Genealogical Field Notes (3) – Unusual Research Opportunities

Part of Genealogical Field Notes

Research is in many ways like unravelling a ball of wool. You start to investigate, then all of a sudden you are completely overwhelmed with the all data that is now available and that is without leaving leaving our computers.

That feeling of being overwhelmed needs to be controlled or your research will start to resemble a bird’s nest, which is what my husband, calls the tangled mess of his fishing line.

Perhaps rather than randomly searching, you let the data come to you. Here are just a few suggestions that I have had some great success & discoveries with:

  • eBay
    • Even if you choose never to use the auction site, at least register, and explore this as a research option. Under the “My eBay” section at the top right of the page (once you have logged in) is the facility to add specific words to a saved search. This can be the name of a place or a surname. Then every time some lists for sale an item with the specific word an email is sent to you and sometimes you can strike it lucky. As my credit card will confirm, I have had some real success!
  • Google Alerts
    • Using the facility of Google Alerts you have a quick and painless method of being made aware of when something using your search criteria is published on the internet. You can use this again to keep track of surnames and places that are connected to your ancestry. Indeed, you can utilise it for anything you have an interest in. As with eBay, I have been made of some good pages published online which have given me and opportunity to pursue a line of enquiry.
  • Abe Book Search
    • Using this facility can be rather useful and I have had varying degrees of success. Visit the website, I have chosen the UK site because at the bottom of the page you can set Country preferences. From here you can create an account and then each time a book is listed with your search preferences it is emailed to you. The rarer the book the wider the net will need to be cast. I suggest that to receive listings for a particular name as both an author and within the subject search under keyword.
  • UK BookWorld.com
    • The same can happen at this site, although this is predominately within the UK. You will need to create an account and then set up search options and again, an email will plop into your inbox with hopefully some fascinating details

My suggestion is to utilise a free email address, such Gmail, and then you can keep the various emails until you want to search through them. I would not leave it too long, as you may miss out on a real gem!

Of course, you do not have to buy all the book options you see, use the searches to identify sources and then tap into your library or the free e-books. Or utilise the search facility to perhaps tap into another organisation.

Why not use whatever is available to you, and adjust it for your own research and discovery purposes.

About Julie Goucher

Genealogist, Author, Presenter, native Guildfordian, avid note taker and journal writer. Lover of Books, Stationery & History; Surnames, Butcher & Orlando One-Name Studies. Pharos Tutor for all One-Name Studies/surname courses as well as Researching Ancestors from Continental Europe.
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