Book Review: The Genealogist's Google Toolbox, 2nd edition

Compare Google Keyword Tool Box to the Genealogist's Google Toolbox.

Inside the Google Toolbox 

Given all the books on the subject of genealogy, I rarely get excited over a book in this genre.   The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox, 2nd Edition was one that, soon after browsing the chapters, I was drawn in and couldn't wait to try out some of the examples in the book.  The book covers the specific niche of the Google suite of tools, but since the tools are free to use, anyone with internet access should be able to apply everything in the book.

The book’s author, Lisa Louise Cooke, is best known as the producer and host of the popular Genealogy Gems podcast which dispenses helpful advice to help genealogists make the most of their family history research time.  The podcast focuses on quick and easy-to-use research techniques.

Everyone (who has not been living under a rock for the last ten years) knows about Google’s search engine for finding stuff on the Internet.  The term "googling" has even made it into the English language lexicon.  But you may not be aware that Google provides a surprisingly diverse suite of tools to help further your research efforts.  These tools include Google Maps, Google Earth, Google Images, Google Translate and Google Books.  You may have used some of these tools without realizing their potential in a genealogy context.

The book takes a genealogist’s perspective on how to make the most of these powerful tools.  The chapters take a hands on approach to performing tasks that genealogy folks are interested in with actual screen shots to guide you.  You may be wondering what this book can do for you.  Some of what is covered includes:

  • Making more effective use of Google searches including dealing with the problem of searching for ancestors with common surnames.
  • Using Google Books to locate hard-to-find and out of print books.
  • Harnessing the power of the Google News Archive, Google Scholar and Google Patents for doing family research.
  • How to translate foreign language documents with Google Translate.
  • Getting the most out of YouTube.
  • Using Google Earth to find ancestral homes, towns and homesteads and combining them with historic maps.

The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox is loaded with ideas for utilizing Google tools to their fullest.  The thing that got me most excited was the chapter on using Google Earth to create a custom family history tour.  What a great idea!

This book definitely gets my recommendation and, unlike the majority of genealogy books, is worth every penny.  I can’t imagine even the most tech savvy genealogist not being able to pick up at least a trick or two from it.  After all, who has time to endlessly tinker with tools when there are so many ancestors left to find?

If you are interested in purchasing The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox, 2nd edition, click on the link below:

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