Column: A Glimpse at a New Type of Search Engine

Between today and Wednesday, my genealogy column, Roots to the Past, is available in the following Atlantic Canada newspapers:

Saturday: The Citizen (Amherst)

Saturday: Times & Transcript (Moncton)

Wednesday: The Lunenburg County Progress Bulletin (Lunenburg County)

Title: A Glimpse at a New Type of Search Engine

Snippet: When my sister told me a friend of the family had passed away, I searched for her obituary online. The woman had been born in Newfoundland but had lived many years in the United States and Nova Scotia—where we met her—before she returned to spend her final years in her birth province.

I was unsure which newspaper the obituary would appear in, if it would appear at all. I assumed the funeral home handling the arrangements would post it to their website. I only had to find the right one. A Google search with keywords to locate the obituary didn’t find anything. I began adding and subtracting keywords hoping I’d stumble onto something but my search failed.

The way Google search engine works is pages containing all (or most) of the keywords appear in the results. Quotation marks around certain keywords help narrow the search by finding these words in that particular order, but the results don’t always find the right information.

Internet search engines have improved in the past 25 years but are still flawed. I’ve had much success with them by using their advanced search techniques and by adding things such as quotation marks and the negative sign to eliminate certain words, but I wish things could be easier.

. . . To read more, pick up one of the above noted newspapers.


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