Saturday, April 3, 2010

Using Search Engines to Expand the Family Tree

Using Search Engines to Expand the Family Tree
This week I joined Genea Bloggers group on Facebook and was invited to participate the weekly challenge "52 Weeks to Better Genealogy" created by Amy Coffin. I'm a little late to the party, starting with Challenge #14:
Use a different search engine for your online genealogy research. Google is quite popular, but other search engines may provide different results. Try Yahoo! Search (, Bing (, (, Dogpile (, and even Clusty ( Pick an unusual surname and search it in different engines. Make note of the top 10 page returns for each. If you’re a genealogy blogger, share your observations on this experience.

I have chosen to search the surname of my 6th Great Grandmother on my paternal grandmother's side, Quattlebaum. I picked this name for two reasons.  Firstly, I haven't done any research at all on this name and second, well, the name makes me smile when I say it. I just love sounds like a fun game of sorts, like a cousin to "Whiffle Ball".

Challenge in hand, I started do some searching starting with Yahoo! Search which yielded these various pieces of information on the surname Quattlebaum that I found useful:
*Altered spelling of German Quattelbaum, probably a topographic name from Middle Low German quattele ‘quail’ + bōm ‘tree’.

*"Quattlebaum, a Palatine Family in South Carolina" by Paul Quattlebaum
Finding this book led me to a wealth of information and I got sidetracked from my challenge for about an hour while I read excerpts from the book which in turn led to an additional link at where I found bits of detail.  I've decided to blog separately about the stories of the Quattlebaum line and keep this posting about the links that have helped me find this information thanks to this week #14 challenge. Most of the other links on Yahoo! Search led me to message boards of various genealogy sites with postings of fellow enthusiasts looking for information on their own Quattlebaum ancestor. Next, I decided to try the search through Bing which yielded pretty much the same results but when I clicked on "images" I found a Quattlebaum cemetery located in Arkansas. Will bookmark that for later review if needed.

Searching on, the first hit was for which is useful for organizing all the records you can search by surname including death and burial records, immigration passenger lists and military records which should come in handy when I delve deeper into the line. Also useful will be Linkpendium which lists worldwide information for the chosen surname. This site was completely new to me and I can see that it will be helpful for all future surname searches. The next two search engines, Dogpile and Clusty, I had never heard of before this challenge. I was definitely curious to see what results the sites would give me.
Clusty didn't reveal any new information or links but for Dogpile, I found Public Domain Genealogy, a website with access to millions of free records.  Also, which said that Quattlebaum meant "dweller near the bridge across the bog". Not very useful, but fun all the same. I enjoyed this challenge of using different search engines and seeing the results and where they would lead me to.  It allowed me to have new eyes to find new links to various genealogy sites, many that I hadn't known before of before the challenge. 


  1. A very good idea to start with an unusual name like that! I used Google on some of my more unusual surnames (Hoogerzeil, Hitchings, etc.) and had some excellent results, especially with Google books.

  2. I do find more with Google...I just discovered using Google Books for genealogy last week! It's given me some great results too!