Navigating the bank
Most people equate GenealogyBank with newspapers, but its collections encompass even more. They total 260,000 books and documentsincluding content from more than 3,800 newspaperswith more than 1 billion names, which you can search separately or all at once.
- America’s Obituaries (1977-present): These recent obituaries and death notices total more than 130 million.
- Historical Books (1801-1900): This wide-ranging assortment of hard-to-find printed items (not necessarily all “books”) includes family genealogies, local histories, funeral sermons and biographies.
- Historical Documents (1789-1980): Military records, casualty lists, Revolutionary and Civil War pension requests, widow’s claims, orphan petitions and land grants are in this collection. You’ll find the US Congressional Serial Set, a whopping 13,800 volumes of reports, documents and journals from the US Senate and House of Representatives spanning 1817 to 1980; as well as the American State Papers, legislative and executive documents from 1789 to 1838.
On the lower half of the home page, GenealogyBank collections are divided into two groups:
- Historical Family History Records (contains Historical Newspapers, Historical Books and Historical Documents)
- Recent Family History Records (contains America’s Obituaries and the SSDI)
Narrowing the odds
Maximizing your assets
- Wildcards can account for spelling variationsespecially because there’s no Soundex searchingwhether it’s the fault of OCR or the original document. Use a question mark (?) for a single wild-card character and an asterisk (*) for multiple characters (up to five). These are particularly useful when searching old publications in which, for example, the long s can look like an f (search for Bo?ton instead of Boston).
- Quotation marks limit a search to an exact phrase, which could be a name (“George Clough”) or any other word combo, such as a place (“Sioux Falls”), you type into the keyword search box.
- Boolean operators can dictate complex search logic. GenealogyBank recognizes not only the basic AND and OR but also NEAR and ADJ (adjacent). The latter two terms require a number, which represents the maximum word count that should separate your two terms. The difference between them is that ADJ is order-specific, while NEAR is not.
Web address: <www.genealogybank.com>
- More than 250,000 documents and books with more than 1 billion names
- More than 186 million news articles
- Historical Newspapers (1690 to 1980): articles from more than 2,400 titles published in the United States
- America’s Obituaries (1977 to today): 130 million obituaries
- Historical Books (1801 to 1900): genealogies, local histories, funeral sermons and biographies
- Historical Documents (1789 to 1980): military casualty lists, pension requests, widow’s claims, orphan petitions, US Congressional Serial Set and the American State Papers
- Social Security Death Index (updated weekly)
1972 NewsBank founded
1984 Acquires Readex Microprint Corp., expanding into government and historical documents
2002 Acquires Evans Digital Collection of Early American Imprints
2006 GenealogyBank launches
2007 GenealogyBank adds more than 40 million historical newspaper articles
2008 GenealogyBank adds Social Security Death Index
2009 New tools allow more targeted searching
From the December 2009 Family Tree Magazine