Wednesday 22 July 2020

Using Google Alert...

... to find information about people and places.

I subscribe to many different email lists, primarily, but not exclusively to do with areas in which we had ancestors living. While many posts have nothing to do with our family, there are often interesting tidbits and advice that might assist us in designing and completing a search for people and events. It should not be surprising that most genealogists share similar problems in finding and interpreting information – messed up indexes, spelling differences, confusion about parentage, etc.

Another source I use is Google Alert. Through this service, I keep track of news about: Cornwood in Devon, where my Shepheard ancestors came from; Plympton also in Devon, where many events occurred in the past that affected my ancestors; and of course, Shepheard, in order to find out where any people with my surname might be living, some of whom may be distant relatives.

Many alerts are just current news reports about events and people, but occasionally they have to do with historical information. This week I was alerted to an individual who wrote about his Shepheard ancestors in Surrey. There is no doubt we share the same spelling of our surname, so it was interesting to see where his family lived. See Chris Shepheard’s Peeps into the Past.

The alert was about a painting he had commissioned to show store front that had housed a business run by his grandparents. A photo of the family standing in front of the building was used to recreate the site.

It reminded me of a water colour I had done depicting the Shepheard ancestral home in Cornwood as it might have looked in the late 19th century. It is a great idea to take old or new photos and have someone turn it into a picture you can hang on your wall that shows the place where your ancestors lived.
Water colour of East Rooke, Cornwood Parish, Devon by Christine Pascoe

Anyway, Chris used the picture to comment on his family members, a nice vignette that related his own connection to the past. I know he will also treasure the painting which will continue to bring up many more memories.

If you are looking for ways to find relatives or learn about areas where your family members lived and worked, Google Alert is one way to find connections you might otherwise miss. Click on the link and find out how.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Be aware, though, that any link from sources such as this, while helpful, may also take you to sites that could have viruses. Do not open anything you do not trust. It's always a good idea to have your anti-virus software up to date as well, for any browsing of the Internet.