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Million Short: A Different Kind of Search Engine


GenealogyInTime Magazine continues its tradition of coming up with creative and innovative ways to help people find their ancestors. In this article, we review a new search engine called Million Short that is specifically designed to search for less popular items on the internet. It provides a brand new way to search for ancestral records and 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, which 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 a problem if popular search engines are used to search for the less popular.

In the past, there were essentially 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. (see How to Use Google Advanced Search for Genealogy)

• Use a dedicated genealogy search engine. The two most popular genealogy search engines on the internet are the free Genealogy Search Engine and the somewhat-free Mocavo.

There are, of course, other ways to find ancestral records on the internet that do not require using search engines to look across multiple websites. 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 your ancestors. 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. Basically, it specializes in what are known as long-tail searches, which focusses on the obscure and the uncommon. Many genealogy records are obscure.

Most estimates suggest there are over 100 million websites on the internet and some estimates place the number at over 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 on the internet. 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 make Google the most popular search engine). Thus, Google results tend to be clustered around the one million most popular websites.

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