There’s only so much time in each day that we can search for genealogy. What if, just what if, there were ways to search for genealogy while you sleep, while you eat, or watch a movie?

Surprise! There is a way to search for genealogy while you sleep. It’s free, and it almost couldn’t be easier. Seriously.

If you’ve never heard of Google Alerts, you’ll be glad you just have. Google Alerts is a free service by Google to help you find news items or web content that appears on the web.

The Problem

Many of us have already searched the Internet for genealogy, family history, pictures, stories, and histories (if you haven’t shared part of your family history online, find out why you should). After searching and searching on a particular line or name without much luck, you generally move on to the next name or line you are working on.

The challenge with performing a search for genealogy or family history stories one ancestor at a time is that new information is being added to the Internet every day. Wouldn’t it be sad if you searched the web for your ancestor and the next day, after you end your search, someone posts what you were looking for online?

The Answer

Give Google Alerts a try. After you’ve done some manual searching for what’s already on the Internet, set up a Google Alert to let you know if there is anything new added to the Internet related to your ancestor or line.

Simply add your family name or ancestor name to the Search Terms; select the appropriate type (“Comprehensive” should work just fine). Specify how often you would like alerts to be sent to you, and enter your email.

Setting up Alerts is Easy

Note: If you just enter “Smith” as your Google alert, you’ll probably end up with too many results unrelated to what you’re looking for. Try to be specific with the search terms you use. You may need to create a number of different alerts to help you with your research.

Again, the alerts will help you find what has been recently added to the Internet. To find what’s already there, just do a regular search on Google.

Visit Google Alerts at the following address: and have fun letting the computer do the family history searching for you!

The Google Alerts tool is very simple, yet very handy considering how fast the Web is changing.

Additional Automatic Search Tools

Another tool you can use is the free family tree service offered by For more information click here to read a review of the service and how it can search for you.