Genealogy Specific Google Searches

Learn to do effective genealogy internet searches with the Easy Google Genealogy Searches below. Can't remember all the Google tricks you've heard for genealogy searching? Want to learn some things you probably had no idea Google could do? The Easy Genealogy Google Searcher puts advanced Google features on one page with suggested keywords and advice about how each feature is useful for genealogy searches.
  Another search option besides all the Google Genealogy Searches is to use Free Genealogy Search Advice website. This sites has a tool that will give  free advice that builds on what you already know about your ancestry. Simply answer a series of questions to get specific suggestions on how to best use online genealogy resources for researching your ancestors.

Google Operators:

  • -     Use a minus sign before a keyword that you do not want to appear in your search results. 

  • ~    Use the tilde sign before words for search results that include synonyms. (genealogy, ancestry, family tree). 

  • "     Place a first name and last name between double quotes to search for exact occurrences of the name. Place location names of 2 or more words in quotes; i.e. "new york". 

  • OR   Use the OR operand to receive results that contain one of the query words or phrases. 

  • *     Use the asterisk as a wild card; i.e. for a middle name. 

  • ...     Use a number range search to match any one year in a range of years, i.e. 1700...1750 

  • allintitle:   Google will restrict the results to those with all of the query words in the title. For instance, [allintitle: smith genealogy] will return only documents that have both "smith" and "genealogy" in the title of the webpage. 
    * all searches were based on work from http://www.searchforancestors.com/google/searcher.html  used with permission. 

Google Genealogy search

" " Use quotation marks before and after a single word or multi-word phrase that you want to appear exactly "as is" in your search results. 
- Use a minus sign before words that you don't want to appear in your search results.

Use Google to search for websites that have a surname in the website title. This is particularly useful for

  • Surnames that are also common English words such as Fox, Church, or Powers

  • Surnames that are also first names such as Thomas or James

  • Finding genealogy sites that are buried deep in Google results

Hint: The tilde or ~ gives Google results for synonyms of genealogy. Remove the tilde for more precise results.

Search for genealogy surname websites

Search the full text of public domain books that Google has digitized. Download, save and print the book for free. These books include genealogy books, county history books, military books, municiple annual reports, and other out-of-copyright books that include the names of regular folks.

Search Google News for current obituaries or for stories about long-lost relatives, unknown cousins, or relatives in the armed services.  Use the left column on the Google results page to limit results by date.

Google Newspaper Search (U.S.)

Use the Google "excluding" to exclude a site from your search results. This may be useful if you have already searched a site, or appears to dominate the search results. Example: passenger lists excluding rootsweb.com

If you find a website about the topic you are researching and want to find more like it, you can use Google to search for similar sites.

For example, you have found a cemetery directory site, but it doesn't have the cemetery you are looking for, use the "similar sites search" to find other cemetery directory sites to expand your search.

Use Google to search for Gedcom Files.  A GEDCOM, (short for GEnealogical Data COMmunication), is type of file created by genealogy programs.  While many websites have converted Gedcom files to a readable format, there are still many websites with gedcom files that have not!
Warning:  These files may open in your genealogy program.  Open them as a new file.  DO NOT MERGE WITH YOUR GENEALOGY FILE.

Search images for photo of ancestor, tombstone, church, ancestral hometown, original documents, immigrant ship, or ancestor's tools of trade.

Want to know where all the cemeteries are in a particular town? Enter cemetery into the search terms box, and the town and state into the location box. You can search for Methodist Churches in a town, or Catholic cemeteries, or newspapers, libraries, and historical societies, etc.

Google search by location might be useful to help locate the nearest church to where you ancestors lived. No need to know the name of the church to find it. The caveat for genealogists is that the current churches, cemeteries, newspapers you will get from the search results may not be in the same names or location as 100 years ago.

Search for web pages that are only from the country and its language where you are researching eliminating many irrelevant results.