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Ask Ancestry Anne: How to Customize Your Google Searches

As you know, the 1940 US Census is free to anyone that registers to and this has allowed us to make this information more available through channels such as Google.  Everyone who appears in the 1940 census, all 132 million plus will have their own page that you can find through a Google search.

With a few tricks you can find these pages and other information that people have posted on various blogs and websites that might be interesting and help you further your research.

Let’s say you are looking for a George Smith that you knew had lived on East 6th Street in New York in the 1940’s.  You might try:

Notice that i typed in east 6th in double quotes.  This tells the search engine that I want the phrase “east 6th” on the web page.

This produces the results:

And clicking on the George Smith link, gives us:

Let’s say now you are curious who else lived on East 6th Street in 1940.  Who were George’s neighbors?

Let’s try looking for pages with the phrases:

  • 1940 census
  • east 6th street
  • new york new york

This gives us a list of people on the 1940 census that we can investigate. 

Now the 1940 census pages are convenient but these techniques can be used for other things in a Google search.

Let’s try looking for George Smith who was born in New York and on pages that have Genealogy theme. 

I want pages that have either “george smith” OR “smith george” and then add in the phrase “new york” and the word genealogy:

Check out Google’s Advanced Search Page to find out more tricks to help you narrow down your web searches.  Let me know if you find anything interesting or come up with a new technique.

Happy Searching!

Ancestry Anne