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How to search RootsWeb's archives     How to search the web with Google

How to search newsgroups with Google Groups (advanced search)

Search all of GENUKI    

Let's say you've just discovered an interest in your family's history ....

Why ? doesn't matter ..

You've lost your parents and now wish: "I'd listened to all those stories they told me when I was young "

Who am I ? where do I come from ?

I wonder if there was any truth in the story that GGG-Uncle Fred won a medal in WWI

My best friend at school has the same surname ! I wonder if we're related ?

At some point in time you are going to find
and start posting messages and actively "searching for" others 
with the same interests.

Time to search the RootsWeb archives ..

I'm going to talk about the YORKSGEN archives here but it applies to all list archives.

And there are a lot:

Over 20,000 genealogy mailing lists!

Global lists, country lists, state lists, county lists, surnames, even surnames in a particular area.

Then the special areas .. FreeBMD, TheShipsLists, etc. etc. etc. 

Each list has an introductory page .. in our case:

If you click on this link it will open a new window

and you can switch to and fro

If you are looking for mentions of a rare surname then typing that in will be enough ..
of course, if it's very rare, you may not find anything !


then you could spend 100s of hours searching through each one .. which would be very boring !

So try a combination of surname and village (Dyson and Huddersfield)
surname and first name (Dyson and Martha)
surname and spouses surname (Dyson and Shaw)

and you can of course combine these

(Dyson and Martha) and (Shaw and John)

spelling variations

(Cockshutt or Cockshut) and (Brearley or Brierley)

Note: if the list is an old one .. then you must do these searches for each year 

Rare names

One of the advantages of have a rare surname is that someone may already be researching it
and really does have your tree going back generations. You can see a list of names being researched
globally at the Guild Of One Name Studies .. also known as GOONS

Spelling variations .. don't ignore a name because it's not written exactly  the same as yours ..

Remember: most of our ancestors couldn't read or write

so the spelling in parish registers was up to the priest.

For a collection of over 100 spelling variations for one name click here :-)


I've already written about this on my Bolsterstone Genealogy Project web page.


I always use GOOGLE .. and not the standard view .. the advanced view. ..otherwise

a simple search for SHAW will find 1,970,000 pages !!


Searching all the words:  SHAW  Yorkshire cuts it down to 18,000


Searching all the words:  SHAW  Yorkshire
With any of the words: Bradfield Ecclesfield turns up 204 pages !!

Which is a handy amount and could very well bring a new branch for your tree.


You could also try including the first name:  John or Mary .. cuts it down to 23 pages !

Try it out here:

How to search newsgroups with Google Groups (advanced)

"Google has restored the Usenet archives it acquired from, and the company hopes to 
enable new message postings to the database by the end of May."

Try the same steps as above ..  
either searching all news groups or just the ones relating to genealogy.

I added these pages 29/04/2001. If you have any queries or find any broken links then please email me

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