Thursday, July 12, 2007

Google Operator "OR"

One of Google operators that can help give better and easier web search results is the OR operator.

The OR operator tells Google to search for either keyword in your query. In other words, only one of the keywords must be present in your search results. OR must be typed in uppercase letters or Google will ignore it.

Here are some ways to use the OR operator in genealogy searching:

  • Use OR to search for multiple spellings of a name. There are many surnames in my family tree that I have seen spelled differently from document to document. Instead of doing a search for one surname spelling followed by another search for the second spelling, you can use the OR operator to search for both spellings in just one query. Your search results will list web pages that have either spelling.

  • sara OR sarah
    meyers OR myers
    reed OR reid

  • Use OR to search for words that have the same meaning.
    obit OR obituary OR "death notice"

  • Use OR to search for a location and its abbreviation. Some web pages will list one or the other but not both. You can also use the OR to look for webpages that may contain the old-fashioned abbreviation that data transcriptions from years ago may have used.

  • DE OR Delaware
    DE OR Delaware OR Del

  • Use OR in combination with quotes to search for the various ways a name may appear on a webpage.
  • "Patrick Powers" OR "Powers, Patrick" OR "Patrick J. Powers"

You can also use the ¦ symbol in place of the word OR. On my computer keyboard, the ¦ symbol is on the key above the "enter" key (using the shift key). Using the ¦ will give the exact same search results as using the OR. Some people may prefer to use it because it is only one keystroke. NOTE: On some computers the symbol ¦ may appear to be a solid bar; on other computers, the symbol ¦ may have a space in the middle of the bar.

sara ¦ sarah
meyers ¦ myers
DE ¦ Delaware
reid ¦ reed
obit ¦ obituary ¦ "death notice"

For step by step instructions for building a Google genealogy query, go to Learn to Build a Genealogy Query

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