Web Watch: Volume Control
Learn how Google Book Search can crank up your ancestor hunt.
If you're a habitual Googler, you may have noticed a book icon punctuating the end of your first page of search results. Click a title, and you go to scanned pages or snippets from that book. You're hooking into Google Book Search, the project "to create a comprehensive, searchable, virtual card catalog of all books in all languages" in concert with libraries, publishers and authors.

For genealogists, this means you can view — and download — digitized historical tomes in their entirety, and learn about other books relevant to your family history. The project's far from finished, but you can start reaping the benefits today by searching for books that mention your ancestors or their hometowns.

To limit your search to books, go to <books.google.com>. Try searching on a surname, an ancestor's full name or the town where your family lived. If you click Advanced Book Search (next to the Search Books button), you can narrow your search by language, book title, author, publisher, subject or publication date.