Friday, June 15, 2012

GenealogyBank has a new face

One of my favorite genealogy subscription websites has a new "face" - they've changed how they look, and have made some changes with how it works.

Here is the home page for GenealogyBank (two screens):

The signed-in user can start a global search immediately by putting names into the last name and first name search fields.  Or the user can scroll down a bit and pick from a state (and then from a specific newspaper if desired) or a specific record set (Newspapers, 1690-present; Historical Documents (1789-1994); Historical Books (1801-1900); Social Security Death Index (1937-present) - free access!).

The list of newspapers available on GenealogyBank is at

The "About Us" page for GenealogyBank says:

"GenealogyBank is a leading online genealogical resource from NewsBank, inc. Featuring a wealth of exclusive material-including modern obituaries and historical newspapers, books, pamphlets, military records, government documents and more - GenealogyBank helps you discover fascinating information about your family history.
"GenealogyBank's 6,100+ historical newspapers include letters, speeches, opinion pieces, advertisements, hometown news, photographs, illustrations and more. These unique primary documents go beyond names and dates, providing first-hand accounts that simply aren't available from census or vital records alone. With GenealogyBank, you'll get a glimpse into the triumphs, troubles and everyday experiences of your American ancestors.
"In addition to more than 300 years of extensive coverage, GenealogyBank features a streamlined interface and fast, accurate searching, allowing researchers of any level to easily track lost ancestors and uncover previously hard-to-find family history information."
I entered Devier Smith into the search fields on the screen above, and received several matches:

When I clicked on the one Newspaper match, I found a listing of the matches (up to 10 on a page) and a snippet view of the matches:

At the bottom of the results page above, I could edit my search with information about the last name, first name, include keywords, exclude keywords, date, and added since [date].

When I clicked on the one match on the screen above, the newspaper page appeared with the requested last name and first name highlighted:

The search is still a search for word combinations within two words of each other on the same page.  The "Search Tips" link describes it like this:

"Using both name search fields returns newspaper articles in which the surname is automatically "near2" the first name.

    • This means the newspaper archive search engine automatically finds occurrences of the first and last names within two words of each other.
    • This helps to find occurrences of middle names or initials in the newspaper articles, without having to enter or remember them.
    • The "near2" search command is not order specific—meaning your newspaper search will retrieve the person's name no matter in what order it is mentioned: the first name then last name or the last name then first name.
    • This search default is intended to bring you the most occurrences of the name you are searching for in the online newspaper archives."
For common names, the Search Tips recommend that the user enter information into the other fields.  for instance, when I search for the Seaver surname, I exclude the words "Tom" and "baseball" just to avoid results for Tom Seaver.

I like the new "look" and "feel" of the GenealogyBank site.  I especially like that up to 10 matches are displayed on the results page now - it used to be only 5.  Actually, I would prefer more - like 20 or 50!

Disclosure:  I know Tom Kemp personally, he is a distant Richmond cousin of mine.  I was given a free membership to the site several years ago and use it regularly.  This does not affect my use or review of the site.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like GenealogyBank, too. They don't add content as often as NewspaperArchive, but the OCRing seems a little more accurate. ChroniclingAmerica seems to have the most accurate search engine, but of course has far fewer papers.