Contact SCGS

Subscribe to site updates



      Internet Search Suggestions

      Google still remains the Big One for Internet searches, but these are alternatives, both focusing exclusively on genealogy:

      GenealogyInTime™ – one of the top 3 online genealogy magazines in the world. Everything is free. The website contains powerful search engines, listings of the latest genealogy records, in-depth articles and many helpful tools and resources.

      Mocavo -- "the world's largest free genealogy search engine."  Includes blogs and family trees in their searchable database.

      Google Search Suggestions

      (prepared as a handout for a Story County Genealogical Society meeting)

      by Mary Lohr

      Surnames and place names are usually good keywords to search in Google. 
      Upper or lower case is not a factor. Spelling IS important, but Google will suggest alternative spellings unless the search is an exact phrase. Also, the order of the search terms can affect results.

      Basic Google search:

      Use a plus (+) sign to include a word.   Use a minus (-) sign to exclude a word.

      Use the asterisk (*) as a wildcard

        Use the ~ to search for synonyms: ~genealogy will also include results for family history, legacy, roots, genealogical etc.

      Use quotation marks to search for an exact phrase ("King family history")

      Advanced Google search:

      *Use the advanced Google search to include a series of words, an exact phrase, or one or more specific words.

      *Selected words or phrases may also be omitted.

      *Results can be filtered by how recently (anytime, past 24 hours, past week, past month, past year) the webpage was created.

      *Results may be returned in one of 43 chosen languages from Arabic to Vietnamese (as well as "any" language)

      Other ideas:

      Invert the order of first name and surname:

      "Alois Nipp" yields 124 results
      "Nipp, Alois" yields 112 results, most of the different from the non-inverted form.  Many directories and indexes use the inverted form.

      Use variant forms of names:

      "William Carter"  "Wm Carter" "Will Carter" "Bill Carter"
      "Kenneth Bowles" "Ken Bowles" "Kenny Bowles"

      To search for a word or phrase within a document, use Control key and the F key. Then enter the search term in the search box.  The term will the be highlighted in the document. This is easier than scrolling through multiple pages to locate a phrase.

      To limit search  results to a particular file type use <search term> filetype:ged
      Lohr filetype:ged will search only for the term Lohr in gedcom files.
      Lohr filetype:pdf will search only for the term Lohr in portable document files.

      To limit your search to a particular site: <search term> site:URL of site

      "Duff" "Sheldon"

      Additional Worthwhile Google tools:

      Can search for telephone numbers by using this search:

      <name> zip code

      Can bring up a calendar by typing:

      Calendar <year>

      Can perform simple calculations by entering

      15 km is ? Miles

      Google can serve a dictionary function:

      define: <term>

      Google has a translation tool, listed under Language Tools by the search box. This is a machine translation, but will give you a rough idea of the document. Can translate (35 languages) a word, phrase or webpage.

      Advantages of having a Google account:

      All of these features are available from any computer once you are online:

      gmail: excellent spam filter, unlimited storage.

      iGoolge: personalized webpage

      Picasa: online storage of pictures. Great if you are using digital camera. Save lots of space on your computer hard drive. Easy to share photos with friends and family.

      Google Docs: a word processor, great for creating documents

      Calendar: can be kept private or shared with others

      Google Videochat: with a webcam, it's possible to talk with someone else on the Internet, even in Kenya as my husband and I did when our daughter was there for several weeks. There is no charge and the connection was actually better than a telephone call.

      Google Earth: locate the village of town of your ancestors (in living color!)

      Google Maps

      Google alerts: let Google search for your ancestors while you sleep! Set up an “alert” with your search terms and you will receive an email notification when results matching your search are found.

      Google Blogs, Videos, etc. Too many to list! Best idea is to sign up and explore what is waiting for you!


      I.****The Easy Google Genealogy Searcher is powered by Google and a great place to start.****

      This page incorporates advanced Google features with suggested keywords and advice.

      II. Daniel M. Lynch, author of Google Your Family Tree has a "Genealogy PowerSearch" at his website:

      III. The January 2009 issue of Family Tree Magazine (available at the Ames Public Library) has an article on Google searching.

      © 2011 Story County Genealogical Society