Minnesota genealogist Doug Barry has created a service that searches the Internet for your ancestors and e-mails you a monthly report on its findings. This could make it easier to monitor ever-changing Web sites for ancestral information.GenealogyAgent.com
searches message boards, family Web sites, Ancestry.com's public Member Trees
and other sites. (It’d be nice to see a list of all the sites the “agents” search for you.)
You can have GenealogyAgent.com look for two ancestors free for a year. Each additional Ancestor Monitor costs $14.60 annually.
To set up a monitor, first register
, then enter your ancestor’s basic information: name (maiden for women), nicknames, and birth and death years (you can choose a range). After saving this to your account, add places and family members’ names.
Each monthly report shows the sites searched, search terms used, and any changes related to those terms since the last search. As with any online search, there's no guarantee the results reported pertain to your ancestors.
Results for sites without search functions (for example, family sites that may list ancestors’ names and dates right on their pages) show up in a Web Page Monitor section. “The email goes on to explain how to log into GenealogyAgent.com to see the changes,” says Barry.
Results for sites that have searchable data (such as FamilySearch and Ancestry.com Member Trees) are in a Searchable Site Monitor section. To see full search results, you click a link that takes you to the site to execute the search yourself. You may need to register with some sites to see results, and of course, this won't get you around subscription fees in any paid sites.
How the GenealogyAgent.com service works can be difficult to grasp, so if you’re considering it, you’ll want to take the site tour
and set up your two free monitors. I’ve created one for a "difficult" ancestor and the other for someone more cooperative. I’ll let you know if anything turns up.
A few other free tools from the same webmaster: