My Tangent – Christmas Lights – Google Ngram Viewer: Use For Genealogy

18 December 2010


It has been raining this morning… and I am so, so glad. And the prediction is that there is another cold front heading our way.

Yesterday I decided to get into some sort of Holiday spirit and decorate the front yard of our house. I am so glad that it was a beautiful day, cause if I had waited until today, which is wet, and damp, and cold, and overcast, you would never have seen any type of electronic Cheer emanating from this house.

Google Labs has just introduced a great, great new tool, the Books Ngram Viewer. It is a very handy and good tool if you are a bibliophile and/or a logophile.

This tool is a must for this genealogy researcher. In the due course of my work, there are times when I find that understanding the meaning of a word or phrase from a specific time or period can help me narrow the scope of a search. As I comprehend the usage of a word or phrase, and when it was used, I am able to construct a scenario of the events based on time and meaning of the same.

Given a specific word, it may have a particular meaning today, that is now in 2010, but it could have had a different meaning in 1810.

Having this tool assists me to pin-point the use of a word or phrase by providing literature, cross-referenced to Google Books that may have published at the time. This in due course helps to discover associations of my ancestors and/or connections.




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