Monday, November 13, 2017

GenealogyBank Changes Their Look and Content

Recently,, a subscription website that features historical newspapers, government documents, the Social Security Death Index and more, changed its' look and content presentation.

Here is the top of the revised home page:

At the top of the page are links for:

*  Search
*  Browse (by state, content, recent collections)
*  Collections (list of major collections)
*  Help (FAQ, Learning Center, Contact)
*  My Folder (things I've saved)
*  Randy (my account information)

Further down the home page is the "Recent Activity" section and the "Search by Collection" sections:

The "Recent Activity" section has these headings:

*  Saved Articles
*  Saved Clippings
*  Saved Searches
*  Search History
*  Go to My Folder

The "Search by Collection" section describes these major collections:

*  Newspaper Articles, 1690-2016
*  Recent Newspaper Obituaries, 1977-Today
*  Social Security Death Index
*  Government Publications, 1789-1994
*  Historical Books, 1749-1900

Further down the home page is a map of the USA, and the user can click on a State to see resources from that state:

At the bottom of the home page, there are links for the content and for Genealogy Resources:

I wanted to Search for Seaver persons in the records.  I clicked on the "Collections" link and saw the major collection headings, along with sub-headings:

I chose the "Newspaper Obituaries > Historical, 1704-1977" sub-heading, and entered "seaver" in the "Last name" search field:

After clicking the green "Search" button on the screen above, I received search results:

The screen showed that I had:

*  17,598 matches in "Newspaper Archives" collection
*  1,149 matches in "Recent Newspaper Obituaries
*  1,436 in Social Security Death Index
*  1,209 in Government Publications
*  26 in Historical Books

Below the list, the screen shows that the matches shown are in "Historical Newspapers."  

On the left side of the screen, I can add further search criteria - first name, exact name search, Keywords, keywords to exclude, a date range, and a specific date.  If I change anything, I need to click on the blue "Update results" button.

Further down the screen I can select a specific state in the search options on the left-hand side of the screen:

At the bottom of the left side search fields, I can "Include Articles Tagged As" and "Articles Added Within" a certain time frame.  Again, I have to click the blue button to "Update results."

Looking through the search results that I requested in "Historical Obituaries, 1704-1977" I saw many articles that were not obituaries, and there were some that were after 1977.

Now that the "Recent Activity" is more prominent, I will start using it more - I had only two saved from about five years of subscribing to GenealogyBank.

All in all, this is a change to how GenealogyBank looks and feels to a user.  I haven't done enough searching yet to assess all of the bells and whistles.  


Disclosure:  I currently have a paid yearly subscription to GenealogyBank, and have for three years.  Earlier, I had a complimentary subscription courtesy of GenealogyBank.  

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Copyright (c) 2017, Randall J. Seaver

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Susan said...

Randy, I will be interested in your further discussion of GenealogyBank's new interface. I have been a subscriber for a year and recently renewed my subscription, giving it a chance for another year. So far I like what I see, but I find that their search algorithm not the best. I am especially disappointed with the "exact" search function returning many false hits. Perhaps they will also work on refining their search algorithm. Thank you for taking thetime to write about your observations. I find them very helpful. Susan

Diane Gould Hall said...

I have subscribed to Genealogy Bank for probably 10 plus years. I’ve always found their search engine a bit limiting. However, I’ve hit the jackpot on San Diego Newspapers for my husband's family and many others too. I’m sure I’ll get used to the changes and continue to find the site useful. Thanks for your post.