Saturday, February 19, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Go For A Better Google Search

It's Saturday Night -- time for more Genealogy Fun!!  A little late - it almost didn't happen this week, considering last week's response (three that I counted), I hope that more readers want to participate in this this week.

Your mission - should you decide to accept it, is to:

1)  Go to genea-blogger Ramdy Majors website (

2)  Add his blog to your RSS reader, if you don't have it already.

3) Read his blog post AncestorSearch using Google Custom Search - BETASee the link at the top of the page that says "AncestorSearch using Google Custom Search - BETA?"  Click on it.

4)  Test out his Custom Google Search form to help you find online information about your ancestors, especially for their marriages. 

5)  Tell us about your results - was this useful? Did you find something new?  How can Randy improve it?

6)  If you like Randy's Custom Search, add it to your Bookmarks or Favorites.

Thank you, Randy Majors, for creating a useful search capability and sharing it with all of us.  May your site receive many hits, and RSS subscriptions!

Here are my comments:

I tried it using several different couples and several individuals, and found all of my blog articles and my website for everyone that I tried in my ancestral families.  I also found several splogs that scrape all or part of my blog posts.

I tried it using some of my clients families that I have not blogged about and found several matches on web pages and in online family trees (E.g.,, WorldConnect).

One addition I would make, if possible, would be to add a "wild card" for middle names or initials in the name searches.  for instance, the Google search string would be

(("frank * seaver"|"seaver, frank *")) (("hattie * hildreth"|"hildreth, hattie *")) "massachusetts" (marriage|married|marriages) (1873|1874|1875)

Of course, the user can put the asterisk or middle initial in him/herself in Randy's Custom Search box.


Geolover said...

Randy, thank you for pointing out Randy Majors' form.

I tried it on a brick-wall couple, Charles Ferguson/Forgerson (etc.) and Rebecca Jones, who were dropped off by aliens along with Rebecca's father John Jones, in southern Delaware ca. 1729.

They could have been from MD (my first search try), from PA (my second) or neither (my 3rd omitted a place).

Results included modern phone directories, when place not specified. It appears that approximate date (I entered 1725 as a guess given what little I know of the life paths of their children) does not govern results.

There were no results at all for Pennsylvania as place. It appears that Place governs results returned.

When Maryland was entered as place for marriage, results returned a number of items for which the only match was the date-year.

This may work better for 19th- and 20th-century queries, for which there would be a lot more material on the internet in personal web pages. I did not try New England ancestors as test cases, which would be interesting to try.

Debbie said...

I tried it with some brick walls and got all my own queries and my own website, which means it is working. But nothing new was found. THIS week... I will continue searching, though, and someday...

Sara Greenleaf said...

Relevant results in both couples I tried, extent of new information varied. My results here:

Anonymous said...

It's quite convenient to not have to try separate searches or remember the boolean string to use for google. I like it quite a bit. I didn't find any new results but could tell that I had fewer false drops. Thanks for sharing this.

JenS said...

I enjoyed experimenting with Randy Majors' form. My results are here:

Missy/Bayside Research said...

Thanks for pointing us to this form, Randy! Here are my results:

Ros Haywood said...

I would love to participate in your 'Saturday Night Genealogy Fun' series. However, I am in the UK, and timezones and that dratted real life stuff get in the way, so by the time I get to you, it's not only Sunday night for me, it's way past Saturday night for you! Can I still participate?

Randy Seaver said...

For Ros and all readers,

Yes, please do participate in Saturday Night genealogy Fun whether or not it's Saturday Night where you are.

The purpose is to expose you to something that you might enjoy doing on your computer in genealogy, that you might learn about that could help you in your research, or that you could kick back and laugh about.

The more the merrier!