April 2024
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Search Tips and Tricks – How To Search Better To Get Better Search Results

As I’m sure many of you have discovered when searching on Google (or other search engines) for Saigon Kids alumni it can become very time consuming wading through all the search results.

Typically, most of us simply type a name, word or phrase into the search box and hit the enter key. Then wham! A listing of 6 zillion web sites containing the words entered appear on our computer screen.

For example if I just type – Jane Doe – in the search box then every web site on the Internet with the word – Jane – or the word – Doe – in the title and/or content of the web site is going to be listed in the search results. This could be millions of web sites. Most of which will have nothing to do with the information about Jane Doe that I’m interested in.

If instead I type in the search box “Jane Doe” (quotes around the phase Jane Doe) only web sites with the exact phrase – Jane Doe – will be listed in the search results. A LOT less web sites to sift through, plus they will all be about Jane Doe only. All the sites with Jane or Doe only will be eliminated from the search results.

But, this is still a lot of sites to look though to see if there is any information about the Jane Doe I’m looking to find. So, how can I narrow this down even more?

Let’s say, by my best estimate, Jane Doe would be about age 65 now. I could then narrow the search for Jane Doe’s around age 65 by entering in the search box: “Jane Doe 63…68” — this will give me search results of web sites with only that ‘exact’ phrase for Jane Doe’s within the numeric range of 63 to 68. An example of a site that might come up in the search results might have content something like this … Jane Doe age 65 was in attendance reunion dance …

Or, say that I estimate Jane Doe completed college around 1973. I could then search for: “Jane Doe 1971…1975” — this will give me search results of sites with information about Jane Doe during the time period of 1971 to 1975. This is a good way to find web sites with information, such as, … Jane Doe Class of 1973 … or many times year books will come up for the date range with pictures or mention of Jane Doe … or, alumni Newsletters, etc.

Let’s say when I did the above search one of the results was a web site with an Alumni newsletter from Cyber Space College and there was an article in the newsletter mentioning Jane Doe of the class of 1973. The URL for the site shows as: www.cyberspacecollege.edu — next I could search for ‘linked pages’ by doing a ‘link search’. To do this I’d type into the search box: link:www.cyberspacecollege.edu — now I’ll get a list of any web sites that link to the Cyber Space College web site. I could then do a “find in page” search for “Jane Doe 1973” and/or “Jane Doe” to bring up pages with information about Jane Doe, etc. To narrow things down more, I could even do ‘Linked Pages’ search to the individual sites I found mentioning Jane Doe in the linked sites. I could continue ‘drilling down’ through linked pages finding more and more web sites and web pages with information about Jane Doe.

These are what are called search ‘modifiers’. They allow you to limit and qualify your searches to obtain better search results.

When doing multiple searches like this, I like to use a different window for each search. This way the searches I’ve already completed are still available for me to reference. Also, I find it handy to keep Note Pad open so I can enter bits and pieces of information I come across about the person. As many times a particular web site will only have a tiny bit of information about a person. I can then copy and paste that information to Note Pad and close out the web site, since there is nothing else of any use on that site.

Many of you have mentioned it being a little more difficult to locate female alumni. It is and it isn’t – lol. The main problem is that women change there name when they get married and/or divorced and sometimes remarrying, etc. So, a little different approach needs to be used when searching for them. Many women keep their maiden name when they get married and just add their husbands name. Example: Jane Doe-Smith. So, one of the first searches I always do is “Jane Doe-“. Note the hyphen after the word Doe.

When searching for women it is best to first do searches to determine their married name. There are many sources on the Internet to find this information if you think about it for a minute or two. The majority of the time when people get married they publish a wedding and/or engagement announcement in the newspaper. So, you could do searches for things like “Jane Doe weds” … “Jane Doe wedding” … “Jane Doe + engagement” … “Jane Doe + wedding” … “Jane Doe marries” … etc. Look through the wedding and engagement announcements in your local newspaper to see how they are worded. Then search for those kind of phrases plus the name of the person. You can do the same kind for search for ‘divorces’ as they are usually published in newspapers, also. Obits are another source of information. By searching the Obits for the persons parents’ last name many times the person you are looking for will be mentioned in a parents or relatives Obit. Birth announcements will sometimes turn up information. Many times grandmothers will place a birth announcement in their local newspapers. So if the person you are looking for has a baby and the baby’s grandmother places a birth announcement in the newspaper it will reference the mother and father of the baby which can get you closer to locating the person. From this you can also search for the grand parents. If you find the grand parents, you can bet they’ll know where the mother is located.

Sites that want to charge you money for information about people which they say they have information about are a good source for finding additional ‘leads’ to assist in your search. But, DO NOT pay them for the information. Why? Because it can add up fast, and most of the information on those kind of sites is obtained from public record data bases much of which is out dated and proves useless. But, most of these sites will provide some basic information without charging you. Usually, just enough to ‘tempt’ you to go ahead and pay for additional information. By scanning through the free information they provide, many times you can pick up additional information about the person you are looking for, such as, state, city, household members, etc. You can then use this information to look through on-line telephone directories in different cities. When searching for women, many times this is the place where you’ll find their husband listed as a household member. In many cases, telephone directories have the phone number listed under the husband’s name. Most telephone directories will also show the street address (some even show the age).

Another approach to locating women is to search for their parents and/or brothers, etc. Information about father’s or brothers is sometime much easier to find. And, many times information about parents or siblings will contain information about the person you are trying to find.

If you’d like to learn about additional search methods and tips

CLICK HERE for Basic Search Help

CLICK HERE for More Search Help

CLICK HERE for Explore Search

Here is a one page eBook that recaps some of the basic tips and tricks to search better for better search results.

CLICK HERE to download it.

You can copy it to your computer to have it as a handy reference, if you want too.

I hope you found this tutorial helpful and it will assist you with searching and getting better search results.

As always, you are welcome to leave your comments below.


5 comments to Search Tips and Tricks – How To Search Better To Get Better Search Results

  • Ken

    Bob, I copied this info and saved it for later use. thanks a lot. there is so much to learn about the internet and its tricks.


    • Admin

      Ken – Happy you enjoyed it. Yes, the Internet is an on going ‘learning curve’ – LOL – 🙂

      I’ll be putting some more ‘how to do’ posts on the Blog in the future – of things I hope everyone will find of interest. Mostly, about things SKs have emailed about, asking how to do it, etc.

      Rock On … SK …


  • Dick Emery

    Thank you so much! Amazing how it all makes sense once someone else spells it out. We too printed it for future use.

    YOU rock!!!


    • Admin

      Dick – LOL – I know what you mean. I recently spent about 3 days ( and nights) going crazy, pulling my hair out, on the verge of putting my foot through the computer screen — trying to figure out how to do something! LOL … then once i finally figured it out — it was SO SIMPLE a complete IDIOT could do it in about 3 minutes!!! … Next time I think I’ll ask the 6 year old neighbor kid to show me the ropes … LOL — 🙂

      Rock On … Saigon Kid … 🙂


  • Jay Oyler

    Talk about things I never knew… thanks a lot. Great stuff.

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