Google has several search engines and databases that are very useful for genealogy researchers. Here is an overview of some of these databases and functions.
Google Books has a seemingly never-ending supply of digitized books. And there is an ample number of old books that can be used in your genealogy research. Generally, there are two types of entries: books that are digitized and full text of the entire book is available online, and books where only partial sections or pages are available, and only snippets of your resultant search results provide useful information.
The URL is books.google.com
Google Patents presents a search engine to find old patents from around the world. Personally, I found that five of my ancestors held patents, much to my surprise, and several of them were from the 1800s!
The URL is patents.google.com
Google Cache provides the ability to see a previous version of a web page. This is particularly useful when you get a 404 Error or a “File Not Found” page when going to a website. Just enter “cache:” in front (do not enter the quotes) of the desired webpages URL, and it will take you to a previous version of the page.
Google Scholar provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. From one place, you can search across many disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts, and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities, and other web sites.
The URL is scholar.google.com
Google Images has over 28 billion images in its database. Similar search functions as in generic Google Search are available. There also is a reverse image search. This is particularly useful for genealogists as it may find other researchers who have the same or similar photo as that of your ancestor that you are performing the reverse image search for or even an image base somewhere with pertinent photos. This can also be used to find larger or better quality versions of the same image.
The URL is images.google.com
Google Maps and Google Earth are particularly useful for genealogists as we can see visually what a house, business, or other property looks like. Also creating custom maps of our ancestors’ residences can also provide us with genealogical clues.
The URLs are www.google.com/maps and earth.google.com/web
Google Translate is very useful when attempting to convert written documents, letters, or other material from the language of the “old country” to current language. There are over 100 languages available.
The URL is translate.google.com
Google Alerts is an excellent resource for genealogy researchers. It is like having a constant search running all the time. It won’t necessarily search inside databases or their records, but if a mention of a person, surname, or whatever else you set the Alert up for occurs in a new resource or news article, you will be sent an email. It can be your secret weapon!
The URL is www.google.com/alerts
Google News Archive provides search and browsing capabilities for over 2,300 newspaper titles, primarily from the U.S. and Canada. It is no longer updated as of several years ago. The search capability can be hit and miss for older newspapers published prior to 1970, but it is worth the effort.
The URL is https://news.google.com/newspapers
Google Search is the ubiquitous search engine that we all use, have used, or are familiar with. There are several tricks to optimize one’s results, especially when searching for ancestors. A description of 17 different Google search techniques can be found at Mastering Google Search for Genealogy
The URL is https://www.google.com/
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