Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Google Search Wizardry - Tips & Tricks

Become a Google Search Wizard

After you've exhausted basic Google Search techniques, it's time to tap into Advanced Search. This will help you search with more precision and hopefully even better results.

Here are some great advanced techniques to try:

"+" Search

Google ignores common words and characters such as where, the, how and other digits and letters which slow down your search without improving the results. However, if a common word is essential to getting the results you are looking for, you can include it by putting a space and then a "+" sign in front of it.

Here's how to add the digits "III" in a search for John Smith III:
John Smith +III

Quotations Marks

When you want to find an exact phrase in a web site, enclose the phrase in quotation marks. For example:

"U.S. Federal Census"

will bring up websites with that exact phrase and no variation.

Alternative to NOT

A quicker way to eliminate a particular word from your search results list, rather than typing the word NOT before the word in the search box, is to type a minus sign and the word. For example, you might be searching for the surname Lincoln but don't want to get inundated with results for Abraham Lincoln.

You could search on:
Lincoln -Abraham

the word Lincoln but NOT the word Abraham will be returned in your search results. This works great for eliminating a word that is commonly linked to your search term but has no bearing on your research.

Quick Definition Search

Have you ever come across a term in your research and you were unsure of its meaning? For example, you see the word cooper in the occupation column of the census but don't recall what a cooper does. Simply type the following in the search box:

define:cooper

With one click of the Search button you'll have the answer: a maker or repairer of casks and barrels.

Words Apart Search

Sometimes the words that you are looking for won't appear next to each other, even though they normally do. For example, you may be looking for a city directory and normally you would expect to see the two words together as a phrase: city directory.

However, by using an asterisk to set them apart, you may find the perfect result that searching for them together or with quotation marks around them may have missed.

City * directory
Results could include city phone directory, city telephone directory, city and county directory, etc.

Synonym Search
If you want to search not only for your search term but also for its synonyms, place the tilde sign (~) immediately in front of your search term.

For example, to learn more about an industry your ancestor worked in you can search for train history and railroad information like this:
~train ~history

This would then give you railroad history, railroad past, etc.

Numrange Search

A Numrange search delivers results containing numbers in a given range. Just type in two numbers, separated by two periods, with no spaces into the search box along with your search terms. This would be an ideal search if you are unsure of an exact year.

For example: George Crandall 1850..1860

Link Search

Let's say that you find a terrific genealogy website all about your specific family line. Wouldn't it be nice to know who else out there on the Web is interested in that family line?

By doing a search using the search term link: you will get a list of pages of web results that have links to that web page. For instance, if you found a great website about your saxophone-playing uncle on the Crandall Family Web Site, you could try the following search:

link:www.crandallfamilywebsite.com

Note there can be no space between the "link:" and the web page URL.

Related Search

Similar to the Link Search, the Related Search will list web pages that are "similar" to a specified web page. The following search will list web pages that are similar to the Crandall Family Website:

related:www.crandallfamilywebsite.com

Note there can be no space between the "related:" and the web page url.

Allintitle Search

If you start a search with allintitle: Google will restrict the results to only pages that have all of the search words in the title. For example, to get only documents that have Minnesota, railroad, and history in the title:

Allintitle: Minnesota railroad history

Allinurl: Search

Have you ever tried to remember a website address for a great genealogy website and although you couldn't remember the exact address, you recalled some of the keywords in the address? If you start a search with allinurl: Google will restrict your search results to only those that have all of the search words in the URL address.

For example, if an ancestor worked for the Oregon Pacific railroad and you knew that the words Oregon and Pacific were in the URL address, you could do a search on:

Allinurl: Oregon Pacific

And the results page would include the Oregon Pacific Railroad Company web site at http://www.oregonpacificrr.com/

Note: punctuation will be ignored in this type of search. Oregon/Pacific will ignore the slash and give you the same result as no slash at all.


Thanks to FamilyTree University.


Pat

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