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Insight #7 - Search by Associated Facts

At the beginning of this article, we talked about the fact that a name is just a label for a search engine. As a result, when searching for your ancestor, consider using labels other than names. You can do this by looking for associated facts about your ancestor to help narrow down your search pattern. A good place to start is to list places where your ancestor lived. Many genealogy records have a place associated with the record. This would include birth records, marriage records, death records, cemetery records and many newspaper articles.

For example, if you are looking for John Smith and you know that John Smith was from Boston, then consider using the following type of search.

john smith boston

Incidentally, you don’t need to insert the comma between the name and the place. The Genealogy Search Engine (and Google) ignore such punctuation. You only need to insert the comma if you want to improve the readability of what you have entered. See A Guide to Performing Online Genealogy Searches for more tips.


Insight #8 – Focus on the Unusual

In the example listed above, there are many John Smiths from Boston. How do you find the John Smith that you want? A great technique is to focus your search efforts on the unusual and least common attributes about your ancestor. For example, if you happen to know the name of the cemetery where your ancestor was buried, you could try searching for <john smith, cemetery name>. Unusual labels are easier for search engines to find than common labels.

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