Search Letters in Newspapers 1704–1999

Search Letters in Newspapers 1704–1999

Letters in newspapers can reveal our ancestors' characters, opinions, feelings, personal relationships and give us a glimpse into their day-to-day lives. Search thousands of letters your ancestors wrote dating back to the 1700's online.

Enter your ancestor's name below and we'll search letters in newspapers to help you learn more.

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Ex: Jenson, Jensen, Jens?n; Carrol, Carol, Caroll, Car* name search tips »

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Ex: William, Will OR Bill, Wm., W., etc. name search tips »

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Use a range beyond the ancestor's life span. Ex: 1800 - 1890 or Jan 15, 1890 - Nov 22, 1890 date search tips »

Newspaper Letter Search Tips

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Check your selection to search letters by state, city, or newspaper title.
  1. Letters Written By Famous People - Parents' Letters To Their Children
  2. Newspaper Letter To Editor Collage
  3. Letters To Royalty In Newspapers

  1. Letters Written by Famous People
  2. Letters to the Editor
  3. Speeches & Letters to Royalty

  1. Newspapers sometimes publish letters written by famous people and celebrities. Sometimes these letters are of a personal nature, such as letters written from famous parents to their children.

    These letters from famous people can give us insight into their personal characters and family lives, as well as provide names, places, dates and other relevant genealogical details.

  2. Newspaper editors are always looking for news stories that have connections to their readers. People often write to newspaper editors responding to their editorials, or to discuss topics and issues of concern. These letters from the people are then published in the newspapers.

    Letters to the editor can give us insight into our ancestors' personal opinions, viewpoints and characters, as well as provide us with their names and locations at the time of writing. Some people even wrote to the editor searching for their family history. These letters to the editor can be especially helpful in our genealogy research.

  3. Historical newspapers often published royal letter correspondence and recorded speeches made to and by royalty, which can be helpful in learning about their lives and thoughts—adding context if you are tracing royal family trees and discover more about your European ancestors.

    Speeches and letters to kings, queens, princes, princesses, dukes and more were published in the newspapers of the day. These letters to royalty give us a glimpse back in time into our ancestors' lives.

Letters Found in Newspapers:
  • Letters to the Editor

  • Letters Written by Famous People

  • Speeches & Letters to Royalty

And many more!

Letters in Newspapers Bring Our Ancestors To Life

Letters have played a pivotal role throughout our nation's past, serving as our ancestors' primary means of communication throughout the 18th century and continuing to be popular today. You can discover several types of letters in newspapers,

including letters to the editor, letters written by famous people, letters to royalty and more. These old letters bring our ancestors to life by revealing their day-to-day lives, characters and opinions.

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Letters Search Tips

Use this search to find letters to the editor, letters to and from royalty, letters written by famous people and more in the historical newspaper archives. This online collection contains public letters as published in U.S. newspapers from 1704–1999.

Broad Newspaper Letter Search

Sometimes family letters were posted to the newspaper because they contained information that was of interest to many people in the community. These family letters can be found by searching for the individual’s first and last name or by location.

You can also search for letters and speeches written to and by famous people and royalty by entering the individual’s name in the First Name and Last Name fields.

Search for Letters to the Editor

To search for letters to the editor in newspapers, search by typing the keyword "editor" in the Include Keywords field. You can narrow the search results by including the name of a newspaper in quotation marks in the Include Keywords field.


"New York Tribune"

Note: if you are looking for lists of unclaimed letters held at the post office see the Tables & Charts section.

Visit the Blog

Need additional help tracing your family tree? Visit our genealogy blog for more search tips that will help you do better family history research with GenealogyBank.