PROS / This is an excellent genealogy search engine for finding newspaper articles.
CONS / The information focuses only on the United States.
VERDICT / GenealogyBank is a good site for finding newspapers and essential documents for genealogy if you have roots in the U.S. However, it's not that useful for international families.
Because of the valuable cultural information in newspapers, the genealogy search site GenealogyBank focuses mainly on these publications from all around the U.S., dating back to 1690. You can find records such as obituaries, marriages, community events and arrests in newspapers, making them a great tool to get to know your ancestors and the environment they lived in. In addition to newspapers, the GenealogyBank collection includes local histories, funeral sermons, biographies, directories and other books. These kinds of documents go beyond the standard birth, marriage or death certificate. However, the site's focus on the U.S. means it has a relatively narrow audience.
GenealogyBank is easy to use. Searches require a last name at minimum, with optional fields for first name, included or excluded keywords, and a data range or exact date. Like a general search engine, GenealogyBank yields better results the more information you provide.
Among the records are prized genealogy finds like photos, as well as lots of information about your ancestors’ time and place through articles and advertisements. The content is scanned in, so you get to see all of the original look and feel of the source material. GenealogyBank has extensive records, more than 5,800 newspapers from all 50 states, but records are limited to U.S. publications. This presents a problem if your family have only lived in the country for a few generations or currently live elsewhere. The best genealogy search sites cover European records or documents from English-speaking countries at minimum.
While the information you glean from GenealogyBank is helpful, this ancestry website doesn’t do much more than allow you to search records. There isn’t a family tree builder or other tools to help you organize or save search results. You will need to write down or copy and paste your findings into your genealogy software to keep it all in order. GenealogyBank doesn’t have many community connections, though it does have some social media pages that may offer you an avenue to connect to other genealogy enthusiasts.
GenealogyBank focuses on newspaper archives from the U.S., with some additional records beyond that. If your family has history in the U.S. dating back centuries, you will likely find newspaper scans, obituaries and other records about your relatives. The site is simple to use, and searches don’t require much detail to narrow results. GenealogyBank is a good option for American families to find extra tidbits of cultural information from centuries of newspaper records, but it limits your searches if your family lives outside the U.S. or is relatively new to the country.