Top Genealogy Websites, Pt. 1: Google

I have been working on my family history for 50 years now. So much has changed—family researchers today have a much different task then we had decades ago.

Looking at the online genealogy tools available today, I would like to focus on the top 13 websites that will save you time and money so that your family research is preserved, well documented and readily available to the rising generation of your extended family tree.

Over the next several blog posts in our ongoing content series I will show which genealogy websites are the best and why you need to be using them to trace and document your family tree. All of these genealogy websites are world-class, the crème de la crème.

a Google logo

Credit: Google.com

Top Genealogy Website #1 – Google

Yes, there are millions of genealogy-relevant items on the open Internet. Beginners and advanced researchers can quickly find valuable records about their target ancestors online—and doing a search on Google’s search engine is an excellent way to find these ancestry records.

screenshot of a Google search for Willard Henry Kemp

Credit: Google.com

A Google search for my grandfather, Willard Henry Kemp, pulls up 22.3 million search results.

I can see that the first few results have accurately pointed me to online records that I can use. But—there are 22.3 million of these suggested matches! There must be a way to cut through this huge amount and get to the family records I really want to use.

Let’s try that Google search for my grandfather again.

Helpful Genealogy Search Tool: the Phrase “~genealogy”

Use this handy tool ~genealogy to fine-tune your Google searches.

This tool tells the Google search engine that you want to focus on genealogy records and resources, narrowing your search results to those records. Use it in your Google searches to save time and get the most useful records for your family tree research.

This time I will search for information about my grandfather in Google by putting his name in quotation marks (to exactly match his name) and I will add: ~genealogy.

screenshot of Google search for Willard Henry Kemp adding phrase "~genealogy"

Credit: Google.com

This time the Google search engine returned 35 targeted search results. That is a lot easier to review than 22.3 million.

I can quickly open and evaluate these records and then try alternate Google searches to expand my search results, such as:

  • “Willard Kemp” ~genealogy
  • Kemp and Stamford ~genealogy
  • etc.

I highly recommend you try a Google search to get an idea of what information might be out there on the web about your target ancestor—and then use the phrase ~genealogy to make the search results more manageable. Using Google is a great way to start exploring your family history.

Next article: #2 The Online Digital Book Sites

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Written by Thomas Jay Kemp

Thomas Jay Kemp

Thomas Jay Kemp is the Director of Genealogy Products at GenealogyBank. Tom Kemp is an internationally known librarian and archivist – he is the author of over 35 genealogy books and hundreds of articles about genealogy and family history.

He previously served as the Chair of the National Council of Library & Information Associations (Washington, DC) and as Library Director of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

An active genealogist, he has been working on his own family history for 47 years. With the rapidly growing online archives at GenealogyBank – it is a great day for genealogy!

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10 thoughts on “Top Genealogy Websites, Pt. 1: Google

  1. This is exciting because, I am tired of paid sites where people just copy others.I started working with my parents on our family history in 1982. Do not have much opportunity to go on road trips anymore. So knowing there is more to find on the internet, means a lot to me. Thank you for this information. Looking forward to seeing more.

    Julie Duncan Wilbur

  2. Excellent work. I have enjoyed genealogy research on our families for about ten years now.It has changed dramatically in that time also. I started with the hand written archives of my paternal grandfather “Thomas Heron Craig” which were done in 1928 before his death in 1929..
    Please keep up the great work being done and help us that are minimally literate with the computer .
    Colgate Craig

  3. thanks for the tip about ~genealogy. It is very helpful. I too have found googling around a great support to my research. Especially when it comes to geographic names and locations (using Google maps), which are often useful in verifying or inferring other information.

  4. Searching for information on John Ouldfield who lived at Goose Creek, SC in 1704. He was married to Elizabeth McKeown widow of Robert McKeown. They had a son John Ouldfield Jr. who married Ann LaRoche d/o John LaRoche and Mary Horry. Their daughter married Robert Heriot from Haddington , Scotland who lived in Charleston, SC. I am trying to find out how John Sr. got to SC and where did he come from. I think it was Nassau County, New York but I can’t prove it. He had a sister who married William Norman. He came from Salem, Mass and they were married at Goose Creek. You would think that with all this information I could find how he got here and where he came from, but I can’t. Thanks for any information that might lead to the answer to this question. Mary Frances H. Coker

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