About the Index

Prior to 1975, a subject index to Kingston newspapers from 1810-1849 was prepared. The index entries were handwritten onto slips of paper, and the information from these slips was subsequently typed onto catalogue cards and filed in a set of drawers at the Central Branch of the Kingston Frontenac Public Library. In 2005, the catalogue cards were scanned and digitized using OCR (optical character recognition) technology.

Coverage of the Index

The index covers several historic newspapers, including the British Whig, the Chronicle and Gazette, the Kingston Gazette and the Kingston Chronicle. There are over 200,000 entries in the index, covering a wide range of topics and information. Each identified subject contains a brief description to provide its context with the original article that it appeared.

Sorting and Filtering the Index

In order to facilitate your search, we have provides specific filters and default sort options to help you browse through the index entries. These options allow you to filter and sort the index entries By Newspaper, By Date, or By Subject.

Searching the Index

To search the Historic Newspaper Index, follow the instruction on the Digital Kingston Search site.

Limitation of the Index

Accuracy of the Index

Due to limitation of the OCR technology at the time of the original digitization, some scans returned less than accurate information. For instance, on the original index card, a date might be abbreviated at "Mar.", which could have been transposed as "May" during the OCR process. If you notice any information that seems incorrect, please contact us.

No Indexing for Paid Ads in pre-1850 Newspapers

The hand-built indexes to the early newspapers did not include paid advertisements. This means that birth, marriage and death notices were included only if they were "newsworthy" in some way (e.g. if they involved a prominent citizen, an accidental death, etc.). If you know the date of the birth, marriage or death, you can view the newspaper scans by date to see if an announcement was printed.

Letter at the Post Office

A common feature of the early newspapers was a notice called Letter at the Post Office. This was used to notify people that mail was waiting to be picked up. Since the column did not include anything more than the person's name, it is not usually worthwhile to pursue these entries.

Online Access to Digitized Newspapers

Where available, the entries found in the index are linked to scans of the original newspapers. In the original version of Digital Kingston, these scans came from the W.D. Jordan Special Collections Library at Queen's University and were incorporated into the first version of the Digital Kingston database and are still available in the current Digital Kingston Collection.

Since 2005, newspaper digitization has continued in partnership with OurOntario using the Vita Digital Toolkit. This has extended the date range of the online newspapers by an additional 52 years (c1850 - 1900). In recent years, the Google Newspaper Archive has also appeared online, providing yet another option for viewing the early Kingston newspapers.

OCR work was performed on the newspapers from this date range, making available a certain amount of full-text keyword searching. However, because the OCR was usually performed on "scans of scans," the quality of the transcriptions for this date range is highly variable.

The purpose of the new Digital Kingston Historical Newspapers database is to draw together all of these access points under one umbrella, to add more digitized content as it becomes available, and to provide as much subject access as possible to this valuable collection.