I thought I would put together a list of some of the resources I have frequently found handy as I researched. There are plenty of others out there, but these are some that I employ as first stops when I'm looking for information.
The Aarne-Thompson-Uther Tale Type System
Get to know the Aarne-Thompson-Uther classification system for folktale types and motifs. There are many motif indexes out there for different countries, which will point you towards books where a particular story or motif shows up.
The local library.
Public libraries! University libraries! They offer both print and online resources - seriously, look into what they offer, as you may encounter databases that you would otherwise have to pay to use. University libraries in particular may have access to paid databases, for instance the Oxford English Dictionary. Also check if they have Inter-Library Loan; in pandemic times this is harder, but some are slowly bringing this back. Reaching out personally to libraries, archives and museums can open up new avenues of research.
https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/ (requires subscription)
Early English Books Online
Folklore and Mythology Electronic Texts, by D. L. Ashliman
newspapers.com (requires subscription, but you can read the OCR generated text for free)
SurLaLune: A database of fairytales with annotations and histories. Recently moved.
If you would like to suggest other resources for starting a search, feel free to comment below!
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Researching folktales and fairies, with a focus on common tale types.