The fact is that all old newspapers ever published in the United States are not online.
I recently did a webinar about using Chronicling America to its fullest and obtaining more ancestor articles. In so doing, it was an interesting comparison of the number of online newspapers on that site versus the number of newspapers ever published in America.
What is your guess of the percentage? 10%? 20% 5%?
No, the answer (at least with respect to Chronicling America) is that there are approximately 1,600 online titles and there have been over 150,000 titles ever published in the U.S. That yields just a tad over 1%!
Of course, Chronicling America doesn't represent all of the online titles and images available. My research results in about 10,000 free online links for the U.S. (see the Newspapers! Page on this website for all the links). So even 10,000 (online) in comparison to 150,000 (published) - and even if you account for some of the paid sites, such as GenealogyBank, Newspaper.com, etc. would likely yield just about 10%.
That leaves about 90% that ARE NOT ONLINE! Now what the heck do we do? The Library of Congress has helped us out with the US Newspaper Directory from 1690 - Present
This directory provides not just multiple ways to find newspapers published, but tons of facts about those newspapers. Here's an example of a "fact" page".
See all the interesting information about the paper? If you had an ancestor from the area that you think might be mentioned in this paper - and the paper was not online - maybe you could find it at an archive or library in original form or microfilm.
From this "facts" page, you can actually find out where the newspaper is held. Here are some examples for this newspaper:
Don't get stuck if your paper of interest is not online. Visit the US Newspaper Directory from 1690 - Present from the Library of Congress.
To find out how to learn how to navigate this directory and all things about the Chronicling America site in great detail, visit The COMPLETE Chronicling America Tutorial and Guide
Good luck - persistence will win out.