GenealogyBank.com

Search Tips: Using GenealogyBank's New Features

By Randy Seaver

Introduction: Randy Seaver writes a knowledgeable and upbeat genealogy blog: Genea-Musings. It features genealogy research tips and techniques, genealogy news items and commentary, genealogy humor, and some family history stories. On February 6 Randy posted a blog article exploring some of GenealogyBank's new features, and kindly allowed us to republish his article in GenealogyBank News.

I've been using GenealogyBank quite a bit over the past year, and just recently noted some changes in how the site presents their results. There are three significant changes that I've noticed (there may be more that I haven't noticed!).

1) The first change is that the home page fills the entire screen now and is much more eye-catching:


The search fields for last name and first name are prominent. There is an "Advanced Search" link next to the orange "Search Now" button. There is a counter for the number of genealogy records available on GenealogyBank—over 1.38 billion records now. Further down the page are links to search by state (and then by city/town) if the user wants to narrow the search. I do that a lot when I'm searching for specific persons in San Diego.

In the screen above, I put Abraham Seaver in the search fields just randomly...thinking maybe there were obituaries or articles for persons with that name.

2) The second change is that the Search Results page also looks different:


Until recently, only five matches were returned on each Search Results page. Now it's ten matches, which is an improvement. Most matches show a thumbnail of the potential match.

The big change is the listing of the matches. There is a listing of the different categories in the left sidebar: Recent Obituaries; Newspaper Archives (with sub-headings Historical Obituaries, Birth Records, Marriage Records, Passenger Lists, Newspaper Articles, Land, Probate & Court, Photos & Illustrations, Newspaper Letters, Historical Maps, Tables & Charts, Poems & Songs, Ads & Classifieds, Commodities & Stocks, Political & Elections, and Uncategorized); Other Genealogical Records (with sub-headings Social Security Death Index, Historical Books, Historical Documents, African-American Newspapers and Irish-American Newspapers).

The categories with matches are highlighted in blue links, while the categories without matches are grayed out.

For the major category, the matches are shown in sub-heading order. On the screen above, the 8 Historical Obituaries are listed first, then the 43 Newspaper Articles, then the 8 Legal, Probate & Court articles, then the 73 Ads & Classifieds, etc. I really like that! If all I want to read are the Obituaries, I can find those easily. Likewise, if all I wanted were the Newspaper Articles, I could click on that link and see them 1-43.

At the bottom of each Search Results page is the search form, and the user can modify his/her search as desired. On the search form, there are fields for Last name, First name, Keywords included, Keywords excluded, and Date range or Date.

3) The third change is in the actual newspaper images. Previously, you saw the entire page of the newspaper with the search terms highlighted in yellow, and you had to often search for the article by zooming in and panning around.

Here is the newspaper article (obituary) for the first match on the list above:


The specific article containing the search terms is isolated on the screen above. The newspaper name, date, issue number and page number are available above the image. The user can zoom in or out, can print the article, or save it as a PDF.

If you want to see the entire page, there is a link for the entire page in the left-hand sidebar—I clicked on the link for "Page [3]" and the whole page appeared:


The user can also zoom, pan, print and save the full page.

For the specific article I found, I had to go to the whole page image because the article started at the bottom of one column, and finished at the top of the next column.

GenealogyBank feels like the gift that never stops giving, mainly because I find so many articles and records there for my ancestors and relatives. I didn't have that article about Abraham Wood Seaver, but after I found it last night, I took 20 minutes to transcribe the article into my RootsMagic database—he sounds like quite an upstanding and honorable Seaver! It is likely that my great-grandfather Frank Walton Seaver, and my 2nd great-grandfather Edward Hildreth, knew this Abraham Seaver since he worked with Milo Hildreth, Edward's brother, in Northborough, and was manager of a Fitchburg bank in the 1880s.

I really like the changes that GenealogyBank has made to their page layout and search results.