How to data mind genealogy collections

How to Data Mine Your Deceased – Genealogy Tips

When you data mine genealogy record sets, you can make discoveries for elusive family stories.

Do you ever have a research question that requires you to explore a large number of families to attempt to piece together the answer?

In this video, we’re going to talk about how you can data mine a record collection to answer your genealogy research questions.

Use Data Mining to Research Online Genealogy Record Sets - Genealogy Brick Wall Busting Tutorial
Watch this video on YouTube.

With the extension for Chrome browsers, you can extract large quantities of data at the click of a button. You’re not going to want to miss this tutorial.

A Case Study Requiring Genealogy Data Mining

Genealogy research begins with a quality research question. While researching John and Hannah Long of Lawrence, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, I had two questions:

 “United States Census, 1850,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 12 April 2016), John Long, Lawrence, Clearfield, Pennsylvania, United States; citing family 214, NARA microfilm publication M432 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  • Who is Martha Welch?
  • Where is their infant son William Lester Long?

There are 28 pages of Lawrence, Pennsylvania census records in 1850 with about 40 names per page. Trying to process all of that data involves a lot of painstaking efforts, OR you can data mine the genealogy recordset.

Watch this video to learn how to create a Data Miner recipe to extract this information on FamilySearch. You can apply the same principles to each genealogy website you need to investigate.

After You Data Mine a Genealogy Record It’s Time to Explore

The tool extracts information but you need to use a spreadsheet in order to analyze the information from your selected genealogy resource.

In the tutorial, I show how to extract the information into an Excel spreadsheet or Google Sheets. Then, you can begin manipulating the data by:

  • color coding clusters (in this case households)
  • filtering individuals (by surname, by household number, etc.)

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I don’t tell you how the story ends, but I do show you how to can discover some cool historical and genealogical facts.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

section of us census record with ttitle Free tool for advanced genealogy research
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Devon Noel Lee is passionate about capturing and preserving family stories so no one alive today has to be researched, or forgotten, tomorrow. She has authored 6 how-to books, a memoir, two published family history biographies, and over 60 family scrapbooks. She's an enthusiastic speaker who energizes, encourages, and educates at the same time.


    • Family History Fanatics

      Data mining works for ALL websites with text or searchable content. It doesn’t work on browse only images. (I think you knew that but I wanted to be sure others understand.) So yet, it would work on Find My Past, MyHeritage, Ancestry, and other websites with data.

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