by Delia

I love Google, and use it occasionally for general genealogy searching, but more often I tend to do focused searches using specific databases. But I heard about Mocavo, a new search engine specifically for genealogy, I just had to give it a try.

I have a very unusual maiden name, so I started by just typing “Cothrun” to see what I’d get. There were more than 200 hits, so obviously any more common name would require limits of first name, place, etc. The results page gives some identifying information, so you know what you might find, but there are only ten per page, so it's next, next, next. Most of the various hits seemed to link to one person's research, so it seems cumbersome to sort through all 200 hits hoping for someone not on that particular tree, but there is a lot of various sources (tombstone photos, land lists, census, etc.), so might be worthwhile.

So I decided to add a limit. I used the name Carl Cothrun. One can get the same random assortment where Carl can be at the top of a page, and Cothrun at the bottom, perhaps having nothing to do with each other, so I put the name into quotations (“Carl Cothrun”), and I got a hit on my uncle, Carl Cypert Cothrun in World War I draft records, but I was surprised that even with first and last only in quotations, it located the source which was listed "Cothrun, Carl Cypert." However, when I entered "Cothrun Cypert," there was nothing, so it appears that if one uses the quotations, Mocavo will find the name either “First Last” or “Last, First.” Wonderful!

Trying another search, I used my grandmother's name in quotations ("Delia Burbank Holt") and discovered a query posted by a known relative, as well as information from Find a Grave and two GenWeb listings of the cemetery in which she is buried. Doing the same search on Google ("Delia Burbank Holt") only netted the two GenWeb cemetery lists and the same query, but not the Find a Grave listing, so Mocavo does more than Google.

Basically, this site is culling what is already out there, and already been discovered by experienced researchers. While I will still use a more focused method in my own research, I may use Mocavo occasionally, but will recommend it for beginners as another place to explore.