1) Use lower case letters- Google is not case sensitive
2) Do not use punctuation
3) Your word order matters
4) Use roots words- Google will search all forms of the word automatically
Example: genealogy will give you results concerning genealogy, genealogist, genealogists, genealogical and so on
5) Use the approximate symbol (~) to find words with similar meanings
Example: genealogy~descendant will give you results for descendancy research concerning genealogy, such as descendants, lineage, etc.
6) Use OR to get results for similar meanings
Example: family history OR genealogy will give you results for that topic under either term
7) Use * to fill in the unknown
Example: john * smith will give you a plethora of john smiths with different middle names
8) Use … for date ranges
Example: 1890…1910 will give you dates anywhere in that range
9) Use quotation marks “ “ to search for the exact words/phrase in the exact order
Example: “descendants of john smith” or “ancestry of john smith” will give you results for those exact phrases
Example: “john smith” will only bring up John Smiths, not Johns and Smiths
10) Use parentheses ( ) to search for those terms first before anything outside of those terms
Example: (genealogy OR family history)
11) Use + or – symbols to only get results of a particular category of a topic
Example: dna+triangulation gives you only results concerning dna triangulation, dna +genealogy -testing gives you results concerning topics of DNA in the genealogical/family history world without giving you results about DNA tests, testing or testing sites, and genealogy research -sites will give you results about genealogy research methods, tools, resources etc. without giving you pages and pages of different genealogy/family history sites
Now let’s apply what we’ve learned:
Example: "john*smith" 1890...1910 +genealogy will bring up all John Smiths with an unknown middle name, with a date range of 1890 to 1910, and concerning genealogy
Example: "john*smith" 1890...1910 ~descendant will give you results of all John Smiths with an unknown middle name, with a date range of 1890 to 1910, and concerning only descendancy or family line research, charts, family trees, genealogy, family history, etc.
Example: ("john*smith") 1890...1910 (~descendant) will churn out all John Smiths with an unknown middle name, and concerning only descendancy, family lines, etc. of those John Smiths, with a date range of 1890-1910, but will not focus on that date range. This is good to use if you are guessing the date range.
Example: ("john m smith") ~descendant will bring up all descendancy, lineage, etc. on John M Smiths
I hope you have found this to be helpful in your genealogy/family history research! 😊
Find more tips for your family history and genealogy research under the Genealogy Research Tips category.
P.S... My older site theme does not support the "Leave a Reply" field labels; if you'd like to leave a comment on a blog, the fields are: Name, Email, Site (if you'd like), and Comment, the standard fields 😉
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8/23/2021 11:11:06 am
Great suggestions and a helpful guide for beginners and experienced reseachers alike.
8/31/2021 04:06:22 pm
Thank you; it has helped me out a lot! :)
8/31/2021 11:26:03 am
Excellent tips for beginners. Updates and reminders are good for Google, too, since it sometimes changes the working search parameters.
8/31/2021 04:08:40 pm
Thank you, and yes, I totally agree! :)
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