What Can a Quick Google Search Find for Your Genealogy?

By Diane Haddad

Our webinar with Lisa Louise Cooke on Googling Your Genealogy, coming up Tuesday, Jan. 27, gave me the idea to see what genealogy results I could find with a quick web search.

I searched for Thoss genealogy kentucky (because I don’t think I’m connected to the Seherr-Thoss family of Connecticut and New York, or Thosses elsewhere).

Right away I could see that Google also returned matches for Thomas, so I made an adjustment:

That’s better. The quotation marks tell Google to find exactly Thoss. Results from the first several pages that appear to be relevant (and aren’t from things I posted online) include:

  • the book Early Nineteenth-Century German Settlers in Ohio (Mainly Cincinnati and Environs), Kentucky and Other States, on Google Books, listing my third-great-grandfather and his place of birth in Germany—a great find!
  • two old Geocities genealogy sites for related families
  • matches in the Kenton County, Ky., library’s Northern Kentucky Genealogy Database, which indexes church, cemetery, census and other records, as well as newspaper articles, and in some cases links to digitized versions.
  • profiles from Ancient Faces, based on the Social Security Death Index (SSDI)
  • a PeopleSearch page listing Thosses from the SSDI with dates of birth and death, and a map plotting those folks’ residences reported in the SSDI.
  • a relative’s transcribed obituary, with children’s names, on
  • a local cemetery transcription project with burial information that could be for a relative

That would be enough to get me started building a family tree and finding relatives’ old records. Try it with your surnames!

Further searching using Lisa’s tips in the Googling Your Genealogy webinar would get additional matches and bring even more relevant resources to the top.

The webinar also will cover how you can make genealogical discoveries with Google’s other tools, including Alerts, Books, Patent, and Translate. Learn more about the webinar and register here.