30 October 2006

Rootsweb Archives Search Engine

People are posting queries and responses all the time on a huge number of geographic, surname and other miscellaneous Rootsweb mailing lists. Its a full time job trying to monitor all your lines of interest, and you have to sought through a lot of extraneous material, sometimes opinionated tripe, to find relevant stuff.

Here's a handy resource to save searching year by year and list by list. The heading reads Test Concept so presumably its not fully support, but seems to do a pretty good job. Just enter a search term and Rootsweb will do the searching for you. This is a case where it really pays to spend a bit of time learning and applying more advanced search techniques to reduce the number and increase the quality of hits. From the site search tips file:

  • Search for a phrase by putting quotes around a group of words, like "john jones"
  • Perform a single character wildcard search using "?". For example, j?nes will find jones and janes
  • Perform a multiple wildcard search using "*". This will look for zero or more characters, so jon* will find jon, jones, and jonson
  • Use "AND" to require the search to find all words or phrases. "john AND jones" will only return results with both words
  • Use "NOT" to exclude words or phrases. For example "john NOT jones" will return all results with the word john but not jones.