I use Amazon almost every day it seems; my house and business just can’t run without it! I’ve been a loyal Amazon users since the first started, and I also have an Amazon Prime membership which offers benefits such as free 2-day shipping, streaming music and video and more.
The typical genealogist uses Amazon as a source for purchasing genealogy books, software and even gift items. But have you tried using Amazon to search for other items related to actual genealogical research?
Genealogy Research Items on Amazon
I stumbled upon several items relevant to genealogical research by accident. Usually, when I enter the word “genealogy” the first items to appear are books. Amazon ranks search results based on the most relevant items, and those items appear first.
To look at some of the more “uncommon” or lower ranking items, in the left sidebar, click “See all _____ departments.” Then select departments that might have items related to genealogy. One of the best is Collectibles & Fine Art. Why? This is where vendors sell old family photos – some identified and some unidentified. You may find photos of your ancestors or from the same town as your ancestors.
The Product Description is FILLED with valuable information: “1870’s Bertha Twiss Family CDV Photo, Manchester, Iowa, Delaware County, Vintage Victorian #150: On front: Bertha Twiss is clearly handwritten in period ink. Photo type: CDV Carte de visite Photo. Photographer: Walter’s Photographic Studio, Manchester, Iowa, Delaware County. Note: very ornate and fancy backmark. (This is known to be photographer Harry L. Walters or Walter) We found in public records: 1880 US Census about Bertha Belle Twiss Age: 7, Birth Year: abt 1879, Birthplace: Iowa, Home in 1880: Delhi, Delaware, Iowa. Father’s Name: Thomas A. Twiss, Father’s Birthplace: England, Mother’s name: Amelia Twiss, Mother’s Birthplace: Iowa, Household Members: Name Age: Thomas A. Twiss 40, Amelia Twiss 24, Bertha Belle Twiss 7, John Poor 68, Mary Poor 69. NOTE: Bertha Twiss Married Arthur Howell Denmark. Father: Thomas A Twiss born 1838. Mother: Amelia Permella Poor 1854-1922 .Sibling: Walter J Twiss born 1883. Unknown family member: Marbelle Twiss born 1907. Possible daughter: Bertha Belle Denmark who married Henry Grady Rushing in 1897. 1920 US Census Bertha Denmark [Bertha Luke] Age: 42 Birth Year: abt 1878 Birthplace: Iowa Home in 1920: Fitzgerald Ward 4, Ben Hill, Georgia. Spouse: Arthur H Denmark. Mother’s name: Amelia Luke. Household Members: Arthur H Denmark 47, Bertha Denmark 42, Marjorie Denmark 12. Frances Denmark 11, Alice Denmark 7, Amelia Luke 62, Clifford L Sanders 38, Minnie Sanders 33. A stunning image of an impish little girl with a beautiful and ornate photographer’s advertising backmark, artist palette, camera. One of our favorites! Do you know this Iowa and Georgia Twiss family? Size 2.5 x 4 inches”
Also, make sure you click on the Seller’s business name since it is likely they have photos and related items from the same location.
Don’t Forget Surname and Place Names!
In addition to using the terms “genealogy” and “family history,” I spent quite a while browsing items related to specific surnames and place names that I research.
When it comes down to it, any site that has a search engine has the potential to offer clues about your genealogy research. The best way to find out: enter one or more of your unusual surnames or place names and look at the search results.
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Check out Amazon today and see if it can’t help with some of your research!
©2015, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.