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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Treasure Chest Thursday: There's a New Search Engine in Genealogy Town

Recently, I've seen a couple of references to the new online genealogy research tool,  While I don't know much about it from personal use, its presence may help to redefine the future for those of us who have been bitten with "the bug." 

After hearing about the site, I thought I'd take a look and see what all the fuss is about.  After typing in several names which I am interested in, I did find some old entries of mine from Genforum and some from Find a Grave. It is nice to see just genealogical connections on the site.

I hadn't found anything of use to me when I typed in my grandmother's uncommon maiden name.  Not expecting much, I was surprised to her listed with her siblings and parents.  As her parents came direct from Sweden and changed names when they landed, I was intrigued to find her name.  Lucky for me, I clicked on the link and it took me to the site where her name is mentioned.  No new information was spotted, but the name and email address of the submitter was there.  

I've jotted off an email to the submitter to see if I can determine who they are and if they share my blood.  I'll let you know.

Overall, current reviews are mixed, but here is Eastman's take on the site.  I suspect the reviews will become more in favor of the site as new information is uploaded on the internet.  It is certainly a great place to include in the search for your elusive ancestors.

The following article is from Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter and is copyright by Richard W. Eastman. It is re-published here with the permission of the author. Information about the newsletter is available at - a Genealogy Search Engine

I suggest you remember this web site: I bet you are going to hear a lot about it in the next few weeks and months. In fact, I'd suggest you try it right now. I've been using the site for a while during its testing and have been very impressed. This thing actually works! Today, went public and is now available to everyone. is a genealogy search engine that is available to you at no charge. It searches hundreds of thousands of genealogy web sites, looking for the words that you specify. Web sites searched include thousands of genealogy message boards, society web pages, genealogy pages uploaded by individuals, state historical societies, family societies, Find-A-Grave, the Internet Archive (mostly scanned genealogy books from the Allen County Public Library), the Library of Congress, several sites containing scanned images of old photographs, and tens of thousands of distinct sites sites that contain various transcribed records of genealogical interest.

Unlike other search engines, limits its searches solely to genealogy sites. That makes a big difference to many of us who are searching for names that also are common words or corporate names. For instance, if I search for my own surname, Eastman, on most any other search engine, I receive hundreds of thousands of "hits" from photography sites and other sites that have nothing to do with genealogy. Performing a search for "Eastman" on returns thousands of "hits," all of them from genealogy sites and with very few references to photography. Even the few that refer to the Eastman Kodak Company were references found on genealogy sites. A search for my own surname did return a "hit" for one page about the "Eastman Sea Rover airplane," something I had never heard of previously. Even that one "hit" was from a genealogy message board, providing information about the ancestry of the airplane's designer. Regardless of your search terms, always returns information found on web sites that contain significant genealogy information.

I suspect you will always have better luck searching for your own surnames of interest on than on any other search engine.

As an example of how works, I'd suggest you first go to the site and perform a search for Amos Shaw who was married to Sarah Maxey. I found the couple by a search of:
"amos shaw" "sarah maxey"
(Include the quote marks.)

That search found 41 "hits," but the one that was really productive was the fifth "hit" on the first page. That fifth "hit" may change up or down in the future, but you can always return to the correct page if you go to It is a FindAGrave result with an amazing photograph of a lady who was born in 1793 and died in 1868. You can find a photograph of her husband (who died in 1859) one click away. Those are old photos! It is rare to find a photograph of someone born in the 1700s. You will find it much more difficult to find old photographs like this using Google searches for genealogy!

Now try a few searches on with your own names of interest.

Of course, searches on are not limited to names. As with any other search engine, you can search for towns, states, occupations, relatives, or any other text information you think might be included with an ancestor's name. Whatever you specify, the search will be limited to pages on genealogy web sites. For instance, I have long been looking for the origins of Washington Harvey Eastman who lived his adult life in Corinth, Maine. I performed the following search on

"Washington Harvey Eastman" Corinth
This returned only two results, both referring to the specific person I have been looking for (although they only provided information I had already seen previously). Searching for the same person without his town of residence produces many more "hits," most of them for other men with the same or similar names. Adding the town of reference quickly produces focused results.

With the exception of the sites being searched, operates in much the same manner as Google and most other search engines. Mocavo always displays the full URL of the web site(s) found, along with a line of text from the site that contains the words you searched for. Clicking on the URL displays the original web site. never "hides" anything; the original web site is always displayed in its entirety.

According to Cliff Shaw, the creator of

“Genealogy has always had the problem of information and potential clues being spread across thousands of disparate web sites and sources. Imagine a world where you have all of the Web’s free genealogy content at your fingertips within seconds. That is

“ has the capacity to index every single piece of free genealogy content found anywhere on the web, and will be growing by leaps and bounds in the coming months. We expect to shortly offer all of the web’s free genealogy information, searchable and accessible to all – something that has never been done before. It’s set to become the go-to search engine for every family history enthusiast.”

At this time, finds mostly North American genealogy information. I suspect that will expand in the future as the site grows "by leaps and bounds every day."

Cliff Shaw has created a great genealogy search engine, the best I have seen. Try it. I suspect you'll be as pleased with as I am. Go to

I still plan on using other search engines for a lot for my other web searches. However, all my future genealogy searches will start on I've been using the site for a while during its testing and have been very impressed. I suspect you will always have better luck searching for your own surnames of interest on than on any other search engine.


Ahh, genealogy.  Always shaking those trees for my roots.

Update:  I heard back from the submitter of my great grandparents' information.  No kin here.  They had just pulled something off the census.  Disappointing.

©2011 AS Eldredge

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