Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Using "Google Alerts" to Enhance your Research

Using "Google Alerts" As A Genealogical Tool

One of many helpful resources for genealogists is Google Alerts.

Using this address www.google.com/alerts will lead you to a page which looks like this.

In the search query box , enter the word you would like to be notified of, for example a family surname or the name of a town or village where they lived. You can choose to have daily notifications via your inbox or via a feed or you may choose only weekly notifications to your inbox.
You can choose the type of location that you want this information to be culled from such as news, blogs, or everything published on the web. You can create multiple alerts.
Google Alerts works very well if you are researching less common names but does not work as well if you are researching surnames with frequent occurrences like "Smith" or "Miller".
I am fortunate to have some names which are less frequently occurring such as my married name of Meentzen. . Only this week I was notified of an international online auction listing. When I went to check it out, I found that it was something I had been searching for for some years. My father in law, Carl Meentzen, had cigars made with his name and his company name on the labels. I had heard of these but had not found one. This site had photos of 5 different cigar labels with his name on them. It is of course now my goal to try to acquire these mementos.

If you have an ancestor who owned any sort of company, was a merchant or a professional who used advertising tools, you may have success with this as well. I was notified of a worldwide Ebay auction and was able to acquire other advertising pieces from this same line of the family.
Family Advertising, a calendar would have been in the center.

You may get lucky and find another relative researching your same family line and you can share data and swap photos as I did. I found a name frequently popping up in association with one of my alert names. I contacted him and we realized that we were 2nd cousins. We were able not only to share information, but also to meet , visit a family cemetery, share family photos and have lunch; An excellent day for a genealogist!

I have Google Alerts set for some of the more unusually named villages in England where my paternal grandfathers family is from including the village of Oddington. I get the occasional alert from this name search, but from that I have been alerted to an old family home for sale. I  went to the realtor listing website and downloaded the interior and exterior photos for my files. It was not as good as being there but was a tolerable substitute!
A home once owned by my ancestors

Enjoy using Google Alerts and I hope you have success!

Thank you for stopping by.
The Glamorous Genealogist

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