The BCGS Members’ Tip for January 1st, 2014 is: Automate many of your searches.
What better time than New Year’s to add more Internet search power to your genealogy tool kit. For years, many have entered their key surnames and place names into Google Alerts and kept an eye out for incoming e-mails with links to mentions of these on the web. Google Alerts still functions, but not as well as it did, so I’m now also trying out Talkwalker Alerts – another free service, although not perhaps quite as comprehensive.
If you haven’t used a service like this before for your genealogy searches, it’s easy. You will need to give an e-mail address. (I use a more private one for this type of service.) Choose some of your more unique surnames and enter each as alert key words. I do not suggest entering very common surnames unless you can also enter a less common place name along with the surname. I’d get far too few useful results entering just ADAMS, for instance, but “ADAMS” and “Shipham Somerset” gets me results.