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Sorting Through the Web

When new researchers come online they are often overwhelmed by the number of documents, Web pages, files, gopher menus, text, and other items found on Internet. With the volume of Web documents and Internet users growing by the millions every year, serious researchers must learn how to sift through the flotsam and jetsam and locate sites valuable to their research.

Search engines provide access to a large index of words found on Web pages. Each search engine has its own index and its own means of searching that index by use of keywords. Genealogists can benefit from the use of search engines because:

  • While many pages provide related links, it takes time to go through all of the sites listed.
  • You may not know where to start looking for a particular item.
  • Site descriptions or titles on genealogy index pages may not tell you enough information about the site.
  • Outdated URLs leave you stuck at a dead end.
  • Many search engines can now also search newsgroups, giving you another source of potential information.

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