Robert Ragan here…Earlier today, I sent out the October issue of
Treasure Maps Genealogy Newsletter. If you got that email with no
problem, please excuse this follow up email. There are two
corrections I need to make.
– The subject line of the earlier email had a typo and mentioned
the "September" issue. Of course, it is really the October issue.
– The newsletter was pretty long this month and I have discovered
that some readers did not get it because of the length. So, I am
sending out this shorter email version. This month’s main lesson is
an important one. Here it is…
Thanks 😉 Robert
The feature lesson in this month’s issue truly is a "must-see."
Here is a solution to the most common problem I have been asked
about over the years – The frustration of trying to find your
ancestors that have common surnames (last names). For example:
Smith, Jones, Green, Brown, White, Hill, Bell, Wood, etc.
You will want to PRINT this issue, then sit down and TRY the search
methods that I am sharing with you today, for yourself.
This lesson is more than a Google research method. It is also about
a shift in what I call your "Research Mindset". Unless you have
already seen this in one of my genealogy courses, 99% of you will
think to yourselves, "Hey, I didn’t know this…Wonderful!"
SPECIAL MUST-SEE LESSON: "How to Google
Your Ancestors with COMMON Surnames"
Recently, I taught some of my genealogy "Search Engine Secrets"
(this phrase comes from one of my most popular genealogy courses –
see http://amberskyline.com/searchsecrets/ ) to a church group,
right here in my small Mayberry-like town. It was nice to teach
"live" again and see people get excited as the lessons unfolded.
Especially since I know most of the people who were there.
Their ages ranged from people in their 30s to 70s. All are very
smart. Some are leaders in the community and business world, and
others are business owners. I am taking time to mention this
NOT ONE of them knew the Google genealogy research methods that I
shared with them. After the event, I’ve heard even more positive
feedback from some of them. The experience changed their whole
outlook about doing research on the Internet, and caused that
"shift" in their Research Mindset.
This is what I call "flipping a switch" – just like flipping a
light switch and turning on the lights. When I started the
training, this is exactly what I told the group I was going to do
to them. Afterwards, I asked them if their switch had been flipped
and the lights had come on. They all answered with a resounding and
Now It Is Time to Start the Shift
in YOUR Research Mindset…
Here’s one of the concepts/methods from my "Search Engine Secrets
Made Easy for Genealogy Researchers" course that will serve you
* PROBLEM: You do a Google search for one of your ancestors with a
common surname (like Smith, Jones, Green, etc.) and get an
overwhelming amount of useless results, results that have nothing
to do with what you are looking for, or both.
Here are some examples:
– Long-time Treasure Maps reader, Lynds Staring said: "You may
remember that I have a lot of trouble with the ‘common word
surname’ STARING. Example Result for the Staring surname: ‘Staring
at the stars.’ At any rate, I would like to try again." (Lynds
– You search for information about the family tree of the surname
GREEN, and get tons of scientific and horticulture results about
green trees and plant life, etc.
ANOTHER LITTLE-KNOWN PROBLEM: Google is getting better and better,
so you may get relevant results when you do a search for these
ancestors with common surnames. Also, you may already know that
adding the keyword genealogy to a Google search (Example: smith
genealogy) will indeed bring back decent results.
The problem is that people will do a search, see some results, and
think that is ALL there is. They think to themselves, "Well, I
looked it up on Google – didn’t find much." The truth is, they have
barely scratched the surface and are walking away from a wealth of
information that they could have found if they knew how to really
use Google (and other search engines).
* SOLUTION: With this searching for common surnames problem, the
solution is to look for INDIVIDUAL ancestor’s names (instead
focusing on the surname only) as an EXACT PHRASE. Here’s what I
There are different "search operators" you can use with Google that
make a huge difference in how effective your searches are. In this
case, QUOTATION MARKS is the search operator that let’s you search
– Example (try this with your name, too): I am going to do a Google
search on my name, Robert Ragan. Here’s what it looks like:
robert ragan (725,000 results)
There are a lot of results, and as I mentioned, Google will give
relevant results – and since I am all over the Internet with my
genealogy stuff, there are results about me in the top ten results
from this search.
However, there are thousands of results that have the keywords
‘robert’ and ‘ragan’ in them. But…these results may show
something like Robert Wilson and Mary Ragan. The two keywords will
not always be together.
– Exact Phrase Example: Now, when I put the keywords in QUOTATION
MARKS, it forces Google to search for the key words ‘robert ragan’
as an exact phrase. They will now be together in the Google
results. Here’s how it looks:
"robert ragan" (53,300 results)
Note that there are a lot less results. Remember, You can enter
exact PHRASES with your key words. But they have to be in quotation
marks. This forces the search engine to look for the EXACT phrase,
no matter how many key words are in it.
There are a lot of Robert Ragan’s in the world. What if you were
looking for yours truly, from Treasure Maps Genealogy fame? Here is
a Google search you might try:
"robert ragan" "treasure maps" (2,130 results)
Note that there is a SECOND exact phrase in this search (and a lot
Examples of Searches for Ancestors with
Common Surnames with GENERAL KEYWORDS and
PLACE NAME KEYWORDS Using Exact Phrases
The ancestor we will look for in this example is Frank Jones from
Jones County, North Carolina.
Please note that this method will work for you with ANY ancestor
from ANY place. If they are on the Internet, this will help you
– The search…
"frank jones" genealogy
…may bring back results, but the chances are slim.
– People have trouble spelling the word ‘genealogy’ so they often
instead use ‘family tree.’ So this search…
"frank jones" "family tree"
…may also bring back decent results. Note that there are TWO
phrases in this search.
– You will get more specific results if you use PLACE NAMES in the
search. For example:
"frank jones" genealogy "jones county" "north carolina"
"frank jones" "family tree" "jones county" "north carolina"
I often use my ancestor Jonathan Ragan from Oglethorpe County,
Georgia as an example in different teaching exercises. The keyword
‘oglethorpe’ is all I need to use as a place name because it is so
In this example with Frank Jones in Jones County, if I used the
keywords jones and county WITHOUT the quotation marks, it would
bring back useless results with ‘jones’ on one part of the Web
page, and whatever ‘county’ on a different part of the page.
Also, there is the state South Carolina. By putting North Carolina
in quotation marks (as an exact phrases), it will bring back the
right place (North Carolina) in the Google search results.
– NOTE: Frank Jones has the middle name, ‘Leroy." So doing the same
exact searches (shown above) with the exact phrases in quotes will
be additional searches to try. Examples:
"frank leroy jones" genealogy "jones county" "north carolina"
"frank l. jones" genealogy "jones county" "north carolina"
* TRY THIS with YOUR ancestors: Pick an handful of your INDIVIDUAL
ancestors that have common surnames and do Google searches using
the quotation marks search operator. Be sure to use place names
(where they are from) as keywords in your searches.
As you see, the method is simple, but you have to stop and think a
minute about the keywords you will use in your Google searches.
Using this method can bring an end to a lot of your frustration
with you common-named ancestors and bring back very good results.
Did your mindset "shift" a little? There is a lot more to this, but
you can take this concept and run with it. Do you see things a
little differently now? I hope so. You have more to learn, so your
switch hasn’t been flipped yet – but maybe the light bulb in your
mind is getting a little brighter? 😉
Please do try these type of Google searches for yourself, with your
surnames. Carefully go over the lesson again if you need to.
* Will You Donate to the Treasure Maps Genealogy "Cause"?
Donate and I will send you my popular "Search Engine
Secrets Made Easy for Genealogy Researchers" course
Most of you know that the Treasure Maps site and email newsletter
have been around since 1995. Now, I have Treasure Map’s sister site
– GenealogyCompass.com going as well. We need your help and support
to keep these projects pulling forward, simple as that.
– If you donate $25 or more to "the cause" you will get the "Search
Engine Secrets Made Easy for Genealogy Researchers" course and I’ll
even pay the shipping, to wherever you are. This course is over TWO
HOURS of training, that comes on 3 CDs. These are videos that you
watch on your computer.
– If you can find it in your heart to donate more than $25 – that
would be a great blessing to us.
– You can read all the detail about the "Search Engine Secrets Made
Easy for Genealogy Researchers" course at:
"Search Engine Secrets" is an EXCLUSIVE GENEALOGY COURSE:
Google genealogy search methods that show you how-to find
your ancestors FREE, FAST and EASY on the Internet
There are actually two courses because on SES CD #3, you get this
ADDITIONAL BONUS COURSE: "How-to Use Many Free ‘Google Tools’ that
Genealogy Researchers Should Be Shouting from the Rooftops About."
If you can make a donation and help us out, you will get an
extremely valuable research tool that will change your online world
as you know it. The methods and skills you will learn in the Search
Engine Secrets Made Easy for Genealogy Researchers (Videos on CDs)
course are THAT powerful.
* Thank You – http://amberskyline.com/searchsecrets/
My Very Best to You and Yours,
P.O. Box 372
North Manchester, IN 46962
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