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Meet the Genealogy Gophers

Did you know that there are thousands of digitized family histories, regional and local histories, genealogy magazines along with how-to books, gazetteers, newsletters, and medieval histories freely available online? Organizations like Project Gutenberg, FamilySearch, Internet Archive, Google Books and educational institutions have been hard at work for years. That’s both good news and bad news. While there are a lot of freely-accessible publications available, finding them can be a challenge. That’s where Genealogy Gophers comes in. The Gophers have built an amazing search engine that will not only find the publication, but find – and display – the information that matches your search. In the example below, I’m looking for information about my ancestor, John Lewis Gervais, in South Carolina.

Sample Search Results

 

Within seconds I had two pages of results with excerpts showing the information matching my search. Clicking the title will display a screen that includes source information for that publication along with a reader opened to the page where the information on my ancestor appears.

the reader screen

In this example, there is only one page referencing my ancestor. The orange pointer you see at the bottom of the reading window is a bookmark to that page. In publications where there are multiple results, you will see additional pointers. Click on a pointer to move to that page. There are also controls to navigate forward and backward in this book, enlarge or reduce the view and more. Notice the link at the top of the reader to download a PDF copy of the publication.

Genealogy Gophers is free if you don’t mind responding to a number of surveys. If you don’t like surveys, a $19.95/year subscription will remove them.

 

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The Genealogy Column at Boston Evening News

The Boston Evening News was published from 1830 to 1941. Between 1906 and 1941, it featured a genealogy column in which readers would submit and respond to queries. It is estimated that two million names had been included in those columns. This collection is part of the archives at the New England Historical and Genealogical Society.

Recently they partnered with FamilySearch to digitize the collection. Several weeks later the scanning was completed and the collection is now browsable at AmericanAncestors.org (the NEHGS website). The Vita Brevis blog has details on the collection and tips for using it to learn more about your family.