Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Sunday, January 8, 2017

How to do Custom Searches with Google for Genealogists: Part Two -- Filters

Using a search filter is a way of excluding unwanted content from your online searches. Genealogists can benefit from using a variety of different search techniques to focus their searches on pertinent information about their ancestors using basic filtering and other search techniques. To get started, you might want to review the content of the Google Help Center

There are some simple ways to get started with using filters in your searches. To begin using the first level of filters provided by Google, you need to a search. Here is a screenshot of the results of searching for the term, "genealogy."

You may be able to see that there are over 171 million results, far too many to be of any particular use. However, there are some ways to filter the results that appear near the top of the page. Here is a screenshot of the filtering tools.

By making a selection, you can begin to filter out those results that do not apply to your search. However, in this case, I should have started my search with more specific search terms. Here is a link to a short video from Google showing you some basic ways to enhance your initial searches.

Simple Google Search tips
What the video basically advises is to focus your searches on specific topics by modifying the initial search terms. Searching for a term such as "genealogy" is certain to produce a huge number of irrelevant results. But if you search for a specific ancestor or relative and perhaps add some modifiers or filters then your searches will become more accurate.

The Google filters are found in the "Tools" link shown above.

By clicking on the Tools link, you get a drop-down menu that lets you filter the results by time or by results. Here are the results options.

The term "Verbatim" means exact or in the same words as used. You can do the same thing when making a search by putting the search terms in quotation marks. Here is an example of a search for my Great-grandfather, Henry Martin Tanner. I have also added a qualifier or filter by adding the word, "Arizona."

There are still a large number of results, but the first few are specifically about my Great-grandfather. In fact, the first item is a biography of my Great-grandfather written by his son. I often suggest that researchers do a specific Google search for each person in their family tree and use every iteration of their name including nicknames and abbreviations. The qualifiers or filter words can include occupations, the places associated with events in their lives and other descriptive words. Varying these terms will also find additional results.

There are some specifically written books on doing genealogical searches but I have found that repeating the searches multiple times using a variety of possible search terms is usually faster and more effective than composing elaborate, specific search functions.

In my next installment, I will discuss the more specific search functions built into Google Search. Stay tuned.

Here is the first article in this series.

No comments:

Post a Comment