I use Google quite a bit in my work (paying job), but I have had several great finds using Google for my genealogy research. I have to teach a class on using Google for Genealogy tonight, so here's my tips from the class. My four-page paper is a little long to put on a blog, so I'll split it into several posts. This is Post 1 of 4: Google Basics.
• Search key words only. Use key words when searching (not long phrases). Google only searches first 10 words.
• + (plus sign): Use plus sign before words that are absolutely critical to your search. (Example: George Lumpkin Morris +Arizona)
• - (minus sign or hyphen): Excludes that word from your search. (Example: Ford -car)
• “…” (quotation marks): Use for exact searching or phrases. (Example: “George Lumpkin Morris”)
• * (wild card or asterick): Use wild card when searching with quotes to find middle names. (Example: “john * smith” will find John A. Smith, John Allen Smith, etc.) Caution: It will not return the name John Smith (since there is nothing in between).
• The OR (all caps) operator. Google tries to search ALL of the words you type in your search query. So, if you are looking for other instances, use the OR operator.
Examples: (1) “Samuel Gordge” OR “Samuel, Gordge” OR “Samuel * Gordge” AND (2) Myers obit OR obituary OR obituaries.