Help with Genealogy Research. 10 Tips on using Google

Help with Genealogy Research

10 Tips on using Google

 

So you are looking for Help with Genealogy Research? Although not designed specifically as a Family History or Genealogy search website, family history research using Google can, if used correctly, be one of the most useful tools in a Family Historians arsenal.

Help with Genealogy Research

I am sure that like myself, most family historians have used Google to look for ancestors at some point in time or another.

However, due to the vast amount of information indexed by Google, finding the relevant and valuable data you seek can be extremely frustrating and hard to find. By just typing a persons name can results in thousands (if not millions) of results.

This page has been created to highlight some of the tricks that can be used to hopefully help you find your ancestors on a more regular basis.

When undertaking your google search here are a few tips which should help you filter out some of the plethora of results you are currently seeing.


1. Use Lower case

Help with Genealogy Research

With the exception of the search operators AND and OR, Google is case insensitive, which means it does not matter which case you use. I would recommend using lowercase in all your searches so the search operators AND and OR are not accidentally activated until you want them to be.

 


2. Use Quotation Marks

Help with Genealogy Research

If you wish to search for the text exactly as you have entered it into Google, place quotation marks around them.


3. Use Wildcards

Help with Genealogy Research

If you are not sure of a name or term you can include an *, or wildcard, in your search query to tell Google to treat the star as a placeholder for any unknown term(s) and then find the matches that best suit.


4. Use the Minus Sign

Help with Genealogy Research

I know when I search for an ancestor I often get results for the LinkedIn profile of people with the same name. I know these people aren’t the person who I am looking for so I can exclude them from the search results by adding -linkedin to the search term. This works for any term you would like to exclude.


5. Use a Date Range

Help with Genealogy Research

One of the most awesome things about Google is the ability to search a date range. This is hugely helpful if you are looking for birth, marriage or death records or trying to narrow down the results for a particular family member.


6. Get Site Specific Results

Help with Genealogy Research

If you would like to only search information that is available on a specific site then use the site:{site URL} option before the text to be searched for.


7. Search for Terms that are associated with each other

Help with Genealogy Research

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. To get around this add AROUND(No of words) to the search query.


8. Use OR to Combine Searches

Help with Genealogy Research

If, for example, you are unsure of an exact location your ancestor may have lived in  you can use OR to find results for more than one


9.  Stemming

Family History Research using Google - Stemming

Returns results, not only based on your keyword, but also on the terms based on the keyword stem.


10. Use Google’s Advanced Search Form

Help with Genealogy Research

Google’s Advanced Search

If you feel the above techniques are a little overwhelming do not despair. Google has a advanced the search feature which simplifies the majority of the search options above, such as using phrasing your search terms and date ranges.


Help with Genealogy Research

10 Tips on using Google