Recently I’ve been searching for additional information about one of my family branches. My default search engine is Microsoft’s Bing. Usually, I’m happy with the search results but sometimes I cannot find a site that I’ve seen before (and forgot to bookmark or save to favorites.) This has reminded me that I should be leveraging other tools to see what else is out there. Each database search result is slightly different. Let’s look.
If you go to popular sites like Cyndi’s List, you can find a list of various search tools: Cyndi's List - Search Engines - Genealogy Search Engines (cyndislist.com). We know some of the major search engines like Google or Bing but there are some hidden gems out there that will help us search more effectively.
GenealogyPlace.com - The Ultimate Genealogy Search Engine – This search engine looks for results from Google, Bing, and Yahoo. And it also categorizes so that you can look at ‘everything’ on the web, other genealogy sites, pedigrees, forums & queries, or major web pages. Is it perfect? No. But it does bring up interesting search results that you might not readily find just using the major search engines. There is so much available data online that this gives you a better chance of finding what you’re looking for in the initial search results…instead of ten pages later.
Wayback Machine (archive.org) This search engine is useful as a search tool for archived web sites. It might be most useful when searching a particular location or topic rather than an individual or if you remember a partial name of the site.
Surname Finder - Genealogy Specific Search Engine This engine does what it says…helps you search for surnames. My first endeavor of searching for the last name of “Kutzer” brought me to this site which gave a brief history of the name plus a few links to try related to the Kutzer surname. Here’s a link with the results I got: The Kutzer Genealogy and Family Tree Page (genealogytoday.com)
In addition to searching for our ancestors in these search engines, it helps to be thoughtful about what we enter in the search line. Here are some standard tips for filtering to get the best result by Bob Flissers: How to Find Anything Online With Advanced Search Techniques (tutsplus.com) Even though written a number of years ago, the information is still helpful and should help you fine tune the results.
There are many more search engine tips/ideas out there, but these should give you some additional tools to search your family surname and ancestors. Have fun as you search for hidden treasures online.
With a lifelong passion for genealogy and history, the author enjoys the opportunity to share genealogy tidbits, inspiring others to research and write their family story.