Nearly everyone 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 whole range of powerful tools that can help you
with your genealogy research. The Google genealogy tools
listed below can be accessed by clicking the nine dot icon from the Google main
screen or by clicking the links below.
- You know about the Google search used to find things on the web, but it can also be used as a powerful tool to find the people, places and events that are critical to your family research. The main problem with the Google search is that it tends to return many irrelevant pages that you have to sift through to find what you are searching for.
At a minimum, you will want to use the advanced search capability so you can narrow your search down. Advanced search is under settings on the google.com home page and allows your search to be narrowed by language, region or last update as well as others.
In addition, you can enclose your search phrase in double quotes so that it will only find exact matches. You can also use the minus sign to exclude certain terms. For example, if you were looking for an ancestor named James Woods who lived in the 1800's, you would want to exclude references to the actor James Woods. You might try the following: "James Woods" 1835..1885 -actor. (Note-do not include the period after actor)
- Google Maps is a Google genealogy tool that allows you to find any place of interest in the world. The Street View feature lets you see what it looks like as if you were walking down the street. How cool it is to virtually walk down your ancestor's street in the old country as it looks today? maps.google.com
- Google Earth can be used to get a bird’s eye view of just about any place on planet earth. Imagine viewing your ancestral home town from above without even leaving your living room. earth.google.com
- Google Images is a great place to search for images of people and places. images.google.com
- Google Translate allows you to do rough translations of foreign language text. Although it does not replace the need for a human interpreter, you can at least get a good idea of what the document says. You can use it to decipher family documents from foreign countries. translate.google.com
- Google Books provides access to many unique genealogy
related books not available elsewhere. books.google.com
Google provides a surprisingly diverse set of tools for supporting
genealogists. If not aware, you are missing out on some of the best free tools available on the web. Feel free to experiment and
see how this powerful set of tools can help further your research efforts.
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