I don’t know anyone who doesn’t use Google for one thing or another. Google has become part of the fabric of our every day lives – it’s even a verb that everyone understands – when you need information, you “google” it, regardless of the computer search engine you might be using.
Google offers many products, services and apps.If you go to Google and then click on the little nine-square icon, a menu opens up.
Next, click on the MORE at the bottom of the menu to see the other options.
I don’t pretend to be an expert on them, but I do browse now and then and find some new goodies to try out. Up on the first part of the menu is PLAY, or Google Play. On the bottom part of the menu is BOOKS.
I took a look at both of these options. PLAY opens to show a screen that can be personalize.
At first glance, you wouldn’t expect this to have much to do with genealogical research, but look at the small color coded menu bar at the top left. One of the choice is BOOKS. Click on that.
The screen will update and now show, on the top left, My Books and Shop.
It is not evident from SHOP that free books are also included here, but they are, so click to shop. Then enter “free genealogy” in the search box:
Up come tons of hits on historical genealogy and family history books. Notice that one book costs $.99. There is a way to eliminate any books that aren’t free.
Just below the search box, notice the words Search, Books and All Prices. Click on All Prices and choose FREE.
Now all the hits that appear will be no cost books.
If you have old U.S. colonial lines or think you have an ancestor that might tie into one of them AND you are looking for published genealogies, mostly before that 1923 copyright cutoff date, you may well find it here.
Yes, these books can sometimes be found in FamilySearch books or in WorldCat or some other site, but some of those formats saved the images in those screwball texts that are partly gibberish. Google scanned these books, so there is none of that.
Let’s say I thought I might have a connection to the President Andrew Jackson’s family. Here is an 1890 book covering ancestors and descendants:
I think this might be just the book I was looking for. I have several choices here on how to access it now and in the future:
I can use an app to save and read it on an Android or iPhone, or iPad/e-Reader AND I can also access it on my computer.
Besides accessing the book, if I want to add notes to the text, I can annotate if it is in Flowing Text. Apparently, most of the Google books are saved that way:
I mentioned a second icon back at the beginning of this post. You can either access books through the PLAY icon or scroll to the bottom portion and choose BOOKS.
If you already have a library set up where you have saved your books, this is a second method to access them. When you choose BOOKS, a MY LIBRARY screen appears:
Click on My Library. Your own library shelf will appear!
The Andrew Jackson genealogy book is first on my shelf, so I can open and read the book from here.
Google Play Books is very straightforward and easy to use. If you haven’t yet discovered this GeneaGem, now is the time to try it out.