Learn to do effective genealogy internet searches with the Easy Google Genealogy Searcher. Can't remember all the Google tricks you've heard for genealogy searching? Want to learn some things you probably had no idea Google could do? The Easy Genealogy Google Searcher puts advanced Google features on one page with suggested keywords and advice about how each feature is useful for genealogy searches.

Easy Google Genealogy Searcher

Learn all the possibilities Google offers for a genealogy search!

Google Genealogy Search

" " Use quotation marks before and after a single word or multi-word phrase that you want to appear exactly "as is" in your search results.
- Use a minus sign before words that you don't want to appear in your search results.

Search for genealogy surname websites

Use Google to search for websites that have a surname in the website title. This is particularly useful for:

  • Surnames that are also common English words such as Fox, Church, or Powers
  • Surnames that are also first names such as Thomas or James
  • Finding genealogy sites that are buried deep in Google results
Hint: The tilde or ~ gives Google results for synonyms of genealogy. Remove the tilde for more precise results.

Google Book Search


Search the full text of public domain books that Google has digitized. Download, save and print the book for free. These books include genealogy books, county history books, military books, municiple annual reports, and other out-of-copyright books that include the names of regular folks.

Google Newspaper Search (U.S.)


Search Google News for current obituaries or for stories about long-lost relatives, unknown cousins, or relatives in the armed services. Use the left column on the Google results page to limit results by date.

Google Search within a genealogy site or search excluding a site

Use the Google "only within" as a site search for one individual website. This is particularly useful if a web site doesn't have its own search engine.

Use the Google "excluding" to exclude a site from your search results. This may be useful if you have already searched a site, or appears to dominate the search results. Example: passenger lists excluding rootsweb.com

Search for sites that are similar to


Find webpages on the same topic

If you find a website about the topic you are researching and want to find more like it, you can use Google to search for similar sites.

For example, you have found a cemetery directory site, but it doesn't have the cemetery you are looking for, use the "similar sites search" to find other cemetery directory sites to expand your search.

Search for Gedcom Files


Use Google to search for Gedcom Files. A GEDCOM, (short for GEnealogical Data COMmunication), is type of file created by genealogy programs. While many websites have converted Gedcom files to a readable format, there are still many websites with gedcom files that have not!

Warning: These files may open in your genealogy program. Open them as a new file. DO NOT MERGE WITH YOUR GENEALOGY FILE.

Search the US newsgroups for genealogy queries


Google Groups are the archives of newsgroups where you can search for old surname, location, military, research, or other queries.

Since Google Groups archive ALL newsgroup archives and not just genealogy, add the word genealogy to the search box after your ancestor's name to limit your searches to genealogy newsgroups.

Search for definitions of genealogical words


Search Google's Dictionary to find meanings for old-fashioned words and acronyms.

Google Calculator for genealogy uses


Calculate age or do distance conversions from old-fashioned terminology. If you know someone's age from the 1930 census, use Google's calculator to determine an approximate year of birth. Enter [ 1930 - 75 ]

Or when reading an old will which describes a farm of 119 rods by 27 rods, you can use Google's calculator to convert rods to yards or miles so you can visualize just how big (or small) the farm really was.

Sample calculator entries:
1930 - 75
119 rods in yards
119 rods in miles

Search for genealogy images


Specify filetype:
Specify size:

Search images for photo of ancestor, tombstone, church, ancestral hometown, original documents, immigrant ship, or ancestor's tools of trade.

Search by location

Search terms
i. e. cemetery or church

Save location

US address, city & state, or zip

i. e. Philadelphia 19111
or Philadelphia
or 19111

Want to know where all the cemeteries are in a particular town? Enter cemetery into the search terms box, and the town and state into the location box. You can search for Methodist Churches in a town, or Catholic cemeteries, or newspapers, libraries, and historical societies, etc.

Google search by location might be useful to help locate the nearest church to where you ancestors lived. No need to know the name of the church to find it. The caveat for genealogists is that the current churches, cemeteries, newspapers you will get from the search results may not be in the same names or location as 100 years ago.

Google Search for a US street map:

Pinpoint a location of an ancestral address, then find nearby churches, schools, or historical societies.

To Locate Latitude and Longitude

  • Type address into the Google Maps search box or locate area by browsing.
  • Right-click on the spot on the map to bring up the menu.
  • In the menu, choose What’s here?.
  • Click on the green arrow to get the latitude and longitude coordinates.
  • Copy and paste.

Google search by language and country



Search for web pages that are only from the country and its language where you are researching eliminating many irrelevant results.

Google translate text:



Translate a genealogy web page:


Google search by family tree

Google Operators:

  • -     Use a minus sign before a keyword that you do not want to appear in your search results.

  • ~    Use the tilde sign before words for search results that include synonyms. (genealogy, ancestry, family tree).

  • "     Place a first name and last name between double quotes to search for exact occurences of the name. Place location names of 2 or more words in quotes; i.e. "new york".

  • OR   Use the OR operand to receive results that contain one of the query words or phrases.

  • *     Use the asterisk as a wild card; i.e. for a middle name.

  • ...     Use a number range search to match any one year in a range of years, i.e. 1700...1750

  • allintitle:   Google will restrict the results to those with all of the query words in the title. For instance, [allintitle: smith genealogy] will return only documents that have both "smith" and "genealogy" in the title of the webpage.