Using Search Engines

Person Researching on a Computer (1)One of the best resources for any family history researcher is the ability to find clues and even snippets of information at their fingertips. With the use of the world-wide web (Internet access) and a search engine, almost any topic, name, place can be located.

When one thinks of search engines the first to come to mind is Google.  It has risen over the years to offer a variety of excellent links to finding answers to anything. Yet, a good researcher never relies on just one resource.  This is true of even using a search engine.

Besides Google, the Yahoo search engine is another great resource, but not necessarily for genealogy. A test was done to compare searches.  Using an ancestor’s full name “Dr. David G. Everhart”; on Google there were 13 different sites found, on Yahoo there was one site, on Bing there was one site, Dogpile there were 4 sites, Yippy (formerly Clusty) there was one site, LiveRoots had you use just a surname and it produced 9 sites and then Mocavo had 7 sites.

So the general search engines, other than Google, will not locate the variety of documents, news, images, web sites, etc. really needed.  However, the two designed to be more family history friendly;  LiveRoots and Mocavo were good at producing some useful results.

The key is to still use a variety of sources and be willing to try a new method or site. Also rephrase a search using just a surname or an unusual given name.  Use the surname with a plus (+) and location or with the term ‘genealogy’. Place a hometown name with the plus (+) and genealogy. If there were any variations in the surname spellings over the years, be sure to search those forms. Try the hometowns or a county name when checking locations. Keep being creative and inventive, then the results will come.

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ArnulfoScarsella 1/02/12

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Coleman 1/02/12

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