1. Search for a person.
2. Add a year range.
3. Search on alternate name spellings.
Any genealogist knows an ancestor’s name might be spelled differently in different records (and sometimes in the same record). The last name of Jacob Coger, a Virginian who was probably Henry Crum’s son-in-law, also can be spelled (among other ways) Cogar, Cowger and Koger. You could do separate exact-phrase searches for Jacob Coger, Jacob Cogar, Jacob Cowger and Jacob Koger, but it saves time to search for all the spellings at once. Just enter each name in the At Least One of the Words box and instead of using quotation marks, connect the first and last names with a hyphen: Jacob-Coger Jacob-Cogar Jacob-Cowger Jacob-Koger. The combined search for the four name spellings produces 91 matches. They show that Jacob arrived on the Mortonhouse in 1728 in Philadelphia, and he was reprimanded in Augusta County, Va., in 1750 for driving hogs on the sabbath. Most of the matches are for the right person, so there’s no need to narrow the search. But you might turn up more matches by repeating the search with the last names first.
4. Add another term.
5. Search within a book or journal.
You also can search genealogical journals on Google Books, such as the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, published quarterly since 1847. (Typing just New England Historical in the Title box is good enough.) Try the person’s name in both the Exact Phrase and All of the Words boxes. If you’re searching on a common name, add another term, such as a town name, in the All of the Words box. If the last name is unusual, search on just the name.
6. Search for histories of a town or county.
7. Save your book.
A snippet means you get just a few lines of your match. You can’t download the page or the book, but you can take a screenshot to capture what you see on the screen. To do this, hit Shift+Option+3 on a Mac. In Windows, hit the PrntScr key and paste the image into a document using a program such as Windows Paint. Or use Snipping Tool, an application included in Windows Vista and Windows 7. Scroll all the way down to view bibliographic information.
- The FamilySearch catalog, a service of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Family History Library in Salt Lake City, has lots of genealogical books and records for you to explore. You’ll find digitized books in the Family History Books collection (click the Books tab, then Family History Books) containing more than 40,000 searchable genealogy publications from Brigham Young University and other libraries. You can search in multiple categories (such as birth, marriage, death records), and you can browse by locations around the world.
- Although it’s not family history specific, the University of Pennsylvania’s Online Books Page is another online catalog that features a million-plus free books, as well as news, features and access to archives in English and other languages.
- Access Genealogy’s Online History and Genealogy library has locality-specific pages with links to e-books and online sources for each place. Books come mostly from the United States, but also from Australia, Britain and Canada. The library’s home page is updated with the archive’s newest additions.