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:

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:



8 Responses

  1. Thanks for these helpful tips – but would love to know how to eliminate things from an Ebay search? For example, try searching Bieber, or even more specifically, Bieber, Oley Berks…. all you get is tons and tons of Justin Bieber hits – too many to wade through.

    • Use the advanced search–there you can choose things to eliminate. I have to do what with a last name of mine that’s also a manufacturer of medical equipment.

    • Interesting story about Colusa–I have a first cousin of my 3rd great-grandmother who lived there and died in the early 1900s by the name of Thomas Chaney. There’s a Colusa, Illinois, near where I grew up as well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Get the Genealogy Tip of the Day Book
Get the More Genealogy Tip of the Day Book
Recent Comments