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Jordan Jones GenealogyMedia.Com jordan@genealogymedia.com Craven County Genealogical Society  13 May 2008 Smart Internet Searching for Genealogists
ONE MUST START WITH A DISCUSSION OF ACCESS … 1 – Access: Search and Navigation
The Librarian’s Definition © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com  3 “The availability of or permission to use records.”  – Archives & Records Management Handbook, Oregon State U., http://osulibrary.oregonstate.edu/archives/handbook/definitions/ “… the purpose of librarianship – enabling people to identify, locate, and use the information that will meet their … needs.” – The Information Professional’s Glossary, SIRLS, Arizona State U., http://www.sir.arizona.edu/resources/glossary.html
The Web Technologist’s Definition © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com  4 ,[object Object]
As of 2005, there were more than 11.5 billion web pages (http://www.cs.uiowa.edu/~asignori/web-size/). 	So how do you access the genealogical information you’re looking for?
Web Access © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com  5 Navigation – That is, clicking through a pre-defined path in a website to find the information you need.   	A good navigation path is like a searchlight in fog. Search – Search is especially helpful:  If you do not even know what website to use, or  If you need to find information on a website and do not know how to navigate to the information.
Search Types © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com  6 There are two kinds of search: ,[object Object]
Database search – Words are searched against particular fields in a database, such as “surname” or “state” (Ancestry, SteveMorse.org,  NewspaperArchive, Footnote)	It’s important to keep in mind which kind of search you’re performing. A full-text search will not know a surname from any other collection of characters.
Design for Access © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com  7 	A good web designer will focus on improving customer success through both paths (search and navigation) to the information
There are several kinds of search … © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com  8 2 – Search
How Search Engines Work © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com  9 ,[object Object]
IndexingThe search engine creates and manages
CachingSome web search applications (such as Google) store caches of all the pages they crawl
RankingLinks delivered are ranked in terms of relevance, popularity, authoritativeness and other criteria: The Secret Sauce.,[object Object]
PhraseFind pages that include “Jane Graham”.Google: “Search Phrase”.
ProximityFind pages where “Jane” is near “Graham”.Google: Term1 * Term2 OR Term2 * Term1 (where * = up to 2 words)
BooleanAND / OR / NOTGoogle: “Jane Graham” OR “Graham, Jane”,[object Object]
More Advanced Searches  © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com  12 Exclude WordFind pages that don’t include a particular word. Google: –SearchTerm Exclude PhraseFind pages that don’t include a particular phrase. Google: -“Search Phrase” Exclude Specific Site Find pages, but exclude a specific site.Google: -site:www.sitename.com  Soundex – Available on many genealogy websites, and not only for census records.
Methodologies	 © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com  13 Look for advanced search pages Read search guidelines on the site Experiment If you don’t find what you’re looking for, map out strategies for more specific searches In other words, plan your more complex Internet searches the way you’d plan a trip to a major repository
Most Sites Have Search Tips © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com  14 Read the Tips
Using Google to its Potential © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com  15 3 – A Sample Search
Finding Jane Graham © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com  16 Facts: Jane Graham, was born in 1811 and died unmarried in 1854. She lived her life in Monroe County, VA (now WV). 	Q: How do I search for her on Google? A: By increasing the specificity of my search.
Jane Graham (402,000) © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com  17
“Jane Graham” (35,600) © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com  18
“Jane Graham” “Monroe County” (446) © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com  19
“Jane Graham” “Monroe County” 1854 (160) © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com  20
“Jane Graham” “Monroe County” 1811..1854 (39) © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com  21
Site-specific search on Google, and searches at Newspaperarchive.com, footnote © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com  22 4 – Additional Search Examples
Searching a Specific Site on Google © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com  23 Say I want to know all of the mentions of the surname “Gregg” on the US GenNet site for Nance County, NE http://www.usgennet.org/usa/ne/county/nance/ How do I do this? ,[object Object],Gregg site:www.usgennet.org/usa/ne/county/nance/
Results of the Site-Specific Search © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com  24
NewspaperArchive.com Basic Search © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com  25 “Jane Graham”
NewspaperArchive.com Basic Search Results © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com  26 3,251 hits
NewspaperArchive.com Advanced Search © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com  27 “Jane Graham” 1853-1855
NewspaperArchive.com Advanced Search Results © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com  28
F00tnote.com Basic Search Results © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com  29 36,602 Hits
Footnote Advanced Search © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com  30 Name, Date Range, and Specific Collection
Footnote Advanced Search Results © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com  31
Stephen P. Morse’s One-Step Web Pages © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com  32 No discussion of internet search for genealogists would be complete without a discussion of Stephen Morse’s One-Step Web Pages at:   http://www.stevemorse.org/ Morse uses “deep linking” to skip past multiple search pages and get directly to the content. One great example is that the One-Step site allows you to search Ancestry (if you have an account) with surnames of fewer than 3 letters. It does this by sending 26 searches for each letter you don’t specify.
The Morse Controversy © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com  33 Some web managers have either blocked the One-Step pages or merely protested their side-effects. The pages can limit a site’s ad revenue, as people skip pages with ads on their way to the information they seek. The pages can cause a lot of traffic to come to a website, either by making it easy to submit what are essentially multiple requests with one click, or by providing better advertising than some smaller sites have received. I’ll have more about this site in an answer to a question submitted.
Resolution © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com  34 The One-Step pages are a benefit to researchers Morse has been able to work out most disputes, except with some larger companies. (And some sites have used his methods to improve their search capabilities.)
Responses to questions received in advance … © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com  35 Questions
Page Modification Dates © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com  36 Q: How can I know when a given web page was last updated?  ,[object Object],[object Object]
Google Page Date Result © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com  38
A Caveat About “Page Date” Searches on Google © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com  39 Stephen Morse points out that Google is really tracking when they indexed a page, not when the page was last modified.  Probably a better search for the age of a web page is Stephen Morse’s :  http://stevemorse.org/google/googledate.html
Web Translation © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com  40 Q: Are there any good web sites to help translate web pages written in another language? There are good sites in German but I can’t find a source to help me translate what they are saying. A: There are several, though all are limited since real translation requires a human touch. http://www.google.com/translate_t http://babelfish.altavista.com/ http://translation2.paralink.com/
Google Appliance © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com  41 Q: Godfrey Memorial Library has “Godfrey Search” on its Web site to search its databases. “Godfrey Search” is powered by an “appliance” provided by Google. What is an appliance and how does it differ from a general Google search? A: The Google Search appliance is a server computer that indexes content on a specific site.  	Direct Google searches are often better, when you have the option of either, but Google cannot crawl the Godfrey Library site because it’s subscription based.
The New FamilySearch © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com  42 Q: How will the New FamilySearch impact other free and paid web sites?  ,[object Object]
Content overlap
Rights and permissions issues	By the way, in case anyone could use an overview of the new FamilySearch, Wikipedia’s article provides a brief take on it:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FamilySearch#New_FamilySearch
Evaluation of Quality © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com  43 ,[object Object],	It is one thing if it is a scanned copy of a document, i.e. a census, but it is troublesome when you get family info off of some websites (I would say FamilySearch in particular) and the info is wrong-it appears it was obtained by someone and sent in to the Church.  On some sites there is no citation at all. Q: How do you evaluate the info on a website as to its veracity?   	It is one thing if it is a scanned copy of a document, i.e. a census, but it is troublesome when you get family info off of some websites (I would say FamilySearch in particular) and the info is wrong-it appears it was obtained by someone and sent in to the Church.  On some sites there is no citation at all. ,[object Object],	Any unsourced information – on the Internet or anywhere else – should be considered suspect, because the standard of proof requires being able to reproduce and re-evaluate the research.
Narrowing Searches © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com  44 Q: How can one narrow a search if there is a really common name and you don’t know much? Conversely, if there is an unusual name but you can’t find anything, are there tricks of the trade? ,[object Object],	For both common and uncommon names, try alternate spellings. Something like Google only understands characters, not sounds. For my family, I have to look for Grimes as well as Graham, Leake as well as Lake.
Keeping Info © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com  45 Q:  How do you keep this info?   	I spent a long time (and lots of printer cartridges) copying things only to discover later it was not the relative in my Family Tree at all. Is there a good Internet organizational tool? A: 	There are a number of strategies. One thing I do up front is check the following:  Is the information sourced?    Does the information really connect to mine? If the information does not pass both tests, I may keep the link at del.icio.us (a link saving and sharing site) for later evaluation. 	Another strategy is to use a family tree program, such as TMG, that allows you to store contradictory pieces of information.
Pre-Ellis Island Immigrants © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com  46 How do you find immigration info on the internet for people who came to the US way before Ellis Island if you do not know what ship they came on or what port they came to  (and if they have a very common name)? ,[object Object],	You will need to perform multiple searches. I recommend Steven Morse’s site. It will allow you to search on more fields. You can also switch arrival ports to facilitate searching for the same passenger arriving in different ports. (Some searches require subscriptions.)

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Smart Internet Searching for Genealogists

  • 1. Jordan Jones GenealogyMedia.Com jordan@genealogymedia.com Craven County Genealogical Society 13 May 2008 Smart Internet Searching for Genealogists
  • 2. ONE MUST START WITH A DISCUSSION OF ACCESS … 1 – Access: Search and Navigation
  • 3. The Librarian’s Definition © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com 3 “The availability of or permission to use records.” – Archives & Records Management Handbook, Oregon State U., http://osulibrary.oregonstate.edu/archives/handbook/definitions/ “… the purpose of librarianship – enabling people to identify, locate, and use the information that will meet their … needs.” – The Information Professional’s Glossary, SIRLS, Arizona State U., http://www.sir.arizona.edu/resources/glossary.html
  • 4.
  • 5. As of 2005, there were more than 11.5 billion web pages (http://www.cs.uiowa.edu/~asignori/web-size/). So how do you access the genealogical information you’re looking for?
  • 6. Web Access © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com 5 Navigation – That is, clicking through a pre-defined path in a website to find the information you need. A good navigation path is like a searchlight in fog. Search – Search is especially helpful: If you do not even know what website to use, or If you need to find information on a website and do not know how to navigate to the information.
  • 7.
  • 8. Database search – Words are searched against particular fields in a database, such as “surname” or “state” (Ancestry, SteveMorse.org, NewspaperArchive, Footnote) It’s important to keep in mind which kind of search you’re performing. A full-text search will not know a surname from any other collection of characters.
  • 9. Design for Access © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com 7 A good web designer will focus on improving customer success through both paths (search and navigation) to the information
  • 10. There are several kinds of search … © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com 8 2 – Search
  • 11.
  • 12. IndexingThe search engine creates and manages
  • 13. CachingSome web search applications (such as Google) store caches of all the pages they crawl
  • 14.
  • 15. PhraseFind pages that include “Jane Graham”.Google: “Search Phrase”.
  • 16. ProximityFind pages where “Jane” is near “Graham”.Google: Term1 * Term2 OR Term2 * Term1 (where * = up to 2 words)
  • 17.
  • 18. More Advanced Searches © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com 12 Exclude WordFind pages that don’t include a particular word. Google: –SearchTerm Exclude PhraseFind pages that don’t include a particular phrase. Google: -“Search Phrase” Exclude Specific Site Find pages, but exclude a specific site.Google: -site:www.sitename.com Soundex – Available on many genealogy websites, and not only for census records.
  • 19. Methodologies © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com 13 Look for advanced search pages Read search guidelines on the site Experiment If you don’t find what you’re looking for, map out strategies for more specific searches In other words, plan your more complex Internet searches the way you’d plan a trip to a major repository
  • 20. Most Sites Have Search Tips © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com 14 Read the Tips
  • 21. Using Google to its Potential © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com 15 3 – A Sample Search
  • 22. Finding Jane Graham © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com 16 Facts: Jane Graham, was born in 1811 and died unmarried in 1854. She lived her life in Monroe County, VA (now WV). Q: How do I search for her on Google? A: By increasing the specificity of my search.
  • 23. Jane Graham (402,000) © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com 17
  • 24. “Jane Graham” (35,600) © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com 18
  • 25. “Jane Graham” “Monroe County” (446) © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com 19
  • 26. “Jane Graham” “Monroe County” 1854 (160) © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com 20
  • 27. “Jane Graham” “Monroe County” 1811..1854 (39) © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com 21
  • 28. Site-specific search on Google, and searches at Newspaperarchive.com, footnote © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com 22 4 – Additional Search Examples
  • 29.
  • 30. Results of the Site-Specific Search © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com 24
  • 31. NewspaperArchive.com Basic Search © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com 25 “Jane Graham”
  • 32. NewspaperArchive.com Basic Search Results © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com 26 3,251 hits
  • 33. NewspaperArchive.com Advanced Search © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com 27 “Jane Graham” 1853-1855
  • 34. NewspaperArchive.com Advanced Search Results © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com 28
  • 35. F00tnote.com Basic Search Results © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com 29 36,602 Hits
  • 36. Footnote Advanced Search © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com 30 Name, Date Range, and Specific Collection
  • 37. Footnote Advanced Search Results © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com 31
  • 38. Stephen P. Morse’s One-Step Web Pages © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com 32 No discussion of internet search for genealogists would be complete without a discussion of Stephen Morse’s One-Step Web Pages at: http://www.stevemorse.org/ Morse uses “deep linking” to skip past multiple search pages and get directly to the content. One great example is that the One-Step site allows you to search Ancestry (if you have an account) with surnames of fewer than 3 letters. It does this by sending 26 searches for each letter you don’t specify.
  • 39. The Morse Controversy © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com 33 Some web managers have either blocked the One-Step pages or merely protested their side-effects. The pages can limit a site’s ad revenue, as people skip pages with ads on their way to the information they seek. The pages can cause a lot of traffic to come to a website, either by making it easy to submit what are essentially multiple requests with one click, or by providing better advertising than some smaller sites have received. I’ll have more about this site in an answer to a question submitted.
  • 40. Resolution © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com 34 The One-Step pages are a benefit to researchers Morse has been able to work out most disputes, except with some larger companies. (And some sites have used his methods to improve their search capabilities.)
  • 41. Responses to questions received in advance … © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com 35 Questions
  • 42.
  • 43. Google Page Date Result © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com 38
  • 44. A Caveat About “Page Date” Searches on Google © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com 39 Stephen Morse points out that Google is really tracking when they indexed a page, not when the page was last modified. Probably a better search for the age of a web page is Stephen Morse’s : http://stevemorse.org/google/googledate.html
  • 45. Web Translation © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com 40 Q: Are there any good web sites to help translate web pages written in another language? There are good sites in German but I can’t find a source to help me translate what they are saying. A: There are several, though all are limited since real translation requires a human touch. http://www.google.com/translate_t http://babelfish.altavista.com/ http://translation2.paralink.com/
  • 46. Google Appliance © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com 41 Q: Godfrey Memorial Library has “Godfrey Search” on its Web site to search its databases. “Godfrey Search” is powered by an “appliance” provided by Google. What is an appliance and how does it differ from a general Google search? A: The Google Search appliance is a server computer that indexes content on a specific site. Direct Google searches are often better, when you have the option of either, but Google cannot crawl the Godfrey Library site because it’s subscription based.
  • 47.
  • 49. Rights and permissions issues By the way, in case anyone could use an overview of the new FamilySearch, Wikipedia’s article provides a brief take on it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FamilySearch#New_FamilySearch
  • 50.
  • 51.
  • 52. Keeping Info © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com 45 Q: How do you keep this info?  I spent a long time (and lots of printer cartridges) copying things only to discover later it was not the relative in my Family Tree at all. Is there a good Internet organizational tool? A: There are a number of strategies. One thing I do up front is check the following: Is the information sourced?   Does the information really connect to mine? If the information does not pass both tests, I may keep the link at del.icio.us (a link saving and sharing site) for later evaluation. Another strategy is to use a family tree program, such as TMG, that allows you to store contradictory pieces of information.
  • 53.
  • 54.
  • 55.
  • 56. Other Search / Navigation Sites of Note Google Book Search – http://books.google.com/ Google Scholar – http://scholar.google.com/ Google Patent Search – http://www.google.com/patents?hl=en Linkpendium – http://www.linkpendium.com/ Internet Archive (Way Back Machine) – http://www.archive.org/web/web.php WorldCat – http://www.worldcat.org/ Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/ esp. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_carolina © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com 51
  • 57. “See also” from Wikipedia Article on NC © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com 52
  • 58. Jordan Jones jordan@genealogymedia.com These slides, and the handout, are available at: http://www.genealogymedia.com/talks/ © 2008 GenealogyMedia.com 53 Contact