• Using Google Scholar for Genealogy

    Among the many tools available to genealogy researchers, one that beginning genealogists may not be as familiar with is Google Scholar. Although this wonderful tool is not likely to lead you to any major records databases, it can however direct you towards relevant-to-you information sources for your family tree research.

    Using Google Scholar will also save you a good deal of time. Time you may otherwise spend sifting through millions of hits from common search engine queries.

    Google Scholar for Genealogy

    Google scholar is a tool that will let you conduct a broad search of scholarly materials possibly containing information on your ancestors.

    Google Scholar provides a scholarly listing of:

  • Articles
  • Theses
  • Books
  • Abstracts

    To give you a better idea of what you may actually find by using Google Scholar as a search source lets first look at one of my ancestors, Marin Boucher. Then try it again with your own research interests.

    I know that Marin Boucher was an early settler in New France (what is now modern day Quebec Canada). I can find a great deal of record sources for him through online databases. However, using Google Scholar may lead me to look for additional information I may not otherwise find or even consider.

    To find Google Scholar:

  • Go to Google.com and hit the little arrow at the top of the toolbar next to “more”
  • In the drop down menu click on “Scholar”

    You should now be on the Google Scholar, search page.

    To get best results with Google Scholar it is best to conduct a narrow search by typing “Marin Boucher” into the search bar including the quotation marks. You will get a good list of hits; however, most of them will be in French.

    If you do not speak or read French, You can opt for “Search for English results only” at the top left corner of the page or use the Google Translate tool to read any information you find.

    Looking down the list of hits, you will notice that some of them are underlined.  The underlined returns will take you to an information source. If you are lucky, the source will be a free online book. Some of the returns (not underlined) will be citations or additional sources such as related articles, PDF documents or directories.

    For Marin Boucher we find all of these information types. Because they are all in French, I have used Google Translate before listing a few of them here.


    [BOOK] A Canadian parish in the seventeenth century
    [HTML] from google.ca
    HR Casgrain – 1880 – books.google.com
    … who was buried in the church. Her neighbor, Jean Galleran Boucher, was a family
    native of Mortagne. His father. Marin Boucher is one of the oldest settlers
    of New France. In the year 1625, it is found …
    Cited by 8 – Related articles – Find in AMICUS

    PDF Document:


    [QUOTE] Marin Boucher in Canada: direct descent
    Genealogical Society Lanaudière … – 1997 – Genealogical Society …
    Find in AMICUS

    Related Article:

    Related Article and PDF Document:

    [QUOTE] Marin Boucher in Canada: direct descent
    Genealogical Society Lanaudière … – 1997 – Genealogical Society …
    Find in [PDF] “The French-speaking Quebec from 1608 to 1960″
    [PDF] from banq.qc.ca
    H Charbonneau – The population of Quebec from yesterday to tomorrow, …, 1991 – bibnum2.banq.qc.ca… Jean Guyon (Dion) and Mathurin Robin, Zacharie Cloutier and Sainte Dupont, Jacques Archambault and Françoise Tourault, Marin Boucher, Noel Lee, Abraham Martin, Pierre Miville, that some of the founders of the most cele-bers, the strain that we …Related articles – View as HTML – All 2 versions

    From this short list, you can see that I have found several sources of information on my ancestor including:

    • A book that is available free on Google Books
    • A citation that will lead me to additional information
    • A related article available in PDF

    There were far more returns than those listed here and although I would likely have come up with these leads with a common Google search it would have taken me far longer to sift through the Google hits to find the most relevant.

    Genealogy Beginner encourages you to try using Google Scholar for your family tree research. Additionally, we would love to hear your Google Scholar success stories; share with us and other beginning genealogists on the Discovery Panel forum.

    Image Credit: Grama27 via Photobucket


    One Response to “Using Google Scholar for Genealogy”
    1. Chris says:

      Great example. Thanks!

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