Genealogy Blog

Preserving Your Story is Now Easier than Ever

15 Apr 2014

In October, we announced the Free Forever Revolution and committed to bringing 1,000 databases online for free, every single day. We’ve kept that promise every day since.

In January, we added 10,000 databases in a single day to put our total count at more than 200,000 databases available online for the world to enjoy.

In March, we reached a major milestone when we hit 300,000 databases and we are still going strong.

Along the way, we’ve been improving our product and launching new features designed to help you make more discoveries, faster.

As exciting as the last six months have been, believe me, we’re just getting started.

Preserving Your Story is Now Easier than Ever

The next frontier for Mocavo is to make it as easy as possible for every one of you to bring your family’s historical content online and available to share with the world. Every family history book, photo, letter, pamphlet, brochure, or directory you’ve ever gotten your hands on; we want to help you bring it online for your relatives to discover, near or far, close or distant. Let’s get every single piece of it online for free.

But how?

Early last year, we announced our Free Scanning program that allows you to mail us all of your books, documents, and photos. We scan in the materials, provide you with a digital copy, and add it to our index. To date, through the Free Scanning program, the Mocavo community has added more than 40,000 historical documents to our search index. That’s 40,000 documents packed with family history that will be free, forever.

But what about the content you’ve already scanned in yourself? How can you get that added to our index? We wanted to make it even easier for you to contribute content to Mocavo, so we’ve completely redesigned the Contribute section of our site.

Now, all it takes is a few simple clicks to upload your documents to Mocavo! We will process your content, add it to our index so that all of the text within your documents is completely searchable, and then you can show off your hard work to your loved ones and collaborate with family members to make even more discoveries!

Wouldn’t it be nice if your ancestors had left more of a paper trail? Upload your documents now and gain the peace of mind knowing that when you share your content on Mocavo, your story will be securely preserved forever.

Upload my documents now

You can also watch a quick tutorial on the collection manager tool here

Start your weekend off right with new Mocavo features

11 Apr 2014

What better way to start off the weekend than with new features! We’re working hard to ensure your time spent with us is both delightful and productive, which is why we’re excited to share a few upgrades we’ve recently added that will take your research experience to the next level. If you have a little extra time this weekend, give these new features a try and let us know what you think!

First & Last Name Search Sliders

Sometimes the missing piece to the puzzle is found when using an alternate spelling of an ancestor’s first or last name. To make sure no stone is left unturned, we’ve added another search slider to both first and last names on the search form.

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First Name Search Slider
If you’re looking for Elizabeth Shaw, who potentially went by Liz, Lizzy, Beth, Eliza, etc., then drag the slider to the middle (“Similar Names”) to reveal results that have alternative versions of your ancestor’s first name. Also, sometimes our ancestors only recorded their first initial when creating a record. To account for similar names and initials, simply drag the slider all the way to the left (“Initials & Similar Names”) and your results will show records that contain E Shaw, Liz Shaw, Elizabeth Shaw, etc.

Try the first name search slider now

Last Name Search Slider
In the past, it was common for surnames to be recorded with multiple spellings. For example, Krieger could also be: Krueger, Kreger, Kroeger, etc. Make sure you’re not missing any hidden records by dragging the last name slider to the left (“Sounds Like”) to display results with alternate spellings and pronunciations for your given last name.

Try the last name search slider now

Cut Your Search Time in Half by Saving Your Filters

Do you find yourself selecting the same search filters on a consistent basis? Now you can save yourself time by saving your custom filter settings. Simply run a search on Mocavo the way you always do. Select your favorite category, date, and location filters and click the save filter button. Then give your filter a title so you can easily reference it in the future. Once you click save, your custom filters will appear on the bottom left side of your search results page. You can create as many filters as you would like, helping you customize your Mocavo experience to make discoveries faster than ever.

 

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Bring Your Ancestors to Life with Our Database Photo Viewer

Part of researching your family history is finding images of your ancestors and the places they lived. Locating such images can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack, so we found a way to use our photo recognition technology to simplify the process for you. We extract all of the images from a particular database and display them on the database’s search page. Now you can easily browse hundreds of historical images in more than 2,000 historical books; and we’re adding more every day! Simply scroll to the bottom of a database cover page to find the link to review all of the images from that book, saving you time and effort. If you are looking for something specific, you can also use our image search engine to help narrow your image results even further.
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We hope you have a lovely weekend and look forward to hearing what you think about all of our new features.

New Search Slider: Proximity for Exact Search

02 Apr 2014

Now you have the ability to filter your results by proximity of keyword. What that means is you can choose how close each of your search terms appear to each other within a record page. The default setting of this search slider is “+1”, meaning that you can search for “Mary Shaw” and receive results for “Mary Ann Shaw” since “Shaw” is one word away from “Mary”.  If the name had been “Mary Ann Emily Shaw” the result would not have been shown to you.

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If you drag the slider to the left, you will receive results that only contain the exact criteria you searched for. Select “exact” if you have a common name and a few verified details such as birth date and want to save time by looking through fewer databases.

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If you drag the slider to the right, the results will show terms that do not appear immediately next to each other on a record page, allowing some leniency for middle names, initials, etc.

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We plan to launch multiple new search sliders in the coming weeks, so be on the look-out for new product announcements. Also, let us know if you have any suggestions for sliders that would help take your personal research to the next level!

Tune Up Your Engine with New Search Tuners

02 Apr 2014

When you run a search on Mocavo, our search engine factors in a host of variables to determine which results to place at the top. We worked tirelessly to tweak the search algorithm so that the most relevant results rise to the top, but sometimes, given your particular search terms or the nature of the document, a hidden piece of your family’s puzzle may fall to the bottom of the results.

Now you have the power to change the search engine’s preferences. That’s right, we’re giving you not just one batch of search results, but ten! Each search tuner will serve you a different set of results that will help you make sure you don’t miss out on a hidden clue.

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Get Ready to Tune Up Your Engine
This Mocavo Gold feature is in a “beta” stage, and while we’re working to identify the perfect application for each of these new search algorithms, we didn’t think it would be fair to keep this technology under lock and key when it could help someone uncover a hidden piece of their story.. We can’t wait to hear your feedback so we can continue to improve these features for the entire community.

More Records, Fewer Books: Are you looking specifically for a record index database versus a book? Select “more records, fewer books” to change up your results to reveal actual records and record indexes instead of book pages.

Books with Long Pages: This tuner is great if you’re looking for your ancestor in databases that often contain larger pages such as newspapers or city directories.

Books with Short Pages: Interested in uncovering a hidden tale or note regarding an ancestor? This tuner will prioritize books that often have smaller pages such as diaries or letters.

Dense Matches: Select this tuner if you would like to see multiple occurrences of your search terms very close to each on a results page.

Sparse Matches: If you would rather look at only a few search terms on each page, select sparse hits.

Quantity and Quality: This tuner is a perfect combination of the amount of times your search term appears in a record, and how relevant the record page is to your search.

Terms Near Front of Book: Your search terms will appear closer to the front of the book such as in the table of contents.

Terms Near Back of Book: You search terms will appear closer to the back of the book such as in the index.

Short and Small Books: This tuner will only reveal results that pertain to short pages and smaller books such as stationary pages or diaries.

Give it a try and please let us know what you think. And if you have ideas on how we could improve our algorithms, let us know and we’ll try to add it in the next few weeks.

New Feature: Individual Database Search Field Hints

02 Apr 2014

As a Mocavo Basic, Silver, or Gold member, you can browse all of our content for free and search for your ancestors in any individual database. Previously, when searching an individual database, you filled in search fields based on your knowledge of the subject, which could be limited. If you happened to guess the wrong spelling or abbreviation for a certain search field, your results could be irrelevant or limited.

We know how frustrating this experience can be, which is why we’ve developed Search Field Hints. Now you can take the guesswork out of your research by selecting search terms specific to an individual database from a dropdown or autofill menu. These menus standardize how each search parameter is written, helping you create accurate and relevant searches.

For example, if you’re searching for an ancestor in the following Chester County, Pennsylvania Civil War record, you will see a variety of search fields to help you craft a search.

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If the search box is gray and has clickable arrow on right side of the box, then the search field has a dropdown menu. Within this particular database, the search fields “company,” “rank,” “year,” and “record” all have dropdown menus from which you can select a search term.

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If a search field has the autocomplete function, you will see a gray icon in the right side of the search field that looks like this: 

Within this database, the search parameters “First Name,” “Middle Name,” “Residence/To,” “Age,” “Regiment/Unit,” “Folder,” and “See/Page” all have autocomplete menus. Start typing a letter or word and you will see a list of relevant search terms that you can select.

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We hope you enjoy using this new feature with your individual database searches and please let us know if you have any feedback, we’d be happy to hear it!

Find Fascinating Photos & Prioritize Your Search Notifications

29 Mar 2014

We hope you are enjoying the weekend and spending some time on your family history research! To help inspire you, we’d like to share some fun updates and reminders about the exciting new features you can now access on Mocavo.

Bring Your Family History to Life with the New Photo Detection Tool

A couple of weeks ago, we developed a proprietary photo detection algorithm that allows us to extract photographs and other images from our historical books and read the associated caption.

Notice the red in the outlines below:

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Using this technology, we’ve found some delightful, surprising, and sometimes hilarious historical images and we couldn’t wait to give you a peek at what we’ve found. We hope you’ll have as much fun as we have finding the gems hidden in these books, so take your time browsing through the pages, or enter a keyword in to the search box to find captions that match that term. It’s not yet 100% polished, and we currently have limited results, but we thought you might get a kick out of playing around with it.

Here’s an example of some images we captured:

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Test Drive the Photo Detection Tool Now

Take Five Minutes to Prioritize Your Search Notifications

Prioritizing your search notifications has never been easier. Simply select your favorite search terms and we’ll email you results based on those priorities, helping you make discoveries faster than ever.

Watch a quick tutorial video

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Prioritize Your Search Notifications in Five Easy Steps

  1. After logging into your Mocavo account, click on your search notifications tab. You will see a list of all of your past search terms.
  2. Select your “favorite search terms” by clicking on the star next to each term. You will receive search notifications via email for each of your favorite search queries once every week. 
  3. Remove a search term from your favorites, simply by clicking the star and it will move out of your favorites list into your “active list”. 
  4. Organize your search terms by order of importance by dragging each term up or down with your mouse, or click the up/down arrows found on the right side of each search term.
  5. Deactivate a search term by clicking on the trash icon found at the right of your search term. Once deactivated, you will no longer receive search notifications for that specific query. You can always reactivate it by dragging the item back up to your active list.

Prioritize Your Search Notifications Now

I hope you enjoy test driving these new features this weekend. If you have any questions or feedback, please don’t hesitate to let me know!

Celebrating 300,000 Databases with New Features

27 Mar 2014

Thanks to your support, free genealogy continues to gain a significant foothold in the family history community. One database at a time, we’ve brought more than 300,000 databases online to help you discover your story for free. As a way to say thank you, we want to share some exciting new features to help you break through your brick walls and customize your Mocavo experience.

Prioritize Your Search Notifications

It often feels like there aren’t enough hours in a day to dedicate to family history research. We know this problem all too well, which is why our search engine works day and night to find your ancestors among the thousands of new databases. Every week, we rerun some of your past searches to help you make new discoveries. We use a combination of factors to find the most relevant and exciting matches based on your search history. But so far we’ve been using our best guess and we know we can do better!

Today, I’m excited to announce that you now have the power to prioritize your search notifications. Simply select your favorite search terms and we’ll email you results based on those priorities, helping you make discoveries faster than ever.

Customize Your Search Notifications in Five Easy Steps

  1. After logging into your Mocavo account, click on your search notifications tab. You will see a list of all of your past search terms.
  2. Select your “favorite search terms” by clicking on the star next to each term. You will receive search notifications via email for each of your favorite search queries once every week.
  3. Remove a search term from your favorites, simply by clicking the star and it will move out of your favorites list into your “active list”.
  4. Organize your search terms by order of importance by dragging each term up or down with your mouse, or click the up/down arrows found on the right side of each search term.
  5. Deactivate a search term by clicking on the trash icon found at the right of your search term. Once deactivated, you will no longer receive search notifications for that specific query. You can always reactivate it by dragging the item back up to your active list.

Watch a quick tutorial video

Discover More Ways to View Your Results

As we continue to add millions of potential matches to our search engine, we want to provide different ways to quickly browse your results. Exclusively for Mocavo Gold members, you can find new search result displays under the Results & Summary Search Tabs. With so many new displays to choose from, making new discoveries has never been easier!

An Entirely New “Results Tab”

In the past, a search results page would only show you an excerpt of the content and an image preview with the matching word highlighted in yellow. Now you can uncover two more ways to easily scan your search results featured under the “Results Tab.” These new views will enhance your document viewing experience by revealing the important contextual details of a record page.

Full Image View

With Full Image View, you’ll see the full image of each record on your results page. You can view up to ten results and we will highlight your search terms so you can easily identify where they appear within the image.

Tile View

Don’t have time to view the entire page, but still want some contextual info? Try out the new Tile View. Revealing a smaller image than the full page view, you’ll be able to quickly browse all results without losing any necessary contextual details.

New Summary Search View

Summary Search View allows you to group your results by category and database title, making it a breeze to target the databases that spark your interest, and quickly avoid those that are irrelevant to your research.

You can select multiple filters in the sidebar to narrow the scope of your search and start making even more discoveries!

I thank you again for your support. I hope you like these new features and they help to make Mocavo even more helpful.  If you do have any other suggestions or feedback about these tools, I’d love to hear from you!

New Features from Mocavo

21 Mar 2014

We’re continuing to make giant leaps forward on our mission to bring all of the world’s historical content online for free! We’ve kept our promise to bring 1,000 new databases online every day, and there are now almost 300,000 databases available on Mocavo for the world to enjoy forever. In the spirit of this mission, I’m excited to announce that our transcription process is moving full-speed ahead, and we’re expanding our Search interface to give you more ways to browse your results!

New Summary Search View

With millions of potential matches added to our search engine every day, we want to give you multiple ways to quickly scan through your results and break through your brick walls. Previously, a search results page would show you an excerpt of the content and, if available, an image preview with the matching word highlighted in yellow. Today, I’m excited to announce Summary Search View; a new feature that we’re releasing in beta (and available exclusively to our Mocavo Gold members) that offers an entirely new way to view your search results. Summary Search View allows you to group your results by category and database title, making it a breeze to target the databases that spark your interest, and quickly avoid those that are irrelevant to your research.

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If you’re a Mocavo Gold customer, just run a search as you always have, but now you’ll notice a “Summary” tab just to the upper right of your results. Click that tab and you’ll see your results grouped by the Database title. You can also select multiple filters in the sidebar to narrow the scope of your search and start making even more discoveries!

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Try Summary Search Now

We still have a few bugs to sort out – it is a beta release, after all – but we wanted to give our Mocavo Gold customers a chance to test drive it in the meantime. Let us know what you think, and if you aren’t a Gold customer, start your 7-day Free Trial today!

First Transcribed Database Live and Searchable

We continue to make strides with our handwriting technology and we’re putting the finishing touches on our transcription tool! Comprising more than 11,000 handwritten words, the first transcribed database is live and searchable!

With this new technology, our search engine reveals results that include both typewritten and handwritten text. Now we have the potential to bring even more offline content online for everyone to enjoy for free, forever. Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 4.03.36 PM

We want to thank you again for all of your continued support and hope you have a lovely weekend full of discoveries.

Open Access to Mocavo Gold Until Sunday at Midnight

13 Mar 2014

Over the past few months, we received so much positive feedback about our free access weekends that we decided to do it again!

Back by popular demand, all Mocavo Basic members can now access all of the premium Mocavo Gold features for free until Sunday at Midnight. This means you can search our entire collection to your heart’s content, upload your tree to receive new discovery alerts, download and print any document you find, and much more!

Start Searching Now

 

Need some extra help using Mocavo Gold?

If you would like to get the most out of our Mocavo Gold Open Access Weekend, check out these easy-to-follow guides!

Read the Mocavo Gold Search Tutorial

Watch a Short Video About Mocavo Gold Faceted Search

Trouble Accessing Mocavo Gold? Check Out These Quick Tips

These premium search features are generally available to Mocavo Gold members. If you decide that you enjoy the premium features of Mocavo Gold, consider joining our revolution and becoming a part of the Mocavo Gold community.

We wish you a successful weekend full of discoveries!

Having Trouble Taking Advantage of our Mocavo Gold Free Access Weekend?

13 Mar 2014

We want to make sure that no one misses out on a free Mocavo Gold access weekend! So here are some troubleshooting ideas for you!

You must have a Mocavo Basic account and be logged in to participate in the free Mocavo Gold access weekend.

  • To create an account, please visit www.mocavo.com and simply enter an email address and password. Signing up for a Mocavo Basic (Free) account allows you to create a profile where you can upload family trees and family history documents and photos as well as connect with other members, get help from Mocavo Support, and get emails on genealogy tips and Mocavo updates.
  • If you already have a Mocavo Basic account, you can sign in by visiting www.mocavo.com and click the sign in button on the top right corner of your computer screen. Simply enter your email address and password and you’ll be on your way to a weekend full of discoveries.

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2. If you already are logged in to your Mocavo Basic account and still cannot access Mocavo Gold features, there could be a caching issue.

If you need to reset your password, follow these easy steps:

  • Click the sign in link at the top right hand side of your screen
  • Click on the “forgot my password link”
  • Enter your email, click submit, and password reset instructions will appear in your email shortly
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If you’re still having difficulties, please do not hesitate to email our support team at support@mocavo.com. We are always happy to help!