Genhound help

Overview of how Genhound works



Genhound enables you to quickly and easily search for you ancestors online using genealogical information previously buried in printed books. To do this we scan the pages of the book (referred to as the “source document”), and then load the text from the pages into a database to provide a range of sophisticated search options that can help you in your search. All the information goes into a single database so you can search all the documents at once. Not only that, but you will also get to see a snippet from the actual text surrounding your search word, that will help you decide whether it might be of interest. The printed document is divided into separate sections, called a Genhound record, so that you only need to purchase the part of the document that is relevant to you.

A Genhound record

A Genhound record is any piece of information that can be bought off Genhound as a single unit. A record might contain a single printed page from a document, or several related pages. Genhound records are structured to ensure that the information about an individual within the record makes sense. Buying a Genhound record gives you access to the text version that is in the Genhound database and a PDF image of the orginal printed page(s). You will need a PDF reader (there are several free ones) to view the PDF file.

Purchasing a record

To purchase a record you must be signed in as a Genhound member. You will need to purchase some Genhound credits before you can purchase a record. Genhound uses the well established and trusted PayPal payments system to process your online payment. Each record costs a number of credits, which will be debited from your credit balance each time you make a purchase. If your credit balance is less that the cost of the record you will need to purchase more credits before completing a sale. There is no time limit on using your credits.

Registering with Genhound

Registering to become a Genhound member is quick, simple and free. You only need to give your email address, create a password, then set yourself two security questions that only you will know the answer to. The security questions are used for verification if you have forgotten or wish to change your password. Genhound will not use your email to send any unsolicited emails or pass your email on to any other individual or organisation for marketing purposes (check wording for this)

Why should I register as a Genhound member?

Registering with Genhound is free and if gives you access to myGenhound with a range of tools to help you in your family history research. You can search the Genhound records even if you aren’t registered, but you will need to register before you can buy credits and pay to view a page. Even if you don’t find anything of interest on your first visit, if you register you can access the myGenhound area and set up email alerts so that Genhound can notify you when documents matching your criteria are added. New data is being added to the Genhound database constantly.

    • Other useful Genhound features you can access by registering are:
  • A regular bulletin with updates on new non-local additions to Genhound and other relevant news such as special offers or new Geneapaedia pages.
  • Saved searches – you can save your search criteria, making your next search even easier.
  • Myshoppinglist – if you don’t want to buy a page straight away you can add it to ‘myShoppinglist’ so you can review it and make a decision later.

Signing in and out

Once you have registered you should sign in before you begin a search so that you can access all the member facilities. To sign in you will need to enter your email address and Genhound password. Although you will automatically be signed out if you close your browser, it is good practice to get in the habit of signing out. If you don’t close your browser after finishing on Genhound but go on to another website you will still be signed in until the browser window is closed.

Your Genhound password

Please use a secure password and keep it safe. To make it more secure, your password is not stored in the Genhound database as plain text but is encrypted. If you forget your password you will need to answer the security questions and then create a new password.

Genhound search section

You can do a simple search using just surname from the Genhound home page. However if you go the search section of Genhound’s website you will be offered a range of search tools including three advanced search options – the standard advanced search, the whole name search and the surname with first name search. Each of these searches looks for the name you enter in a different way and which search works best for you will depend on the characteristics of the name you are searching for.

If you are logged in as a Genhound member you will also see links to the Save a search and mySearches pages in the search section. Genhound members can save a set of search criteria as a named search which will then be listed on the mySearches page to enable them to repeat a search on subsequent visits with just one click.

As well as performing a search for a particular surname Genhound allows you to browse the Genhound document titles. From the list of titles displayed you can then view a description of the document and also search just that document for a particular surname and, optionally, a first name. There are a number of options for browsing document titles which you can read about in more detail in the section on browsing document titles below.

Advanced search

There are three types of advanced searches – standard search, whole name search and surname with firstname search. The standard search is the page that appears when you click on “Search” in the menu bar at the top of the page and is the fastest search. It will find the search name entered whether it is the whole or only part of a word. The whole name search is a little slower and will only find a search name if it it the whole of the world. The surname and first name search is the slowest and produce results when the first name entered is very close to the surname, and is also a whole word search.

As well as surname there are additional search options on each of the advanced search pages such as time period and/or location. If you have used Genhound before, you can choose to search only new records that have been added since your last visit. These additional options work in the same way for each of the three search types.

Be aware however, that Genhound is limited by the original format of the source document. Unlike a database that has been build from scratch Genhound cannot sort the information for every name in the database separately. Instead, extra information on time periods, locations etc is attached to the source document as a whole, not to a specific person, surname or record. Genhound does what it can to work within this limitation by breaking down larger source documents into smaller sections (usually a smaller time period) wherever possible.

Search results

Results from you search are listed in a table in date order, earliest records first. The first page will show up to 20 results, with more results on following pages, 20 per page. You will see a snippet of text from the record surrounding the relevant surname, the number of Genhound credits needed to purchase the record, the time period covered by the source document and information, “buy now” and “save for later” icons

Source document descriptions

Genhound always provides a description of the source document a record was taken from. This information can be viewed for free and will help you to decide whether a record is of interest. The source document is usually a printed book, but to improve searchability, Genhound may divide the original printed book into smaller sections, eg parts A & B. These two parts will then each be a separate source document in the Genhound database.

As well as providing you with information on the source docment, the Genhound document description contains information about the time period and locations covered and the type of document which Genhound uses to match your search criteria.

Genhound document types

Because not all documents are specific to a particular area, Genhound classifies documents as either “local” or “non-local”.

A local document is any document that relates only to a particular region such as a town, parish, county, state etc is classified as a local document, and therefore will appear in relevant search results when you use the regional search setting on the advanced search page.

A non-local document is not specific to a particular region. It may cover the whole of a country, a part of the world or be worldwide. Non-local documents are grouped into seven categories:
Adminstrative/official sources
Education records
Establishment lists
Occupational lists

Browsing document titles

As well as doing a search for a particular surname you can browse the Genhound document titles. There are three browsing options:
Recent additions – to see a list of document titles added on or after a specified date
Local records – to see a list of documents for a specified region/city
Non-local records – to see a list of documents of one of the six non-local categories


    Once you are a member you have access to your own myGenhound section containing all the functions you need to manage and access your personal information, settings and records. You can use myGenhound to:

  • access Genhound records you have purchased
  • view the list of records you have on myShoppinglist
  • save new search criteria and view results from saved searches
  • manage your email alerts
  • view your account to display your credit and record purchases and credit balance
  • change your details such as email address and password.

The main myGenhound page contains a list of any Genhound records you have purchased with the document title, period covered and information, view and delete icons for each listing. Although you can view the record from the myGenhound page, we recommend that you also download the record on to your own computer.

Saving searches

If you are a Genhound member you can save any of your search criteria by using the ‘Save a search’ page. Your seach criteria will then be listed on the mySearches page in your myGenhound section

Email alerts

Genhound members can set up email alerts so that they are notified by email whenever a new local record matching your criteria is added to Genhound. If you wish to stop receiving the emails you can delete your alert at any time.

Genhound bulletin

You can subscribe to Genhound’s fortnightly email bulletin which contains a list of new non-local additions and relevant news such as special offers or new pages added to the Geneapedia section.


You will find a myShoppinglist page in myGenhound. This page will list any records that you added to the list by clicking on the “save for later” icon in the search results. You can purchase the record directly from your shopping list, delete it from the list or do a search of just that record.

myAccount page

The myAccount page in myGenhound will list your credit purchases and your credit balance. It also has a transactions table which itemises your record purchases, lists the merchant ID number and a ‘report a problem’ icon for each listing.

Changing your Genhound details

The “change details” page can be accessed via myGenhound. You can update your email address and change your password at any time. To change your password you will need to answer the security questions you set when you registered.