Using Google Books for genealogy is a successful tool to many. A Gem’s reader shares the remarkable story she uncovered using the tips for using Google Books she learned from a recent Genealogy Gems Premium podcast.
From Genealogy Gems Premium member:
I was just listening to the newest Premium podcast concerning filtering the lists on Google Books (Premium episode 137). I would like to relay my story for using your hints and tips on Google.
My great-grandfather was a Confederate soldier. At the age of 48, he married my great-grandmother and my grandmother was born the next year. I found much to my dismay, that he committed suicide when my grandmother was a few weeks old. It was stated that he had what would be described today as post-traumatic stress disorder, and the burning of the court house where he worked as a county clerk set off something. My Dad was born on what would have been my great-grandfather’s 90th birthday.
I have known for about 30 years that my great-grandfather wrote articles under a pen name. My aunt told me she had been told he wrote articles about the scenery in southern Utah where he lived. I searched and searched and never found any of his articles. Then, I had a breakthrough. I found the pen name by using several tips you mentioned for using Google. The pen name was Lock Melone. It was spelled differently than I had been told.
It turns out, he was a very well-known humorist. One of his stories appears in a publication alongside an article by Mark Twain. (He wrote articles in the 1870s and 1880s.)
Now, back to your tips on Google. I was Googling, checking all the old newspapers I could find to collect his writings. One of the sources continually mentioned in Google Books was a literary magazine called The Californian. These were not all free on Google, but I was not to be deterred after all these years! I used the basic information and time frames listed in Google Books and looked at WorldCat. That led me to e-books and to some of the holdings in universities around the country.
As of today, I have found 69 of his articles! They have made an ancestor who I thought had a rough life with a tragic end, a new person, full of life and laughter! I am sure his stories are based on events that occurred during his “real life” adventures. He lived life to the fullest, traveling a great deal, and saw the world through a light heart.
I am continuing to search for more articles and have begun to compile his writings to give to my children and cousins for a Christmas present this year (if I can figure out how to put it all together!) With my grandmother as his only child, I will have given his life to all his descendants, a very special chore on which I have worked on with great pleasure.
Thanks for the tips on Google and other sites you have given over the years.”
Follow-up Ideas for Using Google Books for Genealogy
Here are a few follow-up suggestions relating to finding issues of a literary magazine or another scholarly publication like The Californian:
First, turn to another powerful free tool in the Google toolbox: Google Scholar. It takes Google Books to the next level and you may hit on some things that Google Books may miss. Refer back to Premium Podcast 136 for a discussion of Google Scholar for genealogy, and Chapter 11 in my book The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox, Second Edition.
Second, remember that sometimes serial publications change names, or two different ones may have the same name. Wikipedia’s not the most expert source, but its article on The Californian says something you can follow up on. The Californian was published from 1880 to 1882, as a continuation of the earlier Overland Monthly which had stopped in 1875, and then in 1882 it switched back to its old name. This means you should look for both titles.
A third idea may be to check e-bay for back issues of old magazines and journals. Sometimes, it’s cheaper and easier to buy them than to try to borrow them through inter-library loan. E-bay does happen to have a CD version for sale of The Californian issues from 1880 to 1882. I talk more about finding family history items on e-bay in the Premium Podcast episodes 16, 76, and 131.
Lastly, don’t forget JSTOR. JSTOR is a shared digital library for scholarly journals and the like. It launched in 1995 to serve university and college libraries, running out of space to store old journal issues. Today, it includes over 2,300 journals and thousands of other materials. It’s even started including books. Over 50 million pages are digitized, with another 3 million being added every year.
The nice thing about JSTOR is that you don’t have to be affiliated with a major library to get access now. Individuals can register for free access allowing them to read some materials online. They offer free access to their Early Journal Content collection of scholarly content published before 1923 in the U.S. (and before 1870 in other parts of the world.) That collection alone has nearly a half million articles from over 200 journals.
Unfortunately in this case, JSTOR doesn’t have The Californian or Overland Monthly in its collections. But one can certainly use JSTOR to search for other journals. JSTOR is just a great resource for anyone to use when searching for historical articles, especially those you may come across in Google Scholar without the full article text.
Your Google Books for Genealogy Success Stories
It is so rewarding to hear your success stories in using Google Books for genealogy. Your stories inspire others. Please feel free to share your experiences in the comment section below.
Keep Reading: More Gems on Using Google Books for Genealogy Success
This Canadian genealogy conference is one of western Canada’s largest. Coming this fall to British Columbia, it features 3 days of learning from 11 acclaimed speakers and a Marketplace to explore new genealogy products. Canadian genealogy conference coming up...
Colonial genealogy records are just the tip of the iceberg in this week’s new and updated genealogical collections. If your roots go back to the early days of the American colonies, you will want to get started in these unique colonial genealogy records. Additionally, some fantastic finds for the United Kingdom and Denmark are also available in this week’s gems.
United States and Canada – Transatlantic Migration
First things first: where and when did your early American family arrive in the New World? Findmypast has added a new collection titled United States, Transatlantic Migration. This collection offers more than 30,000 records shedding light on the lives of your migrating ancestors from England, Scotland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, and France from as early as the 1500s to as recent as the 1900s. Some information you may be able to find include: birth countries, date of emigration, ages, occupations, and names of family members. Once you have found where your family settled, head on over to the next record set for founding families.
United States – Colonial Genealogy Records
Findmypast’s colonial genealogy records set titled United States, Early American Families is a one-of-a-kind collection. These records will help you learn even more about your ancestral ties to early founding families in America. Dive into 140 publications containing over 86,000 records. These records provide details regarding the early families and their descendants. You might even learn the birth or death year of your family’s brick wall ancestor!
A sister colonial genealogy records collection titled United States, Early American Vital Recordswill also be of interest to those searching the colonial American family. This collection is filled with over 14,000 vital records as early as the 1600s! You will be delighted with the many birth, marriage, and death registers, gravestone inscriptions, and wills you can find here.
United States – Connecticut – Town Vitals
The Barbour Collection of Connecticut Town records, also from Findmypast, contains over 18,000 vital record volumes pertaining to Connecticut towns. You will need to search these records by surname. If your ancestral surname is located, you will find a PDF image that may list the birth or death dates, names of family members, and other personal details of the Connecticut family.
United States – Colonial Williamsburg
The Colonial Williamsburg Education Resource Library has been made available to everyone with a thirst for learning. What better resource to learn about your colonial American family research than with the library’s more than 100 lesson plans, background texts, and primary source media.
You will need to create an account, but it is free. Even though the account sign-up page seems to be for educators only, it is for everyone! I made my own account and got pretty excited looking through the many videos available. My son, a big history buff, is going to love this! I am always looking for ways to get the kids interested in family history.
United Kingdom – Military
Over 1.1 million War Office records covering officers, nurses, and other ranks have been updated in the British Army Casualty Lists 1939-1945 collection this past week. These lists cover the individuals reported as killed in action, wounded, prisoner of war, missing, died of wounds, dangerously ill, and more.
This collection at Findmypast is fully searchable and offers transcripts and digital images of the original documents. Most lists will give the person’s name, rank, service number, regiment, and status. It may also provide the date of death if applicable.
Denmark – Census
FamilySearch.org is where to look for your Danish ancestors! The name index of the Denmark census taken in 1911 is available for free at FamilySearch or with your paid subscription at MyHeritage.
The Denmark census of 1911 was the thirteenth census for the country. Though the census includes the countries of Greenland, Faroe Islands, and the Danish West Indies, what you will find on FamilySearch is only those enumerations for Denmark. The census is divided into three sections: Copenhagen city, other cities, and rural areas.
This census is written in Danish of course, so you might need a little help with some translation. Pop on over to FamilySearch wiki here to find a helpful chart of key words in both Danish and English.
This census asks questions pertaining to names of household members, birth date and year, birth location, religion, occupation, your means of getting to work, and how long it takes to get to your location of work! Isn’t that interesting?!
More Gems on Colonial American Family Research
Looking for even more tips and tricks to researching the colonial American family? Try these Genealogy Gem favorites!
If you haven’t been enjoying The Genealogy Gems (free!) Podcast, try it out today! A podcast is like listening to a favorite radio show from your computer or mobile device. Get up-to-date with everything new and exciting in the world of genealogy, learn a new tech tip, and find inspiration in these wonderful podcast programs!
Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links and Genealogy Gems will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on these links (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for supporting Genealogy Gems!
A free podcast series for beginner genealogy, The Family History: Genealogy Made Easy podcast series offers step-by-step how-to instruction and inspiration.
Are you just getting started in family history? Or are you ready for a genealogy “do-over” with a more systematic approach to learning and researching? My free beginner genealogy podcast series, Family History: Genealogy Made Easy, may be just what you’re looking for. Kim from Alpine, Utah, wrote in to say how much that series has helped her:
I’ve downloaded all of the Family History Made Easypodcasts and am making my way through them while I exercise. I just finished listening to your archived Family History Made Easypodcast #31 “Immigration and Naturalization Records, part 3” with Stephen Danko, not realizing there were also parts 1 and 2. When I got on my computer to look at the show notes and realized there were two more episodes in this series to listen to, I was thrilled: I have an incentive now to go walking at least twice more this week! The podcasts are the motivation for me to get out and get the blood circulating!
I was amazed at all there is to learn from ship manifests, and have a plan to go back and review those I’ve already captured. I’m sure there are many new things I will be able to learn from them, after learning about all of the marks and notations.
Thank you for producing this entire series of informative, educational, instructive, and interesting, podcasts, as well as the Genealogy Gems podcasts. They are a service to the genealogy community and help elevate the quality of our family history work. I wish you well and hope you continue producing them for a long time!
Here’s how to access the free series:
1. Go to www.genealogygems.com 2. Hover your mouse over Podcast 3. Click on Family History: Genealogy Made Easy 4. Episodes are in numerical order
5. Click the link for episode 1 called Getting Started 6. The web page is called “show notes” and has all the information covered in that episode.
7. Click “Play Now” link at the top and then click the Play button to listen on your computer, or you can subscribe through iTunes. Here’s a link to frequently asked questions about podcasts.
Along with the step-by-step beginner genealogy series, you can also listen to the entire archive of the Genealogy Gems Podcast, like Kim has done, for tons of additional ideas and strategies.
Adding Source Citations is our third post in the Inherited Genealogy Files series, and in this post, we answer a listener’s question.
We recently received this letter from a Genealogy Gems Podcast listener, Cristy. She says:
Thank you for your tip about starting from the present and working backwards. I was having a hard time knowing where to start. I had inherited a tree passed from my mom and my great-grandmother, that when combined with the information my husband’s aunt gave me [I had a] tree with almost 1200 names. But the information from my great-grandmother and my aunt does not have any sources and all of my mom’s sources got lost in our various moves over the years. She only had her old school database that just had the facts and no sources.
I determined that a genealogy book my mom used as a source for one of our lines [had been] copied [from] an older genealogy line that has been proven incorrect. So, my goal has been to re-find my mom’s sources and document everything. I didn’t know where to start. I have now made a second tree in my database keeping the original as a place to start and only putting what I have proved using actual sources and attaching the documentation as I go. Your episode on the Genealogical Proof Standard was really helpful. It will be a big help as I clean up my tree.
Finding Source Citations for Your Inherited Family Tree
Let’s first give a brief definition of source citation.
Source Citation: the information that tells your reader where you obtained a particular piece of genealogical data.
For example, a family tree should include a source citation for the birth date and place, the death date and place, and the marriage date and place…and that’s just the start.
Finding source citations is really easy if you are using FamilySearch. Let’s say I used a death record I found online at FamilySearch as the proof of my ancestors death date. What is so wonderful about using FamilySearch.org for finding records is that it includes a source citation for you to copy and paste. Take a look.
You can highlight the source citation text and copy it into your genealogy software. A bonus is knowing that FamilySearch is free and easy to use.
Adding Source Citations for Genealogy to RootsMagic Software
As I mentioned above, you can take the source citation you found on FamilySearch and copy and paste it into your genealogy software. RootsMagic is the genealogy software we here at The Genealogy Gems Podcast use (and we are proud that they sponsor our free Genealogy Gems Podcast.) It is an easy-to-use and effective software for both PC and Mac users. (To learn more about using RootsMagic, read here.)
Using RootsMagic, let’s add a source citation to an event in a family tree:
In this example above, we have double clicked on Clarence’s name and opened up the Edit Person window. We would like to add a source citation for Clarence Bowser’s death date and place. In the line for death, we click on the box in the source citation column. The source citation column is indicated by that little icon that looks like a record.
At the pop-up window, we click Add new source and from the options, choose Free Form and click OK.
Now, let’s assume you copied the following source citation from a record you found at FamilySearch.org:
“Ohio Death Index, 1908-1932, 1938-1944, and 1958-2007,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VKBM-BKN : accessed 8 December 2014), Clarence W Bowser, 09 Nov 1958.
The first part of the citation is the title of the collection and the location you found it. “Ohio Death Index, 1908-1932, 1938-1944, and 1958-2007,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VKBM-BKN. That front half of the citation is going to go in the Footnote area of the next pop-up window. The remainder of the citation you copied is going to go in the Page field. Then click, OK.
Notice, the entire footnote at the right of the screen looks like the one you copied from FamilySearch. You may wonder why on earth we separated the citation. Because, RootsMagic is going to remember you have a source citation from Ohio Death Index, 1908-1932, 1938-1944, and 1958-2007. The next time you find an ancestor’s death record in this index, you will not need to click Add new source. Rather, you will click Cite existing source, and choose the Ohio Death Index, 1908-1932, 1938-1944, and 1958-2007.
At the next screen, the Footnote field will already be filled out for you. All you need to do is fill in the Page field with the back-half of the new source.
You can get loads more tips and tricks in our helpful Evernotefor Windows for Genealogists quick reference guide (also available for Mac users). Also, get a quick overview about this amazing product from this video clip on our YouTube Channel.