21 May 2009

Google: Searching with options

One of the best things about our geneablogging community is that we are often inspired by our colleagues.

Randy Seaver's Genea-Musings post on Google Options, which followed Dick Eastman's post on the same subject, was interesting. I hadn't had time to previously check out these new features, but it seemed like a fun idea now.

Having a bit of time available, I decided to try some WonderWheel searches, anticipating searches on variations of DARDASHTI, TALALAY, TALALAI, TOLLIN and some others.
- "talalay" = 248,000, included the foam rubber Talalay process (patented by the Mogilev-Moscow-USA branch) and family members.

- "talalai" = 4,800, many from the Polish-origin group from New Jersey, works by known St. Petersburg and Moscow cousins, and other interesting results.

- "tollin" = 230,000, many people I knew, many I thought might be connected, as well as a bunch of Swedes, whom I doubt are connected. Where's a DNA testkit when you need one?

- "tallin" = 1,980,000, the majority on Tallin, Estonia, not about Talalay relatives who changed their name to Tallin, like Uncle David in Newark, New Jersey.

I went on to "schelly dardashti" "Schelly Talalay Dardashti" "tracing the tribe" and "tracing the tribe the jewish genealogy blog".

The results were a bit mind-boggling on the straight searches, and the WonderWheel and Timeline results were also interesting and quite different - with some very pleasant surprises.

The "schelly dardashti" WonderWheel produced this with 548 results:

The "schelly talalay dardashti" WonderWheel looked like this with 5,450 results:

The "Tracing the Tribe" WonderWheel showed 49,500 hits:

The "tracing the tribe" (all lowercase) WonderWheel showed 49,700 hits:

"tracing the tribe the jewish genealogy blog" produced 9,880 hits but with no spokes. I assume there were too many categories. The last WonderWheel search was for "the jewish genealogy blog" for 9,960 hits.

If you click on any spoke of the center circle, you get an additional related WonderWheel with more terms and different numbers of hits. Try it out yourself.

The Timeline option produced the least number of hits for all searches. I am as confused as Randy about this option, as I indicate many years in my blog postings. Hits for searches conducted were "schelly dardashti" 10; "schelly talalay dardashti" 88; "tracing the tribe" 22; and "tracing the tribe the jewish genealogy blog" 4.

In any case, there were some very pleasant surprises.

The first search produced a Los Angeles Daily News article (March 10, 1990) about a Persian Shabbat I organized at our synagogue, Valley Beth Shalom. Honestly, I had completely forgotten that the paper had covered it - I'm now trying to get access to the full 450+ word article (only a snippet shows), which is at NewsBank.com.

It also called up a May 6, 1998 Las Vegas Review Journal story about a program we ran at Jewish Genealogy Society of Southern Nevada-East (now dissolved), which met at Midbar Kodesh congregation in Henderson. I remembered that story, but didn't have a copy of it.

There were a slew of Jerusalem Post-related items.

Using a Timeline search for "schelly talalay dardashti," which became my nom de plume around 1999 when I began writing for the Jerusalem Post, there were 88 hits, again with many JPost stories on genealogy, food, travel and other features. The search also pulled ads and other stories on the same page as my stories.

Just for the heck of it, I searched "it's all relative" jerusalem post to see what that would bring up ("It's All Relative" was the name of my gen column). The 49 hits included some interesting items I had forgotten. How time flies when we're having fun!

Using Google Search, I typed "schelly dardashti" in the box; in the "related" box underneath, it showed 6,180 results for this search. For "schelly talalay dardashti", the "related" list showed 4,350 hits. When I hit on those names however, the numbers were rather different. Schelly Dardashti showed 550 and Schelly Talalay Dardashti showed 5,450. "Tracing the Tribe" produced 78,600 hits.

The most interesting part was finding mentions of Tracing the Tribe in places (journal and magazine articles, other genealogy blogs, etc.) that I hadn't known about. Now I have quite a few thank-you notes to write!

Bottom line: Whether you're a blogger, a family historian or merely curious, conducting searches with these options for your families of interest or yourself might turn up some valuable - or at least interesting - items.

I'm interested in learning what you've discovered about your own families!

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