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Google Tips for Your Next Search

Google Tips for Your Next Search

Everyone knows how to conduct a Google search, right? I know I only use a fraction of what Google (or any other online tool or software) offers. I'm always looking for tips to help me make the most of this resource so I can do better searches. Here are three Google search features you may want to use for your next Google genealogy search.

#1 Using Google Internationally

One way to access a country's version of Google is to use the website for that country. When you go to Google to start a search, you are accessing the Google screen for your country based on your IP address. So I'm in the United States and use the U.S. version of Google. If I'm conducting research for an ancestor who lived in another country, I may miss out on results that I would receive if I were using that country's version of Google. So I'm using, but if I want to use Google for Canada, I could go to


Genealogy in Time Magazine has a list of the Google website URL's that you can use. Remember that for best results, you may need to search in the language used in that country.

#2 Learn More About that Source

So you've conducted a Google Search and have your results list.

Poe search

For each result, you will see the URL, the name of the web page and/or website, and a description. You know that, but have you ever noticed three vertical dots to the right of the URL?

Poetry Foundation 3 dots

Click on these dots to reveal information about the website. In this example, I searched Edgar Allen Poe. One of the results is the Poetry Foundation. By clicking on the three vertical dots, I can view the "About this result" screen.

Poetry Foundation Source

This feature might help you as you analyze the results you receive and decide to pursue any specific source.

Another example is the source information for the Wikipedia entry for Edgar Allen Poe. Once I click on the three vertical dots in my Google search I see this box.


I can then click on More about this Page which provides me even more information to consider using Wikipedia.

Wikipedia about the source

Play around with this feature and see how it might help you make the most of your results.

#3 Always Click on Books

In my opinion, this is a must. When you get your Google results, always click on Books at the top to see the results for Google Books.

Google Books tool bar

You can then focus your search to narrow it to a time period or even look at historical newspaper results.

Googel Books types

Don't forget that you can search Google for an ancestor's name but also consider searching by the place they lived, their religion, or the membership organization they belonged to. Google Books might have a city directory, a local history, or other historical works that can benefit your genealogy.

What Will You Search?

We all could benefit from changing our search habits and trying something new. Don't forget their is a benefit to playing around with your search by adding additional keywords or clicking on features you've never tried. You might be surprised at what new items you find.


Gena Philibert-Ortega is an author, instructor, and researcher. She blogs at Gena's Genealogy and Food.Family.Ephemera. You can find her presentations on the Legacy Family Tree Webinars website.



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I've had good results on Google searching surnames with town/settlement names. Particularly in areas where I know everyone with that name is related. My best Google search find was a blog post that transcribed a handwritten biography of the blog owner's ancestor. It told of her early life in New Zealand before migrating to the USA. As a young woman, she had stayed for a year with my 3 x great-grandparents who were family friends. She described their house, what they did on the farm etc. It included a watercolor painting of the house and surrounding buildings! No one in the modern family had ever seen the painting or heard of the young women who stayed with our ancestors.

Fantastic tips, thank you!

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