Saturday, March 19, 2016

Google Library for the Genealogist

I'm taking a course through the National Institute of Genealogical Studies called "Google for the Genealogist."  Half way into it and I'm finding it's very useful.  There are 8 modules in total and the one I just completed on Google Books was the most relevant to me so far.
I use Google to search for old books that may contain a mention of my ancestors. Sometimes I just look for the location and then when I open the book, search for the surname.  I have found some incredible stories - such as Mathew Baines or Beans who was dying at sea and wrote a letter to a James Harrison, a fellow Quaker, requesting he look after Mathew's children.  Problem was that Mr. Harrison had died so the children appeared in Orphan Court.  Two Google Books mention these events. Looking at someone else's tree on FamilySearch or Ancestry might give you Mathew's year and place of death but the books bring the experiences he had to life!
With old Ancestry, as in before December 2015, I used to snip the page from the book and snip the title page, save to Word and then upload as a pdf to my tree attaching to the appropriate person. Problem is that it's no longer easy to find those pdf's on Ancestry.  I'm going to have to go back and re-download and save to my hard drive.  I never saved to my hard drive before because I was working on a cheap laptop I didn't have a lot of faith in and thought it would be better if it were saved in Ancestry's cloud.  Live and learn!
But back to Google Books and the class I'm taking...Did you know that you can save books to your own created bookshelves in your own library in their cloud?!  I somehow missed this and it's super easy to do.  All you need is a Google account, which is free, of course. (Not going to get into the whole topic of nothing is free as in they're monitoring your usage and using your searches but you know what I mean by free - as in there's no initial monetary cost involved to create a Google account.) Once you have an account (if you have an email through Google you have an account!), next click "More" on the Google ribbon and find the link for "Books."  Click and search for a surname or place you're interested in finding information about.  When you find a book you like, click on it.  You then click "Save to My Library."
On the left hand side of the page you can create your own book shelves.  I created two state names and one called Reference.  If you scroll down you'll see recent books you may have looked at.  It's simple to just click on the book and add to the appropriate book shelf.  I'm going to be very busy once I'm done with the Kinship Determination Paper uploading all my pdf books and saving it to My Library. That way, I will have all the sources I've used in one place.  I plan to add who the book refers to in the Description block that comes up for the book shelf.

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