Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Is Mocavo all that it claims to be? ie "The best free genealogy content on the web"

Several tweeps alerted me today to Mocavo, a new search engine for genealogy  that on its home page states" The world’s largest free genealogy search engine,, provides genealogists access to the best free genealogy content on the web including billions of names, dates and places worldwide. seeks to index and make searchable all of the world’s free genealogy information."

Dick Eastman said "I suggest you remember this web site: I bet you are going to hear a lot about it in the next few weeks and months. In fact, I'd suggest you try it right now. I've been using the site for a while during its testing and have been very impressed. This thing actually works! Today, went public and is now available to everyone."

Dick's seal of approval indicates that the resource must be pretty good so I thought I'd give it a whirl by searching for a few of my families. I then did comparison searches on Google.  Here is what I found:

Search 1. Pusell Australia - anyone with the name Pusell in Australia is related to me so I  entered these terms hoping to find something new.
Mocavo returned thirty-six results from  sites
That it returned such a small number of results was disappointing. Some of the information on the Kemp Family Site is in need of updating to reflect recent events. There are no other links to family websites with information on the Pusells.
On the other hand a Google search for Pusell Australia ~genealogy (to narrow down to relevant information) returned many more links including:    and the list goes on...

I did other searches on Tierney Dungog, Curry Camden and Tooze Australia with similar results. Searching for Headlam Tasmania brought no results from Mocavo but  a wealth of good hits from Google.

Search 2  Nelson Piddlehinton - I next tried a search for a branch of the family from a small village in Dorset - Piddlehinton.
Movaco returned 3 results from 
The information on the family treemaker site has not been updated since 2005 and is not as complete as can be found on other sites.

Relevant results from Google came from these sites:     and the list goes on....
Need I say more?

I also tried some other searches for the UK:, Gowans Hawick and Ball Spotland to discover that Google returned more relevant results than Mocavo.

Search 3. Thinking that Mocavo might have a North American bias I decided to search for  "John Gowans" "New York" Mocavo returned two results that were not for my John from 
Google also returned results not related to my John Gowans but amongst them were some relevant links from sites including:
My little test of Mocavo is not at all scientific or comprehensive but when a company makes a statement like ", provides genealogists access to the best free genealogy content on the web" I just have to see for myself. Mocavo might grow into a great resource but, for the moment, it is just one of a number of free resources available to genealogists.
Mocavo needs to amend the claims it makes on its home page, meanwhile I'll stay Google.


Shelley Crawford said...

I made a google custom search some time ago heavily weighted to Australian genealogy resources. I haven't mentioned it in my blog yet and I think Judy Webster may be the only person who ever stumbled on to that page! I was planning on mentioning it at some point when I'd tinkered with it some more - but I'd be curious to know how your results compare if you use that.

Shelley Crawford said...

Sorry, I must have edited out a sentence. The custom search page is accessible from the side bar of my blog.

Heather Wilkinson Rojo said...

I just blogged about Mocavo, too, and the #1 find on my list was that it is only good at US results now. #3 complaint was that it didn't link to blogs.

Maria said...

Thanks for this info about Mocavo. I find that a lot of online content and tools (search engines, podcasts, etc.) about genealogy are very US-based. Often they have useful generic tips and advice but I love finding local Australian content with advice that makes more sense to our genealogical research here.

Joan Miller (Luxegen) said...

I've tried it for Canadian searches and found it was rather limited as well. I think it will improve with time.
I'm associate editor for the genealogy slashtag of the search engine Blekko. As more content is added over time the search engine findings become more relevant.

Carole Riley said...

I also had a quick play with it, although not as comprehensive as yours. I guess the question is: Did Mocavo come up with results that Google didn't? If it did, then it's useful, although obviously it can never be the only one that you need.

GeniAus said...

Thanks for all the comments. I imagine that Mocavo will increase its coverage as time goes by but it will be only one of a number of resources that I will use.
I am still annoyed by the statement on the home page that it has "the best free genealogy content on the web" Maybe this is what it aspires to but to have that statement as it is is misleading.

GeniMates said...

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James Tanner said...

Having used a number of search engines since the very inception of the Web, I am highly skeptical of claims. Bing is a good example of a search engine looking for a market.

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