What I Have Learned About Google for Genealogists, Part 2

google-translate-exampleGoogle Translate (http://translate.google.com) has helped me many times. I do a lot of research in Sweden and do not speak Swedish, so I have learned to translate information I do not understand. Several years ago, I found a death record of a sibling to one of my husband’s ancestors. The young man was only 18 years old, so I wondered what had happened. The Swedish words are “konstruktion olycka.” It means that he died in a construction accident. He worked in construction and died on the job. What a revelation. This Google feature has speeded up my research.

Have you used Google Maps (https://maps.google.com)? Who knew all the detail found in areas I had only seen on flat maps. You will find as much detail as you need to find specific locations. If you are looking for a city address, you might find that the house you expected to see has been torn down to add a freeway. You’ll discover that when you combine Google Maps with Google Earth (http://earth.google.com). Lisa Louise Cooke has created several YouTube’s to show how to combine them and see what the area looks like now. You can also add old maps such as those found at David Ramsey’s site and overlay what the area looked like when your family lived there and what it looks like today. Be careful. You might get so excited using these features that you don’t get any research done!

Google Drive (https://drive.google.com) allows users 5GB of free document storage and use of Google Docs, which includes word processing and spreadsheets. These are shareable, easy to publish on your blog or website and you can invite others to edit or collaborate the documents. This collaboration allows you and your cousins to share family information and research findings. Have you used these features?

Several years ago I created a book for my mother-in-law’s 90th birthday to show a brief corn-sheller-patent-information-examplehistory of her family since they arrived in America. A friend joined me to help put it in order and fill in some missing details. We discovered that one of her grandfathers, Joseph Duhachek (1849-1906), had a patent in his name. We found it at https://www/google.com/?tbm=pts. Since he had died before she was born, the family didn’t talk about him and never shared his patent information. This brought her such joy.  (If you want to read the whole story, it’s on my blog at http://familyscribe.us/wordpress/joseph-duhachek-patent-for-a-corn-sheller/.

Another feature of Google that offers help for genealogists is Google Alerts (http://www.google.com/alerts). You can sign up to receive daily or weekly email updates for specific searches. Be careful not to request too many or you may become overwhelmed. I don’t use it for common surnames, but I have used it for less common ones. I have also placed delimiters such as dates and/or location to cut down on suggested finds.

You can use Google+ (https://plus.google.com) for its social networking platform, including joining groups or creating “hangouts” with a limited number of participants at one time.

Other features you might check out include Google Calendar (https://www.google.com/calendar) for keeping your calendar entries in one place; Google Play (https://play.google.com) for music, movies, books and apps; and, Google Shopping (http://ww.google.com/shopping) to shop for genealogy products, supplies, software, and other items.

I may have missed some features, but these are the ones I know and use. I hope you find this useful.

Images taken from Google as examples of what I share here.