen Blankett, and the bankruptcy of an ancestor that I’d had no idea had happened.
The earliest British newspapers date from 1700 and there are mentions of Jamaica from very early on. The organisation of early papers is very different from now and you will find brief news items of all kinds mixed in with advertisements for patent medicines, war reports and local news. If you are searching for Jamaican shipping news you will find details of the departures and arrivals and of ships that have been lost or captured by an enemy or by privateers.
Both sites offer the option of obtaining print-outs. The Jamaica Gleaner offers a full-sized reproduction of any newspaper page in the archive, and the British Newspaper Archive offers A1 sized prints of scans of any page printed on quality paper.