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Hit a brick wall? Try this...

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  • cwnbll
    At some point all family history research leads to a dead end where leads just seem to dry up and many of the posts to this group relate to finding missing
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 21, 2006
      At some point all family history research leads to a 'dead end'
      where leads just seem to dry up and many of the posts to this group
      relate to finding 'missing links'. I've had some great success
      using the following technique and I hope it helps others.

      Firstly, you need to understand how the internet works, or at least
      how the search engines work, e.g. Google, Yahoo, etc, etc. For the
      purposes of this example we'll focus on Google. It uses a system of
      keywords to match your query (the visitor) with web pages delivering
      that content (the providers). These keywords are the search terms
      you (and millions of others), type on the search bar. The results
      passed back are those pages, or providers, that meet the search
      term. As you can imagine, competition by the large commercial
      organisations to be returned in a good `list position' is fierce and
      so large amounts of marketing spends are focussed on ensuring `high
      ranking' within the search engines.

      OK? So what does that mean for us? Last month, May 2006,
      approximately 152,000 people typed in a search for `Genealogy'. I've
      just typed the same search into Google. 73.6 million web pages were
      returned in the results! Not surprisingly most of the top positions
      are taken by either the main database vendors or resellers
      (affiliates) of the major vendors.

      Now the internet contains THOUSANDS of personal websites where
      researchers (just like you), publish their family tree hoping to
      make connections. The problem is they have almost no chance of
      reaching top positions on search results and so are difficult to
      find.

      So how do we find them?


      1. Be More (very) Specific

      What were these people typing `genealogy' actually looking for?
      Genealogy Scotland, Genealogy book, genealogy Cowan? Who knows, but
      they were presented with was the main commercial vendors keen to get
      some subscriptions.

      2. Combine keywords + phrases
      Now let's try: genealogy scotland + smith (try it)

      We're getting closer, about 872,000 results, quite a few but much
      more specific and beginning to return some interesting `personal'
      websites.

      3. Search rules (syntax)

      Did you notice the `+' sign in the example above? To the search
      engine this means `and' so, the results returned will contain;
      genealogy OR scotland AND smith.

      Now try this: "genealogy scotland" + smith

      Note: The quotes around "genealogy scotland"means to match the EXACT
      PHRASE and this is particularly useful when looking for specific
      individuals e.g. "John William Smith".

      So the search above returned about 19000 results, much better, and
      some very specific sites containing personal family history pages.

      As you can see the best search results come from being very
      specific. Of course you can vary these searches to include
      placenames, dates, etc, etc. The same rules apply to most of the
      major search engines. One last thing, most of the search engines
      include an 'Advanced' search button, this will further allow
      inclusion / exclusion of certain terms, dates, etc.

      Hope the group finds this useful. It might be interesting to hear
      about any other 'unconventional' tips.

      Happy hunting!

      Bill Cowan

      http://www.family-history-scotland.co.uk
    • Kellie
      Thank you Bill, this was very helpful. I actually got a really good return for a change on a few of my news and web alerts with this also. On one of them I
      Message 2 of 2 , Jun 21, 2006
        Thank you Bill, this was very helpful. I actually got
        a really good return for a change on a few of my news
        and web alerts with this also. On one of them I look
        for a James Read...Well...it gave me alot of James'
        talking about reading something or the James being an
        author, ect...lol...not what I was looking for
        obviously. That is now majorly changed. Still haven't
        found the James Read that I am looking for...but
        now...I have a better chance when something does pop
        up.



        --- cwnbll <no_reply@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

        > At some point all family history research leads to a
        > 'dead end'
        > where leads just seem to dry up and many of the
        > posts to this group
        > relate to finding 'missing links'. I've had some
        > great success
        > using the following technique and I hope it helps
        > others.
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