Yes, Google is not the only search engine on the Internet, but it is one highly used and recommended by everyone. As with any search engine, the top items high up on a search will be those people or events related to celebrities, sports events, scandals or even where the closest place to order a pizza is found. Regrettably, archival records on our ancestors are not at the top of the search listings for Google or any other remotely accessible program that assists individuals to locate information on the World Wide Web.
So how can you use Google more efficiently? First, rather than just putting in a surname or one ancestor’s full name, there are specific Google links for certain localities. For locating family records in the United States you use the standard Google.com. However, now you have an interest in marriage records for a grandfather who lived in the United Kingdom. You would use instead google.co.uk. Then there may be an aunt from The Netherlands, now use google.nl. On your mother’s side, there was a grandmother from Spain. So now to search more on her use google.es. Possibly an ancestor lived and worked for decades in Japan, so use google.co.jp when searching.
For every country there is a special Google geared to the material from that nation. This is known as a ‘localized’ version of Google (list of Google countries). Even for the lesser known countries there is a Google set-up. For Kazakhstan use google.kz or for Bahrain there is google.com.bh. This helps eliminate many extraneous records from other countries that are not related to what you are looking for. Using the Google search engine for the country where you expect to find your ancestral record will offer the greatest chance of tracing specific surnames or family branches.
Another method is to use the Advanced Google Search section. This is found to the right of the regular Google search box. Here you can narrow down the keywords you need. Note further down the Advance Search Page is ‘Date, usage rights, numeric range, and more’. If searching for immigration records put in the place they went to such as from United Kingdom to Australia. This can be helpful to narrow in on a particularity person or surname.
Try different methods when putting in a certain ancestor’s name, such as Charles J. Everhart or Charles Jacob Everhart or Everhart, Charles J. With females try with their married and of course their maiden name if known. If they were married more than once, try those other married names.
Ancestors with unusual given names such as Renwick, Lemuela, Durene, Eldoris or Wyndham, try searching with just that name and a location (a state or country). Don’t use the surname, just the given name and you’ll be surprised what you might locate.
Make use of the different options Google offers to improve your search results.