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Extreme Googling for Genealogists

Birdie Monk Holsclaw, FUGA g 7472 Mt. Sherman Road, Longmont, CO 80503 g [email protected]

Online version of this handout at < >

The GoogleTM search engine has become so popular that "google" is a new verb in our vocabulary. Obviously many of us are using Google, but are we getting the most from our searches? Learn tricks and techniques that will help you avoid getting too many or too few results, and discover tools that will put Google to work for you around the clock.

The Basics For purposes of this presentation, the "basics" are considered to be:

T Familiarity with location of the Google Web site < > T Comfort in searching for one or two words using the regular Google search box

Beyond the Basics: 10 Search Techniques


Problem: "In Google, there are thousands of Holtzclaws, a couple million Hardins, and twenty-one million Kellys, but I just want my ancestor Kelly Hardin Holtzclaw."

( Solution: Use quotation marks around phrases: "

kelly hardin holtzclaw "kelly hardin holtzclaw"


º 507 hits º 5 hits


Problem: " ... and sometimes there's just a middle initial instead of the spelled-out middle name."

( Solution: Use the wild card: * (asterisk); not for parts of words!

"kelly hardin holtzclaw" "kelly * holtzclaw"

º 5 hits º 14 hits

© Birdie Monk Holsclaw, 2008

Pikes Peak Genealogical Society ­ 13 August 2008

Holsclaw: Extreme Googling for Genealogists

Page 2


Problem: " ... but then later their name was spelled Holsclaw instead of Holtzclaw."

( Solution: Use the OR syntax: or or | (the vertical bar aka pipe, on backslash key)

"holtzclaw wickliff" "holtzclaw wickliff" or "holsclaw wickliff" "holtzclaw wickliff"|"holsclaw wickliff"|"holtsclaw wickliff"

º 0 hits º 5 hits º 9 hits


Problem: "I'm working on the Bullock family, but whenever I search for my George, I get tons of stuff about the actress Sandra Bullock."

( Solution: Use the syntax for negative (NOT) terms, the minus sign: george bullock george bullock -"sandra bullock"

º 690,000 hits º 453,000 hits


Problem: "I don't want to search the whole World Wide Web, just some of the genealogical sites ... (or) just a certain site."

( Solution: Use the

site: and inurl: commands

º 26 hits º 11 hits º 3 hits

colorado reichenecker reichenecker inurl:usgenweb reichenecker

Note: no spaces following the colons


Problem: "Google found my cousin's obituary, but when I click on the link, I get a `page cannot be found' error."

( Solution: Use the Cache feature

For example, search for ernest constance ghilotti Click on < Family Workings Gh-Gn Obituary Lisitings > link [sic] º " The page cannot be found" Click on < Cached > link º View page cached (indexed and saved by Google) on 8 May 2004

© Birdie Monk Holsclaw, 2008

Pikes Peak Genealogical Society ­ 13 August 2008

Holsclaw: Extreme Googling for Genealogists

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Problem: "The Web just keeps growing ­ every time I check Google for the surname Hackenberger, there are lots more of them ... but I feel like I'm wasting time 'cuz I've already seen most of them."

( Solution: Use the Google Alerts service.

From the Google home page, click on more » Then select Alerts and fill out the form:

Enter the topic you wish to monitor. Search terms: Hackenberger Type: Web How often: once a day Your email: [email protected]


Problem: "I think Google found my Heinrich Niebuhr who married a Heuer, but the Web pages are in German and I don't know much German."

( Solution: Use the Translate feature (currently available for pages published

in Italian, French, Spanish, German, and Portuguese).

"heinrich niebuhr" heuer Click on [Translate this page] link

º 24 hits, all in German


Problem: "I use Google so much, it should be my home page."

( Solution: Even better, install the Google Toolbar, for a simple-to-use search

box that will always be available. Includes ability to recall recent searches, fill in forms, highlight words, post to blogs, and block popup ads. Download at < > Recommended: turn off Page Rank feature.


Problem: "How on earth do you keep up with all these new features?"

( Solution #1: Watch the Google Blog < > page

for announcements.

( Solution #2: Read the Google Blog in your news aggregator. (to learn about

these, search for various blogging articles at Dick Eastman's blog < http:// >, etc.)

( ... or see other sources in "References and Recommended Sources."

© Birdie Monk Holsclaw, 2008 Pikes Peak Genealogical Society ­ 13 August 2008

Holsclaw: Extreme Googling for Genealogists

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Also try: Google Book Search g Images g Desktop Search Google Reader g Maps g Google Notebook

References and Recommended Sources

Berra, Yogi. The Yogi Book: I Really Didn't Say Everything I Said! New York: Workman Publishing, 1998. Calishain, Tara and Rael Dornfest. Google Hacks: 100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools, 2nd Edition. Sebastopol, Calif.: O'Reilly, 2003. Calishain, Tara, ResearchBuzz: Website <>. (Postings also available via RSS feed.) Note: The `Cookin With Google' page of ResearchBuzz was selected one of TIME's 2004 `Coolest Websites.' <>. Free newsletter (e-mail), "ResearchBuzz." Announcements of discovered databases (sometimes, not usually, genealogical), and news about developments in online research. Calishain, Tara. Web Search Garage. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall PTR, 2005. Internet <>. A collection of bookmarks/favorites (things that people find worth saving). Try these URLs to see links to Web pages by and about Google: < google >, <>, <>, etc. "Google Blog." <> Frequent announcements and comments about service. "Google Help: Cheat Sheet." <> Handy one-page chart showing many of the punctuation and syntax conventions to use in Google searches. "Google Services / Google Tools." <> Information about all Google services, including sign-up forms for certain services, links to software downloads, and tips on usage. Pay particular attention to the Google Labs area, where new features are tested. Lenssen, Philipp. "Google Blogoscoped." <>. (Postings also available via RSS feed.) Covers "Google, the search engine world, online research and other ... topics." UC Berkeley Library, "Finding Information on the Internet: A Tutorial." < TeachingLib/Guides/Internet/SearchEngines.html>. Compares features of Google, Yahoo!, and search engines, and gives tips on searching. "Handouts" section has links to PowerPoint presentations and handouts used in classes. United States Patent and Trademark Office, "Country Codes." <>.

© Birdie Monk Holsclaw, 2008

Pikes Peak Genealogical Society ­ 13 August 2008



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