The internet is forever, right?
November 14, 2012 7:17 PM   Subscribe

Help me improve my Google-search skills to find an old website my uncle created years ago with my family history

A few years ago - maybe a good 4 or 5 - a family member showed me a website that my Uncle (my father's brother) had made chronicling our family history, along with memories of his childhood and camping adventures. I remember signing the guestbook to say hello and being fascinated with the amount of detail he had gone into, but I now have no idea of the website address or how to find it. Multiple Google searches using multiple family members names and name combinations bring up nothing, but I know it is out there somewhere on page 44 of a search!

What other things can I do to enhance my searching abilities and possibly find it? I can physically see what the website looks like, but that's about it.

PS my father's family is quite large and spread across Australia and don't keep in touch often, so simply picking up the phone and asking is not something I can do easily
posted by sunshine arakhan to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Have you tried searching the wayback archives?
posted by HuronBob at 7:29 PM on November 14, 2012

What do you mean by "can physically see what the website looks like"?
If it was a geocities or similar, it may have been saved by the Archive Team
posted by anon4now at 7:47 PM on November 14, 2012

Sorry, I meant I can see what it looks like in my head, I remember the layout well. I just found the guestbook that was attached to the site, however it's through a free guestbook provider and there is no link back to his website so a bit of a dead end there.
posted by sunshine arakhan at 7:59 PM on November 14, 2012

Do you remember the URL? Did it look like it was a template site or was it coded by your uncle?
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 8:09 PM on November 14, 2012

I don't like to be a naysayer. Try hard. I hope you find it, and every suggestion you get here is valuable.
But I think you would do well to recognize this, too: Everything on the Internet is not forever. What's saved, what's not -- that's the result of many variables and chance combinations. If the site is down, not on a live connected server, you might not be able to find a copy of it on any other site. You might, but you might not.
posted by LonnieK at 8:12 PM on November 14, 2012

Thanks for the tips everyone. I actually managed to find the URL, it seems like he built it using some space and tools his internet provider gave all users, and maybe that is no longer available to users as the URL goes nowhere. Darnit!
posted by sunshine arakhan at 8:25 PM on November 14, 2012

sunshine arakhan, have you tried plugging that URL into the Wayback Machine, as mentioned by HuronBob, above?
posted by Naiad at 9:30 PM on November 14, 2012

@Naiad, yes I have and unfortunately it says it doesn't have it archived
posted by sunshine arakhan at 9:31 PM on November 14, 2012

That's too bad. For what it's worth, I've had some contact with family history and genealogy enthusiasts, though I'm not one myself; my impression is that most of them are very open to conversation on the topic and excited to be contacted by distant relatives. You say that your father's relatives "don't keep in touch often," but if you have any contact information for your uncle, it might be that the easiest way to go about this quest is to get in touch with him and find out if he still has the family history material online somewhere.

My other suggestion is to try poking around the website, maybe the member directory. Your uncle might be active there; at least, it's a common gathering place for Americans interested in family history research. I don't know if there are any similar sites that would be more commonly used in Australia.
posted by Naiad at 9:44 PM on November 14, 2012

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