For Your Genealogy Toolbox: Social Searcher

Need a time-saver for chasing distant relatives? Here's a social media tool that making tracking folks down a little quicker!

This week on Webinar Wednesday, Lisa Louise Cooke presented "Tap Into Your Inner Private Eye - 9 Strategies for Finding Living Relatives."  (Catch the free replay while you can!) This webinar discussed the many ways you can track down living people, particularly distant cousins who may have information about your ancestors. Lisa discussed many online tools one of which was called Social Searcher.

According to their website, Social Searcher "allows [people] to search for content in social networks in real-time and provides deep analytics data. Users can search without logging in for publicly posted information on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Tumblr, Reddit, Flickr, Dailymotion and Vimeo. Free users can also save their searches and set up email alerts."Social Searcher

In essence this is a time-saver tool. Instead of searching a number of social media sites individually you can use Social Searcher to search all of them at one time.

I gave it a try to see what it could do. In order to protect the privacy of others, I'll use myself as an example.  I started by first typing in my name - Marian Pierre-Louis. To be honest, that didn't work out very well. None of the results returned related to me in any way. You can see in the image below the kind of poor results I got. (Click image to enlarge.)

Social Searcher


However, when I put my name in quotations - "Marian Pierre-Louis" - the results improve greatly. The phrase now appears in the exact phrase box on the left rather than the keywords box.  All of the results related to me. When scrolling down the results you see social media posts that I've shared or interacted with on Google+, YouTube and Twitter.

Social Searcher


Not everyone is going to have as unique a name as I have.  What do you do if distant cousin is named John Smith?  Try searching for the name in quotations plus additional word(s) such as a location, occupation or school.  I tried searching for my name plus the word genealogy. 

This time, instead of typing into the white search box I typed directly into the yellow search parameters boxes on the left side of the screen. I typed genealogy into the keywords box and Marian Pierre-Louis into exact phrase box beneath it.  Then I used the orange search box at the bottom.  The white search box was then updated with genealogy OR "Marian Pierre-Louis." That's not exactly what I was hoping for.

I manually changed the white search box to genealogy AND "Marian Pierre-Louis."  I tried variations on the search terms. Social Search seems to return the best results when you put the most important term first. So changing my search to "Marian Pierre-Louis" AND genealogy  gave better results. You'll have to do some experimenting to get the best results for your searches.

Social searcher


Click on the Advanced options header midway down the screen on the left. This will provide new options such as post types (links, photo, status or video), language and social media sites.

Social Searcher


Social Searcher may take a little experimenting to get your searches right but it is definitely a time saver if you want to search for distant cousins online across multiple social platforms.  Keep in mind that the results only return publicly accessible social media posts and interactions. You'll have to return to more traditional methods if it appears that your distant cousin doesn't have an online presence.

Give Social Searcher a try and have fun!


Marian Pierre-Louis is the Social Media Marketing Manager for Legacy Family Tree. She is also the host of The Genealogy Professional podcast. Check out her webinars in the Legacy library.



Read 'Em or Weep: Promise and Pitfalls in Newspaper OCR - new webinar by Mary Kircher Roddy

New BONUS Webinar in the Legacy Library!


First, learn about free sites, subscription sites and lesser-known ways for identifying and locating newspapers. Also learn strategies on searching for common surnames and forenames, as well as how to overcome the numerous spelling mistakes in newspaper searching. After understanding the “intentional” ways a name might appear differently than expected, learn about unintentional mistakes that creep in due to OCR technology and how to allow for these (Roddy = Rocldv). Finally learn how spreadsheets can track spelling and OCR variants to make sure researchers perform a thorough and reasonably exhaustive search of newspaper records.

Read 'Em or Weep: Promise and Pitfalls in Newspaper OCR - Members Login to Watch Now! 



Not a member yet?

Legacy Family Tree Webinars provides genealogy education where-you-are through live and recorded online webinars and videos. Learn from the best instructors in genealogy including Thomas MacEntee, Judy Russell, J. Mark Lowe, Lisa Louise Cooke, Megan Smolenyak, Tom Jones, and many more. Learn at your convenience. On-demand classes are available 24 hours a day! All you need is a computer or mobile device with an Internet connection.

Subscribe today and get access to this BONUS members-only webinar AND all of this:

  • All 293 classes in the library (424 hours of quality genealogy education)
  • 1,287 pages of instructors' handouts
  • Chat logs from the live webinars
  • Additional 5% off anything at
  • Chance for a bonus subscribers-only door prize during each live webinar
  • Additional members-only webinars
  • Playlist, resume watching, and jump-to features

It's just $49.95/year or $9.95/month.

Click here to subscribe.

Free Webinars

Our public live webinars are all free. Click here to see what's on the schedule.

My DNA Dilemma - what would YOU do with these DNA kits?

Picture 2

I've finally ordered a DNA kit. Two of them in fact. Now I'm wondering, "what now?"

I guess I'm late to the DNA-genealogy game. It's been the talk of the community for years now, yet I've not felt compelled to jump in. I've learned a lot about DNA from our DNA webinar series and I've heard your stories of how DNA testing helped has helped you.

I've finally given in to your peer-pressure:

  • "What, YOU haven't had your DNA tested Geoff?"
  • "Just do it Geoff - everyone's doing it!"

and so when Ancestry's DNA kits went on sale recently I did it. I placed the order. I'm almost a genea-DNA-peep like the rest of you.

Now I face my first DNA dilemma. Who should I test? The best answer is probably, "well, what are you hoping to find? What are your goals?" My current response is, "I'm not really sure." But I still have three grandparents with me (age 92, 81, and 81) and something tells me I should work with them before much longer. I'd also be interested in having myself tested. Why? Because I'm interested in the results. 

I also have an old genealogy case where I think Y-DNA testing would help. Asa had four children in his first marriage.


I THINK that child #1 is Griffin:


and child #3 is John:


but I don't know yet. While I know there's more research that can/should be done on these two children, it's been difficult. And so I'm wondering if DNA would tell me if I'm on the right track. Here's what I'm thinking:

  1. IF I can locate a living male BROWN-surnamed descendant of one of the two known children (Nathan or Lorenzo)
  2. AND I can locate a living male BROWN-surnamed descendant of Griffin or John
  3. AND I can convince BOTH of them to take a DNA test
  4. AND their DNA matches

Would this suggest that Griffin and John do belong in the family and that I should use my efforts to continue the quest?

Legacy's DNA Chart, the "Male Y-DNA, Carriers Only" chart


should make it easier to know which of these descendants would carry the right Y-DNA, right?

Y-DNA Descendant Carriers Only of Asa Clark Brown

On the other hand, my mother's mother, age 81, is a descendant of one of my brick wall ancestors. Below, Grandma's mother's mother's mother's mother's parents are unknown. Would testing Grandma with a mtDNA test be of value here?


What should Geoff do?

My dear genea-DNA-peeps - I've got two AncestryDNA (autosomal) kits sitting on my desk. Should I:

  1. Test Grandpa Rasmussen (Dad's father)
  2. Test Grandpa Larsen (Mom's father)
  3. Test Grandma Larsen (Mom's mother)
  4. Test Dad
  5. Test Mom
  6. Test myself

And which other tests should I obtain?

  1. y-DNA test for the Browns
  2. mtDNA test for Grandma Larsen

If my budget were not an issue I know I should do 'em all. Or should I just keep these tests on my desk for now?

Pre-order now available - Mobile Genealogy: How to Use Your Tablet and Smartphone for Family History Research by Lisa Louise Cooke

Mobile_Gen_COVERMobile Genealogy: How to Use Your Tablet and Smartphone for Family History Research is now available to pre-order. This will undoubtedly be another genealogy best-seller written by Lisa Louise Cooke.


Whether you have an iPad, an Android tablet, or a smartphone (or all three), Mobile Genealogy will help you put them to work for your genealogy research. Mobile Genealogy picks up where genealogy and tech guru Lisa Louise Cooke’s book Turn Your iPad into a Genealogy Powerhouse left off, and then leaves it in the dust! This time around, she’s covered all of the bases:

  • tablet
  • smartphone
  • Android
  • and iOS.

And she’s expanded into more apps, in more depth, and provides the latest cutting-edge strategies for mobile genealogy. You'll get step-by-step instructions and tips and tricks!

Begins shipping February 15, 2016, Perfect-bound Paperback: 174 pages, 6" x 9"



About the author:

Lisa Louise Cooke is the founder of Genealogy Gems, a family history multi-media company. Since 2007 she has produced and hosted The Genealogy Gems Podcast, the #1 genealogy podcast in iTunes. As a technology expert she travels the world teaching family historians how to harness the power of tech to benefit their genealogy research and family history story-telling.

More from Lisa

Lisa is also the presenter of some of the most popular courses in our webinar library.




9 Strategies for Finding Living Relatives - free webinar by Lisa Louise Cooke now online for limited time


The recording of today's webinar, "Tap Into Your Inner Private Eye - 9 Strategies for Finding Living Relatives" by Lisa Louise Cooke is now available to view for free for a limited time at

Learn the techniques that Private Investigators use to track down missing people. These strategies will help you find those elusive living relatives who just may hold the key to your brick wall or possess that treasured photo you’ve been looking for.

View the Recording at

If you could not make it to the live event or just want to watch it again, the 1 hour 58 minute recording of "Tap Into Your Inner Private Eye - 9 Strategies for Finding Living Relatives" PLUS the after-party is now available to view in our webinar library for free for a limited time. Or watch it at your convenience with an annual or monthly webinar membership.

Coupon code

Use webinar coupon code - private - for 10% off anything at or, valid through Monday, January 11, 2016. 

Mobile_Gen_COVERMobile Genealogy: How to Use Your Tablet and Smartphone for Family History Research - $19.95 presale

Whether you have an iPad, an Android tablet, or a smartphone (or all three), Mobile Genealogy will help you put them to work for your genealogy research. Mobile Genealogy picks up where genealogy and tech guru Lisa Louise Cooke’s book Turn Your iPad into a Genealogy Powerhouse left off, and then leaves it in the dust! This time around, she’s covered all of the bases: tablet, smartphone, Android and iOS. And she’s expanded into more apps, in more depth, and provides the latest cutting-edge strategies for mobile genealogy. You'll get step-by-step instructions and tips and tricks!

Published Feb 2016, Perfect-bound Paperback: 174 pages, 6" x 9", begins shipping February 15, 2016.

Click here to purchase for 19.95.

Webinar Memberships/Subscriptions

Webinar Members get:

  • On-demand access to the entire webinar archives (now 292 classes, 436 hours of genealogy education)
  • On-demand access to the instructor handouts (now 1,285 pages)
  • On-demand access to the live webinars' chat logs
  • 5% off all products at (must be logged in at checkout)
  • Access to all future recordings for the duration of their membership
  • Chance for a members-only door prize during each live webinar
  • Access to register for bonus members-only webinars
  • Ability to view which webinars you are registered for
  • Use of the playlist, resume watching, and jump-to features

Introductory pricing:

  • Annual membership: $49.95/year
  • Monthly membership: $9.95/month

Click here to subscribe.

Register for our upcoming webinars (free)

  • Technology and Techniques for Differentiating Two People with the Same Name by Geoff Rasmussen. January 13.
  • Snagit Software for Genealogists by Michael Brophy. January 15.
  • The Basics of Virginia Research by Shannon Combs-Bennett. January 20.
  • The Paper-Less Genealogist by Denise May Levenick. January 27.
  • 7 Unique Technologies for Genealogy Discoveries at MyHeritage by Mike Mansfield. 1/29.
  • The Scots-Irish in America by Peggy Clemens Lauritzen. February 10.
  • Getting Started with Microsoft Word by Thomas MacEntee. February 17.
  • Problem Solving with FANs by Beth Foulk. February 19.
  • A Guided Tour of Cyndi's List 2.0 by Cyndi Ingle. February 24.
  • The War of 1812 Records - Preserving the Pensions by Michael Hall. March 2.
  • Making YDNA and mtDNA Part of Your Family History by Diahan Southard. March 4.
  • How Do I Know That's My Ancestor? by Amy Johnson Crow. March 9.
  • The Private Laws of the Federal and State Governments by Judy Russell. March 16.
  • Introduction to German Parish Records by Gail Blankenau. March 23.
  • Proof Arguments - How to Write Them and Why They Matter by Warren Bittner. March 30.
  • Getting to Know Findmypast - Your Source for British and Irish Genealogy by Jen Baldwin. April 6.
  • Confirming Enslaved Ancestors Utilizing DNA by Melvin Collier. April 8.
  • U.S. Land Records - State Land States by Mary Hill. April 13.
  • Fire Insurance Maps - The Google Maps of Their Day by Jill Morelli. April 20.
  • England and Wales - Rummaging in the Parish Chests by Kirsty Gray. April 27.
  • Google Drive for Genealogists by Thomas MacEntee. May 4.
  • Dirty Pictures - Save Your Family Photos from Ruin by Denise Levenick. May 11.
  • Messages from the Grave - Listening to Your Ancestor's Tombstone by Elissa Scalise Powell. May 13.
  • Mining the Über-sites for German Ancestors by Jim Beidler. May 18.
  • Discover American Ancestors (NEHGS) by Lindsay Fulton. May 25.
  • Get the Most from by Claire Vail. June 1.
  • Researching Your Washington State Ancestors by Mary Roddy. June 8.
  • Introduction to the Freedmen's Bureau by Angela Walton-Raji. June 10.
  • Ticked Off! Those Pesky Pre-1850 Census Tic Marks by Peggy Clemens Lauritzen. June 15.
  • Digging Deeper in German Parish Records by Gail Blankenau. June 22.
  • Circles or Triangles? What Shape is Your DNA? by Diahan Southard. June 29.
  • Navigating Naturalization Records by Lisa Alzo. July 6.
  • A Genealogist's Guide to Heraldry by Shannon Combs-Bennett. July 13.
  • Finding French Ancestors by Luana Darby. July 15.
  • Organize Your Online Life by Lisa Louise Cooke. July 20.
  • Researching Women - Community Cookbooks and What They Tell Us About Our Ancestors by Gena Philibert-Ortega. July 27.
  • The Germanic French - Researching Alsatian and Lorrainian Families by John Philip Colletta. July 30.
  • Solutions for Missing and Scarce Records by Tom Jones. July 30.
  • Getting Started with Microsoft PowerPoint by Thomas MacEntee. August 3.
  • The Battle for Bounty Land - War of 1812 and Mexican-American Wars by Beth Foulk. August 10.
  • Homestead Act of 1862 - Following the Witnesses by Bernice Bennett. August 12.
  • Successfully Applying to a Lineage Society by Amy Johnson Crow. August 17.
  • Using Findmypast to Unlock Your Irish Ancestry by Brian Donovan. August 24.
  • The Treasure Trove in Legislative Petitions by Judy Russell. September 14.
  • Clooz - A Document-Based Software Companion by Richard Thomas. September 16.
  • How to Use for Beginners by Devin Ashby. September 21.
  • Beginning Polish Genealogy by Lisa Alzo and Jonathan Shea. September 28.
  • AHA! Analysis of Handwriting for Genealogical Research by Ron Arons. October 5.
  • Time and Place - Using Genealogy's Cross-Hairs by Jim Beidler. October 12.
  • Finding Your Ancestors' German Hometown by Ursula Krause. October 14.
  • Social History Websites That Bring Your Ancestor's Story to Life by Gena Philibert-Ortega. October 19.
  • Flip for Flickr - Share, Store and Save Your Family Photos by Maureen Taylor. October 26.
  • Analysis and Correlation - Two Keys to Sound Conclusions by Chris Staats. November 2.
  • Publishing a Genealogy E-Book by Thomas MacEntee. November 9.
  • Dating Family Photographs by Jane Neff Rollins. November 16.
  • Nature & Nurture - Family History for Adoptees by Janet Hovorka and Amy Slade. November 18.
  • Multi-Media Story Telling by Devin Ashby. November 30.
  • Becoming a Genealogy Detective by Sharon Atkins. December 7.
  • From the Heartland - Utilizing Online Resources in Midwest Research by Luana Darby. December 14.
  • Tracing Your European Ancestors by Julie Goucher. December 16.
  • An Introduction to BillionGraves by Garth Fitzner. December 21.

Click here to register.

Print the 2016 webinar brochure here.

See you online!

New Legacy QuickGuide Now Available - Iowa Genealogy by Cari Taplin

Legacy QuickGuidesTM have quickly become one of the more popular resources for genealogists. Each guide contains four (sometimes five, sometimes more) pages of valuable information covering a variety of genealogy research topics, dozens of clickable links, and are written by genealogists and family historians who are experts in the subject areas. We've added another brand new Legacy QuickGuide: Iowa Genealogy by Cari Taplin. Now choose from 89 Legacy QuickGuides!

Iowa GenealogyIowa Genealogy by Cari Taplin - $2.95

Three major rivers create boundaries for the state of Iowa: the Mississippi to the east, and the Missouri and Big Sioux to the west. These rivers played a major role in the exploration and settlement of Iowa since river travel was the easiest form of transportation in the times before roads and rails. Iowa’s major cities were developed on major rivers. Similar to other plains states, Iowa was explored and claimed by several nations before it became an American territory: France, England, and Spain. Native American tribes lived in the area long before European settlers moved in.
The Iowa Genealogy Legacy QuickGuide™ contains valuable research strategy to help you find your Hawkeye State ancestors This handy 7-page PDF guide can be used on your computer or mobile device for anytime access.


Now choose from 89!

Purchase for just $2.95


United States - State Guides

United States - other Guides


United Kingdom




Tuesday's Tip - Advanced Tagging

  Tuesday's Tip - Advanced Tagging on Legacy Family Tree

Tuesday's Tips provide brief how-to's to help you learn to use the Legacy Family Tree software with new tricks and techniques.

Advanced Tagging

Did you know that if you RIGHT click on the tags in the Family or Pedigree Views it will bring up the Advanced Tagging screen? It saves you a few clicks.

If you have your tags labeled on the Advanced Tagging screen, if someone is tagged on one of the labeled tags and you hover your mouse over that tag you will get a little popup with the label. This is great if you forget what Tag 5 was.

  Advanced Tagging

Find tech tips every day in the Facebook Legacy User Group. The group is free and is available to anyone with a Facebook account.

For video tech tips checkout the Legacy Quick Tips page.  These short videos will make it easy for you to learn all sort of fun and interesting ways to look at your genealogy research.

Michele Simmons Lewis is part of the technical support team at Millennia, the makers of the Legacy Family Tree software program. With over 20 years of research experience, Michele’s passion is helping new genealogists get started on the right foot through her writings, classes and lectures. She is the former staff genealogist and weekly columnist for the McDuffie Mirror and now authors Ancestoring, a blog geared toward the beginner/intermediate researcher.


Register for Webinar Wednesday - 9 Strategies for Finding Living Relatives by Lisa Louise Cooke


In our first live webinar of 2016, you will learn the techniques that Private Investigators use to track down missing people. These strategies will help you find those elusive living relatives who just may hold the key to your brick wall or possess that treasured photo you’ve been looking for.

Join us and Genealogy Gems' Lisa Louise Cooke for the live webinar Wednesday, January 6, 2016 at 2pm Eastern U.S. Register today to reserve your virtual seat. Registration is free but space is limited to the first 1,000 people to join that day. Before joining, please visit to ensure you have the latest version of Java which our webinar software requires. When you join, if you receive a message that the webinar is full, you know we've reached the 1,000 limit, so we invite you to view the recording which should be published to the webinar archives within an hour or two of the event's conclusion. 

Download the syllabus

In preparation for the webinar, download the supplemental syllabus materials here. The syllabus is available for annual or monthly webinar subscribers. Log in here or subscribe here.


Or register for multiple webinars at once by clicking here.

Not sure if you already registered?

Login to view your registration status for this webinar (available for annual or monthly webinar subscribers).

Test Your Webinar Connection

To ensure that your webinar connection is ready to go, click here.

Can't make it to the live event?

No worries. Its recording will be available for a limited time. Webinar Subscribers have unlimited access to all webinar recordings for the duration of their membership.

About the presenter

LisaLouiseCooke-144x144Lisa Louise Cooke is the owner of Genealogy Gems, a genealogy and family history multi-media company.  She is producer and host of theGenealogy Gems Podcast, the popular online genealogy audio show as well as the Family History: Genealogy Made Easy podcast, both available at, in iTunes, and through the Genealogy Gems app. Her podcast episodes bring genealogy news, research strategies, expert interviews and inspiration to genealogists and have been downloaded over 1 million times.

Lisa is the author of a variety of multi-media materials available to Genealogy Gems Premium Members and the books: Turn Your iPad into a Genealogy Powerhouse, How to Find Your Family History in Newspapers, The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox, and Genealogy Gems: Ultimate Research Strategies, as well as producer of the video series Google Earth for Genealogy and over 60 videos at the Genealogy Gems YouTube Channel.

Lisa’s offerings are not limited to online.  She is a sought after international genealogy speaker having regularly appeared at Who Do You Think You Are? Live in London, and webinar presenter.

Whether in person or online, Lisa strives to dig through the myriad of genealogy news, questions and resources and deliver the gems that can unlock each listeners own family history treasure trove!

Family is not just a priority professionally. Lisa is a doting wife to Bill, the proud mom of three daughters, and has added the role of Grandma to her resume.  She counts her blessings every day for the love, fulfillment and laughter that family brings to every aspect of her life.

Add it to your Google Calendar

With our Google Calendar button, you will never forget our upcoming webinars. Simply click the button to add it to your calendar. You can then optionally embed the webinar events (and even turn them on and off) into your own personal calendar. If you have already added the calendar, you do not have to do it again - the new webinar events will automatically appear.

Webinar time

The webinar will be live on Wednesday, January 6, 2016 at:

  • 2pm Eastern (U.S.)
  • 1pm Central
  • 12pm Mountain
  • 11am Pacific

Or use this Time Zone Converter.

Here's how to attend:

  1. Register at today. It's free!
  2. You will receive a confirmation email containing a link to the webinar.
  3. You will receive a reminder email both 1 day and 1 hour prior to the live webinar.
  4. Calculate your time zone by clicking here.
  5. Make sure you have the latest version of Java installed on your computer. Check at
  6. Check your GoToWebinar connection here.
  7. Click on the webinar link (found in confirmation and reminder emails) prior to the start of the webinar. Arrive early as the room size is limited to the first 1,000 arrivals that day.
  8. Listen via headset (USB headsets work best), your computer speakers, or by phone.

We look forward to seeing you all there!

My first black sheep ancestor

With the help of Google Translate I found my first black sheep ancestor this morning.

Initially I wondered why all of the writing on this page was beautifully scripted except for the one entry in Jan Olsson's record.


After typing the phrase into Google Translate I figured out why.


If I were the person recording this statement in the household records book, I probably would have been a little shaky too.

And so to start my new genealogy year, I've learned that the grandfather of my Swedish immigrant to America was beheaded for murder. In this record I also see that Jan's wife, my 6th-great-grandmother, died in 1804.

Here's to many more genealogy discoveries - good or bad - in 2016!

The Top 10 Genealogy Webinars in 2015

What a year it was for our webinar series! At the beginning of the year we promised to bring you 62 genealogy webinars. We miscalculated. We brought you 97 of them. 97 new ways to find your family history at We compiled the top 10 most-watched webinar recordings for you below.

Top 10 Overall





















Is your favorite among the top 10 in 2015?

Top 10 Free Webinars in 2015

10. Timelines and Chronologies: Secrets of Success

9. Thinking about Becoming a Board-certified Genealogist?

8. Billions of Records, Billions of Stories

7. Thinking about Becoming an Accredited Genealogist?

6. Sources and Citations Made Simple, Standard, and Powerful

5. GenealogyBank - The Power of Finding Our Ancestors' Stories

4. Bringing it all Together and Leaving a Permanent Record

3. Genealogy Serendipity - Listening for Our Ancestors

2. Getting Started in Scrapbooking

1. Digital Family Reunions

Top 10 Legacy-Related Webinars in 2015 

10.Watch Geoff Live: Cemeteries

9. Legacy Family Tree and FamilySearch Family Tree

8. What's New in Legacy Family Tree 8?

7. Legacy Family Tree - Virtual User Group Meeting

6. Legacy Family Tree - Beyond the Basics

5. 10 Tips for Using Legacy with Specialized Studies

4. Digital Research Guidance

3. Timelines and Chronologies

2. How to Import Family Tree Maker Files into Legacy

1. Legacy Family Tree - an Overview