Posts Tagged ‘Google Books’

Historians and Genealogists are able to see Full View of Google Books Snippets

Who doesn’t use Google Books? If you do not then you are missing out on one of the largest collections of printed works that will lead to clues for historians and genealogists.

Those of you that do use often, know just how valuable of a research tool this enormous and growing collection is. There are hundreds of thousands of books that will help you find clues to your family history. By using all the normal types of keyword searches you are guaranteed to discover something that someone has published about your ancestors or relatives.

By searching for a full name in quotes and a one or two keyword like a location or event, up will pop several selections to choose from. Be creative, if you don’t find it right away, reverse the procedure, such as put a specific location in quotes and then maybe just a surname.

Many of these titles that are out of copyright are apt to be available in their entirety in pdf or electronic text format, and if so then you may download a full copy to your own computer to have and use at anytime, as you build a digital library of often rare books that would be priced way beyond the budget of the average armchair researcher.


Now comes the rub. Those dog-gone Snippets. If the book is still in copyright you might only get a small window of text that may or may not have enough clues to tell you what you want to know. You no doubt wish that you could see the whole page or a few pages from a chapter that would give you a much clearer view of data that you want to use in your research effort.

Well now there is a way to have that page or a few pages scanned, digitized and emailed directly to your inbox!

Wow! What a concept!

This exciting work around of snippets is brought to you by none other than those fabulous, wonderful volunteers that work at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Now part of the FamilySearch “Free Lookup Service” involves a contact form and procedure that allows researchers anywhere that have an Internet connection to contact the Family History Library and ask for digital copies of the page or pages of the specific title and page numbers that you found in your Google Books Snippet view.

A volunteer will locate the title in their collection and email you just the part that you need, for FREE!

Go to the FHL  online photoduplication request form and get started.

This news was one of the best gifts that I found under my family tree this season.

Merry Christmas everyone.
Dick Hillenbrand
Upstate New York Genealogy Blog

ps: If you have used this service or have additional thoughts about Google Books to share with our readers, please leave a reply in the comments section at the bottom of this blog post.

Revolutionary Soldiers Resident or Dying in Onondaga County, N.Y.

We have discussed Google Books before on this website.

One of my new found relatives was discussing some Revolutionary War ancestors that she had in Onondaga County and so I looked them up in my own copy of Rev. William Beauchamp’s, “Revolutionary Soldiers Resident or Dying in Onondaga County, N.Y.” - 1913 – Onondaga Historical Association, Syracuse, NY

I had paid over $100 for this gem several years ago. So I went on Google Books, did a search, and sure enough they had a copy digitized online and available as a free download.

There is a certain thing to be aware of in Google’s scanning and digitizing process. While the digital version is online at Google, you can use the full search box method of finding anything you want. Once you download it to your own computer, you are able to view it in all it’s glory with Adobe Reader because the files are pure pdf files. Unfortunately the pdf search tool does not work once it is on your own storage medium.

I’m not sure why that is but must have something to do with the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software that Google uses. Well anyway you can have your own copy to browse at will and you can’t beat the price.

While you are there do some searching and you will be amazed at what is online and free.

Click this link to go to our previous Blog about Google Books – Librivox

To read our previous Blog about Revolutionary War Soldiers in Onondaga County go here: Revolutionary War Soldiers

For  Google Books go HERE:

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Google Books – Librivox

It is hard to leave the keyboard…

Google Books. Yikes! I’m building a digital book library that would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, that’s if you could possibly find many of these books for sale at any price!

As a former Rare and Out-of-Print bookseller, it is mind-boggling to think what this must be doing to that vocation. There is no doubt that the ‘ownership’ of a rare edition or of a very hard to find book is an exciting thing. The usual procedure for a collector would be to locate, purchase, covet and protect. However, this instant gratification of having the digital text available right at your fingertips, saved on your own media, is also a VERY exciting thing and gives me the warm and fuzzies.

This past week I have been able to expand two of my own family lines by busting through the inevitable brick walls that we all build with time. The books gave references to people, events, locations, etc., in the lives of a couple of lines that I have been carrying forever. None of this secondary evidence is anything that you can ‘take to the bank,’ but they sure will send me in the right direction to be able to locate the primary source documents to substantiate the claims. You all do that right? Oh, by the way, after the walls come down there are now immediately four more sets of ancestors to prove. Man, I love this obsession.

My vision of Google is something like a group of computer nerds, that had a cool idea, started a website and were blown away by the instant success for a tool that could find things on the Internet. They must have received backing and investors to grow with, and now have become a megalopolis of their own, all encompassing and like OZ behind the curtain, must still be one little old nut behind the joy stick that is in ‘control.’

It does not seem like they are a physical entity, just a bunch of computers, spread out all over like a spider web, all inter-connected to the Universe in order to gain eventual control of everything. And no, I do not smoke pot!

Well those are the inner thoughts of course. I’m sure that they are a very efficient, well run, well organized corporation of executives with a plan to benefit man-kind all over the world. What they have done to date and what they obviously will continue to do is just totally overwhelming to me.

Now in case you have been downloading since my last message about Google Books, here is another thing that you can get involved in, just in case you have any spare time. Go there, sign up, read some books aloud, donate the audio files to the Internet and become another of my heroes. These people are nuts like you and me, and you will find audio books on any topic that have previously been recorded, all by volunteers and all totally free to the world.

So if Google Books and Project Gutenberg and other on-line text services can put the books that are in the public domain up on the Internet, then you can help to digitally convert them to audio mp3 files. Take these audio books anywhere. Play them on your laptop, a CD-ROM player or even your I-pod of choice, just so you do not turn to jelly because there is no input into your grey matter at every moment.

Is there no end to it?

Some questions bug me about Google Books, such as “There ain’t no body to ask questions of.” I’ve been looking for some on-line forums where the whole discussion is in regards to GB specifically, but have not yet found one. There are several forums that discuss this subject amongst other topics, but no one that I have found yet seems to have any hook into insider knowledge. We need that.

I want to know why only one volume of a multi-volume set of books is available? Are they chumming? Spreading bait on the water to get you hooked? In order to get the other books in the series will you have to become a member? He, he, he, gotcha! Can you spell ‘f-e-e-s?’ A couple of other words that you might not have to dig out the thesaurus on are; “memberships and subscriptions.” OK, so like paranoia, it is good to be a little cynical.

If Google Books is putting up 3,000 books a day, and from one of the announcements I read recently that Princeton University has signed on and are making their full collection available (11 million items divided by 3,000 comes to about 10 years to me,) then when will it ever be complete?

Well enough of this musing, I’ve got books to download!

More on Google Books

Dick Eastman, from Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter,, has just written a very informative Blog about Google Books and you may see it here:

There are also several very interesting follow-up comments from his readers.

He says Google will not say how many books are already on-line but that some people say they are building at the rate of “3,000 PER DAY!” See, I told you some day Google will have “ALL” the books on-line.  

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