Allison at Genealogy Insider has offered some advice when using Google Books Search:
- For best results, limit your search to books only: From the Google home page, click the more link in the top frame, then select Books.
- Type a surname plus subject:genealogy in the search box to look for published family histories. Not that your results will also include books authored by people with that surname, even if that family isn’t the primary focus. By searching for genealogy as the subject, you’ll avoid lots of hits on books where the word genealogy just happens to appear in the text.
- Search by county and local history books by typing the state, county or city name (use quotation marks around an exact phrase) and the word history in the search box. For example: ohio “wood county” history.
- On the results page, look at the end of each listing for Full View, Limited Preview, Snippet View or No Preview Available. This tells you how much of the actual book you’ll get to see.
- If the book is too big or takes too long to download, an alternative is to save it to a personal Google library you create. You have sign up for a free Google account to use this feature.
- For books with limited or no viewable pages, use the Find This Book in a Library link to go to WorldCat, where you can enter your ZIP code to locate it in a library near you or where you can get it on interlibrary loan.
I have found numerous references to my Kennedy ancestors in Google’s vast database of digitalized books. It is an invaluable resource that is growing daily.