Sunday, January 4, 2009

Checking in on

I posted about several months ago here - when it was first announced and highlighted - and noted that it had great potential as a search engine for genealogy data.

I checked again recently, and noted:

* What is LiveRoots about? Check the About page. The owner and operator of Live Roots is Illya D'Addezio, who also owns and (both are commercial sites, with some free information).

* Recent discoveries - the additions to searched databases or additions to the LiveRoots collection of searched databases

* The Blog page - updates on the additions to LiveRoots catalog or about web site operation.

* The Search page - a search box for surnames and/or keywords. There is a Getting Started page with search tips.

The last paragraph of the Getting Started page tells what Live Roots is all about:

"So, to summarize the two major points of distinction. First, there is the "roots" advantage: Live Roots lets you conduct a variety of searches across the catalogs from hundreds of different data providers and publishers all at once and with the most up-to-date versions of their catalog listings. And second, there is the "live" advantage: the same searches you conduct will include resources that you may obtain information from with the assistance of a live person that you commission for a nominal fee."

When you do a surname search, you get results in several categories. I did a SMITH surname search (it took about 15 seconds), and found:

* Surname Search - 174 entries (entries are resources, not individual names)

* Transcribed Ephemera - 240 entries (from the FTC or GT collections)

* Subscription Data - 1806 entries (from the GenealogyToday collection)

* Resource Results - 808 matches (these are individual matches from many resources, such as Ancestor Genealogy Photo Archive, Family Old Photos,,, etc.

* Preview results from ($)

* Browse messages from SMITH message board at

* Preview results from ($)

* Browse messages from the SMITH message board at

The last four items are new this week.

The Help page has a link to the Major Collections searched by Live Roots. They include:

* AfriGeneas
* ($) - daily updates
* Christine's Genealogy Website
* Family History Library (partial)
* Family Tree Connection ($) - weekly updates
* ($) - weekly updates
* Genealogical Publishing Company ($) - monthly updates
* ($) (in progress)
* National Archives And Records Administration
* New England Historic Genealogical Society ($)
* Olive Tree Genealogy
* ($) - daily updates

I can't tell how up-to-date this list is. They have added only to the "Major Collections" list since October.

For each major collection, there is a list of the databases that are searched by Live Roots. I tried to pick one of them from the list and search for a specific surname, but that doesn't work. I will have to go to the specific web site and do the search there.

I'm surprised that there are not links to the free Rootsweb vital record databases, the mailing list archives or the WorldConnect family tree database.

I will continue to check in on on occasion to see how the SMITH file grows, and the "Major Collections" list too.

UPDATE 1/6: Illya commented that Rootsweb databases are available through He suggested searching for "Records Rootsweb." When I did that, the list of records on Rootsweb was visible. However, putting a surname (I used SEAVER) in the general LiveRoots Search box does not provide links to the Rootsweb databases.

If you use the Search box for a specific Database, then you get results from the specific database. For example, on the Rootsweb Records page, I selected the California Death Records link, then input SEAVER in the Search box on the page, and the California Death Records database on opened with the matches.

My preference is that the Rootsweb search results will show up in the general LiveRoots results list. Otherwise, the casual user may miss many useful matches to their search query.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hi Randy, re your statement regarding RootsWeb vital dbs and WorldConnect, both have been catalogued... try searching "Records RootsWeb" to see the vital dbs. I am still looking into how to best catalog the mailing lists. Thanks for the feedback.