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Newspapers record history as it happens from the common man's perspective. They chronicle local and world developments in politics, trade, and society on the edge of an unseen future.

In 18th-century Belfast, on the cold, rainy shore of what is now Northern Ireland, Francis Joy began the Belfast Newsletter and General Advertiser. Founded in 1737, the Newsletter was the first newspaper published in provincial Ireland. At that time, Belfast was little more than a riotous settlement town in a flat hollow of the mountains, a small port slowly spreading along the mouth of the river Lagan.

The Newsletter gives a view of history through the perspective of middle-class Belfast. Researchers can study early accounts of the developing Irish civil discontent that continues in Northern Ireland today, examine the activities of Ireland's political and religious factions, and read the unfolding histories of the American and French revolutions.

The Belfast Newsletter collection contains accurate information on births, deaths, and marriages in what is now Northern Ireland. It provides passenger lists and shipping announcements that have recorded immigration and emigration through the Irish port. It gives accounts and anecdotes of the town's citizens that give substance to names listed in church and municipal records. The Belfast Newsletter collection proves an excellent primary resource for the study of 18th-century Irish politics, trade, and social life.

The Belfast Newsletter is accompanied by a free microfiche index, also available separately. The index is divided into four categories:


  • Personal name index
  • Place name index
  • Ship name index
  • Subject heading index

(The following years are not included in this collection: 1751, 1753, 1759, 1763, 1787.)

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