©2012 by Donald R. Snow
  • Welcome and Introduction
  • Types of Searches
  • Searching for Files on Your Computer
  • Searching Within Files on Your Computer
  • Searching for Genealogy Data Online
  • Searching for Information About Living People
  • Searching for Programs To Do Certain Tasks
  • Conclusions
This page was last updated 2012-02-21 for class on 2012-02-22.
Return to the  Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group Home Page  or  Don's Class Listings Page .

  1. Instructors are Donald R. and Diane M. Snow ( , ) .
  2. This is the Snows Family History Update Series - usually on 1st and 3rd Wednesdays 1-2:30 PM, Morningside Stake Center, RS Room; next class will be on 7 Mar - on HeritageQuest Online:  Free Family History Data At Home With Your Library Card
  3. These notes are posted on with all the links, so you don't have to type them in yourself.  Hold down the Ctrl key when you click on a link and the link opens in another tab so you keep these notes open where you were.
  4. Announcements
    1. FH Expo Fri and Sat 24-25 Feb 2012, Dixie Center -- Information and registration at -- Lots of classes at all levels and vendors information about FH products
    2. RootsTech report -- See Don's list of some things he learned at RootsTech 2012 in Salt Palace 2-4 Feb 2012 -- -- Can still download the entire RootsTech Syllabus and Guide and listen to many of the talks online at
    3. New Family Tree interface for nFS -- -- Use your LDS Account to register here, then when you sign in on  (upper right hand corner) with your LDS account you see a new tab called "Family Tree" which gives you the new interface to nFS -- allows you to edit some other things that you can't edit on nFS and by the end of this year they claim this will be the new interface for everyone
    4. Beta test of entering sources in Family Tree going on now in the new interface - Snows have included Internet links to show images and data for some of their ancestors
    5. Helpful 9-Generation Pedigree Fan Chart of your nFS data -- -- use your LDS Account to log in -- Can generate a 9-generation chart for anyone in nFS by going to , log in with your LDS account, and enter their PID (their nFS Personal Identifier number) in the box
  5. Searching is an important task for any computer project, but especially for genealogy work.  This class will discuss types of searches, both within our own computers and online, and will show some freeware tools for doing them.


  7. What you are searching for determines the kind of tool to use.
  8. Types of searches
    1. Searching for files on your computer
    2. Searching for text inside a file when you know the file name -- including in .txt, .rtf, .doc, .docx, .odt, .xls, .ods, .ppt, etc.
    3. Searching for files that contain certain text when you don't know the file names
    4. Searching for image files when you know the name or metadata of the file-- including .jpg, .tif, .png, .bmp, .pdf, etc.
    5. Searching for image files containing certain kinds of images
    6. Searching for duplicate files on your computer to delete the duplicates
    7. Searching for genealogy data online -- including How-To's, FH data, vital records, GEDCOM files, etc.
    8. Searching for directory-type information, e.g. telephone numbers, addresses, email addresses, birth dates, etc.
    9. Searching for programs to do various tasks -- including freeware, shareware, open source, commercial


  9. Everything -- free program, extremely fast, has both installed and portable versions -- download from -- You need to know something about the title; program also allows renaming and launching programs and other file maintenance tasks; can be used in tandem with a Windows Explorer-type program to organize files
  10. Nemo-Docs -- free program, shows document names on a calendar by date they were produced or modified so you can find it by context of what you were working on -- download from
  11. Win7 Search -- built into Windows 7, click on the Start/Stop button and type search terms in the box -- finds files by name and by content and sorts them into type, e.g. documents, programs, music, etc.; searches inside text files, including emails, but searches entire computer and you can't limit it to just certain folders
  12. Naming techniques -- suggestions for naming your files so you can find them later
    1. Name files something like "SnowErastusBeman-Journal-2012-02-19.odt" where the date is when you worked on it -- This is the international date format and keeps files in consecutive order with the newest version last; by changing the date in the name as you save it, it prevents overwriting earlier versions, so you have several generations of backups -- can erase earlier backups when you are sure you don't need them
    2. For images name them something like "SnowEldonStafford(1891-1954)-Birth-Certificate.jpg" or "DowdleSarahAnn-News-ArticlefromIdahoFallsTimes-1918-09-23.jpg"
    3. Helps to store files in a consistent manner, e.g. a folder for genealogy images, a folder for genealogy data, etc.


  13. Searching for text strings within multiple files
    1. InfoRapid -- free for private use, find and replace text across multiple files, easy to use, select folders to search, shows file name in blue with search terms in red in the line where they occur, Boolean operators:  & (AND), | (OR), ! (NOT); clicking on the highlighted search term takes you to the document where you can edit it; right clicking takes you back to the results screen or to start another search, or can click on the Show Search Dialog bar at bottom; past search results are in tabs at top so you can go back to any one -- download from
    2. FileLocatorLite (same program as Agent Ransack) -- free, installs so right clicking on a folder gives menu option to search all files in folder and subfolders for words or phrases, allows Boolean searches using AND, OR, NOT, shows search results in two panels with search terms highlighted; does not have a replace feature -- download from
    3. Text Crawler -- find and replace across multiple files, easy to use -- download from
    4. Search My Files -- freeware, various searches available, but doesn't show text snippets surrounding search results, just the info about the files they are in; also has duplicates searches and other criteria -- download from
    5. Win 7 Search box -- see earlier paragraph
  14. Searching pdf's for given text -- scanned pdf's need a text layer where the picture of the text has been OCR'd (Optical Character Recognition) before they can be searched for text -- free OCR converters are (free program that you download and use on your own computer, but requires that a version of Word 2003 or later be installed on your computer) and free online converters  and -- most good OCR programs are commercial
  15. Searching within genealogy databases -- GenViewer -- will search within all genealogy files in the folder for conditions you specify, e.g. "Given Name Contains John" and "Spouse Name Contains Snow"; freeware version will only search in one file, commercial version ($20) will search through multiple genealogy files in a folder -- download either version from
  16. Finding duplicate files on your computer -- Duplicate Cleaner, easy to use, has selection criteria, can check one folder at a time, has a way to see if you have inadvertently checked all files in a group before you delete them -- download from 
  17. Finding duplicate and similar images
    1. SimilarImages program -- free program to search in folders you specify to find exact or similar images, shows them side-by-side so you can decide if you want to delete one or not -- download from
    2. Duplicate Images Finder -- Open source freeware to find duplicate or near-duplicate images -- download from
  18. Finding pictures of certain people -- Picasa, free program from Google -- has a facial recognition feature that puts thumbnails around all faces in your pictures and tries to organize them into groups with the same person -- see details in Don's Picasa notes at


  20. -- Mocavo is the largest free genealogy search engine; searches FamilySearch and many other free genealogy websites all at once, including  and
  21. -- Historical Records, Learn (Wiki), Family Trees, FamilySearch Catalog, new FamilySearch
  22. A few Google tips --
    1. Google Help -- do a Google search for "google help" (no quote marks" or go to
    2. For name searches use quotation marks around the name to get only results for that person
    3. To find GEDCOM's with the person add +ged or +index (since many GEDCOM's are posted on genealogy sites that use the word "index")
    4. Use "[term] around(5) [term]" to find websites where the terms occur with 5 words of each other, e.g. "Erastus Snow" around(5) St. George -- narrows down the search results greatly -- This is an undocumented, but very useful, command for Google
  23. Searching for images -- Do Google image searches for the name; put the name in quotation marks
  24. Other genealogy search engines
    1. Steve Morse's One-Step search engines --
    2. Ancestor Hunt -- -- links to many free genealogy search engines and  sites
    3. Free Genealogy Search Engines --
    4. Ancestor Search --
    5. Genealogy Today -- -- links to many search locations
    6. Genealogy books -- Google Books, HeritageQuest Online, Internet Archive
    7. Internet Archive -- -- free, includes books, audio, video, movies, The Wayback Machine (snapshots of the Internet in the past to find old web pages no longer on the Internet)


  26. Finding names, addresses, telephones, email addresses, personal data, relationships
  27. Helpful websites for finding living people are:
    1. -- has "One-Step" entry forms finding people
    5. Can usually get enough info for free on these sites without having to pay for full results
  28. Finding email addresses
    1. Usually difficult to find without paying for them
    2. If person is a contributor to nFS, can send an email through nF; same for Ancestry and other family tree websites 
    3. Try Google searches for their name to see if it finds an email they wrote to a forum or list
    4. Can sometimes find living descendants by noting who is interested in genealogical records on those lines, e.g. in online family trees, Ancestral File, Pedigree Research File, etc. -- info may be helpful even if submitter information is outdated
    5. For more information on finding living people see Don's notes on  Using City and Other Directories  and  Tracing Your U.S. Immigrant Relative


  29. Freeware websites -- see my notes at
  30. Freeware programs that do tasks similar to commercial programs
    1. Alternatives To --
    2. OpenSource Alternatives --


  31. Searching is one of the major tasks of family history and there are more and more helpful computerized tools and indexes available all the time.

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