Today, I had the time to take a look at the Guide to Performing Genealogy Searches that I found on The Advanced Genealogy Search Engine website. My hope was that this advice would make the results of the searches that I'd been attempting to get the search engine to do for me to be a whole lot more relevant than what I'd managed to get so far.
I learned that there is some excellent advice here. Instead of typing my first name, Jennifer, and my unmarried surname, Dahlberg, into the search engine, I should have tried something a little bit different. The guide suggests entering it as “Jennifer Dahlberg” instead. This, I learn, is supposed to tell the search engine to look for the exact name I entered. I think I tried this suggestion the other day, to no avail, but, I will try again. Perhaps I did something wrong that other time.
I also learned that many genealogy records are written surname first, followed by the person's first name. So, I can also try entering “Dahlberg Jennifer” into the search engine. I never would have thought to try it that way! An asterisk can be used to tell the search engine to fill in the blank with some information that I do not have. For example, if I was searching for an ancestor, and unsure if that person's surname was Smith, or Smithe, I can enter “Jane Smith*” into the search engine to tell it to look for alternative spellings of Smith.
I can also put the word “or” into the search engine, if I want to. This, I learned, tells the search engine to look for “Jennifer Dahlberg” OR “Dahlberg Jennifer”. I learned that the OR must be capitalized, in order for this to work. From here, the guide goes into suggestions for trying to find a name with a location, or to find a name, but not from a specific location. Since I am only trying to find a name at this time, I don't need this particular set of information. However, I can see it's usefulness. The guide continues on, with some more helpful suggestions. I learned that typing “Jennifer Dahlberg” will bring up the exact same results as typing “jennifer dahlberg”. Apparently, the search engine doesn't care much about capitalization. Tomorrow, I will use what I learned today with The Advanced Genealogy Search Engine. I am excited to see what results I get, now that I have learned how to do a more accurate search!