©2023 Donald R. Snow -- Page last updated 2023-02-14
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ABSTRACT:  Internet search engines are helpful for many things in family history, e.g. finding data, relationships, locations, maps, and much more. This class will discuss Google and its uses, but mention other search engines and some new features.  The notes for this class and related articles, all with active internet links, are on my website .


  1. Instructor is Donald R. Snow ( ) of Provo, Utah.
  2. These notes, with active internet links and other related articles, are posted on Don's website .
  3. Tips:  (1)  Easy to put an icon on your desktop for the URL for these notes, or any website, by dragging the icon from in front of the address in your browser to your desktop.  (2)  To open a link from here in another tab, so you can keep your place in these notes, hold down the Control key while clicking the link.
  4. Problem for today: How do you search with Google and other search engines?

  6. Google for the United States. is -- there are Google versions for about 200 countries -- see -- the different versions may give different results for the same search terms 
  7. Google has a Light Mode and a Dark Mode; change by going to Settings (gear icon) > Appearance > Select the mode you want; Dark Mode is best for my eyesight 
  8. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) now makes results slanted and not always what you should believe.  This is particularly true for reviews.  Also, Google tracks everything you search for so they show you ads of what you might want to buy.
  9. New Google features --
  10. DuckDuckGo is a search engine that doesn't track you.
  11. is a new search engine that includes AI (Artificial Intelligence)

  13. Caps and Punctuation Ignored England yields same as engLAND
    Quotes Exactly that phrase "Donald R. Snow"exactly that order
    Wildcard * anders*n picks up anderson and andersen
    Stem searches The first few letters hist picks up history, historian, etc
    Exclude Minus symbol "-" -music -guitar = excludes those terms
    Number ranges (years, prices, ages,  etc) 1500..1600 Gives results only in the1500s
    Boolean searches AND (same as space), OR AND = include both; OR = include one or both
    Site Search Search only that site site:
    Link Search Shows sites linked link:
    Feature search Add  .pdf, .ged, .doc, etc Brings back just that type of file

  14. Google searches now include synonyms, so "~" (tilde) is not needed
  15. Proximity searches - AROUND(n)  -- examples 
    1. "donald r" AROUND(2) snow -- picks up Snow, Donald R,, too 
    2. Sno AROUND(100) woburn' -- finds Snows near Woburn, MA
    3. snow AROUND(10) beman -- finds Erastus Snow married to Artemisia Beman
    4. sep AROUND(5) 1879 -- finds Sep 17, 1879, Sep 4th,1879, 9 Sep 1879, etc
  16. Conversion searches - IN -converts measures, money, time, velocity, etc., e.g. "1 British pound IN US money", ", 20 ounces IN kilograms", and "$2.50 in 1851 IN today's money"
  17. For correct spelling  type something close, e.g. "irland" and it asks Did you mean Ireland?"; also right click on a misspelled word to get correct spelling or go to Dictionary
  18. Enter search terms by voice - click on mike at right end of Google search bar 
  19. Clicking "I'm Feeling Lucky" takes you to the top listed website
  20. Good articles -- Google Advanced Search for Genealogy, Parts 1 and 2 --  and
  21. Google Search Operators --

  23. For Google or any search engine, to get to a hit, hold down the CTRL key when clicking it, so it opens in a new tab and you save your place in the results list without having to go back and scroll down
  24. For any website CTRL-F opens a search box to enter terms to search for on that page - highlights them  
  25. Chrome has a free extension that allows typing in any terms highlight those terms on the page; different colors for different words. 

  27. Google has many other features such as language translation of entire websites, a simple "PowerPoint" program, a text editor, Google's MyMaps, and much more.
  28. Try searching for your own name in quotation marks to see what it finds.

Return to the  Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group Home Page  or  Don's Class Listings Page .