August 17, 2005

The Scotsman

The Scotsman, begun as a local newspaper in Edinburgh, Scotland on January, 1817. It was described as "...liberal newspaper pledged to ''impartiality, firmness and independence'' in response to the ''unblushing subserviency'' of other publications to the establishment."

It began as an 8-page weekly, and often contained information that other newspapers of the time refused to print. It is said that the paper often had to be smuggled to readers who couldn't afford to be seen buying it, and then read behind "closed curtains."

Now, every issue of The Scotsman from 1817 to 1950 is available on the internet. The website indicates that users can "...Find out if an ancestor..appears in birth, marriages, death notices, or even in a news story." They also offer for sale "...original and complete editions of archive newspapers from a date of your choice."

The website requires registration, and charges a fee for access. I did a search for Coffey, and 310 results were returned. I could have access to all of them with a 24-hour unlimited pass for £7.95, or about $15.00. One British Pound is roughly equivalent to $1.80. The site offers other options: 48-hour pass for £12.95; One week for £19.95; One month for £39.95; and One year for £159.95.

I would be interested in hearing reaction from anyone who uses the site.

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