52 Weeks To Better Genealogy – Challenge 26
Take a stroll through Google Books. Most of us have probably used Google Books in our genealogy research, but have you really taken the time to explore what’s there? Look at the magazines and featured books. Check out the subjects offered. By taking the focus off research for a bit, your mind is open to see other ways this tool can be used.
Google Books is in my Top 5 of must search sites when doing genealogy research. I search for surnames, place names and events, and have had great success with the results. I have been able to get a feel for some of my ancestors lives as I've found them listed in university yearbooks, fraternal organizations and professional association publications. Those have provided clues about their occupations, interests and community involvement. Of course, the full view book returns are the best and I have used up a lot of megabytes downloading a few of those books!
My best find to date was a publication by my Grandfather Baudermann's fraternity that had a section called "Our Brother's At The Boarder" with a list of names. That cued me into looking for military records for my Grandfather during the Mexican Expedition. Before finding that article, I had seen nothing that mentioned any type of military service for him.
This challenge is asking us to step back from our usual usage of Google Books and approach it with an open mind to see what's out there. One of the first things I noticed is in the subject list there are no listings for History or Genealogy. Yet, when you type "genealogy" in the search box, there are over 1million returns. How many are needed for a subject listing Google?
I do love all of the magazines, but this is one of those areas that will get me off into a tangent that takes hold of me for hours! I currently subscribe to six magazines, I love em! Probably overkill because I can get backlogged a couple of months before reading my issues. Google Books magazine collection could greatly expand my magazine exposure at a fabulous cost of nothing, in the way of dollars, but I don't think I can afford the time!
The "interesting" category is just that, very interesting. If you want to expose yourself to books you would never normally pick off the shelf, click through this category. You may find only a preview of the book, you may get a snippet view with a few pages from throughout the book, or get lucky and hit a full view return. If you do find something interesting with only a snippet or preview, just copy and paste the title into your library's card catalog search feature and see if you can get a copy at the local library or through inter library loan.
All in all, Google Books is a great resource for any subject, be sure you have it bookmarked and on your list of regular websites to use for research.