In Which I Go All Debbie Downer on Mocavo

In Which I Go All Debbie Downer on Mocavo

by Kerry Scott on 20 March 2011

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Unless you live under a rock (or have a life outside of genealogy blogs), you’ve probably heard that a new search engine for family historians launched last week.  It’s called Mocavo.  The company’s blog says that the site “enables the search of more than 50 billion words – including billions of names, dates and places, all within fractions of a second” (which is pretty much how all search engines work).  It goes on to say that “coupled with the speed and accuracy by which search results are produced, Mocavo.com represents a major technological breakthrough within the genealogy world.”

Ooookay then.

I spent 15 minutes or so trying Mocavo out last week.  I tested out some of the names I’ve been working on recently, so that I could compare the results to the results I’ve found using Google recently.  I didn’t find anything I wasn’t already aware of through my Google work, but I did find that Mocavo missed:

  • Blog posts. There are nearly 2,000 members of Geneabloggers now, and presumably there are other genealogy blogs out there who aren’t members.  This seems like a huge oversight to me (although the company says that they’re adding blogs soon).
  • Obituaries from Legacy.com. Mocavo says it searches free sites.  Legacy.com is a site that houses obituaries from newspapers around the country, and some older obituaries cost $2.95.  It’s not free, but I have had HUGE breakthroughs from a single $2.95 obit.
  • Google Books.  I recently found strong evidence that a husband I thought had died in 1894 actually left his wife and continued a lifelong pattern of flakiness that ended when he died at sea seven years later than I’d thought.  I found it via Google, not Mocavo.
  • Rootsweb mentions.  A mention of Olive Laura Fetherston Corey’s obituary easily came up as part of a Google search I did last week.  It was listed in the Obituary Daily Times on one of the Rootsweb listservs.  I couldn’t get the same link to show up on Mocavo, even when I tried searching multiple ways.

Again, Mocavo is brand-new.  It’s clearly a work in progress.  It’s not reasonable at all to expect it to work as well as Google or another major, well-established search engine.

But that really begs the question:  Do we really need another search engine?

Maybe I’m special or something, but I don’t find Google that hard to use.  I already know how to narrow my results and how to use different techniques to find things.  If I didn’t know, I’d learn.  If I didn’t like Google, I’d use Bing.  Or Yahoo.  Or all three.  How does having another search engine to check help me find stuff more effectively?  It seems like it’s just adding another place to check, without adding much value for the trouble.

Then, too, there’s the whole underlying concept that narrowing results is a GOOD thing.  Maybe I’m special here too, but I absolutely, positively do NOT want a search engine to narrow my results for me.  If I want them narrowed, I’ll do it myself.  In fact, one of the things that concerns me most about Mocavo is the fact that it’s apparently meant to search only free genealogy sites.  Even they were well and truly able to search every free genealogy site in the world, I wouldn’t want that.  I want to know what’s on a paid site too, so I can decide for myself whether I want to pay.  I spent $2.95 on one of those Legacy.com obits yesterday, and it broke down a huge brick wall for me.  That was money well spent.  I would have hated to miss that.

And what’s a genealogy site anyway?  Is Facebook a genealogy site?  I found a descendant of someone I’m working on last week on Facebook.  I googled the ancestor, and this descendant (who has the same name) has a Facebook page.  Further research indicates they’re related.  In this context, Facebook is absolutely a genealogy site.  I’ve found other clues via high school reunion sites, charity run results pages, donor recognition pages, church bulletin PDFs…all kinds of places that aren’t genealogy sites.  I can’t imagine a reasonably exhaustive search that is limited by a web developer’s definition of “genealogy sites.”

I have one other concern about Mocavo:  How do they make money?  I don’t mind people making money off me (in fact, if you’re providing a service to me that has value, you SHOULD make money for that…although in not everyone in the genealogical community agrees).  I do, however, like to understand exactly how companies are getting paid.  Search engines aren’t exactly the easiest way to make a fortune these days.  It’s hard to understand why starting up a new search engine would be a good idea.  What’s the business model here?  Will there be display advertising?  Paid placements?  How does this work long-term?

I feel bad for being such a Debbie Downer, but I just…don’t get it.  I’m not seeing the “major technological breakthrough” here.  What am I missing?

UPDATE:  There’s a follow-up to this post here.

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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Joe Flint March 20, 2011 at 2:47 pm

I’m afraid I have to agree with you. I have an ancestor Jeduthan C Flint. Jeduthan is not the most common name name on the internet. I have placed information about Jeduthan on my website. Google shows my website as the 6th choice while Mocavo did not find it at all. My web site is free and contains almost only genealogical information. Mocavo’s definition of a genealogy web site is as you pointed out very narrow.

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Cliff Shaw March 20, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Hi Joe,

Would love to add your site — Mocavo will grow quickly and I’d love to include your data — and anything else you think we’re lacking. No site is perfect on day one, hope you can stick with us.

Best,
Cliff

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Amy March 20, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Kerry, I had a similar reaction, but I zeroed in on the concept of “genealogy content” as it was explained on the Mocavo home page.

While all of my test searches gave genealogy-related results, there were websites missing. My definition of “genealogy content” and that of Mocavo are different, and I do not want another person/place/thing making the choice for me.

In my own blog post on the subject, I also provided examples of sites that provided good genealogy information that didn’t make the Mocavo cut. The rebuttal from some was that Mocavo was a new site and it will take time to build. However, the examples I provided will never be part of Mocavo results because of their definition of “genealogy content.”

I worry that Mocavo users will assume that all possible results will be made available. These users will never know what is missing from their results.

This long-winded response is just my way of saying that I agree with you. I got your back, Debbie Downer.

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Cliff Shaw March 20, 2011 at 3:17 pm

Hi Amy,

Definitely not trying to change the definition of “genealogy content”. If it’s out there, and useful to a genealogist, we absolutely want to include it in Mocavo — and you’ll see the site grow dramatically, including a blog only search engine.

Best,
Cliff

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Jill March 20, 2011 at 3:00 pm

I had the same general reaction. I also found I got a large number of duplicate hits for the same ebooks. One search had six pages, but after eliminating the dupes, it was one page. For now, I’ll probably continue to use google as my main search. I’m going to test the benefits when the surname also happens to be a noun–Doll. I’ll see if it has advantages over google.

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Greta Koehl March 20, 2011 at 3:35 pm

I had the same initial reaction here. The only returns I got were for the message boards and Findagrave. Mocavo could be good for eliminating junk sites, but you can do that on Google, too. However, when I read on another blog that you can add sites, I decided to add my blog and other useful sites that I find, just to see whether they start showing up or not. I may continue to check Mocavo to see whether they expand and develop (with returns grouped by website type, for instance) to the point of being really useful.

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Debi March 20, 2011 at 4:00 pm

When I tried out mocavo last week, the only new thing that came up was a link to eyearbook.com…..which isn’t free. Huh?

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geniaus March 20, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Hear, Hear. What an honest and senesible appraisal. I wonder how many people who have tweeted the link to Mocavo have actually given it a test run as you have!

I tried Mocavo out as soon as Dick Eastman sang its praises on his newsletter and here was what I found http://geniaus.blogspot.com/2011/03/is-mocavo-all-that-it-claims-to-be-best.html

James Tanner in his article What can I find with Mocavo (http://networkedblogs.com/fCR3z) on Saturday seemed to echo our thoughts presents interesting findings. It is good to see more genealogists putting Mocavo through its paces.

I worry for the beginning genealogist who reads the positive reviews and the claims on the Mocavo home page that it is “The world’s largest free genealogy search engine, Mocavo.com, provides genealogists access to the best free genealogy content on the web including billions of names, dates and places worldwide. Mocavo.com seeks to index and make searchable all of the world’s free genealogy information.” Will the new genealogist be sucked in by these claims and not look elsewhere?

Who says it is the world’s largest genealogy search engine? Who says its the best free information? Where are the statistics to back up the “billions” claims? My main problem with Mocavo is the claims it makes on its home page, these sould easily be watered down by saying “Mocavo aims to be…..”

As you have so eloquently stated any website can provide genealogy information. By limiting its searches to what the Mocavo developer thinks are sites with free genealogy content Mocavo is prohibiting potential users from finding the “best free genealogy content on the web”.

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Kerry Scott March 20, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Well, in fairness, if even a newbie genealogist says to herself, “Oh, this site says it’s the best, so I’ll use only this and nothing else,” she probably lacks the critical thinking skills to be a successful genealogist in the first place. I think very few people will fail to notice Google. It’s hard to miss.

I’m just trying to figure out the angle here. Nobody starts a business unless they think they can succeed. I’m predisposed to rooting for a new venture in genealogy, because I like having lots of choices.

I just can’t figure out why this particular one would succeed. I’m genuinely looking to understand how this would make my work better, and how it would make money so that it could afford to continue to improve my work (and not disappear just when I figure out how to make it work for me).

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Cliff Shaw March 20, 2011 at 4:59 pm

Wow – lots of opinions of Mocavo. I hope people can give us a chance – we’ve existed for 5 days and are adding sites as fast as humanly possible. Please stay tuned.

If you want sites in Mocavo, please tell us which ones. In short order, by helping us, we can all improve Mocavo for all to enjoy, for free.

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Kerry Scott March 20, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Cliff—I think that’s the problem; the sites I want are All Of The Sites In The Whole World. Every site out there has the potential to be of genealogical value. In order to be more valuable to me than Google, you’d have to index all of the sites Google does, plus the ones they don’t.

I totally get that you’re brand new, and that you’ll be adding tons of stuff and making improvements. It’s the concept of a new search engine itself (and one that filters results especially) that I’m struggling to understand.

And the “free” is the other part I’m struggling with. In my experience, nothing is free. Google isn’t free; I trade a big chunk of my privacy for it. So I always like to understand the business model before I add a website to my regular rotation or recommend it to others.

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Dee March 21, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Cliff, your search is going to have to pull from genealogy blogs, and Rootsweb sites to be of substantial use to me.

In the first hour I was connected with Geneabloggers, I found hits on four of the over 1,300 blogs you can search there.

All the other websites and types of searches Kerry mentioned are relevant also.

I realize you have only had Moncavo up for a few days, but you may have been a tad precipitous in proclaiming that Moncavo’s searches were superior to Google searches.

Genealogists and family historians are quite used to having to dig very deeply to unlock information about our ancestors. When someone comes along and says words to the effect of, “we’ve got it all here,” we expect them to be able to back up that statement

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Linda McCauley March 20, 2011 at 5:39 pm

Kerry – Excellent points! It would be interesting to hear the answers to some of your questions.

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Joan Miller (Luxegen) March 20, 2011 at 6:06 pm

I gave Mocavo a test run when I first saw the notices, then tested again after someone on Facebook mentioned they had broken through a brickwall with Mocavo. Unfortunately I didn’t experience any success but am willing to give Movaco a chance to prove itself.

On the topic of search engines, Blekko, another relative newcomer, has a genealogy slashtag that picks up genealogy content. I’ve had mixed results with it and wrote about my experience.
http://www.luxegen.ca/genealogy/do-you-blekko/

Blekko approached me to be one of the volunteer genealogy co-editors for Blekko so I could add content, which I accepted. Between Thomas and I we’ve added all of the geneabloggers and I’m working on genetic genealogy sites now.

I personally think the more places that index content the better. They may all do it slightly differently and that’s a plus as far as I’m concerned. What you may not find in one place, you might find somewhere else.

I curious about Mocavo’s business model too. Is there a sponsor?

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tami osmer glatz March 20, 2011 at 6:25 pm

I like using Yippy.com for many of my genealogy searches. I like how it orgnanizes search results into categories, and by “type” of website, i.e., .gov, .com, .edu – makes it easier to get to the “good stuff” right off, instead of finding yet another supposedly freebie site that only leads you back to ancestry.com yet again. Mocavo is alright, just a bit too simplistic. Its frustrating to me that almost all the hits I get on my own family name searches are to website postings that I made myself. sigh.

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Kerry Scott March 21, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Interesting—I haven’t tried that one. I’ll check it out.

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Susan March 20, 2011 at 6:33 pm

I’m with Kerry. I really don’t see the point of another search engine. Some of the best information I’ve obtained online came from non-genealogy sites. Why would I want to restrict my search? I’ve been with Google since the beginning and shall remain faithful.

In the online genealogy community, I’ve seen the tendency to jump on the bandwagon for anything that is new. I think that’s why the blogs were filled with Mocavo news this week. I tried it out and chose not to blog about it. Let it stand the test of time, then we’ll see how it does.

Also in our community, I sometimes think that people only want to write positive things and be cheerleaders for any new product, service or web site. Sometimes we need to be Debbie Downers so that our input and criticisms help make the products better.

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Kerry Scott March 20, 2011 at 6:48 pm

Well, to be fair, our community does have its naysayers. I still see people who criticize the big sites for every little thing they do…so the pendulum does swing both ways.

And I like new things. I’m a fan of innovation and competition and building better mousetraps. I just like understanding fully how it works. I understand the need for marketing-speak, but I think there should also be an expectation that people will have questions. I think that’s particularly reasonable when we’re talking about how a new product is an improvement over the old, and how it makes money.

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Cliff Shaw March 20, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Hi Susan,

Here’s the point of Mocavo:
- Let’s say all you have on an ancestor is a name. Search for “Amos Shaw” in Google for this elusive ancestor you’re looking for. 8 out of 10 top results are all non-genealogy. You can’t just say: “Amos Shaw” +genealogy because the vast majority of good results don’t say the word genealogy.

- Mocavo searches many many pages that Google doesn’t, even if there are situations where we need to catch up. EXAMPLES:
Search “Amos Shaw” 1789 Maxey in Google – 35 results.
In Mocavo, 34 results — so we’re 1 down but very very close considering that very targeted search (Amos married Sarah Maxey, hence the “Maxey”)
Search for the word findagrave in Google:
http://bit.ly/hQ1AZO

About 10 million results. That means that 80%+ of FindAGrave is not indexed or covered by Google! Mocavo has every single page in FindAGrave.

More examples: JewishGen.org — amazing site for Jewish researchers. Google has 30,000 pages, we have 250,000.

GenForum: 14 years of messages written by genealogists. Google has just over 1 million — Mocavo has over 18 million!

Listen, never did we say: Don’t ever use Google again and only use Mocavo. Genealogists need every tool they can get, and hopefully we can contribute to that toolset.

Plus, there’s a lot more to come with Mocavo.

Best Regards,
Cliff

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Kerry Scott March 21, 2011 at 2:42 pm

When you say, “8 out of the top 10 results are non-genealogy,” what does that mean? What does “non-genealogy” mean? Because I think the whole point here (or at least, MY whole point) is that there is no such thing as *non-genealogy.*

I totally get that you’re trying to add a tool to researcher’s toolboxes. That’s good. I like tools. I’m just trying to understand why this tool would be helpful…and to communicate to you the important concept that even genealogists don’t agree on what constitutes genealogy content. I think that’s a critical point.

One of the great things about social media is that customers can communicate their needs realtime (although that may not feel like a great thing to you right at this moment). As a potential consumer of your product, I think it’s important to tell you that the definition of “genealogy content” might be more subjective than you think.

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Dee March 21, 2011 at 5:02 pm

Cliff…

My g-g-grandfather, James Littleton Burris.

This search – “James Littleton Burris” – on Moncavo and Google.

Moncavo – 59 results, most of which are the same repetitive string of Burrises buried in Pope County, AR on arkansasgravstones.org.

Google – 261 results, including the family history archives from Lawrence Co., TN, JL’s descendants’ personal webpages and those hosted on Rootsweb, and blog entries with his name in the them.

Where are the State archives’ results on Moncavo? A whole lot of states either have their own state-owned archives pages, or have made records available to historical and genealogical associations that have a website called [state]archives.org.

Get a copy of Family Tree Magazine from December 2010 and use the “75 Best State Websites” articles as a springboard (you can download a digital copy of the magazine at their website for $5.99).

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Free Genealogy Resources March 20, 2011 at 8:30 pm

As someone who actively seeks out websites offering genealogy information for free, I’m intrigued by the idea of Mocavo. The thought that I can type an ancestor’s name in and have it search only free sites is exciting. However, after trying it out, I think it’s going to be a while before it can reach its full potential.

However, even with the addition of more sites, I will still check other search engines just to see what they might have. Even though I turn first to Google when I’m looking for something, it’s not uncommon for me to follow that search with another in Yahoo or Bing, just to see what they might have that Google doesn’t.

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Aylarja March 20, 2011 at 11:17 pm

While I am sympathetic with some of the disappointment here that Mocavo is not cataloging certain sites, that Google provides a wider universe of results, and that some people testing Mocavo were unable to find anything new, I think much of this misses the point.

I use Google everyday, for business as well as genealogy and other personal pursuits. I think it would be foolish – utterly foolish – for anyone to ditch Google in favor of Mocavo. But I also believe that both are potentially useful tools that have to be used within a certain context if they are to provide value.

Sometimes Google returns oodles of useless results, and increasingly, I find, some results are being tainted by content farms that attempt to game Google’s algorithms by stringing meaningless keywords together to try to generate hits. On the other hand, for those saying that they don’t want Mocavo filtering their results, Google already filters and weights your results – giving you results based not only on other people’s searches, but on your own previous searches, your social connections, and possibly even based on your Gmail and Blogger usage. Google knows a lot about you, most likely, and you can rest assured that it attempts to use that information to its advantage.

Having said that, I plan to use Google for the foreseeable future, unless and until something better comes along. Mocavo will never replace Google, not even for genealogy searches. But in my brief and limited experimentation with it, Mocavo has found content – or at least brought content to the surface – that I have not previously found using Google. It may be that Google has indexed it, and that I haven’t yet tried the right combination of keywords or filtering techniques to find it; or perhaps it was somewhere near the bottom of dozens of pages worth of hits. But that initial success with Mocavo gives me hope that it might just be a useful tool when I’m wanting to sift only a subset of available genealogical sites.

So, don’t toss away our your skepticism just yet – it will probably still come in handy. But don’t allow it to blind you to the prospect of a potentially useful tool in the right circumstances, when the need arises.

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Kerry Scott March 21, 2011 at 2:54 pm

I hear you. I definitely plan to continue to try out Mocavo periodically and see how it evolves.

I’m irritated by Google’s increasing efforts to filter results as well (there are ways around that, but they’re kind of a pain). But one thing Google isn’t doing (to my knowledge) is deciding what constitutes “genealogy content” and what doesn’t. If they did, I’d question them as well.

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Cliff Shaw March 21, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Hi Kerry,

I think you’re misunderstanding something here. Mocavo isn’t trying to decide for you what constitutes “genealogy content”. We just want to help people find it — all of it. Let me know every site we’re missing and we’ll add it. Definitely not trying to decide for genealogists where the best content is – not sure where this idea came from.

Best,
Cliff

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Kerry Scott March 21, 2011 at 4:42 pm

Cliff—you asked me that yesterday, and I answered then. It’s the same answer today: The sites I want are All Of The Sites In The Whole World. Every site out there has the potential to be of genealogical value. In order to be more valuable to me than Google, you’d have to index all of the sites Google does, plus the ones they don’t. There is no site I would want excluded. If it has a name that belongs or has belonged to a human, I want to search it.

Honestly, I’m surprised at the pushback to this question. When you start a search engine, surely the very first question you’d anticipate is, “How is this better than what’s currently out there?” Above, you tried (I think) to answer that question by saying that many Google results are non-genealogical. That’s where the idea that you’re defining “genealogical” came from—from you. The name of a building is genealogically relevant. The name of a company is genealogically relevant. The name of a street is genealogically relevant.

As far as “let me know every site we’re missing,” again, I’m going to need to understand what your revenue model is before I do that. It wouldn’t make sense for me to sit and enter websites into your database for free to make it more valuable without understanding how you’re going to use that information to make money. Even if I’m willing to do all of that work for you, I don’t have the time or the resources to add the entire internet. Again: There is NO SITE ON THE INTERNET that is not relevant to genealogy. If my ancestor’s name appears on a spam site, a content mill, a porn site…I want to see it, so I can figure out why it’s there and what it means.

That’s where the disconnect lies, I think: In the idea that there’s such a thing as a site that should be included on Mocavo, because that can only mean that there’s a site that shouldn’t. For me, there’s no site that shouldn’t.

I’m not trying to give you a hard time. I am, though, frustrated at my apparent inability to communicate the idea that (a) many genealogists disagree with the concept that having a search engine include certain sites without the user expressly saying so and knowing what those sites are, and (b) that people want to know how you make money before they contribute to, promote, recommend, or use your site. I actually thought these were pretty softball questions when I wrote the post; I didn’t anticipate a whole lot of drama here. Color me surprised, I guess.

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Aylarja March 21, 2011 at 5:24 pm

Kerry, I have to disagree with a good bit of your comment here. I don’t use Google to get piles and piles of useless garbage simply because a keyword appears there. I use Google precisely because I do not want results like that. I want relevant results. The role of a search engine, by definition, is to filter out the non-relevant results. There is a gray area this side of irrelevant where an automated process cannot intelligently determine what is relevant, and search companies like Google spend huge amounts of time and money to try to minimize that gray area.

Part of the dissonance in this discussion may come from the fact that people perform different types of searches for different reasons. If I am trying to find a specific how-to article on turning lead into gold that I read a year ago but forgot to bookmark, I want the most-focused search results possible: preferably a single result that is exactly what I was looking for. If I am looking for the best technique for patching a hole in drywall, I will probably want several good options to choose from, but not many more than that. But if I am panning for tiny nuggets of gold that might be scattered anywhere across time and space, I am far more likely to take a “give me everything” approach. So, what you are looking for will help to determine how you search and what tools you use.

In my opinion, the times that I truly want to perform a “give me everything” search are the exception. Most of the time, I want a balance between breadth and focus so that I get relevant results that are likely to contain the records that I want, with a little fudge factor since the search engine doesn’t know exactly what I want, or can’t match what I ask for precisely with what it’s got in its index. If I want to cast the broadest net possible, I will use Google. If I want a more focused search, I may use Google – but I may use Mocavo, or go directly to Ancestry.com, or FamilySearch, or whatever.

You make some very good points, and make them in a lively and engaging manner – and I agree that the question over how Mocavo is underwritten is legitimate. But I think you have created a straw man argument that there is only one way to search, and that one way arbitrarily eliminates numerous valid search tools and techniques.

Kerry Scott March 21, 2011 at 6:17 pm

Aylarja—I don’t think we’re that far apart. Most of my searches are actually very narrow. I don’t want to actually SEE all of the results at once; I just want to know that as many sites have been indexed as possible, so that when I DO look for some tiny needle in the haystack, I”m searching the entire haystack…not just the parts someone else thinks are most likely to contain a needle. For me, the “everything” part is important at the indexing phase, not necessarily at the search phase.

I recognize that there are people out there who might want to search only specific sites, and this may be a great tool for them. But that’s not everyone’s approach (and I think it’s less likely to be the approach of more experienced genealogists, who have experienced the value of being able to search for clues in unlikely places).

Jo March 21, 2011 at 2:33 am

I like to support any new venture when I can, but I take it that Mocavo is focusing on the US as I couldn’t find anything on my Scottish ancestors? I’ll go back every now and then and keep trying.

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Sheri Fenley March 21, 2011 at 7:09 am

After reading through the 20 or so comments, I find it interesting that Mr. Shaw still has not addressed Kerry’s original concerns – How does Macavo make money for it’s owner(s)? Surely the search engine is not a gift to the world – how is it being financed and kept running day to day?

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Valereie March 21, 2011 at 9:15 am

I am going to step out into the fray and say ‘Go for it Mocavo.’ Both ancestry.com and HeritageQuest.com have census images. When one doesn’t have a clear image, I go to the other and often get better results. I am glad I have that option. I love Google, I will continue to use Google…but, I will also add Mocavo to my searches. In the shifting and searching process, I may find an elusive hit. I am not expecting perfection from a brand new venture especially in the opening week. I will support them in making it better. I want better tools and a variety of tools. When one tool isn’t doing the job, I am glad I have another in my arsenal. I hope Mocavo and anyone else that provides me free tools, finds a way to be successful financially. Because I know that if they do, that will encourage other businesses to provide other great tools to help me – because if there is a profit for them that means we will all profit too. I have tried Mocavo, did I find any great breakthroughs – no. But, I am excited about the possibilities and hopeful that with time it will become a fabulous resource. I guess I don’t feel down because they can only go up from here. Let’s give them a chance, help them out and we will all benefit from their succeeding.

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Kerry Scott March 21, 2011 at 2:58 pm

I don’t necessarily agree that “if there’s a profit for them, we all profit too.” Lots of people have contributed to “free” sites in the past, and then watched those “free” sites be sold for profit. In fact, building websites based on content users have generated for free is quite the trend lately.

Rather than go off on a tangent on this particular topic, I think I’ll write another post. Standby, please!

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Susan Tiner March 21, 2011 at 9:55 am

I also want the most inclusive searches possible, including paid sites.

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Walter Anderson July 9, 2011 at 6:49 am

Your comments are spot on.
I have tried MOCAVO on several occasions since it was launched and have yet to get a hit on what I searched for.
Conversely, I find things on GOOGLE that I never really thought I would but queried it because it is a “stop on my regular research pattern”.
The exclusion of paid site searching will always limit valued hit and other ideas gained.
You have to sift through the debris to locate the gold!

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JoAnn June 20, 2014 at 3:48 pm

I have searched genealogy for years, off and on. I can find that my dad is on the SS Death Index. Outside of that, I can’t find one shred of evidence that any of us exist. Do you think Mocavo would be any better than the rest of the sites I have tried over the years? I wish I knew how much it cost. I see you can update but I can’t find any where that says a dollar amount.

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Kerry Scott June 23, 2014 at 3:27 pm

JoaAnn–I don’t know whether Mocavo would necessarily help or not (although I’d watch for a free trial, which they offer periodically). It depends on what other sources you’ve consulted. For example, you said you said that you found your dad in the SSDI. Have you ordered his death certificate from the state where he died? What about an obituary or a probate file? What does your own birth certificate say? If your parents were married, have you ordered their marriage certificates? Have you found them in yearbooks for the high schools they would have attended? What about city directories? Or newspapers from the area where your parents were from?

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