Presentation on theme: "Based on the Google search processes referred to in the book “Google Your Family Tree” By Daniel M. Lynch Using Google to Research Your Family Tree - An."— Presentation transcript:
Based on the Google search processes referred to in the book “Google Your Family Tree” By Daniel M. Lynch Using Google to Research Your Family Tree - An Introduction - By Colin A Ackehurst Melb PC Club – Peninsula Genealogy Group
Overview This demonstration is an introduction to the efficient use of basic Google search processes to obtain additional information for your family history research. It will cover the use of keywords with basic and advanced search operators so as to filter results to obtain maximum benefits. The use of automated searches that are used as Google Alerts will be explained.
Keywords The most basic Google search ingredient is called a “keyword” – a word representing the search topic. Rather than just using a single “keyword” you may get more and better results by using multiple keywords (a keyword phrase) and perhaps special commands or operators. Some examples are shown on the following slides.
Keyword Searches Google Web Search QueryResults (No. of Hits) ackehurst6,400 ackehurst family1,9301,930 “colin ackehurst”253 “colin *ackehurst”“colin *ackehurst” 2,4002,400 “colin *ackehurst” ~genealogy773773
Keyword Phrases for Genealogy The table on the preceding slide shows that even the most basic keywords or phrases can be used alone, or in combinations, to filter literally thousands of results and deliver meaningful pages. Phrases that relate to People, places, dates, events and data will be among the most useful keyword phrases when structuring a query. Different surnames may require careful consideration particularly common names.
Case Insensitive In general Google is case insensitive and will deliver the same results regardless of the combination of upper and lower case letters you use. Google Web Search QueryNo. of Results ackehurst6,400 Ackehurst6,400 AckeHurSt6,400
Automatic ‘AND’ Google will process multiple keyword searches as though each keyword is preceded by the word ‘AND’. Note that while all keywords will be present in the results they will not necessarily have any relevance to one another. Google Web Search QueryGoogle Web Search Query No. of Results ackehurst familyackehurst family 1,930 ackehurst AND familyackehurst AND family 1,9201,920
Ordering Keywords Google returns different results based on the ordering of keywords. If your search yields few or nil results try reversing the keyword order. Google Web Search QueryGoogle Web Search Query No. of ResultsNo. of Results ackehurst colinackehurst colin 654654 colin ackehurstcolin ackehurst 647647 sussex etchinghamsussex etchingham 129,000129,000 etchingham sussexetchingham sussex 128,000128,000
Keyword Variations Google uses a technique called stemming in which it searches for the keyword and variations depending on the nature of the query. Variations may include the plural form of the original keyword as well as past, present or future tenses. Genealogists commonly search for deceased ancestors so a search for “died” would also yield results for “die" and “dies”.
Commands /Search Operators There are many commands (search operators) that will direct Google to filter through billions of records to retrieve those with the highest degree of relevance for any query. Knowledge of how to use these commands is critical to success in using Google for maximum assistance in researching your family history.
Command: “ ” The Command “ ”, requires placing quotation marks directly around two or more keywords to seek results containing exactly the keywords contained within the quotation marks and in precisely the same order and proximity to one another as they appear in your original query. Google Web Search QueryNo. of Results “colin ackehurst”253 “ackehurst colin”49
Command: * (wildcard) The placement of a single asterisk within quotation marks serves as a wildcard requiring searches to accept any character or consecutive string of characters in place of the wildcard. This command can pick up middle initials or middle names which can be very useful for genealogists. Google Web Search QueryGoogle Web Search Query No. of ResultsNo. of Results “colin ackehurst”253 “colin *ackehurst”“colin *ackehurst” 2,4002,400
Command: OR Use the word OR between keywords to find results with any of your query’s keywords. If you have frequent variant surname spellings the OR operator can be helpful in capturing all possible results. Queries that combine AND, OR and quotation marks can yield useful filtered results for family historians. Google Web Search QueryGoogle Web Search Query No. of ResultsNo. of Results ackehurst OR akehurstackehurst OR akehurst 806,000806,000 “colin ackehurst” OR “ashley ackehurst” “colin ackehurst” OR “ashley ackehurst” 284284
Command: -(negative) The negative function can be performed by using a minus (-) symbol directly in front of a word, phrase or command. Queries submitted with the minus symbol will remove all results pages containing the specified word or phrase. The minus symbol should not have a space after it. Google Web Search QueryNo. of Results ackehurst -england5,7805,780 etchingham –railway -churchetchingham –railway -church 562
Command: +(plus sign) The plus (+) symbol is used to find results with pages containing exactly the word specified and not those with any variants of the keyword. Preceding a keyword with + has the same effect as placing that word in quotes. Google Web Search QueryNo. of Results “colin ackehurst” +book76 etchingham +“railway station” + c h u r c h 209,000
Command: ~ (tilde) The tilde (~) symbol is used to find similar words for a specific keyword. This command is especially useful for genealogy research because it can direct Google to find pages with a surname and/or place name but only those that have something to do with genealogy. Google Web Search QueryNo. of Results ackehurst ~genealogy2,230 etchingham ~genealogy91,500
What is a Google Alert? A Google Alert is an automated query using query definitions you have registered through Google’s Alert service. As one or more items are found matching your search criteria, Google sends a concise email summary to notify you that results have been found. For genealogists this can be a powerful tool because it harnesses the power of Google even when you don’t have time to do the search yourself.
Summary This presentation has dealt only with basic Google searches and the use of basic commands. For further information use the “Web Search Help” facility on the “More Products Page”. This can be reached by clicking the “even more” link on the “more” dropdown menu. The “more” drop down menu is found at the end of the horizontal listing at the top left hand corner of the Google Home page.
Getting Started Open the Google homepage 1.In the upper left corner of the homepage click the text “more” link. A dropdown menu opens. 2.Click the “even more” link on the dropdown menu. The “More Google Products" page opens. 3.Click the “Alerts” icon or name. The “Google Alerts” page opens. 4.Fill in the details. The search query uses the basic keywords and commands approach as demonstrated earlier in this presentation.
Setting up your Google Alert The “Type" dialog box contains the options: Everything News Blogs Realtime Video Discussions Notes: Use “Everything” initially but it can be changed later in the light of results received. Make sure you use the “preview results” link to check the adequacy of your query format
Email Confirmation & Notifications Google will send you a confirming email after you have created each new Alert. You will be asked to verify your Alert request by return email. Notification emails relating to the results of your Alert query will be sent to you at the frequency determined in your Alert request.