Does this Google Custom Search help find records about your ancestors?

[I’ve added an update to this original post here:]

I hesitate posting this prematurely, but I welcome some initial feedback from the genealogy community on a search form that I’ve built.

I’ve built an “AncestorSearch” Google Custom Search form on my blog that I’ve been using to find records on my own ancestors, and it’s worked pretty well for me so far over the last several weeks.  I’m choosing to share it now in case others find it useful as well.  Basically, this AncestorSearch search form attempts to filter through much of the irrelevant noise on the web and return a much more focused set of results which are more likely to be about the ancestors you are looking for.

For example, I was searching for my 3rd great grandparents’ marriage using Google, and entered the search term as follows:

Mary Diamond OR Dimond Peter Connor OR Conner New Orleans 1850 marriage

The search returned 21,300 results, none of which were relevant to my ancestors in page after page of search results.

I then entered the same search terms into the boxes in my AncestorSearch search form, and the search returned 4 results, with the 1st result being the marriage record I was looking for!  (Now it returns 5 results, as the AncestorSearch page itself has been indexed by Google)

Now, to be clear, there’s no magic here.  All I’ve done with the search form is use some Google operators and search techniques such as “OR”/”|”, quoted phrases, checking both orders of first name and last name, etc.  You can do the same thing yourself by entering the following into the standard Google search box, but it’s a bit more cumbersome:

((“Mary Diamond”|”Diamond, Mary”)|(“Mary Dimond”|”Dimond, Mary”)) ((“Peter Connor”|”Connor, Peter”)|(“Peter Conner”|”Conner, Peter”)) “New Orleans” (marriage|married|marriages) (1849|1850|1851)

If you’re interested, give it a shot and see if this AncestorSearch Google Custom Search form is useful for you for finding a more focused set of results for some of your ancestors:

I welcome any feedback.

[I’ve added an update to this original post here:]

6 thoughts on “Does this Google Custom Search help find records about your ancestors?”

  1. I just tried several couples, and came up empty save for a cached version of a gedcom of my family for which I supplied the original information. I don't know what I expected, but surely more than I got. Seems as if you are going to get results, you will, but if not, well, even this tool won't bring them up :) I guess the point is narrowing the field.

  2. I used the form last night trying to fill in some blank spots in my family information. I immediately got search results that helped me. This really speeds up the process. Thanks so much.

  3. Saw your link at Genea-Musings. Your search worked very well, it found several more book mentions of my ancestors that I had not seen before. Thank you. Is their a way to add a "not" to your search? For example I was looking for Winchester surname but didn't want Winchester Rifles.

  4. I tried my two set of great grandparents. It worked well in narrowing down the hits, but all I found were blog posts and queries posted by me on the ancestry forums.

    I think it will work well for people.

  5. I just played with this as part of Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy fun. It's very convenient. I have it bookmarked so I'll keep playing with it. Thank you.

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