Monday, March 17, 2008

Using SearchThingy

One of the search boxes that I've not used for awhile on Rootsweb is the SearchThingy. What is that, you ask?

Apparently, Rootsweb has not updated this search capability for awhile. According to the 20 February Rootsweb Review:


"RootsWeb users have created millions of websites. About 10 million, to be more precise.

Some were created by individuals; others by historical societies, libraries, or genealogical groups.

Some are hosted by RootsWeb (freepages), and some are hosted elsewhere but linked to RootsWeb (registered websites) so RootsWeb users can locate them more easily.

They contain everything from information on a particular family to cemetery burial indexes to instructions on how to create your own freepage.

One of these Web pages may have just the information you are looking for. But how do you find it?


In the early days of RootsWeb, Search Thingy was developed to search all of the websites and freepages hosted by and linked to RootsWeb.

However, because of a lack of hardware and server space, it was not possible to keep Search Thingy up-to-date with the thousands of websites constantly being added to RootsWeb. It has been out-of-date for some time.

That has now changed. Thanks to a special RootsWeb developer, I am happy to announce that Search Thingy is up and running—and indexing 10 million websites.

So if someone, somewhere has put information you need on a RootsWeb website, chances are better than ever that you will find it.


Search Thingy is not in the most intuitive spot. Here's how you find it.

Locate the "Search Engines and Databases" heading on the RootsWeb homepage. Click the "Index of All Search Engines and Databases" link below this heading. Click "Search Thingy." It's the second database listed under "Our Most Popular Searchable Indexes."

Previously published in RootsWeb Review: 20 February 2008, Vol. 11, No. 8


Naturally, I had to try this out.

The list of Rootsweb database searches is at The SearchThingy database search box is at

I input [seaver] and received 3,108 matches from over 10 million web pages. Some of them are web pages submitted by volunteers on USGenWeb state and county sites. I found several pages with "new" data for me - now I need to go through all of them and add information to my Seaver database. It is data like this that often solves those brick wall problems that we all have.

Some of the matches are Homepages or Freepages created by Rootsweb subscribers over the years. Some of the links don't work because the web page has been removed recently by a submitter (I found several just in the first 100 matches I checked).

You might want to try the SearchThingy search function before a lot of USGenWeb pages are migrated from the free Rootsweb domain to some other domain.

Unfortunately, the distrust, dislike and fear of will cause a major disruption in the Rootsweb search functions and the USGenWeb project pages for years to come. Links to web pages will have to be changed on county pages and state pages, probably one at a time. Too bad - it was a great system.

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