Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Genealogy Gophers Website is Launched - Free Genealogy Books

I received this via email today from Dallan Quass:


I'm launching a new website today: Genealogy Gophers https://www.gengophers.com.  The goal is to be Google Books for genealogy:

* Completely free. The site is supported by ads and "Google Consumer Surveys" - people are asked to answer a few market-research questions once a day in order to read and download the books.

* Only genealogy-relevant books: 40,000 and growing. These out-of-copyright books have been obtained from FamilySearch, the Allen County Public Library, the Mid-Continent Public Library, and several other libraries.

* Advanced search technology allows searches for people: the names, dates, places, and relatives associated with them, not just words.

* Search results include snippets from the book pages so it's easy to quickly scan the results and find the most-relevant ones.

The website is in beta. Over the coming months I'll be continuing to improve the search algorithms and adding another 60,000 books.

I'm hoping this is a big hit. Free access to records in exchange for answering a few survey questions could open a new avenue for more subscription-free genealogy websites.


This website sounds like a very useful tool.  It's in Beta mode, but it works well.  Dallan notes that it is supported by Surveys and Google ads - I can live with that.

In just a few minutes, I found that I could search for persons or places, could read the books found on my computer, could download them in PDF format, and more.  

Here's the home page of GenGophers.com:

I looked for books with the surname Seaver in Massachusetts, and found:

I clicked on the second item to see the full page text:

There I saw the first survey.  I answered the question and the box went away, showing:

The search term is highlighted on the page.  The source information is shown on the left (above an ad).  Above the page image are links for "View fullscreen" and "Download PDF."  

The typical controls for single page, double page, four-pages, zoom in, zoom out, back a page and forward a page are in the lower right-hand corner of the page.  There is a slide bar to move quickly forward and backward in the book.  They all work.

In the upper right-hand corner is a link for the FAQ page - https://www.gengophers.com/#/faq - with explanations of the website features.

I've already added this to my Bookmarks Bar - it's that useful!

copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver


W. David Samuelsen said...

The problem I see is that when you go to www.archive.org, you find the books in more screen space than you see in this site.

Dallan said...

There's a link to view the book fullscreen above the book, but I could also make the book an inch or so higher. Do you think that would help?

wendy said...

Thanks for the tip! I just searched and found out how my 2nd great-grandfather died!

T said...

I spent an hour or so last night reading. I was impressed with the number of returns I got. I didn't find anything useful but I didn't feel it was a waste of time.

Dallan said...

Thanks! I made the default book view a bigger this morning. It now reaches to the bottom of the screen :-)

Jana Last said...


I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at http://janasgenealogyandfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/2015/03/follow-friday-fab-finds-for-march-6-2015.html

Have a great weekend!