The St. Louis Genealogical Society had a meeting at the Viking Hotel yesterday on how to Google your family tree. The speaker Dan Lynch has, in fact, written a book coincidentally (not!) named "Google Your Family Tree". He is an excellent speaker and I learned a lot about how to more efficiently and effectively use Google. I typically use the Yahoo search engine because I like my Yahoo home page, but now that I know the power behind Google I will be surfing a whole new wave. I had no idea that there are numerous filters available to help you get a better search result.
Another interesting thing involves something called "cached", and I don't mean in a "Show me the money!" kind of way. Have you ever clicked on a web link only to get the dreaded error message that says this website is not available? Well, off to the side of the link listed in the search is the word "cached". If you click on it you will be taken to the static pages of what used to be shown on the website. Perhaps the information you are looking for is there, or at least a contact person so you see about getting the information. If a plus sign (+) shows up under a link in your search, that indicates that Google thinks that particular website has other pages relevant to your search.
When Dan got to the part of his presentation covering Google maps, it got pretty exciting. And not only because the fire alarms went off and we had to vacate the building for half an hour. (Fire trucks came but never did hear if it was the real deal.) Anyway, Dan went live online for this segment and it was amazing. Imagine going to the town in Ireland where your ancestors were from - from your own home. Or how about looking for landmarks when you are heading out to a store or business you haven't been to in the past. OR...what about if your are doing house research and want to see what the house looks like now??? I need to blog about that on my house history website for sure.
All in all, a very productive use of my Saturday. Let the searching begin!