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Genealogy HowTo
Issue: Jun 13, 2019

Lost and Found "The Wayback Machine"

by Cynthia Carman

There is nothing more frustrating than clicking a bookmarked genealogy resource and getting a "404 page not found error" or getting one of those fake advertising pages that look something like this.

It's frightening the number of genealogy websites that have disappeared from the Internet. Of course we are all familiar with the missing rootsweb pages and before that the loss of genealogy.com. Other missing resources with which you might be familiar are geocities and aol pages. All of these websites had thriving genealogical communities which contained numerous family history pages and vital record transriptions. Fortunately you can still see the historical pages of a website if you know the link and can enter it into the Archive.org's "WayBack Machine".

Here are some basics for using "The WayBack Machine".

For demonstration purposes let's use a rootsweb link that has disappeared from the Internet. http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~caillet101/MichiganCemetery.html

  • 1. To find this particular page in the "WayBack Machine" you first need to bring up the Archive.org website and copy and paste the URL into the Wayback Machine's search box.

  • 2. Press return. Either the archived page will appear or a time line of the captures will appear. In this case a time line appears. Each line on the time line represents a day when a page capture was done by the Wayback Machine.

  • 3. Click a colored circle in the calendar displayed under the time line, Each circle represents the day on which a page capture was attempted. There will be a blue circle if the capture was successful. Green means the page was redirected to another page. (If you click a green circle and wait about 15 seconds the Wayback Machine will display the new redirected page which may not even be at the same URL.) An orange circle indicates that the URL was not found on the day the Wayback Machine attempted a capture.

  • 4. If all the circles are orange click another line on the timeline going backward in time and look for a blue or green circle on the calendar.


When a page is retrieved and displayed from the Wayback Machine's captures, all links on the page are configured to access the resource as it was captured by the Wayback Machine on the same day as the original page. It's just like stepping back in time to view a webpage as it used to be.

Additional Resources can be uncovered by using the "WayBack Machine"

Here is an example of the resources you can uncover by using the "WayBack Machine" to view historically saved pages. Let's use as an example the page "Colonial Massachusetts and Maine Genealogies". This page disappeared from the Internet in 2005 but can be found in the Wayback Machine at this link http://home.earthlink.net/~anderson207/index.html

Accessing this resource from the Wayback Machine will also make it possible to click links that were on the page when the backup was done. If any link was bad on the page you have displayed then you can access the historical backup of that page, back to 2001, by clicking one of the lines on the timeline. Prior to 2001 the original resource page was located at this link http://www.qni.com/~anderson/ and the historical backups of that page will take you back to 1998. That's impressive! There are many examples I could give where an historical site of links relating to a specific topic can lead you to other meaningful resources.

Using the "Wayback Machine" to help find the missing links from a MyTrees.com search result.

Several years ago MyTrees.com discovered the difficulty of "keeping up with the pages that were disappearing on the internet" problem. MyTrees.com had attempted to include pages that it had indexed from genealogy Internet sites in its search results. Keeping up with the changes to those indexed pages was a near impossibility so the project was canceled. The pages that had been gathered were not deleted however; and still appear in the search results for some searches. Here is an example from a search done for "Martha H Turner born 1883".

  • Here is how the search results appeared.

  • Notice that some of the items in the results are URLs instead of a database name.

  • Right click the URL link and a menu will appear.(At this point an active subscription is needed to see the complete link.)

  • Left click "Copy Link Location" on the menu.

  • Now bring up the Archive.org website and paste the URL into the Wayback Machine box.

  • Press Enter.

  • If the webpage displays but is showing the wrong person, click the "INDEX" link that is part of the page display and locate the name for which you were searching.

  • If an error or "page not found" displays click the browser back arrow and remove the text from the end of the link with which you started back to the slash and use an asterisk after the slash and press enter.

It may take a few minutes for Archive.org to return a result especially if the site you are searching was a large one. A list of links will appear. If there are too many link results through which to scan, filter the results by entering the word "index" into the box labeled "Filter results".

Click one of the index pages to find the name of the website owner. If that is not listed on the index page, click a contact link or perhaps you can use the title information from the page and enter it into a general Internet search engine. Doing this may point you to the new website to which the site may have migrated.

Click this link for more information about how to use the "Wayback Machine".

Archive.org also has imaged numerous family history books and county histories which usually contain biographical information about the families of the county. Also vital records from states and counties have been imaged. Archive.org has attempted to make the books searchable by indexing them using OCR software. More detail about using Archive.org has been included in this newsletter's Ask-Us article.

Copyright © 2017-2019 Cindy Carman. All rights reserved.
No printed reproduction of this article may be used without the express written permission of the author.
Links to this article are encouraged.

Newsletters

Select Newsletter by Issue or Topic:

Genealogy HowTo
Issue: Jun 13, 2019

Lost and Found "The Wayback Machine"

by Cynthia Carman

There is nothing more frustrating than clicking a bookmarked genealogy resource and getting a "404 page not found error" or getting one of those fake advertising pages that look something like this.

It's frightening the number of genealogy websites that have disappeared from the Internet. Of course we are all familiar with the missing rootsweb pages and before that the loss of genealogy.com. Other missing resources with which you might be familiar are geocities and aol pages. All of these websites had thriving genealogical communities which contained numerous family history pages and vital record transriptions. Fortunately you can still see the historical pages of a website if you know the link and can enter it into the Archive.org's "WayBack Machine".

Here are some basics for using "The WayBack Machine".

For demonstration purposes let's use a rootsweb link that has disappeared from the Internet. http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~caillet101/MichiganCemetery.html

  • 1. To find this particular page in the "WayBack Machine" you first need to bring up the Archive.org website and copy and paste the URL into the Wayback Machine's search box.

  • 2. Press return. Either the archived page will appear or a time line of the captures will appear. In this case a time line appears. Each line on the time line represents a day when a page capture was done by the Wayback Machine.

  • 3. Click a colored circle in the calendar displayed under the time line, Each circle represents the day on which a page capture was attempted. There will be a blue circle if the capture was successful. Green means the page was redirected to another page. (If you click a green circle and wait about 15 seconds the Wayback Machine will display the new redirected page which may not even be at the same URL.) An orange circle indicates that the URL was not found on the day the Wayback Machine attempted a capture.

  • 4. If all the circles are orange click another line on the timeline going backward in time and look for a blue or green circle on the calendar.


When a page is retrieved and displayed from the Wayback Machine's captures, all links on the page are configured to access the resource as it was captured by the Wayback Machine on the same day as the original page. It's just like stepping back in time to view a webpage as it used to be.

Additional Resources can be uncovered by using the "WayBack Machine"

Here is an example of the resources you can uncover by using the "WayBack Machine" to view historically saved pages. Let's use as an example the page "Colonial Massachusetts and Maine Genealogies". This page disappeared from the Internet in 2005 but can be found in the Wayback Machine at this link http://home.earthlink.net/~anderson207/index.html

Accessing this resource from the Wayback Machine will also make it possible to click links that were on the page when the backup was done. If any link was bad on the page you have displayed then you can access the historical backup of that page, back to 2001, by clicking one of the lines on the timeline. Prior to 2001 the original resource page was located at this link http://www.qni.com/~anderson/ and the historical backups of that page will take you back to 1998. That's impressive! There are many examples I could give where an historical site of links relating to a specific topic can lead you to other meaningful resources.

Using the "Wayback Machine" to help find the missing links from a MyTrees.com search result.

Several years ago MyTrees.com discovered the difficulty of "keeping up with the pages that were disappearing on the internet" problem. MyTrees.com had attempted to include pages that it had indexed from genealogy Internet sites in its search results. Keeping up with the changes to those indexed pages was a near impossibility so the project was canceled. The pages that had been gathered were not deleted however; and still appear in the search results for some searches. Here is an example from a search done for "Martha H Turner born 1883".

  • Here is how the search results appeared.

  • Notice that some of the items in the results are URLs instead of a database name.

  • Right click the URL link and a menu will appear.(At this point an active subscription is needed to see the complete link.)

  • Left click "Copy Link Location" on the menu.

  • Now bring up the Archive.org website and paste the URL into the Wayback Machine box.

  • Press Enter.

  • If the webpage displays but is showing the wrong person, click the "INDEX" link that is part of the page display and locate the name for which you were searching.

  • If an error or "page not found" displays click the browser back arrow and remove the text from the end of the link with which you started back to the slash and use an asterisk after the slash and press enter.

It may take a few minutes for Archive.org to return a result especially if the site you are searching was a large one. A list of links will appear. If there are too many link results through which to scan, filter the results by entering the word "index" into the box labeled "Filter results".

Click one of the index pages to find the name of the website owner. If that is not listed on the index page, click a contact link or perhaps you can use the title information from the page and enter it into a general Internet search engine. Doing this may point you to the new website to which the site may have migrated.

Click this link for more information about how to use the "Wayback Machine".

Archive.org also has imaged numerous family history books and county histories which usually contain biographical information about the families of the county. Also vital records from states and counties have been imaged. Archive.org has attempted to make the books searchable by indexing them using OCR software. More detail about using Archive.org has been included in this newsletter's Ask-Us article.

Copyright © 2017-2019 Cindy Carman. All rights reserved.
No printed reproduction of this article may be used without the express written permission of the author.
Links to this article are encouraged.

Newsletters

Select Newsletter by Issue or Topic:

Genealogy HowTo
Issue: Jun 13, 2019

Lost and Found "The Wayback Machine"

by Cynthia Carman

There is nothing more frustrating than clicking a bookmarked genealogy resource and getting a "404 page not found error" or getting one of those fake advertising pages that look something like this.

It's frightening the number of genealogy websites that have disappeared from the Internet. Of course we are all familiar with the missing rootsweb pages and before that the loss of genealogy.com. Other missing resources with which you might be familiar are geocities and aol pages. All of these websites had thriving genealogical communities which contained numerous family history pages and vital record transriptions. Fortunately you can still see the historical pages of a website if you know the link and can enter it into the Archive.org's "WayBack Machine".

Here are some basics for using "The WayBack Machine".

For demonstration purposes let's use a rootsweb link that has disappeared from the Internet. http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~caillet101/MichiganCemetery.html

  • 1. To find this particular page in the "WayBack Machine" you first need to bring up the Archive.org website and copy and paste the URL into the Wayback Machine's search box.

  • 2. Press return. Either the archived page will appear or a time line of the captures will appear. In this case a time line appears. Each line on the time line represents a day when a page capture was done by the Wayback Machine.

  • 3. Click a colored circle in the calendar displayed under the time line, Each circle represents the day on which a page capture was attempted. There will be a blue circle if the capture was successful. Green means the page was redirected to another page. (If you click a green circle and wait about 15 seconds the Wayback Machine will display the new redirected page which may not even be at the same URL.) An orange circle indicates that the URL was not found on the day the Wayback Machine attempted a capture.

  • 4. If all the circles are orange click another line on the timeline going backward in time and look for a blue or green circle on the calendar.


When a page is retrieved and displayed from the Wayback Machine's captures, all links on the page are configured to access the resource as it was captured by the Wayback Machine on the same day as the original page. It's just like stepping back in time to view a webpage as it used to be.

Additional Resources can be uncovered by using the "WayBack Machine"

Here is an example of the resources you can uncover by using the "WayBack Machine" to view historically saved pages. Let's use as an example the page "Colonial Massachusetts and Maine Genealogies". This page disappeared from the Internet in 2005 but can be found in the Wayback Machine at this link http://home.earthlink.net/~anderson207/index.html

Accessing this resource from the Wayback Machine will also make it possible to click links that were on the page when the backup was done. If any link was bad on the page you have displayed then you can access the historical backup of that page, back to 2001, by clicking one of the lines on the timeline. Prior to 2001 the original resource page was located at this link http://www.qni.com/~anderson/ and the historical backups of that page will take you back to 1998. That's impressive! There are many examples I could give where an historical site of links relating to a specific topic can lead you to other meaningful resources.

Using the "Wayback Machine" to help find the missing links from a MyTrees.com search result.

Several years ago MyTrees.com discovered the difficulty of "keeping up with the pages that were disappearing on the internet" problem. MyTrees.com had attempted to include pages that it had indexed from genealogy Internet sites in its search results. Keeping up with the changes to those indexed pages was a near impossibility so the project was canceled. The pages that had been gathered were not deleted however; and still appear in the search results for some searches. Here is an example from a search done for "Martha H Turner born 1883".

  • Here is how the search results appeared.

  • Notice that some of the items in the results are URLs instead of a database name.

  • Right click the URL link and a menu will appear.(At this point an active subscription is needed to see the complete link.)

  • Left click "Copy Link Location" on the menu.

  • Now bring up the Archive.org website and paste the URL into the Wayback Machine box.

  • Press Enter.

  • If the webpage displays but is showing the wrong person, click the "INDEX" link that is part of the page display and locate the name for which you were searching.

  • If an error or "page not found" displays click the browser back arrow and remove the text from the end of the link with which you started back to the slash and use an asterisk after the slash and press enter.

It may take a few minutes for Archive.org to return a result especially if the site you are searching was a large one. A list of links will appear. If there are too many link results through which to scan, filter the results by entering the word "index" into the box labeled "Filter results".

Click one of the index pages to find the name of the website owner. If that is not listed on the index page, click a contact link or perhaps you can use the title information from the page and enter it into a general Internet search engine. Doing this may point you to the new website to which the site may have migrated.

Click this link for more information about how to use the "Wayback Machine".

Archive.org also has imaged numerous family history books and county histories which usually contain biographical information about the families of the county. Also vital records from states and counties have been imaged. Archive.org has attempted to make the books searchable by indexing them using OCR software. More detail about using Archive.org has been included in this newsletter's Ask-Us article.

Copyright © 2017-2019 Cindy Carman. All rights reserved.
No printed reproduction of this article may be used without the express written permission of the author.
Links to this article are encouraged.

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