When the Google IPO was coming up, I walked into Citibank ready to buy. I met with the investments person and said I wanted in for the Google IPO and made my order – so I thought. Instead I faced an age old bias and the investments officer called my husband and suggested this might be too risky. I will forever believe that person and that bank owes me that investment. And to this day when I want to remind Dai about penny wise and pound foolish – I say Google! Often I will say Google, Google, Google!
If Google was a person I would adopt them. I would want their Google DNA and pray they might share 1 cM on any chromosome with me, and I could call Google my cousin! Any thing, any person, any place, any subject – Google it!
Enough – how to do it!
From a Google search page only. I will not say the name of the others – just get online and first search the word – Google – and click on the real, genuine Google page and search from there.
I even have Google as my home page, my default page. That way the browser cannot flip me over to another search engine. This happens because of updates of certain software and you have to actively choose which one you like. (Mozilla Firefox is one of the great browsers) More and more, Google is adding many more features all the time; I just love it, for doing genealogy and everything else. I have downloaded “Google Chrome.”
And a few of my favorites!
“Boolean search” “in quotations”
The best way to start to understand how to refine a search is to understand why you want to refine your search.
If I search for Baylis Washington Harrision Lewis I am not only going to get all the Baylis Washington Harrison Lewises, I will also get all the Baylis Washingtons, Harrison Lewises, Washington Harrisons and even Baylis Lewis Harrisons. Anything and every configuration of those words.
But if I search “Baylis Washington Harrison Lewis” in quotation marks, then I only get hits from the search engine that contain this specific phrase. You will go from having a million hits to fewer specific hits about exactly what you want.
A few years ago, I believe the maximum number of words you could use was 35, maybe? The important thing is to tell Google what you want!
Google Earth and Google Maps
Oh my what fun! You can visit the homes of all your ancestors. Go visit your childhood home. If you are taking a trip to a new place as we did this summer, you can vicariously visit the locations first and “drive the roads.”
We planned a trip from the United States to France and Spain for an Ice-Age Ancestors tour. I wrote several blogs about the visits to the rock shelter homes and the tens of 1,000s of years-old cave art in several locations.
With Google Maps and Google Earth, I was able to visit each place before ever leaving home to make sure we liked the look of a hotel and check its location in relationship to the sights and restaurants. And most important, I “learned” the roads.
The Google Earth car had already driven through the places we were going, so I was able to familiarize myself with landmarks, with curves, with turns. It was invaluable, and for seniors a long way from home, it was empowering to be able to visit a place we otherwise might not have ever considered.
You can see in the video below that I failed to make a mental note about the last choice on Trasvilla Road; should I take the left fork or the right fork? But that was not Google’s fault! 🙂
I love Google!
You only need the first 47 seconds or so of this part 2 video of the drive up Trasvilla Road. Magnificent place and people at Hotel Palacio Trasvilla in Cantabria – you can read all about the trip in the blog, links below. Here is the real drive:
Every searcher, researcher would immediately think of looking for people with common names or frequented places. So this is where using multiple phrases or words to refine your search will give you results more tailored to your question. Capitals or lower case does not matter.
“baylis washington harrison lewis” “sarah anne rebecca gillespie”
That search gives you only web pages that contain both names. But if you do it this way with the word or in the middle, it will give you any web page that contains either name:
“baylis washington harrison lewis” or “sarah anne rebecca gillespie”
This was one of the best lists of operators – but lists do not agree. And we know these operators are changed with regularity. Be on the look out for new ones.
Using Boolean Search Operators
In Boolean search mode words are searched exactly as they are typed. Use the asterisk wildcard character (*) to include alternative forms of wo rds, plurals, etc. See below for more information.
None (space character)
‘ or ‘
+A leading plus sign indicates that this word must be present in each row that is returned.
A leading minus sign before a word indicates this word must not be present in search results
A leading tilde acts as a negation operator, causing the word’s contribution to the row’s relevance to be negative. This is useful for marking “noise” words. A row containing such a word is rated lower than others, but is not excluded altogether, as it would be with the
The asterisk serves as the truncation (or wildcard) operator. Unlike the other operators, it should be appended to the word to be affected. Words match if they begin with the word preceding the
A phrase enclosed within double quote (“
"“) characters returns only results that contain the phrase literally, as it was typed.
Parentheses group words into subexpressions. Parenthesized groups can be nested.
I look for my g grand father and his brother regularly. The searches for Uncle Sherman Kidd illustrate one problem. There is also Kidd-Key College in Sherman, Texas. But if I include the minus in my search and ask for “Sherman Kidd” -Key then the college will not show up in my results.
Finding a needle in a haystack can be made much easier with a well organized search and I happen to call them Googles! Google This!
I got my first computer in 1983. By 1985 we were transmitting, via a plug-in, phone-line modem, research data and stories from home in Hong Kong to the news offices around the world. Through the 1990s I was learning continuously about using computers. In the late 1990s I was adding college computer courses to stay up-to-date on the latest and greatest including at George Brown College in Toronto, Canada. I wonder where that investment broker is today? I bet a Google can tell me.
Links for more DNA for genealogy and anthropology
The wonderful adults-only boutique hotel (lovely antiques), the Ice-Age cave art, the spa, the Zoo – Cantabria, Spain!
Now if I can just figure out how to put the “donate” button on the page, maybe I can afford it! 🙂 Google it!
Be sure to share info about new operators
UPDATE: I am told the “plus sign” is gone. Google took that away. But it still seems to work for me so I am leaving the information here and you can look at these instructions and see the search criteria and link. 🙂
A plus sign + before a word will give you only pages where the word is spelled exactly that way. And a minus sign – before a word will remove any page with that word from your search results.
In searching for ancestors, we should be very specific. Often the spelling of names can vary wildly but we also want to get it right! Get the names right and the ancestries right – get those trees right!
I have found several people mis-spelled Anne in the name Sarah Anne Rebecca. Some have Sarah Ann Rebecca Gillespie Lewis. But using the plus sign + will let me find just the ones that are mis-spelled.
“sarah +ann rebecca gillespie”