TIP #1114 WHEN WEB SEARCHING SEEMS TO FAIL (forwarded from my email)
NOTE: I will be making a special post next
Monday, Dec. 22nd and then am taking a break to
enjoy the holidays with some of my family. Merry Christmas to you all!
Have you at times given up because you couldn’t
find information on Ancestry.com or
FamilySearch.com? There are other ways to search
on-line that might yield some good results!
I’m sure many of you have sat in front of the
monitor trying everything you could think of to
find that illusive ancestor. Surely someone,
sometime, somewhere has written something about
good old Great-aunt Josephine Hidingout Jones!
Well, maybe no one has, but don’t give up until you’ve exhausted searches!
Today I’m going to talk about Googling your
ancestor in the hopes that someone there claims
Josephine! As you well know, Google is one of
many search engines available; you likely have
used it many times. (Note: I don’t receive a commission from them!)
Google uses (like others) a web crawler or
spider. Before you creep out over spiders in your
computer, when you enter something for Google to
search, it visits websites page by page, in rapid
speed and checking for what you entered. It is
looking for websites that mention Josephine
Hindingout Jones. As you well know, it will give
you false links; they all do. The first “hits”
found are normally the most relevant but as you
go farther down in the lists of its findings, you
might find “hits” for Josephine, the surname
Hidingout (or the words hiding out) and/or Jones.
We can enter our search terms in several
different ways. For example if we entered
Josephine Hidingout Jones; we could enter it just
as I showed it, or Josephine Hindingout Jones
family, or (name) family Kentucky; or “Josephine
Hidingout Jones” in quotes, or (name) genealogy.
If you’re doing a search for Smith, you’d better
put some qualifiers with it!! Such as
Smith+Nelson County KY; Smith+KY+18th century.
The variations are unlimited almost.
If you enter Jones genealogy Kentucky, Google
automatically puts the word AND in – Jones and genealogy and Kentucky.
If you spell genealogy wrong (and I’ve seen it
spelled various ways), the search engine will try
to figure out what you meant and give you a
suggestion. For example, you typed geneology: You
will receive a message: “Did you mean genealogy”
. Duh, yes! You can click on the correct word
genealogy and it will proceed. There are also
things called wild cards, negative searches, etc.
I won’t deal with them in great detail here but
as a personal example. If I’m doing a search for
Gorin, I don’t want to see Igor Gorin, a famous
singer (no relation), Goren the noted bridge
player or Gorin the Russian spy. I can search for
Gorin not Igor or Gorin not Russia etc.
Let’s try a different approach to Google. There
are two things that you might not have checked –
images and books. I have been surprised many
times on searching on Images. When you go to the
Google home page, in the upper right side you
will see Images. Click on this. Another search
box will appear like the one on the home page.
Enter the name you want – back to good old
Josephine Hidingout Jones and hit return. Photos
will appear, lots of them! Now, not all are our
Josie girl. Again, normally the first ones shown
are your best bet but check them all! These are
photographs from all over the web, taken from
family pages, city/county/state sites, etc.
If you click on the thumbnail picture, you will
be given the option of going to the website that
contains the picture or go to the picture itself.
Go to the website first. Here you can immediately
determine if that’s your Josie or someone else.
If it’s there, check the bottom of the website to
see if it’s under copyright (thus you can’t
publish the photo without permission of the
contact person/owner of the website). The farther
you go down on the page of photos, the more
abstract it becomes and you can get a lot of
false hits. But, scan them just in case!
Now – you might (or might not) find Josie herself
staring at you in an old photograph, but you
might find a page from a Bible record that’s been
submitted; a picture of their house, their tombstone, etc.
In fact, when doing the search for Josie you can
add more to your search engine query. You could
type: (name)+Bible records or (name)+cemetery,
etc. I have found a long sought-after Bible
record on a Google search! Note: the parenthesis
is not part of the search, I’ve used it to keep
from typing her name out every time!)
Next time, I’ll look at using Google for books.
Colonel Sandi Gorin
President, South Central KY Historical & Genealogical Society
Sandi’s website: http://www.gensoup.org/gorin/index.html
Sandi’s puzzlers: http://www.gensoup.org/gorinpuzzles/index.php