Tag: blogs

Google Tools, Tips and Tricks for Genealogy

Google Tools, Tips and Tricks for Genealogy

Google Tools, Tips and Tricks for Genealogy

In my 12+ years of genealogy experience, I have become very attached to the Google tools, tips and tricks for genealogy research!

Once I discovered these tools, I haven’t looked back. I use them frequently in the course of my research.

Free Genealogy Search Help

This is the one Google search tool I use most often – and therefore I’m listing the direct link here. It creates a series of searches using different groupings of keywords from the input boxes for given names, surnames, birth and death places.

Easy Google Genealogy Searcher

Provided by Ancestor Search, this page provides several pre-set custom Google searches and tools. This is especially valuable for those who are not familiar with the codes and conventions for custom searching in Google. Below are basic descriptions and hints for effective use of each search tool. The tools on this page include:

Google Genealogy Search

  • Use (“) quotation marks around a specific word or phrase to be included “as is” in your results.

Search for Genealogy Surname Websites

  • This tool is valuable for finding websites with specific surnames in the title, most especially when surnames are also common English words in every day use such as ‘Mason’ or ‘Forest'; are also ‘given’ or ‘first’ names like ‘James’ or ‘Stuart’. In addition, this search helps to delve into more obscure sites that are deeper in Google results.

Google Book Search

  • An inordinate amount of valuable genealogy data exists within books and publications that in the past were not easily searchable. Google has taken great strides in digitizing ‘in copyright’ and ‘out of copyright’ material for access online. This tool searches the full texts of books digitized by Google. Although not as high in quality as vital records such as births, deaths and marriages, when such records are not available or cannot be found, this is the next best thing. A great benefit of material obtained this way is that it is frequently in narrative form, recounting actual events and circumstances, adding ‘flesh’ to the ‘bones’ of most genealogy research.

Google Blog Search

  • Tool for searching within other blogs. This can be very helpful for finding data compiled by other genealogists who have their own blogs.

Google Newspaper Search

  • Search for obituaries, news stories or other items appearing in newspapers. Be sure to use the surname as well as specific keyword(s) in your search.

Google Search Within or Excluding a Genealogy Site

  • Enter the keyword(s) and relevant site name in the appropriate boxes and select either ‘only with’ or ‘excluding’ in the drop-down box.

Search for Sites Similar To

  • Enter the url of a site you’d like to use as an example. Useful for finding similar sites on a specific topic.

Search for Gedcom Files

  • GEDCOMS are valuable files created by genealogy software for easy transfer and import of data in a manageable size. For this to be useful, it is necessary to have software to either convert to a viewable format or with the ability to import.

Search US Newsgroups for Genealogy Queries

  • Newsgroups are online communities of like-minded researches who post information, queries and answers. To limit results to just genealogy sites, add the word ‘genealogy’ to the search string.

Search for Definitions of Genealogical Words

  • The Google Dictionary searches for definitions for dated words, terms and acronyms. Very useful for finding the meanings of old-fashioned terminology frequently used in genealogy data and research.

Google Genealogy Calculator

  • An amazing tool for calculating are or distance using old-fashioned words and phrasing (i.e. calculating dates using mathematical functions: [1927-82] or converting old fashioned measures into contemporary measures (i.e. 40 rods in miles). If an immediate result is not shown, the page will likely list another calculator to use (i.e. arpents – no answer shows, but an arpent calculator appears toward the bottom of the results page).

Search for Genealogy Images

  • A tool to search for images by keyword using file type and size filters. This is actually quite an amazing little tool. I always use it when reseraching and I’m constantly amazed at how many images it finds on obscure websites that I never would have found.

Search by Location

  • Perform a keyword search filtered by location using address, city, state, and or code.

Google Search for a US Street Map

  • Search for specific locations (old or recent) to locate nearby landmarks (i.e. civic buildings, schools, churches, hospitals, etc.)

Google Search by Language and Country

  • This tool is invaluable for those seeking to search websites in a specific language and/or from a specific country.

Google Translate Text

  • A quick and easy tool for translating snippets of text. Select the languages of conversion from the drop-down box.

Translate a Genealogy Web Page

  • To translate a full web page, type the full url (including ‘http://’) into the search box and select the languages of conversion in the drop-down box.

Google Search by Family Tree

  • This is the one Google tool I use the most. It’s ideal for searching for specific combinations of names and relationships, thereby eliminating a great deal of ‘chaff’.

Following are more generic tools that can be very effective for genealogy related searches:

‘Related Images’ Image Scrolling

  • Every keyword search produces a set of links in the ribbon across the top of the screen. Click on ‘Images’ to go to only image results. Then, across the top of every Google image results page is a list of any ‘related search’ links that exist. Just hover over a link to view a preview ribbon of images from that search.

Image Search

  • This search can be very useful for trying to identify photos by individuals, locations, etc. by uploading the photo for Google to compare to other photos on the Internet to finds similar photos. Searches can be filtered for only faces, clip art, high-res, etc.

Results from Those We Know and Trust

  • When signed into Google+ and with the search options set to allow personal results, Google will highlight results from within your own Google+ community with this icon.
  • If you wish to toggle personal results off, just click on this icon in the top right of your screen.
  • Here is an image of some of my own personal results after searching for the town in which I live:

    Google Plus Personal Results

Include or Exclude Words in Search Results

  • To make sure certain words are included in the search without regard for order, use the ‘+’ symbol (i.e. Christian +Keefer). Likewise, to exclude words, use the ‘-‘ symbol (i.e. Christian -Keefer).

Ensure an Exact Phrase or Group of Words in Search Results

  • Use quotation marks at the beginning and end of the string that you wish to be exact in your search results (i.e. “Christian Keefer”).

Using a Wild Card Effectively

  • Wild card searches are especially effective in genealogy. With Google, the ‘*’ can be used in place of a word if there could possibly be more than one choices in a phrase or if you don’t know what the word might be. For a wildcard search, insert the ‘*’ wildcard in place of the word(s) in question.  (i.e. “Christian Keefer” “* Jacques”). In this example, the missing first name is represented by the ‘*’ and search results come up showing several possible first name possibilities.

Narrowing Search Results

  • Despite our first instinct to throw as many words as possible into a search, this actually can defeat the purpose. The extra words will most likely result in unrelated results due the the extra word(s). Start with as few words as possible and add ‘key’ words to your search in an attempt to narrow your results.

Targeted Searches

  • To search only specific sites, add the ‘site:’ prefix to the desired url (i.e. site:emptynestthemes.com). You can also search specific site types, domains and/or countries signified by a url suffix. Just add the same site prefix when searching (i.e. ‘site:edu’ for education sites; ‘site:ca’ for Canadian sites).
  • To find related websites, use the prefix ‘related:’ in front of the site’s url (i.e. related:emptynestthemes.com).
  • To search for specific file types, use the  ‘filetype:’ prefix in front of the desired file extension within your search string (i.e. filetype:png chilliwack schools).
  • To find definitions with Google, use the ‘define:’ prefix in front of the term to get a list of definitions from several online dictionaries.
  • Search for any numbers in a specific such as price ranges by placing two dots ‘..’ between the two numbers (i.e. Chilliwack real estate $100,000..$300,000).
  • Google can be used as a calculator. Just type in the equation using symbols to represent the functions. (i.e. 100*10, 100/10, 100-10, or 100+10). The first entry in the search results page will be the answer to the equation entered.


Genealogy News Bites – May 14, 2014

Following are the newest ancestry and genealogy news bites and headlines since May 5, 2014.

Genealogy News BitesFamilySearch.org Blog

Discussions: Users Can Now Delete Legacy Disputes

A few years ago, FamilySearch.org copied disputes from new.FamilySearch.org into the Discussions feature in Family Tree. Those disputes are referred to as “legacy disputes.” When they were copied into Family Tree, the contributor of the dispute was listed as FamilySearch, and the comments could not be deleted

FamilySearch Adds More Than 5.1 Million Images to Collections from Belgium, England, India, Italy, Sweden, Ukraine, the United States

FamilySearch has added more than 5.1 million images to collections from Belgium, England, India, Italy, Sweden, Ukraine, and the United States. Notable collection updates include the 2,571,405 indexed records and images

FamilySearch Adds More Than 5.4 Million Images to Collections from England, New Zealand, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Spain, and the United States

FamilySearch has added more than 5.4 million images to collections from England, New Zealand, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Spain, and the United States. Notable collection updates include the 2,152,718 indexed records

Genealogy and History News

Explore New Records from New Zealand on findmypast

Findmypast, one of the big name companies in the genealogy field, are part-way through their 100 in 100 project (100 new data sets in 100 days). And part of that they have just released a whole bunch of New Zealand

Genealogy Canada

Alberta Quilt Project

The Alberta Quilt Project will be coming to Pincher Creek’s Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village at the end of May and the start of June. The project will index all the quilts either made in Alberta or brought there by the immigration process from the 1800s to the 1960s

Building Personal Archives

The Quinte Branch of the OGS will hold their monthly meeting on Saturday May 17, 2014 at 1 pm at the Quinte West Library, 7 Creswell Dr, Trenton.
Entitled Building Personal Archives, the presentation

Olive Tree Genealogy

100 Years of McGill University Yearbooks Online

If you have an ancestor who attended McGill University in Montreal Quebec you won’t want to miss this new database. The years online are 1898-2000 and you can browse or search by name. For details see Gail Dever’s blog post  More than 100 years of McGill University yearbooks digitized

The Childen’s Home Website Now Online

The first phase of The Children’s Home website by Peter Higginson is now live. According to Peter who also created The Workhouse website: The Children’s Homes website aims to provide information on all of the many and varied institutions that — for whatever reason — became home

Fold3.com Blog

Access the World War II Collection

This Memorial Day season, explore Fold3′s World War II Collection for free now through May 31st. Find your family heroes in Fold3′s vast collection of WWII documents, records, and images, including draft registration cards, Army enlistment records, Navy muster rolls, “Old Man’s Draft” registration cards, missing air crew reports, casualty lists, and more…

Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter

National Genealogical Society Gives Awards for Excellence in Genealogy Scholarship and Service

The following was written by the folks at the National Genealogical Society: Arlington, VA, 9 MAY 2014: The National Genealogical Society held its annual banquet on Friday evening, 9 May 2014, at the NGS 2014 Family History Conference in Richmond, Virginia, to present awards that acknowledge and honor genealogical scholarship and service


Genealogy Tool Can Now Pinpoint Ancestry Through Genetics

Genealogy is a fun pastime for many people throughout the world. Tracking down ancestral information and filling out family trees is a way for many to connect with the past. Beyond birth and death records, however, the study of genealogy is now being

Library and Archives Canada

The United Empire Loyalists – Finding their Records

The term “United Empire Loyalists” (often referred to as UEL) refers to the American colonists who remained loyal to the British Crown during the American Revolution, and many of which fought for Britain during that conflict. They fled the United States and settled in what are now the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Ontario

photo credit: North Carolina Digital Heritage Center via photopin cc

Genealogy News Bites – April 19, 2014

overwhelmed with news

In an effort to help ease the ‘news’ and ‘research’ load, I prepare a ‘Genealogy News Bites’ post to gather together what I feel are the most important or informative headlines from the previous week (or thereabouts).

Following are the recent stories and headlines of interest to the genealogy community since April 10, 2014.



Basics of Genealogy Reference : A Librarian’s Guide

Basics of Genealogy Reference : A Librarian’s Guide free download

“Basics of Genealogy Reference: A Librarian’s Guide” by Jack Simpson Overview – This book offers novice and experienced reference librarians an introduction on proven genealogy techniques and


Free Access to Civil War Records on Fold3

To remember the commencement of the Civil War in April 1861, FOLD 3 invites you to explore all records in its Civil War Collection for free April 14–30. Explore Civil War documents featuring everything from military records to personal accounts and historic writings. Soldier records include service records, pension index cards, “Widows’ Pension” files, Navy survivors certificates



Library and Archives (LAC) Canada

New Genealogy & History Records on Heritage Website

This is an announcement from Library and Archives Canada: The following is a list of digitized microfilms that have been recently added to the Héritage website. Please note that although the titles have been translated, the records are still in the language of origin.

Access to Information and Privacy requests can now be made online

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is launching a form that will enable Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) requests and payments to be made online. Processing of credit card payments will be made through the Government of Canada’s secure Receiver General Buy Button (RGBB). The request form is located on the LAC website under Transparency

Newly Digitized Microfilms on the Héritage Portal – Recent Additions

The following is a list of digitized microfilms that have been recently added to the Héritage website. Please note that although the titles have been translated, the records are still in the language of origin

Genealogy Canada Blog

Parish registers: Manitoba

Heritage Canada has put more digital records online, and one of the records that you may find helpful are the parish records for Manitoba.Government registration of vital statistics (baptism, marriage and death) for Manitoba did not begin until the late 1800s

Parish registers have been put online

Irene Schofield just sent a notice that the registers of St. Ann Roman Catholic Church, Guyborough, Nova Scotia has just been transcribed and have been put on http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~saintann/Records/home.html


Genealogy Canada: Ancestry.ca releases Lower Canada and …

Ancestry.ca releases Lower Canada and Canada East Census Records. Ancestry.ca has announced the release of more than 120,000 Canadian Census records from Lower Canada (now Quebec)


Probate in the United Kingdom: An Overview

After finding your ancestors in civil registration, census records, and parish registers, there are many different record types that are widely available for the UK. When I’m doing research, I usually look for probate records, and specifically wills, of my ancestors

Pennsylvania Death Certificates Now Available

Pennsylvania research just got easier, thanks to the release of Pennsylvania, Death Certificates 1906-1924. This collection contains more than 2.4 million records and has images of the actual death certificates

Tattoos: Signs of an “Interesting Past”

Jack London is quoted as saying, “Show me a man with a tattoo and I’ll show you a man with an interesting past.” My great-great-grandfather, Thomas Howley, was certainly no exception. In 1864, he joined the U.S. Navy under an assumed name so his wife wouldn’t find out

DNA Hints – Providing More Clarity To My DNA Results

Last week we announced that the AncestryDNA team collectively has found 2.7 million DNA hints. 10 days later, we are nearing 3 million DNA hints – and the number is increasing as more and more people get tested and build out their family tree. Remember: a hint is more than a DNA match. You get a DNA hint when AncestryDNA has found a common ancestor you and a DNA match share

Ancestry Scanning to Return in 2014 – Genealogy Jamboree Blog

We have received confirmation that Ancestry will again be on site during Jamboree to provide free scanning services. In past years, scanning has been one of the most popular activities at Jamboree. We know you’ll be happy

Online Trees. Root of All Evil?

…So are trees the root of all evil? In a word, no. And in fact, not only are they not evil, if you are doing genealogy correctly, they must be part of your research plan. Yep, I went there. Now, I’m sure some of you just spit coffee


King George’s Answer to the White Feather: World War I’s Silver War Badge

The British Empire lost more than 700,000 service personnel in World War I, and almost three times that many were discharged because of wounds or illness that left them physically unfit for service. The service and sacrifice of more than 800,000 of these men—and women—is recognized in the collection of Silver War Badge Records, 1914–1920, now on Ancestry.co.uk

The Ancestry Insider

Win Ancestry.com Subscription, DNA Test, and Research Package

The unofficial, unauthorized view of Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org. The Ancestry Insider reports on, defends, and constructively criticizes these two websites and associated topics. The author attempts to fairly and

Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter (EOGN)

Update: 2014 Genealogy Cruise Early Booking Special – Eastman’s …

I wrote earlier (at http://goo.gl/MttkJE and at http://goo.gl/qhG8Oe) about a 7-day genealogy cruise on board the Celebrity Silhouette in the Eastern Caribbean that starts on December 7, 2014. I will be one of the speakers on

Federation of Genealogical Societies calls for Award Nominations …

April 10, 2014 – Austin, TX. The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) calls for genealogy contribution award nominations through June 15, 2014. The specific award categories and a link to the submission form can be

Brookings Institution Blog

Trace Your Genetic Ancestry Through National Geographic’s Genographic Project

Ever wonder where you came from? Now with the help of National Geographic’s Genographic Project, you can find out. Population geneticist Dr. Spencer Wells and a team at National Geo (www.genographic.com) will send you a Geno 2.0 test kit that collect


Attention Indexers! Your Feedback Is Needed

With the introduction of the new indexing program, FamilySearch is planning to introduce a new process to maintain indexing quality. In this new model, a single volunteer will index and submit a batch, and a second volunteer will review the completed work. The person reviewing the batch will have the ability to add corrections

FamilySearch Adds More Than 2.1 Million Images to Collections from Italy

FamilySearch has added more than 2.1 million images to collections from Italy. Notable collection updates include the 89,778 images from the new Italy, Lucca, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1807–1814, collection; the 445,302 images from the new Italy, Genova, Civil Registration (State Archive), 1796–1812, 1838–1859, 1866–1899, collection

Genealogy and History News

Chris Paton–Thomas MacEntee Downunder Tour Survey Stats …

Their events include genealogy expos, roadshows, cruises, and more some specialised meetings from time to time. To help with future events they rely on feedback, so after each event they send out a survey which allows

The National Archives (UK)

To display or not to display – that is the question…

Faded book spines, curtain backs, and tapestries; we’ve all witnessed the irreversible damage that light can cause to decorative objects.  Such colour change can detrimentally affect the aesthetic appeal, interpretation

National Genealogical Society

UpFront with NGS: The newest genealogy-related Apps for ios…

It also puts me in a bind as far as this blog, since I really like to report “news” that has broad utility and ideally that would be announcing the availability of a genealogy-related app for both platforms

Genealogy News Bites to March 28, 2014

Internet podcasts

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)

Amara is an online resource that gives individuals, communities, and larger organizations the power to overcome accessibility and language barriers for online videos.  This unique tool is simple to use, collaborative, and fun

National Archives (Great Britain)

Last autumn we put out a call to the higher education sector for research project proposals based on our research agenda, and received a fantastic response.  Proposals of the highest quality were received

Web Pro News

…there are plenty of ancestry sites that will help you locate the records you need. Most of these sites charge a subscription fee. The question is, are they worth the cost? If you plan on putting a lot of time and effort into your genealogy or family history

Ancestry.co.uk Blog

DNA solved a 70-year-old question of whether Loraine Allison survived the Titanic crash. Many have wondered what happened to the two-year-old little girl

FamilySearch.org Blog

For those who were not able to personally attend RootsTech 2014, we now have the video recorded present(ation)s of nineteen selected speakers posted online

Several new research classes have been added to the Learning Center on FamilySearch.org. The new training includes courses in Swedish, Danish, and Czech research, as well as 8 Spanish language research courses

Fold3.com Blog

…Fold3 has digitized nine titles documenting hundreds of thousands of men who served in the New York National Guard (NYNG) and other New York regiments for conflicts from the Civil War to World War II

Library and Archives Canada (LAC)

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has a wealth of early sound recordings of pioneers in the arts on discs and wax cylinders. These recordings cover a range of themes, such as patriotic songs, jazz and dance from the 1920s, Québécois recordings

LAC is releasing its latest podcast episode, The Virtual Gramophone: Early Canadian Sound Recordings. LAC’s Virtual Gramophone is a multimedia website

Fort Howe images are now on Flickr. During the American Revolution, New Brunswick experienced continuous pressure from American forces including attacks

Discover a sampling of photos of the Indian Residential Schools of Alberta. The photos from other provinces and territories will be added to this first collection this summer

The following photographs are part of the Arctic Images from the Turn of the Twentieth Century exhibition presented at the National Gallery of Canada. Featuring material from Library and Archives Canada’s collections, the exhibition showcases rarely seen images

photo credit: Br3nda via photopin cc