Sunday, February 14, 2010

Using Google for Genealogy Research, Post 2 of 4: Google Features

Here's Post 2 of 4 of my class on Using Google for Genealogy Research:  Helpful Google Features.


Searching by date range. Search a range of years by using 3 periods between the years. (Example: obituary winterburn England 1920…1925).

Google can calculate on the fly: (Example: In the 1930 census, his age was listed as 75. Type in 1930–75, and Google will calculate his approximate date of birth = 1855.)

Similar word (synonym) searching. ~ (tilde): Finds synonyms (Example: Searching for ~genealogy, it will also find family history, family tree, etc.) NOTE: Some websites don’t use the word genealogy, but they do use words like “family history” and/or “family tree.”

How to get around “File Not Found” when you search (using cached pages): Hit the back button and look at your link for the “cached” copy. (Google takes a picture of each website and saves them, even though they may be later deleted by the website owner.) (See "Cached" to the right of the website listed in the image below.)
What is that “Similar” word underneath my search results?  (See "Similar" in the website address lited in the image above.)  This is GoogleScout, and it will help find sites with similar content without having to worry about selecting the right keywords. (Good for topic searching, not so much surname searching.) (Example: Dalton gang search takes you to “Similar” pages does give some more interesting websites you can search.)

“Show Options” feature: displays after you perform a search (see image below). Select Show Options and filter your search:
  • Types of files (great for getting to books or blogs)
  • Date: Can search by date, or enter a specific date range
  • All Results – can search web pages you haven’t visited yet (if History is enabled), and search by time periods types of data, time periods, web pages NOT yet visited (if your History is activated)
  • Timeline – great for finding old publications (Example: “John D Lee” search finds period newspaper articles on his trial as reported in the NY Times.)
  • Wonder wheel – great for finding relationships (Example: “John D Lee” shows descendants, Mountain Meadows Massacre, Joseph Smith, etc.)
    Google Advance Search – helps you to narrow your search using a fill-in form.  (See image above.)  Top features:
    • Date
    • Occurrences (can search anywhere in any website page (not just the title, the URL, etc.)
    • Domain (great for searching genealogy sites with large amounts of data. (Example: looking for that German word list at, type in: “ german word list.”)
    Specific searching of words in the Title of a webpage – use “allintitle:” Specific searching of words in the webpages – use “allinurl:” Examples:
    • Plain ol’ google search: Stollsteimer (27,700 hits)
    • Allinurl: Stollsteimer (2,810 hits)
    • Allinurl: Stollsteimer (6 hits)
    • Allinurl: Stollsteimer ~genealogy (8 hits)
    • Allintitle: Stollsteimer (3,790 hits)
    • Allintitle: Stollsteimer genealogy (40 hits)
    • Allintitle: Stollsteimer ~genealogy (39 hits)
    Found a great webpage? Search other websites that link to it. Use the link command (link:) along with the URL (website page) to find other sites linked to it. (Example: Dalton gang search showed one website called In the google search bar, type – to see sites linking to this website.)

    Having trouble finding something in a website? Search within it. Using the following command “site:” before your URL will allow you to search that specific site for the key word(s) you enter. (Example: to search all of for entries pertaining to “Carruth,” type: carruth

    The FIND button. Don’t forget you also have the FIND button in your internet browser to assist you when searching a word on a specific webpage (go to Edit | Find).

    Don’t forget to search for photos from the past. Click on Images on Google’s home page to search for photos. “Carruth” search of images (after weeding through the current photos) shows a website called that has many historical photos. In addition, there was a link underneath that said “find similar images” which resulted in more historical images. (Google also offers a “SafeSearch” feature – select OFF, MODERATE, or STRICT).

    Do a Google News Archive Search. Go to (Example: search “Levi Ward Hancock” reveals a newspaper article from 1997.)

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