Wednesday, May 23, 2007

An Inventor in the Family

Finding an inventor in your family is easier than ever with Google Patents. But what does that have to do with genealogy? In her article, "An Inventor in the Family: Google Patents as a Genealogical Tool," Judy Rosella-Edwards answers the question, comparing Google Patents to the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) database, and it's global: "Type in any country name in Google Patents and you'll find the country of residence for inventors at the time of their application." In addition to pin-pointing individuals within time and place, the patents are also useful in identifying witness who could vouch for the inventor and might be related. The article brings home, once again, the genealogical value of non-tradtional sources.

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