Thanks to the Genealogy Gophers and Internet Archive, I now have a copy of the history of Ewing College in Illinois. And, thanks to them I now have a photo of my ancestor, Robert R. Link, along with an impressive biography. He was one of the founders of the college which began as a high school in 1867 and kicked up the curriculum to college level in 1874. The biographies of the founders included in the book gave me a lot of insight into the life of this man.
What makes the Genealogy Gophers search engine so impressive? First, they are searching their own “library” of genealogy publications. As they put it, each new addition to their library is indexed using “statistical algorithms to try and associate the names, dates, and places it’s found, and recognize combinations of the data that are likely to represent real people.” There are also other statistical and machine learning tools used to support genealogy-only search results.
The details on how they do it may be way over my head, but the results I get are both amazing and delightful. Those talented gophers are quickly becoming my favorite research buddies.
The Genealogy Gophers is a free service, but you will be asked to complete a short survey each day. If you don’t want to deal with the surveys, it will cost you $19.95/year to skip them. For me that $20 has paid off in an impressive collection of articles, photos and publications providing more information about my ancestors.