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Search Me!

One of the most overlooked Genealogy research tools is an internet search engine. The trick is asking the right question when you enter your query. They called the internet "The Information Super Highway" back in the 90's, and the data available to search through has exploded since then.

Here are some quick hints about how to narrow down your search so you are not sifting through pages and pages of websites using what's called "Boolean Search terms."

Let's start with the family member's name you are researching. To find an exact match enter the name in quotation marks "Oliver Holmes" and hit enter. This will bring you sites with that exact phrase. Obituaries can often be found for free on the internet. If you add that word, or even just "obit" you will get hits for that. In the search window, type "Oliver Holmes"+obit, or "Oliver Holmes and obit to get the following results:

Google search "oliver holmes" and obit

You can be more specific in your search terms, adding a location for example: "Oliver Holmes" and obit and Georgia.

To eliminate certain terms from your results, such as you are researching a George Washington, but not THAT "George Washington" you can use a minus sign "-" in front of the word you don't want to muddy up your results, or to eliminate a website you don't want to use for some reason ( Entering "George Washington" -president will get you this:

google search "George Washington"-president

You can limit the date range you are researching simply by entering "George Washington" 1945..1952 in the search engine. You can use OR ("George OR Martha") too.

My favorite one I just learned is AROUND. You can tell Google to search for "George Washington" -president AROUND(10) 1945" and it will bring you back results with the term 1945 being found within 10 words of your name! This will eliminate a lot of long lists of the same name that are irrelevant to your research.

Be sure to enter name variants, sometimes Charles is entered as just "Chas" or James will be just "Jas." Check for different spellings or misspellings like Smith for Smythe.

Hope this gives you some new ideas on where to dig for family clues. When making your citation notes about where you got the info for your new tree entries, FamilySearch suggests the following format:

"Ideal format: Author(s), "Page-Title" in Site-Title at URL (accessed date). Comment.

National Genealogical Society, "Standards for Sharing Information with Others" in National Genealogical Society (Internet site), at (accessed 11 November 2003). Emphasizes getting permission."
Dia de los Muertos Calavera cookies

Wishing you all a Happy Halloween and especially for us genealogists, a successful Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) researching your ancestors. Here is a recipe for Calavera Sugar Cookies I found

Thank you for spending time with me again. I'm looking forward to hearing from you this week! Always a free peek at your puzzle and a quote if I can help you by emailing


Leslie Ryan

No compensation from any companies referred to, no intentional copyright infringement here!


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