Friday, February 20, 2009

Looking at a new online service -Live Roots

Blogs are relaying news that a new site is up: Live Roots. Most blogs forward information from the publisher so the new site almost always sounds like it will be of great value to the genealogist. Some are; some are not. I read about LiveRoots at the very time I was thinking to myself "now how will I go about finding what early London newspapers are available as digital copies online?" Live Roots promised to help find information about resources as well as people. Just the thing to help me. So I typed in the url, which is pretty easy to rember (

Once there I typed in the keywords London newspapers and 720 hits emerged... but only 15 (I had to hand count them) were 100% hits and they floated to the top of the list. Of the 15, most were New London Connecticut newspapers, available on GenealogyBanks Historical Newspapers 1680-1980 collection. 2 hits pointed me to books from Heritage Books. The hit was based on the two word each being somewhere in the description.

But the number one hit --top of the list -- told me that's database included images from The Times (London from 1785 – 1820). There well may be more out there -- clearly Live Roots is selecting hits from relatively few large databases -- but it did find a hit that might be helpful to me.

What databases is LiveRoots searching? Ancestry, GenealogyBank, Footnote, World Vital Records, the Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild website, Olive Tree and Heritage books are ones I notices in the 720 results. Is there a listing of what all is being serached? Hmmm... here is all I could find:
We've created a unique genealogical database by combining databases from large commercial repositories (e.g.,, et. al.), publication listings from a variety of publishers, individual web pages and collection of offline resources.
When you search Live Roots the results will be presented in two categories: surnames and resources. In the above search, I ignored hits for London surnames because I wasn't interested in London as a surname. There is no better test of a surname search in a database than the surname Smith... so I searched that, even though, thank heavens, I have no Smith ancestors.

184 hits from the LiveRoots Index -- and 14 for the surname Smyth.
1857 from the subscription Index -- and 114 for Smyth.
and... 889 Resource Results.

The Live Roots Index appears to index websites, many of which would have to be explored to find where the name appears. Because there are only 184 hits the number of websites being searched must be quite limited. The Subscription Index consists of a collection offered by GeneaogyToday -- who also offer the Live Roots search. The resource results for the name Smith consists of resources available from etc. that have the word "smith" in the description. Definitions also appear, for example Black Smith.

I only spent about 20 minutes on the site and as with most sites, especially new ones, it takes time and effort to familiarize yourself with the best practices for using the site. But my conclusion after this 20 minute visit is that it is a site worth bookmarking and visiting on a regular basis.

Thumbs up.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hi Bobbie, the list of larger collections included (on Live Roots) is under the Help menu, "Major Collections". I do need to make that link more accessible throughout the site. Thanks for the feedback on my new project.