Ultimate Genealogist’s Google Toolbox by Lisa Louise Cooke: Book Review

My copy of Lisa Louise Cooke’s new book, Ultimate Genealogist’s Google Toolbox, just came in the mail. First, I have to say that although the cover gives no indication, the 2020 copyright on the back of the title page rightly identifies this as The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox – A Genealogist’s Guide to Google 3rd Edition. (I’ve added the color for emphasis.)

Having said that, I will be the first to admit that I bought both the first and second editions and I also purchased this book.

Why would I buy 3 editions of a book that is “just” about Google?

Who doesn’t use Google? If you use the internet, the odds are overwhelming that you use Google’s search engine, whether it be for genealogy or other purposes.

However, Google has many features about which most users know nothing. Also, Google has a habit dropping features (remember Google Reader, which I loved?) and adding new capabilities and collections.

So, to answer my own question, I want to know about all the latest offerings to be found buried in the Google world.

Lisa Louise Cooke, for those who may be unfamiliar with her, is a well-known face in the genealogy world and is the owner of Genealogy Gems. She is also a noted podcaster and speaker at genealogy events.

If you think you are well versed in all that Google has to offer, take a moment to review the Table of Contents in this book:

Introduction – Changes to Googling for Genealogy
Chapter 1 The Google Search Methodology
Chapter 2 Search Strategies
Chapter 3 Image Search
Chapter 4 Chrome Browser Tips & Tricks
Chapter 5  Gmail
Chapter 6 Google Books
Chapter 7 Google New(s) Archive (typo in the book calls it “New”)
Chapter 8 Google Scholar
Chapter 9 Google Patents
Chapter 10 Google Photos
Chapter 11 Google Translate
Chapter 12 YouTube

The remaining chapters cover Google Earth:

Chapter 13  Google Earth: An Overview
Chapter 14 Google Earth: Ancestral Homes & Locations
Chapter 15 Google Earth: Saving, Organizing & Sharing
Chapter 16 Google Earth: Historic Images & Maps
Chapter 17 Google Earth: Plotting Your Ancestor’s Homestead
Chapter 18 Google Earth: Adding Family History Content
Chapter 19 Google Earth: Family History Tours

Appendix Find It Quick: The “How to” Index

There is plenty to explore on Google following the chapter list.  Even regular Google users can benefit from a review of the term operators to narrow and expand searches and to learn a new strategy or two.

However, how many readers are aware that you can upload an image to Google (let’s say a vintage family photo) and have Google search for it online? That’s a simple way to possibly find a distant cousin who owns the same photo and has  posted it online.

Chapter 4 deals with Chrome tips. I’m not a Chrome fan, so I’ll pass here. Chrome users will likely find some new tricks here, though.

Google News Archive is a completely underused resource in genealogy. It is a database of digitized newspapers WORLDWIDE. Think of it as a mega Chronicling America!

Google Scholar will bring up articles containing search terms, although most will have more success with social history than family surnames. It also brings up a list for citations in scholarly works that include the search terms. I entered “Carpatho-Rusyns,” of which I am one, and pages of hits came up.

Most of the chapter title are self explanatory, but I wanted to share several of the less common uses for Google. There are lots of graphics included in step by step “how to” directions and the directions are easy to follow.

Lastly, if you haven’t ever watched, participated in or read how to use Google Earth for genealogy with  Lisa Louise Cooke, then this book is worth its weight in gold just for that one activity.

As I no longer have my previous editions of this book, I can’t compare the changes and updates.

Do I recommend this book? Yes, definitely, UNLESS you purchased a previous edition and really mastered all the topics.

If, like me, you have forgotten how to use Google for some activities or you are unfamiliar with the earlier editions, are NOT a Google expert AND want to get the most out of Google, I would highly recommend this book.

I haven’t seen it on Amazon yet, but Genealogy Gems is shipping the Ultimate Genealogist’s Google Toolbox, for $24.95,  right now.



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