"Robert, I signed on to receive Treasure Maps in February of this year. I have read them all several times and recently printed them out to put into a notebook so I can refer to them while on the web. I want to thank you for such easy to understand instructions and ideas." (Deborah Clark) more  
Helpful & Free Since 1995 more

Search for your surnames on the Internet with these
search engine secrets for genealogy researchers

Searching for your surnames on-line is easy
when you develop a certain "research mindset"

How much luck do you have when you search for your surnames of interest on-line when you do your genealogy research? When you learn how to "translate" your problems into key words and symbols to use in a search engine (let's say the Google search engine), light bulbs go off--and a switch is flipped on in your mind--then, the keys to the Internet are yours.

I've helped thousands flip their switch and develop what I call a research mindset, to have great success on the Internet and I am going to get you started...

Here is how it works: The plus (+) symbol forces a key word to be INCLUDED. Technically, you don't have to use it, but I want you to because it helps your mind approach and solve research problems.

Here's an example: The staple of genealogy research is vital records, when our ancestors were born, died, and married--so a search with any surname and these key words work well.

TYPE IN: +ragan +born

Here is how it would look on the Google search engine.

Note: There is no space between the + symbol and the r in ragan or the b in born.

Also Note: You can use the key word "died" or "married" in the spot where "born" is in the above example.

You will FINE-TUNE your surname searches: Count on doing a search from three to five times. Each time you click on the "Google Search" button you will examine the results and see if there are any other key words you can include or exclude.

Don't worry about a large amount of results. What matters is the top ten or twenty, ignore the rest and start fine tuning. This way you really CAN find the needle in the haystack. You will be able to get the good stuff to come to the top like cream floats to the top of Grandpa's milk pail.

The students I've taught can usually find what they want in three minute or less. If it is on the Internet, you can find it.

Now let's expand this search method and add additional "clues" or key words like county names, state names, state abbreviations, etc. to your surnames.

Here's an example: I have Ragan's from this area of Florida, which is in Duval county. So a good search to start with could be:

+ragan +born +duval

Here's another example: Let's say that you have some Kennedy ancestors from the Texas area. Your surname search might be:

+kennedy +died +texas

Or it could ALSO be: +kennedy +died +tx

If you do this surname search you will run into a problem--more on this in a minute--but you get the idea, right?.

Try it with some of the surnames you are researching.

Here's another important surname search tool

The minus (-) symbol forces a key word to be EXCLUDED. This is an extremely powerful research tool when you learn how to use it properly with the plus symbol.

Here's another example: One of the variant spellings of my surname is REAGAN. What do you think happens when you start doing searches with this name? Many of the results that come back when I do a search are about president Ronald Reagan. Here is how to fix the problem:

TYPE IN: +reagan +born -president

Note: the word "president" will NOT be in any of the results that Google shows because it was forced to be excluded.

Do you understand what just happened?

What if the surname was a common surname like "Morse" or "Cook"? Here are example of searches that you might do using the symbols:

+morse +married -code (the word "code" is excluded because of "morse code").

+cook +died -food -chef (the words "food" and "chef" are excluded).

In our Kennedy example we talked about earlier, there is a problem. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Texas so your results will have references to him.

To solve this problem, you might try:

+kennedy +died +texas -president -jfk -assassinated

Now do it with some of your surnames.

Find the meaning, history, and origin of your name!

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