Online Searches

Time Travel Guides Resources for local and family history

How Online Searches Can Help with Local and Family History Research

Time Travel Guides: Resources for Local and Family History » Online Searches

Searching online for information relating to a specific location or surname can turn up some unexpected sources. The search results might include entries from genealogy sites, archive catalogues, or other sources you might already have searched directly. However, it can also reveal blogs or websites that you might not have found otherwise.

When to Use Online Searches

An online search can be a good way to start exploring a new topic, whether that is the local history of a new place or a surname you have just added to your family tree. You might find that someone is sharing their own research on a personal blog or that there is a local business, museum, or other organisation with useful information on their website.

Online searches can also help as you continue with your research. You can perform more specific searches, looking up an event that happened locally, a specific address in the area, or an individual name. Since it would be too time-consuming to search for every person in your family tree, it is best to focus on those who are more likely to be mentioned in local histories. Anyone who was involved in newsworthy events, played a big part in the community, or who you have found in other documents (such as court records, newspapers, military records, or property deeds) could be a good choice.

Tips on Searching for Local and Family History Online

Choosing the right search terms is essential for finding the most relevant pages. It is also important to structure the search effectively in order to narrow down the results.

Some approaches that might work are:

  • combining the names of a married couple (e.g. “James Smith” and “Mary Jones”)
  • searching for someone with a specific occupation (e.g. “Joshua Eddowes” and bookseller)
  • looking for a surname associated with a specific location (e.g. Crump family in Shrewsbury)
  • adding the date of a key event such as a death to your search (e.g. “David Turner” and 1675)
  • restricting your search to results from a specific country/region (if the search engine allows this)