Find your family history on eBay?

8 Mar

I have been buying on eBay ( for several years, and the vast majority of what I buy is related to either local or family history. As eBay is a massive marketplace (and an international one at that) there is no limit to what you might find, in fact the only limit is probably your imagination when coming up with search terms, but as most genealogists are already pretty adept at searching that shouldn’t be a problem

So if you are not already searching eBay why not give it a try? Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  • Your research names (if they are not too common, otherwise you may get swamped with results)
  • The places where your ancestors lived (eBay is a great place to find old postcards)
  • Books and magazines (both old and new, and don’t forget family bibles, maps and church guides)
  • Medals (as I write this there are nearly 2,500 WW1 medals and ribbons listed, and don’t forget other militaria).
  • CDs, microfiche and printed transcriptions (numerous data sets are available, including family history society transcriptions)

Don’t forget you can also save your search terms and have eBay email you when an item is listed that matches your requirements, and there are some pretty good advanced search features which allow you to search more precisely.

There is lots of information on the site in their help pages about buying, selling and finding stuff (

Finally, please make sure you know exactly what it is you are buying (make sure it is genuine) and that the dealer is reputable (check their feedback rating), because I won’t be held responsible for anything that goes wrong.

In future posts I will hopefully feature some of my successful purchases, that is if you don’t outbid me!

2 Responses to “Find your family history on eBay?”

  1. henwife September 20, 2009 at 8:18 am #

    I have been selling and occasionally buying on here for years and although i have looked without success for postcards i’ve never thought of searching for anything else. Nice tip, thanks.

  2. John Gasson September 20, 2009 at 7:41 pm #

    As you know there is pretty much no limit on what can turn up on eBay, so I have loads of saved searches that I never hear about for weeks until something unusual turns up. Whether I can afford it or not is a different matter!

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