MORE than 70 years of early editions of the Bromsgrove Advertiser have been made available to view online for free, thanks to the efforts of a town genealogy society.

The Bromsgrove branch of the Birmingham and Midland Society for Genealogy and Heraldry (BMSGH) has launched a major historical resource on its site - an archive of digitised copies of the newspaper.

Pages of each newspaper, from 1860-1937, were meticulously scanned by history enthusiast Martin Stephens from microfilms provided by the Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology service.

These early papers provide a fascinating insight into the town’s past, and the history of the newspaper.

The early editions also originally included national news but over time this coverage decreased, then was dropped altogether, leaving the Messenger as a paper solely dedicated to news from the area.

The Advertiser’s first edition, under the title Bromsgrove and Droitwich Weekly Messenger, Local Intelligencer and General Advertiser, was published on Saturday, January 7, 1860 and is among the editions available to view.

This is the first time the early editions of the paper have been published online, and BMSGH hope this will become a unique and valuable resource for historians.

Bromsgrove BMSGH’s chairman Mike Yegwart said: “We are indebted to the Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service and Martin for working with us in making this resource available.

“Local newspapers are a great source for family and local history.

“The provide the colour that can bring a family tree to life.

“Births, marriages, court cases, business and domestic disputes, town politics - they’re all there.

“By providing this major resource to the local community we hope to encourage more people to look for their Bromsgrove ancestors.”

To access the digital copies simply register on the Bromsgrove BMSGH website.

Users are then able to browse, download, and print the images of papers, for non-commerical use.

The society’s website can be viewed at