Ebay can be a great place to make genealogy purchases or even just to find images of items and materials if the prices are beyond your budget or your genealogy space at home is already limited. I located a picture of an uncle, a fan from a funeral home owned by a cousin, and a postcard containing a picture of the church my 3rd great-grandmother attended in Warsaw, Illinois.
It does take some trial and error to get your searches right and sufficiently narrowed. I have better luck searching for locations, last names, historical features, and similar items. Narrowing your searches may be necessary if the locations are heavily populated or the last names are common. Instead of searching for full names, try a last name and a location.
Some searches to try:
- carthage illinois
- “west point” illinois–quotes are helpful in cases like this
- kile illinois
- lutheran gothenburg–for lutheran churches in Gothenburg, Nebraska
- colusa california
You can also have Ebay email you when new items are listed that meet your search criteria by setting up your own search alerts. Click on the “Advanced” link on the right hand side of the Ebay page first to give more control to your searches and to have more search options.
Then hit “save this search.”
Wait for the email alert when something new matching your search term is added. Make certain your search is not too broad before requesting the email alert. You’ll get a popup notice that the search has been saved.
Additional tips on Ebay: