If you are like me, whenever I have a question or my husband and I bet we both know something and argue about who is right, I go to google. I have yellowing dictionaries and thesaurus and a kids atlas that has never really seen the light of day. My kids barely know what these books are for. Google has always been a useful tool in my genealogy searches and over time I have picked up a couple of tips that help for a more effective search and it may help you to find more too.
The first tip is to never give up on google. Always keep typing in the search term I was searching for every couple of months. Just because you can’t find your ancestors yet doesn’t mean that someone isn’t loading information as we speak. When I started my family history search the local society for my ancestor didn’t even have one photo of my relative even though he had been mayor in that area a number of times and been on the local council for two decades. After a year or two of pottering on, I did another google search and had about five photos of him turn up.
Another tip is that Google doesn’t see capitals and lower case when searching, it converts everything to lower case to search. So when you are searching don’t worry about whether you have put the name of your ancestor in it’s most formal sense. This tip is especially useful when you have compound last names.
If you are searching for records in another country you will need to search for that country’s google. Google automatically directs you to your country’s google search engine. This can become a problem when you want to search through records in a different country. To get around this you need to go to the country’s google, for example google.uk if you are searching for UK records. To find the country’s google site, just type in google and the country you want.
Most of us search from the first search box in google and use different terms such as AND and OR but using the “Advanced Search” page is more effective. By using the Advanced Search page Google is doing all the work for you putting in the terms that you need. When putting in the name of the person use the “Exact Phrase” line and put the name in first name and last name and then last name and first name. (Many archives will put the names in last name first.) Then where it asks for a numerical range, put in the years you want to search through. In the Any of these words line put in the area that the person was from.
So there’s some search tips that may be useful on your next genealogy trip around google. Hopefully you may be about to strike gold with finding an elusive relative. Although I have written these tips for genealogy, I’m sure you could use these search tips for general use. Let me know if you have any secrets of google. Also don’t keep my website/blog a secret, make sure you let others know so I can help them find their ancestors too.