Search Engine And Research
Tips & Techniques
I enjoy research and thought I would share some random thoughts,
tips & techniques with you. It can be difficult to use the amount of
information a search engine such as Google can provide. After entering in a name
or tem you may be overwhelmed by the sheer number of results, often several
million. Narrow down your results by selectively using key words, and you
can often drill down and find exactly what you were searching for. In my
examples, I will use my last name, "Pendleton", since that is what I
am usually searching for, so remember to substitute your name while searching.
These tips can apply to genealogy, hobbies, travel & vacations, or almost
anything else you are researching.
"Pendleton" in a Google search
yields over 2,500,000 results, while "Pendleton Family History" drops
to only 236,000 results. "Pendleton Genealogy Research" returns
20,900 results. "Pendleton Genealogy Research WV" drops to 5,980
results. "Pendleton Genealogy Research WV Fayette County" only
returns 1070 results.
When planning your vacation use different
keywords. For example, "Las Vegas" followed by
"vacation, hotels, lodging, trips, shows, casinos, information,
schedules" (use only one keyword at a time) will help narrow down your
Many libraries, colleges, government agencies
and genealogy societies have a great deal of information which is indexed on
the internet. By using the word, "Archive" you will often
find these types of information. When searching for "Pendleton papers
archive" you can choose from over 70,000 results. "Pendleton
Archive" gives over 230,000 results. "Pendleton Family Papers WV
Archive" drops to only about 900 results.
After receiving your initial results from a
search, read the descriptions and using keywords you see there, try another
search to narrow down your results.
Before you purchase an item, search for the
brand name but also use the word, "reviews". There are several
websites where people can review almost anything and you will often find
several useful reviews. For example, I recently purchased a new scanner. By
searching the reviews I knew most of the strengths & weaknesses before I
even ordered it.
Before I purchased a used car, by doing a
search using the model name of the particular car and the word,
"Problems" I was able to see how dependable that model tended to
There is a research resource which has been
around since long before the internet was invented (I have been using this
option for almost 30 years). It is the reference desk at your local library.
It is staffed by women & men (actual live people you can talk to!) who
are knowledgeable about what resources are available on almost any subject.
They are helpful, friendly and just waiting for you to ask them a question.
*Note for those who have forgotten- Libraries are buildings full of books,
magazines, maps, microfilm, microfiche, documents, etc... which contain millions of megabytes of
information, most of which is stored on something called,
"shelves" not on hard drives. (if you are under 25 years old, you
may be amazed to learn that not everything is on the internet).
When using your browser on the internet, you
can hold the "CTRL" or Control key, the letter "F" and
it will launch the Find Window. Use this to find the word you are searching
for on a page.
Google provides tips on advanced search at Advanced
Search Made Easy and they also use what they call. "Advanced
When Google gives you results, under the
description you will often see a link, "Cached". When you click on
that, you will get a page with your search terms highlighted. On extremely
large pages, this will simplify your search.
Google is a trademark of Google, Inc, Mountain View, CA.
tips © Bruce Pendleton.