Sunday, February 5, 2012

Mocavo vs. Google: Post-Match Analysis

I hope you've enjoyed this little demonstration, matching the search engine capabilities of Mocavo and Google. The items that I had selected were done so at random; they are names/records that I've never looked at before, but was familiar of the sites that hosted them. It was something I wanted to do for my own understanding of the two search engines, and thought it might be helpful to share with others.

While the idea of a free genealogy search engine sounds great, there are two important factors to consider: first, limiting your search to free resources leaves out a significant number of matches in commercial resources (which include most modern books still in copyright, like all of the records compiled by companies like Genealogical Publishing Company, and the extensive newspaper collection at Genealogy Bank).

And second, who is to say what is a genealogical resource? In limiting your search to a collection deemed to be "genealogy resources" you may fail to locate mentions of your ancestors in other online materials. But that's no different to visiting a library that hosts a genealogy room; where I've found many interesting family history information in books located in other sections of the library.

Genealogists really need a comprehensive search engine that indexes all materials, free and commercial, because at the end of the day, they want to find their ancestors -- even if it means that they have to pay out a little bit of money (sites like Ancestry now offer very affordable monthly options), or travel to the library (or archive) that has a copy of the document.

This was by no means an attempt to cast a negative shadow upon Mocavo, but merely a litmus test of how well they've progressed in their mission. On February first, they announced a major partnership with the Allen County Public Library, and the addition of a historical record storage and sharing platform -- the latter being a significant move towards bringing large amounts of new information online.

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