Searching a Specific Site Using Google Search


Did you know you can use Google to search a specific website? This comes in handy when you happen to find a site, such as a USGenWeb county site, that is simply a collection of web pages. It may not be very helpful for searching databases that Google doesn’t reach, such as those on Ancestry.com or Familysearch.org, but sites like these usually have their own search engines anyway.

To use this search tool, enter your query like this:

site:http://lake.genwebsite.org maxwell

Note the space between the site’s main address and the term to search – in this case, Maxwell. Also note that there is no space between “site:” and the URL.

(Google Search is not picky about how you type in the site; you can leave out “http://”.)

This search will find all references to Maxwell within the site. This can gain you time you would have spent going to every page and list of names on the site, manually searching for your relatives.

While this can be very useful, note that Soundex searches are no good with this tool. You will have to be sure to search any name variations. However, you can use any advanced search techniques available on Google Search, such as OR and AND searches.

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Reader Comments

This may work with Internet Explorer, but it does not work with either Safari or FireFox on the Mac.

It should work in the search bar at google.com. It is a feature built into the Google search engine.
One more note on searching sites: Some sites link to a different server for some data files, which means you will have to change the URL you ask google to search. For example, you may need to change the first part of the URL from “www” to something else, for example to “files.mycountywebsite.com”. As you explore a site, make note of the URLs you access in order to use this strategy effectively.