GenealogyBank Quick Links
Hacks and Shortcuts:
- ? substitutes for one character
- * substitutes for up to five characters
- AND searches for both terms (Smith AND Jones).
- OR searches for either term (Smith OR Jones).
- NEARx searches for two terms within a specified number of words of each other, in any order (Smith NEAR2 Jones).
- ADJx searches for two terms within a specified number of words of each other, in exactly that order (Smith ADJ2 Jones).
- Enclose a phrase in quotation marks to search for exactly that phrase.
- Search operators and quotation marks can be combined within a single search, in the Include Keywords and/or Exclude keywords boxes (“Tufts University” NEAR3 Smith). Combine search logic by using parentheses: “Tufts University” NEAR3 (Smith OR Jones).
Key search strategies
- Start with a broad search—maybe just the last name, especially in America’s Obituaries—and then refine your search.
- Use the Include search box to narrow your search by keywords such as place names, occupations, organizations, employers or other relatives’ names.
- Use the Exclude search box to weed out false hits from names used in common phrases, places not associated with your family and family lines that aren’t yours.
- You can enter dates and date ranges in any combination of month, day and year (1812 or June 1812 or June 3, 1812), but the search engine doesn’t recognize terms such as “after” and “before.” Remember, an event may not appear in print until some time after it occurred.
- Making a repeat visit? Use the Content Since drop-down to search only historical newspapers added since your last search.
- Use wildcards to catch alternate spellings and allow for OCR oddities.
- Try searching on an ancestor’s address or street name.
From the December 2009 Family Tree Magazine