Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Using GenealogyBank - Post 1: Getting Started

GenealogyBank is a commercial database provider of Historical Newspapers (1690-1980), America's Obituaries (1977 to present), Historical Books (1801-1900), Historical Documents (1789-1980), and the Social Security Death Index (1937-current). GenealogyBank is a part of NewsBank.

The Home Page has links for the title lists for each collection. The Historical Newspaper collection is listed here, and the America's Obituaries collection is listed here (hmm, it's the same link as the Newspapers, wonder why?).
UPDATE 16 July: Tom Kemp emailed me and said:

"I finally had them combine both lists - since researchers were always missing one or the other list. There were endless questions - which interestingly have evaporated when I combined the lists."

Thanks, Tom!
Subscription prices for GenealogyBank can be found here. Retail prices are $69.95 for an annual subscription, $19.95 for a monthly subscription, and they presently offer a 30-day trial for $9.95. I signed up last week for a free 7-day trial that was offered to SCGS Jamboree attendees. Note that subscriptions automatically renew if the subscriber does not cancel before the end of the subscription.

The Home Page for non-subscribers looks like this (two screens):

There is a link for GenealogyBank search tips here (and shown below):

This is a very handy list! Every user of GenealogyBank should understand how the searches are conducted. If the user enters a first name and a last name, the OCR search will find those combinations but also any other combination of the names within close proximity - up to two words. Therefore, the user will get many extraneous matches, but will also receive matches when a first name and last name are separated by a middle name.

There are also two advanced search fields for the historical collections. They permit Keywords (which can include names) to be "included" or "excluded" from the search results. Names, or phrases, can be put in quotes in the two Keyword fields. A date range can also be included in the search parameters.

I decided to look for articles for Isaac Seaver. I put First name = Isaac" and Last Name = "Seaver" in the search fields, as shown below:

After clicking on the green "Begin Search" button, the table of matches came up:

The search found 43 matches in the available records. 25 were in the Historical Newspapers collection and 18 were in the Historical Documents collection.

I will go exploring in the Historical Newspaper collection in the next post.

1 comment:

Scott said...

Of those 43 matches how many of them where "your" Isaac Seaver?