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When searching for a person with a common name, adding keywords will
reduce the number of hits to something manageable. However, it could
also eliminate the obituary for which you are searching. Most
genealogists already know these facts. I am writing to explain a
keyword search that I use in a different way. It might be useful to a
few list members.
I have seven obituary webpages which I try to keep up-to-date by using
Legacy.com. Since I don't know who might have died, or what the married
name of a female graduate might be, I do a Keyword search without
entering any names. Unfortunately, Legacy this month changed their
search page and removed the Keyword option. I wrote to them last
Wednesday (24th) and they told me that it would eventually be restored,
but in the meantime I could use a temporary link they were sending me.
I thought it would take them a month or two to provide the keyword
search to everyone, but it took five or fewer days. It was restored
today or earlier.
http://www.legacy.com/search [click on Search by Keyword]
My obituary webpages are all related to two NY school systems at which I
taught (Bethlehem Central in Albany County and New Lebanon Central in
far northern Columbia County - some students live in Stephentown,
Rensselaer County). I used various sources to add people whose names I
knew or were suggested to me. Then, I started experimenting with
Keyword searches alone, without entering any names. Using the time
period of "All", here are some examples.
"New Lebanon Central" AND graduated
[This was very effective; it is effective enough to find graduate
instead of graduated.]
"Bethlehem Central" AND "class of 1940" AND veteran
[I didn't use this, but it might give you an idea of what can be done.]
"Bethlehem Central" AND "Times Union"
[This search allows you to choose the name of the local newspaper
where the search will be conducted.]
Important to know: The quotation marks force most search engines (like
Google) to treat the phrase between the quotation marks as if they were
a single word. Without quotation marks, the words could appear on the
page in any order and not necessarily near each other.
AND works with Legacy and some other search engines. It forces both
'words' to be present on the page. Multiple ANDs require additional
words to also be on the page, but, of course, the total hits will be
reduced each time you require another word to be present.
Legacy's Keyword search, used without names, allows us to combine the
name of a school, business, occupation, hobby, etc. with the name of a
city or newspaper or some other search term in such a way that it might
be a valuable research tool for a few list members who can imagine how
to use this type of search. It has been very important to my own
research in the past year. My webpage for deceased graduates of New
Lebanon Central has 264 obituaries, about half of which were found this
way. 88 obituaries for deceased staff members of that school were
mostly found using this technique. My five other obituary webpages have
been enlarged using this method. And now I do similar searches once a
month (choosing the time period of "Past 30 days") to find any new
obituaries to add to my webpages.
I hope this technique will be helpful to a few of you.
Welcome to the NYCOLUMB mailing list!!
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