Tag Archives: search tips

A Google Search Technique To Add To Your Bag of Tricks

You probably know google is powerful search engine and you probably know that the rootsweb message boards are chock full of useful information about your ancestors and the locations they lived.

Did you know that you can combine them easily?

In the google search bar type site:<url of the site> like this:

google rootsweb01


Then add in your search query.  Let’s say I am looking for Adam Snavely in Wythe, Virginia. I can try something like

google rootsweb02


Notice that I put double quotes around adam snavely.  That tells google that if adam and snavely don’t appear right next to each other don’t show me the result.  But you’ve probably seen more than a few posts that use surname, first name so you might want to try

google rootsweb03

You’ll notice that I have 30 results instead of 14.

You can try this with any site that is indexed by google, which is a pretty lengthy list.  Give it a try — you never know what you might find with a new search technique!

Tuesday’s Tip — Ask Ancestry Anne’s Top 20 Search Tips

I posted a series of Search Tips specific to Ancestry.com and thought that they might be worth rehashing here.  Here are my top 20 search tips:

  1. Shaky Leaves — Ancestry.com will do searches for you
  2. Place Pages — 30,000+ data collections organized by country, state and county.  Great way to find data collections you may never have seen
  3. Card Catalog — How to find where your ancestors may be hiding in 30,000+ data collections
  4. Finding Local Histories — Local histories give you context and hide many hidden gems
  5. Finding Surname Histories — You never know who may have documented part of your family tree
  6. City Directories — New technology have made these goldmines easier to search
  7. Ancestry.com Wiki  — Red Book and The Source for free
  8. Message Boards — See what other people are looking for and ask a question yourself
  9. One World Tree — There are hidden treasures in here; find out how to uncover them
  10. It’s a Big Web Out There — Suggestions to Ancestry.com members on where else they might look
  11. Name Filters — How to narrow down your searches and get known name variations
  12. Location Filters — My favorite filter; adjacent counties rock!
  13. Wildcards — Tried and trued, but it still works
  14. Limit Your Scope — Start with a small search and then expand out
  15. Category Searches — Search one record type at a time
  16. Use Facets — Don’t ignore the left side of your search results page
  17. Search From Your Trees — User your online tree to populate your searches
  18. Read the Search Form — Effectively searching a data collection requires you to understand what is in there and what is indexed
  19. First or Last Name Searches — If you can’t find out who you are looking for, try one of these techniques
  20. Look for Family Members — If your direct ancestor is hiding, look for his or her family