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Searching for Records on Interment.net

by Steve Johnson
August 27, 2010

cemetery records searchThe search engine has been the most popular feature on Interment.net since it was first introduced nearly 10 years ago.

When it was first launched, it was powered by Microsoft's Index Server, which is a very robust search engine, indexing documents instanteously as we uploaded, edited, and removed transcriptions. But it wasn't able to handle the massive volume of search queries minute-by-minute, and it consumed a lot of server resources which only slowed down the website.

In March 2009 we replaced it with Google's CSE (Custom Search Engine), which offers the same robust searching capabilities, but is more than capable of handling the large search queries, and because all the searching is done on Google's end, it allows our web server to run more quickly. However, because Google CSE relies on Googlebot to index uploads, edits, and deletions, it doesn't have the instantaneous updating that Index Server has, though it still seems to update within a couple of days.

Search Techniques

Because Interment.net's search engine is now based Google's search engine, you can use the same search arguments and operators that you use with Google.

Searching for records - All names on Interment.net are published as lastname-first, given name-second, separated by a comma...

Doe, John, b. 1896, d. 1961, 

To search for a name, you can enter the query anyway you want, either as "John Doe" or "Doe, John". The search engine does a pretty good job of finding the most relevant results.

Quotation Marks - But you can also surround your query with quotation marks if you want to search for an exact match...

"John Doe" 

But remember that all names on Interment.net are published lastname first, given name second, separated by a comma. Hence, if you tried the above example with quotation marks, you'll likely get no results.

Quotation marks are useful if you're searching for a cemetery name, or place name.

Wildcard Operator - the asterisk (*) can be used to find words that might have different spellings (eg. Kincaid and Kincade). Use the asterisk as follows...

kinca* 

This will find all records that include either Kincaid and/or Kincade.

You can place the asterisk in front of, or at the end of any word.

Finding Records In a Specific Region - There are three ways to limit your searches to a specific region...

  1. Navigate to any page within that region, and conduct a search using the search box at the upper-left of the page. For example, if want to limit your searches to just California cemeteries, then visit any California page on Interment.net, and then run a search from there.
  2. Or, use the site:URL argument as follows...
    kincaid site:*/data/us/ca

    This will find all pages that include the word "kincaid" but limit to those pages published under the California data subdirectory.

  3. Or, add the region name to your search query...
  4. kincaid california

    This will find all pages that include both of those words. Since all cemetery transcriptions published on Interment.net include the country, state, province, county, shire, etc., you can use that to limit your search results. But it's possible you'll see results for regions other than California if that word is found anywhere on the page, and it often happens as a someone's birthplace within a record. So, it's not always an accurate way to limit searches to a specific region, but it's the most convenient way.

All In Title Search - You can use the "allintitle:" operator to search for keywords within the <TITLE> tags of pages. For example...

 allintitle: orange county

This will return all pages that contain the words "orange" and "county" in the <TITLE> tags. If you're familiar with HTML, the <TITLE> tags are the words that appear at the very top of your web browser's window.

This search is useful if you want to quickly see what cemeteries are published on Interment.net within a specific region, or if a specific cemetery name exists.

More Advanced Search Help - tips and tricks on using Interment.net's search engine, visit Google's Help Page on advanced searching...

http://www.google.com/support/websearch/bin/answer.py?answer=136861

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