Monday, May 15, 2006

Data-Mining Genealogy Web Sites (Part 1)

One of the first things that beginning genealogists should do is determine if somebody else has done some of the research work for them. There are several FREE websites which can help you find others who are interested in your surname or your particular ancestral families. Of course, you must make the effort to prove that the work of other researchers is accurate.

One of these is the Rootsweb Freepages, which are submitted by researchers for others to browse.

Using the Freepages link, you are led to a page with letters and numbers. You can click on one of the letters (say, S for Seaver) and see if someone else has submitted data for the Seaver surname. When you do this, you will see that you are a victim of the way the submitters named their pages. If they called their file the "Descendants of Robert Seaver" then you will find it in the D list and not the S list.

There is another way to find Freepages with your surname of interest. You can Google the string [rootsweb freepages seaver] (or your own surname of interest) and come up with quite a few hits, all on the Rootsweb freepages. If you want to find people with a specific ancestral person or couple, you could Google the persons name (e.g. [rootsweb freepages "robert seaver" ])or two surnames (e.g., [rootsweb freepages seaver ballard]). I find this method much easier and more efficient to use.

Try it - you may find a distant cousin!


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