The extremely useful British Newspaper Archive has just been made available worldwide on FindMyPast - and needless to say everyone is trying to use it. As a result it is slow and occasionally throws you off with an apology, but the rush will eventually slow down. If you try it out there are some problems which are not immediately clear from the instructions.
To illustrate the problem I did a search for Keyword "Tring" between 1830 and 1840 setting the county as follows.
- HERTFORDSHIRE - found 350 Articles in the Herts Mercury & Reformer
- BUCKINGHAMSHIRE - found 634 articles in the Bucks Herald
- BEDFORDSHIRE - found 0 articles
- OXFORDSHIRE - found 150 articles in the Oxford Journal
- DURHAM - found 411 articles in the Northern Echo
The important thing to note is that if you select a county it is the county the newspaper is published in. Tring is close to the Buckinghamshire border and at the time was well covered by the Aylesbury papers (only one of which is currently in the archive). It is less well covered by the only Hertfordshire paper in the archive. If you search in Bedfordshire the search still takes time - and a "0" appears with any warning to tell you that there is no Bedfordshire paper for this period in the archive (yet)! The Oxford figure included references to a proposed railway line from Tring to Cheltenham which was never built.
The high figure for the Northern Echo suggests it was a much larger paper than the rest which regularly reprinted national news from other papers. In fact at least half the "Tring" responses are due to the fact that scanning is far from perfect and the real word is something like "string" with a badly printed "s" or "King". However I spotted plenty of genuine Tring references.
I will have another look - using it for personal names - and report sometime in December.