Google Search: Using + , – , * and ? in genealogy searches

Here is a great tip from on of my favorite genealogy blogs! Maybe this will help you find that one elusive relative that you’ve been searching for!

Old Bones Genealogy of New England

OK, let’s continue the search for the mysterious John Smith. The previous hint initially found 228 million entries for the simple search for John Smith. That’s a few more than anyone would be prepared to search through page by page. The we pared that down using “John Smith” and further by using “John Smith ~genealogy.

So here’s the problem with “John Smith”. If John is out there on the internet with either a middle initial or a full middle name, this simple search for “John Smith” with question marks isn’t going to work to find them.

What do we do? The * and ? and other search tools are called “operators”. The * ~ and ? are all operators as well as + and -.

If John MIGHT have a middle name, here’s what you do: “John * Smith” ~genealogy. That search will return 208,000 responses, more that the 111,000…

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