Some tips on using our site search engine

  1. As we are making use of the free Google site search engine the first few links can go to general Google sites. Usually at the top it will say “ads by Google” and have a very faint background around them. After those few links you will then get to our own resources.

  2. On looking for a Mac name. In my case I am a McIntyre but there are also MacIntyre and M’Intyre so to search for all variables you can search for M?Intyre where the ? will pick up ac, c, and ‘.

  3. Two word or more searches. Let us say you were looking for Fort William.  Doing a search for that will of course find Fort William but it will also find any pages with both Fort and William. So to get more focused results you can put your search with in quotes ( “”) meaning if you searched for “Fort William” it will only give results for Fort William and not Fort or William.

  4. Searching for a name. Quite often you find yourself searching for a particular spelling of a name  Spelling of names can be a nightmare as so often spellings changed for many reasons. The person you are looking for might have been a Gaelic speaker and so when they pronounced their name on entering the USA the clerk there would often have spelt it as it sounded and thus got it wrong.  Many people weren’t able to read and write and so they wouldn’t have known that their name was spelled incorrectly. Our advice is thus to try alternative spellings. Say the name out loud and see if you can’t find any alternative ways to spell the name.  It’s amazing how often this will find some previously hidden information. For example I remember talking to one person who had been searching for years for the “Scots American Land Company” and had found nothing. It was only when someone suggested looking for the “Scotch American Land Company” that he hit pay dirt!

  5. Alternative spellings of a family name. Quite often names are spelled differently and if you were to check out our clan pages you often find listed on the clan page alternative spellings of a name. We don’t claim any particular accuracy here but these are spellings that have been used.  So you may wish to check the appropriate clan page to note the different possible spellings of your name and then incorporate that into your searches.  Another source for names is “The Surnames of Scotland” by George F. Black. Often this publication will reveal other spellings. And one I use myself from time to time is “Tartan for Me” by Philip D. Smith. And so when doing genealogy research do check for any alternative spellings and then use our search engine to see what you might find. An example of this is if you take the name Durie then by looking at the book Surnames of Scotland under that entry you will also find mentioned Durry, Dury, Doray, Dure, Durye, Dovary and Duray mentioned.

  6. Exclude pdf files in the results by adding -filetype:pdf to your search term. e.g. Remains of Nithsdale and Galloway song -filetype:pdf
    All pdf files on the site are linked to from a normal web page and at the very least the basic page will provide further information on the pdf book.  Problem is that if you do a standard search you often get a link directly to the pdf file so you don’t get the background information on the book.  This is thus a way to find the basic web page.