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Registered: 07-2006
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6 ‘Secret’ Google Search Tricks for Genealogy


quote:


6 Google Search Tricks


1. Apply Quotation Marks

Also known as a string search this is one of the best, and most obvious ways, to limit search results in Google. When you type in a name like James Wilcox, Google will search the entire title and text of pages for those terms. They do not need to be related to each other – so you may turn up a page with James and Wilcox, but not necessarily a page where these terms appear together.

Use “James Wilcox” or “Wilcox, James” to limit results (remember that many genealogy related sites place the last name first). Also apply quotations around terms like “obituary” to make them exact — otherwise Google will substitute other words like ‘death’ or ‘died.’ This can be helpful in some situations, but for others is can be a big hassle and turn up many unwanted results.

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2. Use the Minus Sign

Oftentimes when we are searching for ancestors, especially those with common names, we may find that a certain person or location we’re NOT looking for turns up again and again, clouding our results. For instance, a James Wilcox who lived in Somerset keeps coming up for us. He’s definitely not our guy, so we’ll exclude the term Somerset.

Place a minus sign before a term to exclude these unwanted results (Example: “wilcox, james” 1837 mahala -somerset). The minus sign can be placed in front of many terms to further refine results ( -dunbar -somerset -1907) or term strings (-“Wilcox, James Robinson”). Just make sure that the minus sign is placed directly before the term with no space in between. This works to exclude specific sites as well (-rootsweb).

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3. Get Site Specific Results

Would you like to get search results only for a specific website, such as FamilySearch?

Use ‘site:SITEURL’ before a term or terms to do this. Example: site:[sign in to see URL] “wilcox, james” –note that we didn’t place a space between ‘site:’ and the url and that we didn’t include the ‘http://www’ part either.

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4. Search Only Page Titles

When looking for a specific ancestor is can be very helpful to have the pages you turn up only be ones that focus on that individual alone. Or, when searching for a surname, to find articles centered around that specific last name. Making sure a search term appears in the title of the page is a good way to do this. This isn’t always true of course, and you’ll miss a lot of results this way, but when looking for discussions about a person, biographies or in-depth data it can be a very helpful trick.

To search only web page titles use ‘allintitle:’ Example: allintitle: “Wilcox, James.” You can also search only the text, and exclude the titles, by using ‘allintext:’

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5. Search a Date Range

This is one of the best and most underused Google search tips for genealogists. This super cool trick lets you search multiple dates at one time without having to enter them individually. This is hugely helpful if you are looking for birth, marriage or death records (or any date based source) but don’t know the exact date of an event.

Just add [sign in to see URL] to your search box to accomplish this (two periods in between the dates like this [sign in to see URL]). For instance, we know that James Wilcox was most likely born between 1835 and 1839 based on the information we have, so we could search for “Wilcox, James” [sign in to see URL]. This will bring up only pages that include one or all of the dates 1835, 1836, 1837, 1838 and 1839. It will not exclude pages that include other dates (which we usually would not want to do.) But if we did want to do that we could exclude any date by typing -DATE, such as -1840 after our other terms.

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6. Search for Terms Near Each Other

One of the most frustrating things about searching for ancestors in Google is that, while the engine will search an entire page for your terms, your terms may not have any association to each other. As mentioned early on in this article, that can cause major problems for genealogists since many pages include long lists of dates and names. It is entirely possible, for example, to find the exact names, dates and other details you’re looking for — but not in relation to each other in any way. For instance, our searches for James Wilcox and 1837 turned up pages that include James Wilcox and the date 1837, but that date was often applied to other people on the page.

However, there is a way to ask Google to find terms near each other! Enter AROUND(1) between terms to do this. An example would be: “James Wilcox” AROUND(10) 1837. That means we want Google to look for pages where the exact name James Wilcox appears within 10 words of the date 1837. You can change the modifying number to anything you want (“James Wilcox” AROUND(3) 1837 or “James Wilcox AROUND(1) Mahala) a lower number means a closer association and thus, usually, fewer results. We can also apply this to multiple terms (Example: “Wilcox, James” AROUND(10) Mahala AROUND(5) 1837). You will be blown away by how much this helps you find more relevant results.


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Note: Sometimes when you apply these operators, especially if you do so several times in a row, Google may check to make sure you’re a real person and not a computer by transferring you to a captcha verification page. Don’t worry, just type in the characters and proceed — and try not to get too excited that you’re geeky enough to be considered a computer by Google.

]Article HERE

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SS eH PF
8/25/2016, 5:24 pm Link to this post Send PM to Susa Blog
 
Saralo Profile
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Registered: 10-2016
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Re:


These are great tips, thank you! I was actually looking up family information recently because my daughter started a family tree at ancestry dot com, and it was very frustrating. I will try your tips and pass them to her.
10/25/2016, 9:42 pm Link to this post Send Email to Saralo   Send PM to Saralo Blog
 
Susa Profile
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Registered: 07-2006
Location: Oχάιο
Posts: 69848
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Re:


I have been working a lot on [sign in to see URL]. It is one of my major hobbies. I hope that your daughter can get a break through and then take off on it. When I very first started, I was frustrated, but then I found some really good leads and things took off.

A good site to search is ]Family Search. This is the Mormon data base.

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SS eH PF
10/26/2016, 7:00 pm Link to this post Send PM to Susa Blog
 


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