Google Limitations on Genealogy Searches
In our article How to Use Google Advanced Search for Genealogy we discussed the advantages of using the Google Advanced Search function. Here is another reason: Google quietly limits search results to a maximum of two listings per website per page. This hidden limit is a significant issue that every genealogist needs to know and understand.
For example, suppose you are looking for an ancestor and you suspect that most of the records are on the FamilySearch.org website. If you perform a standard Google search, a maximum of two listings from FamilySearch.org will appear on every Google search result page.
This subtle issue can trip up a genealogist looking for ancestral records because you can think you have done a complete search on Google when in fact you have not. The reason why is that ancestral records for an individual are not randomly scattered across the internet. They tend to cluster, often on just one or two websites.
The two listing limit per website per page means that you may have to look through many more Google search results pages than you might think to fully satisfy yourself that you have covered all the possibilities.
To demonstrate the issue, try the following simple exercise:
• Do a Google search for “GenealogyInTime”. This is a targetted search for a specific item, in this case our magazine.
• Notice the first listings is for GenealogyInTime Magazine, which is what you would expect.
• Now notice the rest of the listings on the page are from other websites talking about GenealogyInTime Magazine. The listings are not actually from our website, as shown below.