Saturday, April 28, 2007

Easy Google Genealogy Searcher, Part II

This genealogy search tool, powered by Google, offers specialized searches for finding ancestors in historic books, historical society and other scholarly articles, genealogy blogs, and US patent searches. The Google Genealogy Searcher Part II uses Google to search databases that you may have not known existed.

Easy Google Genealogy Searcher, Part II

With the Google Searcher, Part II, you can search:

Google Books
Search the full text of public domain books that Google has digitized. You can download, save and print the book for free. These books include genealogy books, county history books, military books, municipal annual reports, and other out-of-copyright books that include the names of regular folks. This is a great resource. I found my Civil War ancestors in their regimental histories, and biographical data of other ancestors in county books. And Google continues to scan and digitize books.

Google Scholar
Search historical society papers, journal articles and college thesis for your ancestor. (I actually found a college thesis about an ancestor of my husband who had been a city mayor about 100 years ago - so you never know what you will find until you search)

Google Patent
Google Patent Search Search US patents issued from 1776 to the present. Patents were not just issued to inventors and researchers, but also to factory workers, farmers, miners and many other regular people. I searched for the county where my ancestors lived, and browsed the many patents. While I didn't find anything specific for my family, I was able to get a general sense about the county during the time my family lived there.

Google Blog
Search for ancestors, genealogy topics, locations, or relatives. There are thousands of genealogy blogs today. Some genealogy blogs are about individual family research and some blogs make genealogy database announcements complete with surnames. This is a huge untapped resource to search for your ancestors.

And don't forget the original
Easy Google Genealogy Searcher
Puts advanced Google features useful for genealogy searching on one page with suggested keywords and ideas for use in genealogy to help make the most of your genealogy Google searches.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Google and Abbreviations

When using Google for genealogy searches, watch your abbreviations! Google searches for the *exact* word entered into the search box. It does not convert an abbreviation to the whole word.

If in your search query you use the abbreviation for a location, Google searches only for web pages that use the location abbreviation.

For example, Google does not consider Pennsylvania and its abbreviation PA to be the same even though we may we may use them interchangeably. If you type PA into Google, it will search for those pages that contain the word PA, and your search will miss all the web pages that only use the word Pennsylvania.

To see for yourself, try searching Google for PA genealogy, then search for Pennsylvania genealogy , (or substitute your own location), and compare the different results for each search. The results are not the same!

On the other hand, when searching for transcriptions of old data, you can widen your genealogy search by using the old-fashioned location abbreviation. Here's a list of the old style U.S. state abbreviations.

If you abbreviate a search keyword, you won't get complete and accurate search results. Just something else to keep in mind as we search for our ancestors on the Internet.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Google and Easter Eggs

It seems appropriate on April Fool's Day and the week before Easter to talk about Google and Easter Eggs.

You may have noticed I'm a bit of a Google fan, and try to learn as much as possible about how to take full advantage of Google for genealogy searching. Genealogy Google Search Ideas

But I also enjoy the sense of humor that Google as a company has. Google has some surprises known as Easter Eggs which are hidden and unexpected features.

So in honor of Easter and April Fool's Day, here are some Google Easter Eggs I have found. There is no point in me describing these features. Easter Eggs have to be experienced, so be sure to click on each one. Enjoy!

Hint: You may have to be signed into your Google account to see some of these features.

  • Google Moon

    Google says: In honor of the first manned Moon landing, which took place on July 20, 1969, we’ve added some NASA imagery to the Google Maps interface to help you pay your own visit to our celestial neighbor. Happy lunar surfing. And if you zoom in far enough, you can see something that we all suspected all along!

  • Use Google Maps for to get directions from Boston to Calais and get a surprising instruction. Take a look at the 9th direction on these Google Directions . Phew!

  • Enter answer to life the universe and everything into the Google search box and Google calculator will give you the fictional answer. You have to be a fan of Douglas Adam's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy to get the joke, and it appears that some of the Googlers are.

  • New Themes for Google Personalized Pages . I choose the beach theme which dynamically changes to match my time of day. Very cool! But look carefully at this image to see who appears on my theme at 3:14 A.M. I'll give a little hint - it befits anyone with Scottish ancestry. Most of the themes have their own Easter Egg. Happy April Fool's Day!

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