On Day 25 of Family History Month, visit Google Books and create your own online library with books that mention your ancestors.

You can use Google to find FREE Family History books and then read them or view them on your home computer or phone.

Google Books Family History Month OnGenealogy

Google Books works just like a search on Google.com except it searches an online book collection instead of websites.

Google Books for Free Family Histories

The books come from their Library Project and Partner Program.

The Library project search can result in four possible views:

  • Full View

  • Limited View

  • Snippet View

  • No Preview Available

Google Books Library Project possible results

I’m primarily interested in the “Full View” where I can see the entire book so I go to Google Books and do an initial search:

Initial search at Google books

This is what the search results look like:

Enhanced Search results on Google Books - only full view books

If your first interest is in seeing books that offer a “Full View”
go to “Search Tools” in the center, top menu that appears after your initial search, and select “Full View” or select “Free Google eBooks”. This focused search will return only full-text books that are downloadable.

How to find FREE Google Ebooks for your Family History

Now you’ll select a book from these filtered results.

Google Books initial search results

After you’ve selected a book from the “Full View” search results, you’ll have the option to search within this book. This is where you’ll type in a surname or other fact you’re searching for.

On the left column, you’ll see a search window with our initial search for “Prescott Ontario History”. You’ll type a new inquiry into this search window.

How to search within a Google Book for family names

I’ll try searching within this book for my ancestor, Joseph Cass.

Where to type a name in Google Ebooks search window

These are the pages in this book on which I can find some reference to a “Joseph Cass”. I can select each page and read what it says and verify if this is my ancestor. Above the search results, you’ll see “Add to my library” and “Write a review” buttons. If you want to save this book you can select the “Add to my Library” option . . .

How to add a Google eBook to My Library

and select to save it to “My Books on GooglePlay”.

How to see MyBook on Google Play

Now you have your own library of research books online at Google!

My Books on Google Play

Try searching by:

  • name: (try the full name; surname only; last name, first name; or first initial and last name)

  • location: (try the county or town with state or province and add “history,”  “historical society,” or “genealogical society”; try searching by parish)

  • keyword (location and “cemetery” or “cemeteries” or  surname and “genealogy” or “genealogies”)

Last but not least, download the Google Play Books app to your phone. This is what the app looks like in the App store.

Google Play Books app in the App Store

Now you’ll have your library of research books available at your fingertips!  #FamilyHistoryMonth

Best in your research!

#GenealogyTips How to use Google to find FREE family histories and view them on your computer or your phone

2 responses to “Family History Month Day 25 – Google Books”

  1. I have been using Google Books for over a year and get frustrated with no view, limited view, full view especially when searching for my brick wall “William” I did not know all the filtering was possible so I thank you so much for sharing this helpful inforation.

    1. Joy,

      Thanks for visiting our blog. I’m glad you found the Google Books tips helpful. It’s a terrific resource!



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