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Million Short: A Different Kind of Search Engine

 

At GenealogyInTime Magazine, we are always looking for creative and innovative ways to help people find their ancestors. In this article, we review a search engine called Million Short. It is specifically designed to search less popular websites on the internet. This can be very useful when searching for ancestral records or living relatives.

Search engines like Google are wonderful for anyone wanting to perform standard searches. Google has an amazing ability to cover the depth and breadth of the internet. It is a major reason why so many people depend upon it. Google also has a real knack for always providing the most popular search results first. What happens, however, if you are looking for something that is not popular, like ancestral records or obscure historic documents?

Ancestral records are essentially archived records and, as discussed in the article Five New Google Search Tricks, archived records generally do not figure prominently on the internet. This can be an issue if a genealogist uses a popular search engine like Google to search for the less popular.

In the past, there were only two ways around this open-ended search problem:

• Search for ancestors using the Google Advanced Search function. This provides a more customized search query that can result in more customized search results.

• Use a dedicated genealogy search engine. The two most popular genealogy search engines on the internet are the free Genealogy Search Engine and the subscription website Mocavo, which also has a free component.

There are of course other ways to find ancestral records on the internet. Large websites dedicated to ancestral records such as FamilySearch and Ancestry are the most popular means for finding ancestors. There are also many dedicated family tree and genealogy forum websites on the internet. Finally, there are various email list groups dedicated to various ancestral groups and regions. A good starting point in your research is to read the article Top 100 Most Popular Genealogy Websites.

Now there is a third way to perform searches on the internet for ancestors and living relatives. It is called Million Short. It is a search engine that specializes in searching less-common websites. Million Short is ideal for anyone looking for ancestral records because archived ancestral records are often found in the obscure corners of the internet.

The name Million Short derives from the fact that this search engine basically ignores the 1 million most popular websites on the internet. Instead, it focuses on less-common websites. It specializes in what are known as long-tail searches, which focusses on the obscure and the uncommon. Many genealogy records are obscure and uncommon.

Estimates suggest there are over 100 million websites on the internet, with some estimates placing the number at close to 200 million websites. Traffic on the internet, however, is not evenly distributed. The internet is very much a popularity contest. The top 1 million websites account for the vast lion’s share of traffic. Google search results focus on the most popular results from the most popular websites. This is the basis of the famous Google PageRank Algorithm that helped cement Google's reputation. In other words, Google results favor the most popular websites, which can work against genealogists looking for unpopular records. This is where Million Short can help.

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