Aug 11, 2021

(+) Use Boolean Logic to Improve Your Online Search Results

The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman. 

In 1854 self-educated English mathematician George Boole published a paper that eventually resulted in 21st century genealogists finding more information about their ancestors. Boole published The Laws of Thought that illustrated new ways of looking at mathematical data.

Boolean algebra emerged in the 1860s and went on to become a standard method of analyzing all sorts of data. In the last half of the twentieth century, computer scientists and programmers found many applications for Boolean logic. Now Google and many other search engines and quite a few genealogy sites also use Boolean logic extensively. If you understand a few of the simpler Boolean search methods, you can greatly increase the probability of finding the information you seek.

Note: This article will use Google for all examples, simply because it is the most popular search engine today. However, almost all general-purpose search engines use Boolean logic although the exact syntax may vary from one service to the next. In addition, many of the larger genealogy web sites support at least a subset of the Boolean seahttps://www.eogn.comrch logic. You will need to consult each web site’s help files to determine which Boolean terms work on that site, if any. The web site for this newsletter uses Boolean logic for its searches at “search past newsletter articles” shown on the home page at

Boolean logic has many uses. Genealogists may consider Boolean logic to be a method of specifying the relationship of words on a web page to other, nearby words on the same page.

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