North Florida Genealogy Conference March 3, 2012

Miles Meyer

What is a Search Engine?

 A web search engine is designed to search for information on the World Wide Web and FTP sites.  Some are able to mine data from databases and open directories.

What is a Search Engine?

 Most search engines do not search the Invisible Web.
 The Invisible Web is several orders of magnitude larger than what we see on the internet.  Includes subscription, private, and other limited access sites.

What is a Search Engine?

 A list of search engines can be found at

Which Search Engine Should I Use?

 There are hundreds of search engines on the internet.
        Google Yahoo! Bing Ask AOL Lycos Alexa DuckDuckGo

Which Search Engine Should I Use?

 Some search engines are specifically designed for genealogy research.
 Mocavo  Sysoon  GenealogyInTime

Going Beyond a Single Search Engine

 Metasearch Engines send search requests to several other search engines and/or databases and aggregates the results into a single list.
      Dogpile Mamma Ixquick MetaCrawler WebCrawler Yippy

Top Three #1 - Google

 Google is the world’s most popular search engine.  Has over 64% market share in the US.  Google now indexes over 1 trillion web addresses.
      Google Web Search Google Books Google News Google Scholar Google Patent Search Many more………

Top Three #2 - Yahoo!

 Second most visited web search engine in the world and 4th most visited website overall.  Yahoo has 15% market share in the US.

Top Three #3 - Bing

 Launched in 2009, Bing is the third most used web search engine.  Bing is Microsoft’s search engine.  Bing has 14% market share in the US.

Genealogy Search Engines

 Mocavo
Launched in 2011. Specifically designed for the genealogical community. Searches genealogy related web sites. Allows you to upload your family tree & sends you weekly search results by e-mail.  Allows you to mark results you have read:    
    The Person I’m Looking For Maybe a Good Match Not Who I’m Looking For Broken Link

Genealogy Search Engines

 Sysoon
 Launched in 2011.  Specifically designed for the genealogy community.  Searches for dead people:
    Funeral news Obituaries Directories Social Security Death Index

 Allows you to add your own data to search results.

Up & Coming Search Engine

 Genealogy In Time Magazine has recently released a genealogical search engine.
  Searches 1.8 billion free ancestral records across 600+ websites.  All the major cemetery websites are included (Find A Grave, Interment, Billion Graves, etc.)  Family Tree Search Engine searches 3.5 billion records from genealogy forums and online family trees.

Optimizing Your Search Results

 How do you optimize your search results?
 Use Search Operators
 Most, but not all, search engines use the same operators.

Optimizing Your Search Results

 Keywords – search results will show variations of the search word.
 For example, searching for pioneer will result in pages with the following:
    Pioneer Pioneers Pioneering And other similar terms.

 Adding quotes around the word will only show exact matches – “pioneer” will only result in pages with pioneer.

Optimizing Your Search Results

 “Quotes” – adding quotes around a set of words gives results where the words are adjacent.
 For example, searching for “William Barrister” will only result in hits for pages where William and Barrister are found in close proximity to each other.
 William Barrister  William A. Barrister  Kurtis William and Barrister Jones

 Without the quotes, this search will result in pages where William and Barrister are found anywhere on the page.

Optimizing Your Search Results

 -Keyword – results will exclude the keyword
 Equivalent to NOT  For example the following search:
 “Steve Young” –football  Will only provide results where Steve Young is listed and football is not.  This could be useful if you know the football player is not who you are searching for.

Optimizing Your Search Results

 +Keyword – results will include pages with the keyword
 Equivalent to AND  For example the following search:
 “Brian Greene” +Georgia  Will only provide results for pages where Brian Greene and Georgia appear on the same page

 Google is a little different – uses “” around each word instead of +.
 “Brian Greene” “Georgia”

Optimizing Your Search Results

 Keyword1 OR Keyword2 – using the word OR looks for either term.
 This search is useful when looking for names.
 “Samuel Smith” OR “Smith Samuel”  Google uses the OR search but the OR can be replaced by | (the key above \).
 “Samuel Smith” | “Smith Samuel”

Optimizing Your Search Results

 So, how do these techniques change your search results?
Search Technique
Miles Meyer “Miles Meyer” “Meyer Miles” “Miles Meyer”|”Meyer Miles” “Miles Meyer” +Florida

26,300,000 44,200 9,490 53,600 6,980

12,700,000 10,300 6,100 8,110 18,200

63,400 1,272 1,272 1,272 98

Narrowing Your Results

1. Perform a search on your search engine. 2. Look at the search results. 3. Fine-tune your results by using a search operator such as using quotes, and adding or subtracting terms. 4. Look at the results again. 5. Repeat steps 3 & 4 until you are satisfied.

6. Try other search engines to see additional results.

Adding Tools to Your Search

 Google Advanced Search

Original Search “” OR Date range

Adding Tools to Your Search

 Google Toolbar
 The toolbar is available for Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers.
 Has a highlighter button to show your search results on the page.

 Can also use “CTRL F” to open a search box and search for the results on the page.

Adding Tools to Your Search

 Google Alerts
 You can set an alert and get an e-mail whenever a new match is found by Google.

 Mocavo does something similar to Google Alerts. When you upload your gedcom file it will send you weekly e-mails alerting you of matches.


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