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Internet Genealogy Search Tips

You can find so much on the internet; it is just a matter of creating the right search term and getting results from indexed pages. There are so many variations to look for information, that it might be a good idea to create a spreadsheet of various terms that you can copy and paste when you want to use them. You can probably create at least 25 different ways to probe for the same thing and come up with different returns each time. This is due to how the pages are indexed with key words and key descriptions. Once you have exhausted one web browser then try another to get different results.

How to Search for Images

Finding genealogy images that are indexed and related to your family can be exciting and provide further evidence of your family history. It is always nice to be able to put a photo with a name. It brings the family tree to life and personalizes the people in it. Google has an image search that locates photos that are indexed through their web crawler. In the left-hand side of the browser, you can see “Images”. Click on it to be brought to the Images section. There is also an advanced feature to narrow down inquiries, but first try a broad range of variations. This is a good way to find tombstones and other documents on the internet.

Web Query Examples:
tombstone “first last name”
image:tombstone “first last name”
image: “first last name” ~genealogy


Finding Genealogy Books

Try looking for books that are out of copyright (published before 1923). Google and many other internet sites are digitizing them and most can be viewed in full. Some may only show the title or a snippet of some pages. If this information can help with your family heritage, try finding the book through a library or another search engine.

Try exploring periodicals to discover historical information about the town and its people for a time period that you are interested in. Google has a search that finds all kinds of publications. In the header, click on “more”. The first link is Books. The Works Progress Administration is attributed to many genealogical books that should not be overlooked. Try a variable of the example below when trying to find your ancestors. By using the word Book in a browser, you may get results that include forums and message boards.

Another internet genealogy site is the Family History Archive, which has a large collection of published genealogy and family histories. The archive includes histories of families, county and local histories, how-to books, magazines and periodicals.

Begin your interent genealogy search to find your family history

Web Query Examples:
“first last name” ~genealogy
“WPA” + county State
Book:first last name ~genealogy

Finding Family History Groups

Groups are a way to find other people through the internet with similar genealogy interests usually broken down by surname or geographic location. Many of the groups have links to specific websites that are geared towards their groups’ goals and objectives. They have message boards so users can post queries. Members answer research questions that usually offer helpful tips. You might be successful in trying RootsWeb which has Message Boards and Mailing Lists.

Internet Phrases and Searches

Learn to create your own genealogy queries and use different web crawlers to see what you can find on the internet. Click on the link for help with creating Phrases and Advanced internet genealogy searches.