Newspapers.com has over 800 newspapers. For comparison, GenealogyBank claims 6100+ newspapers and NewspaperArchive over 5,000 newspapers. The free Chronicling America has 801 titles. So if you are just choosing a service then Newspapers.com is at a disadvantage because of its weaker coverage.
Another source for comparison is Ancestry.com itself, which also has a newspaper archive, in this case with over 1,000 titles. Looking at a few examples from Ancestry, they don’t have the same set of titles. There are some overlapping ranges but other things that are just different. So what’s the point of Newspapers.com?
My theory is that Ancestry is trying to get more subscription sources. Just as Fold3 could have been pulled into the Ancestry.com database but is kept as a different service, Newspapers.com provides possible new subscriptions. While Ancestry.com gains from having a huge database, after a while the financial benefits of adding more records diminish. By putting content in separate web sites, Ancestry gets new revenue streams, both from people who don’t want to pay for Ancestry along with some who want the extra records.
Newspapers.com lets you search on the following criteria:
- time range
- when added to database
The word search appears to look for a page with some of the entered words. Putting more than one word in quotes is supposed to limit the search to words that are next to each other, but in practice it also finds pages where the words are far from each other, if they are all on the page at all. As an example, a search for “Frances McGovern” included hits for articles about George McGovern with no Frances highlighted at all. This is annoying at it wastes time giving a lot of non-helpful pages. For comparison, GenealogyBank does not have the ability to look for exact phrases, but NewspaperArchive does and it works well. Both of the other services also let you exclude words as well.
A final comparison is cost. Newspapers.com costs $79.95 a year. GenealogyBank costs $69.95 a year. Oddly, I can’t find an annual cost for NewspaperArchive. I know what I paid but I can’t find the subscription price posted anywhere.
So overall Newspapers.com seems to be a weak way to make some extra money for Ancestry. It doesn’t have many titles compared to other sites, the search tools are inadequate, and it is more expensive than GenealogyBank. I can only think of one reason to subscribe, and that is if they are the only service with the newspapers you need.