14 May 2007

The Wayback Machine

Have you saved a web address (url) that you tried later, only to find it, NOT FOUND?

You are not alone. Individuals who posted their websites for lots of reasons have to removed them.

There is now a website you can use to find what has disappeared from the web. The Finder is the Wayback Machine . It was not invented for genealogist to go back in time or specifically to find the lost webpages. It does find most lost webpages. Periodically the Internet Archive group searched the World Wide Web for all publicly accessible webpages. This occurs about every 3 months and the results occupy a very large hard drive.

Let me demonstrate what I use it for. When I was gathering information about my 9th great-grandfather [Nicolas de Guilizasti], I noticed there was a link with information on his daughter [Juana], my 8th great-grandaunt. I saved the link with the intention of later verifying the references. Well, now the link <http://www.linajes.com/arboles/html/fam00468.htm> is to a webpage that is NOT FOUND.

So I open the Wayback Machine, enter the “bad address”, and click “Take Me Back.” I find that that page was good back in April 26, 2001 and clinking the date recovers the webpage for me.

The original person who posted the webpage can block access, but that is rare. Sometimes a link to the new corrected address is given which is very good.

BTW: The original WABAC machine that Mr. Peabody and Sherman used was a little different.
cartoon from USA Today


  1. Tom,
    Thanks so much, this is a very cool site. I just ran across a couple of missing pages today so this link came at a good time. Just for fun I typed in my web site address and it shows pages from the first day I set it up, totally amazing! It was nice to see my old pages but not to great to see the mistakes and bad layout.

    Happy Hunting

  2. Thank you, Tom, for keeping us up to date on the neat websites out there and how to access them.