York History Digital Archive

Made possible with support from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation 

Welcome to the York History Digital Archive – a partnership between York Public Library, Old York Historical Society, The York Weekly, and Advantage Archives. This project would not have happened if not for the generosity of the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation.

Over 100 years of York’s history – history that existed nowhere else but on reels of microfilm held by Old York – is now digitized, fully keyword searchable, and available to anyone with a computer and an internet connection.

Before Starting Your Search...
  • Digitized images are only as good as the microfilm from which they originate. There are occasional blurry or damaged pages. There are also gaps in coverage.
  • Newspaper titles are listed in order of the number of pages per title, from highest to lowest. Example: York Weekly makes up the largest portion of the archive with 63,195 pages and so appears first; Kennebec Journal’s 3 pages make up the smallest portion of the archive and so appears last.  
  • Search results are not in chronological order. The pages appearing first are those with the most occurrences of your search term(s). 
  • The ability to sort search results is not available at this time.
  • The Old York Courant and Old York Transcript combined to become The Old York Transcript and Courant. And sometimes The Old York Courant and Transcript. Since they were used interchangeably over the course of several years, to ensure researchers get content from both titles in their list of results, the two are indexed here as The Old York Transcript and Courant.   
  • In addition to York newspapers, there is a whole host of content including scrapbook clippings and articles about York published in other newspapers; publications for tourists; celebration and anniversary fliers; booklets; and programs; newspaper supplements; and the occasional “why did they save this?” content. 
  • The company that did the original microfilming would have filmed papers in the order in which they were received. That means if an insert or pages were mixed in with other issues and pages – it’s highly likely they would be misidentified – even more so if there are no publication or issue dates on the insert.  For the same reason, there may be instances of duplicated content.

Help Using the Database

This database may be accessed in the Library or remotely, from anywhere in the world. Here are some tips to get started. Have more questions? Please contact Devin Burritt, Reference & Technology Librarian, at dburritt@yorkpubliclibrary.org or at 207-363-2818 ext. 1019 or view the Advantage Help Page.

Searching the Database
To search the newspaper archive enter your terms in the search bar and the range of dates you’d like to search. The default setting is to search for all of the terms in your initial query. You can use the drop down menu to refine it to include “Exact Phrase”, “Any Of The Words”, or “None Of The Words.” Additional terms can be added by using the + sign next to the search. The search can also be refined to an exact date by changing the drop down menu to “On”.

Viewing Results

After you build your query select the discover button to run your search. Results are listed in order of the number of times your terms appear within the result. You can view any article by clicking on the newspaper title above the date and abstract. You can limit your search by selecting the decade, exact year, or publication on the left.

Note: The abstracts below the title may be difficult to read or not include you search term. If you click on the newspaper you can see the entire view and where your search terms were located within the page.

Once you open the newspaper, you can search within the page by using the magnifying glass, select an area for printing or saving with the crop tool, download the whole page with the download button, and adjust the magnification with the drop down menu or magnifying glasses. To turn the page you can use the arrows on the left or right of the screen, the arrows at the top of the screen, or the drop-down menu to select a page. One can access full screen mode with the brackets.


Search Tips
  •  Start broad and then narrow down your search.
  • Refine your search by using the drop-down menu to select “All Of The Words”, “Exact Phrase”, “Any Of The Words”, or “None Of The Words”. 
  • You can add or subtract search terms by pressing the + or – at the end of the search box.
  • The date range can be changed to limit to a specific date, before date, or after date.
  • Use “And” on additional search terms to combine queries;  “Or” to search for two different queries simultaneously; and “Not” to exclude certain terms and narrow your search.
  • When searching, remember that the way we describe things have changed over time. For example: When searching for an obituary, it can be helpful to add a line that includes “Any of the Words” and list all words that might be associated with the obituary such as death, passing, obituary, died.  This will help broaden your search.
  • Ask a librarian for help! E-mail us at info@yorkpubliclibrary.org

Searching Obituaries

Searching for an obituary is a very common search. The term obituary, however, is not uniform throughout the runs of our newspapers.  It is a good term for searching modern papers from the 1970’s or 1980’s, but different search terms may be required to find records from the past.

When searching for an obituary you can use the “+” sign to add additional search terms. This is a good place to use the “Any Of The Words” search, and list all words that could be associated with someone’s death. This will allow the search to look for any of those words in the paper. 

Once you get your results, you can use the dates on the left side of the page to filter to an approximate time period.

Browsing the Database
To browse the newspaper database choose a date or title from the lists below the search box.  You can see more options by clicking “See All” on the top right. One can browse by publication, decade, or individual year.



Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation

Header image, clockwise from top left: Front page of The York Courant August 14, 1891; Advertisement for a benefit tea fundraiser series in support of French orphans hosted by Mrs. John Bangs of Ogunquit, as seen in The Old York Transcript and Courant on July 14, 1916; A record-breaking nor’easter hits York, as reported in the York County Coast Star February 1, 1978; A Goldenrod Kisses advertisement in the December 1, 1899 issue of The York Courant; Front page of The York Weekly, July 22, 1943; An advertisement for Portsmouth-based Pryor-Davis straw hats as seen in the April 13, 1917 issue of The Old York Transcript and Courant; and news of “The Great War” published in that same issue.