Cyber Solutions: Engine Trouble

By Rick Crume Premium

Q. What are metasearch engines? Are they useful for genealogy?

A. A metasearch engine relays your query to several search engines and returns results from all of them at once. For instance, Dogpile <> searches Google <>, Yahoo! <> and others, while Clusty <> covers Live Search <>, <> and more. In theory, they should make searching more efficient, but metasearch engines usually retrieve only the top 10 to 50 hits from each engine. So search experts recommend going directly to regular search engines for the most comprehensive results.

But several genealogy metasearchers let you cover a lot of ground at once. You’ll want to bookmark these tools:

• My Heritage Search <> looks for a name in more than 1,350 genealogy databases. Be patient: It takes several minutes to get results from all of them.

• NUCMC <>, the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections, lists nearly 1.5 million manuscripts and collections at libraries worldwide. Click Search the OCLC Catalog.

• Among the RootsWeb Indexes <>, Search Thingy finds any word in more than 10 million documents, Meta Search focuses on personal names and the Mailing Lists Archives Search covers more than 29 million messages.

• WorldCat <> combs the holdings of 10,000 libraries around the world.
For more help tracing your family tree online, try Family Tree Magazine’s Trace Your Roots Online CD. It offers reviews of the best sites, as well as tools and tips for genealogy research on the web. Available from Family Tree Shop.

From the September 2008 Family Tree Magazine