Family Research Using Google
When you are looking for information about a relative using Google, it can be very helpful to use Google as it searches websites. Type in the name, such as John Brown. Sometimes you will get a good response using just the name, but it may need to be a bit more unusual then the name I used. You may see the Brown family and then you can see if that family listing contains your relative.
Next, try using quotation marks, such as “John Brown” and this will limit the number of results. You can also add other terms, such as “birth” or “obituary”. When we are searching for common names we can definitely get too many results to our search. An better example would be John Brown from Boston, MA but it still may show up multiple times.
If Boston, MA is not where he is from, you can place a minus sign before -Boston, MA to exclude that result from showing up again. The minus sign can be placed before dates or another similar name that keeps popping up. There is no space between the minus sign and the term you are attempting to block. You can also exclude specific sites, such as wikitree.
If you want to search for a specific website, use ‘site:SITEURL’ before a term. An example would be: site:familysearch.org “Brown,John”-Boston, MA. You do not use the ‘http’. You can also combine names, such as: John AND Mary Brown.
AND is the command word, so it must be capitalized in this case. To include a particular term use a + before the word you want to include, such as: “John Brown” +genealogy. Additionally, if you have an idea of a date for your ancestor, such as: “John Brown” 1830..1840. Do not use a space between the periods.
It is possible to search only web page titles. For example: allintitle: “Brown, John”. This method is not used by genealogist very often, but it is a good search tip. For instance, you can search multiple dates without having to enter each one separately. You can also exclude a specific date, by using -DATE, such as: -1838. You can also use terms like AROUND(1) in between terms, as an example: “John Brown” AROUND(1) or “John Brown” AROUND(10) to limit the number of pages where John Brown would appear. Your results will be greatly improved.
Google Books has a large array of books, and they even have newspapers. You might even find an obituary. Google Scholar is another site that might aid you in your search.
Using Google for Genealogy Research
Set Up Google Alerts
You can set up Google alerts to receive emails when new information is posted about your family research query.
- “Go to www.google.com/alerts.
- Type in your search term for your ancestor or topic.
- Then, choose ‘Show Options’ to narrow your alert to a specific source, region and/or language
- Select ‘Create Alert’”
Then, Google will notify you when the search engine indexes a particular page that matches the terms you have chosen. You can choose how often you want to receive emails.
Another feature of Google is Google Earth, and it is a great online map of the whole world, which is free, three-dimensional, interactive, multi-layered, and it is crowd-sourced. You can zoom in and zoom out.
There is a great deal of extra content as well. It is great to identify hometowns and even specific properties. It is possible to find a school, churches, cemeteries and old buildings that may relate to your ancestor’s life.
Open Street View on Google Maps
Way to see an Open Street View:
- “Using Google Chrome on your computer, open Google Earth.
- Click a place, or search for a location.
- Zoom in to see the area in more detail.
- On the bottom right of the screen, click Pegman .
- Click a highlighted area. The circles or areas colored blue can be seen in Street View.”
The Google Genealogist (Part 1)
Check for New Genealogy Records
New records are added to the internet daily. Google actually has a website to search for new genealogy records. Check New Genealogy Records on the Internet regularly for new records that may now be available. Google is certainly a good way to conduct some of your genealogy research or to conduct any type of research.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Pamela Oglesby