Genealogy Gophers:

Genealogy Gophers:

I posted on my Facebook about a new resource for genealogists called Genealogy Gophers. This resource searches over 40,000 digital books that ONLY HAVE TO DO WITH GENEALOGY! How awesome is that? I’ve used other sources like Google Books and many times to find genealogy items. Of course, you get a lot of results that have nothing to do with genealogy. This website addresses that problem and it’s FREE! Who doesn’t love that word?

These books all come from out of copyright works that were digitized by (I love them). There is a listing of where the books come from specifically if you’re curious here.

You can search two ways:

  • Texts: This searches in the texts of books. You can look up surnames, first names, and place names. Be aware that these are exact searches but you can use wildcard searches. You can also add start and end years (those are rounded to the beginning and end of a decade) and using relative’s names that can be found near the searched for name.
  • Titles: This is pretty self-explanatory – you can look for book titles, authors, subjects, description, publisher, surname, and a place.

Search Results

I had to try this out of course. So I searched for my main research name: Witherell. That came up with over 800 results so I narrowed it down to just Michigan. And lo and behold, I found something NEW!


That first one there, from Scituate, Massachusetts. It mentions the Rev. William Witherell and another William Witherell. I have gone through what I call the Witherell book MANY times searching for my ancestors that should be there if they were related. The book focuses on those two William Witherell lines and I am often told by other Witherell researchers that I am probably from one of those two lines and no other Witherell’s are ever mentioned; as far as starting a line in America, anyway.. But NONE of my ancestors are in there and they should be if they were related. Now, this lovely result gives me something different: “There was a John Witherell (probably a brother) in Cambridge in 1635, and afterward in Watertown.” (1)Samuel Dean, History of Scituate, Massachusetts: From It’s First Settlement to 1831 (Boston: James Loring, 1881), 412

This is the first time a Witherell other than the two William Witherell’s have been mentioned as line beginners in America! I did a little dance in my office at this!

Of course, this does not mean I am related in any way but it’s nice to see that the two William’s weren’t the only Witherell’s in existence.

Is There a Catch?

I guess. I suppose it depends on what you consider a catch. So once you get your search results you can then click on the item you want to view. You’ll see the books information on the left and then a survey on the right. You just need to complete the Google Consumer Survey to get to the book. This is how GenealogyGophers is getting their money along with the ads on that page too. The good thing is you only have to do the survey once a day so once you’ve done it for one book, you’re good for the day. Also this helps keep the site free, and again, who doesn’t like that word?

Once you take the survey you can see the book, specifically on the page your search results appear on. At the top of the book there are more search boxes so you can search for more within that one book. At the bottom are the navigation buttons; this is very similar to viewing books in

AND! Another bonus, you can even download the PDF of the book, for free! That really is a lovely word!


So check out this new resource and tell me what you think in the comments below!


Happy hunting!


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Sources   [ + ]

1. Samuel Dean, History of Scituate, Massachusetts: From It’s First Settlement to 1831 (Boston: James Loring, 1881), 412