Using Google Books Searches Effectively: Advanced Searching Tips

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By Amanda Forson, World Vital Records, Inc.

Over the weekend, I was looking up information on my ggg grandfather, Dennis Sweeney. Finding his parents is my current research objective, but I would be glad to find information on him, his children, his wife, or her family. By the end of my searching efforts, I found his wife’s parents, for whom we had only un-named census information (they came from Germany) before. Here is the Step-By-Step method used for finding pertinent information on this family line:

How I found it: Google Search for “dennis sweeney” navesink new jersey. Since Dennis died in Navesink in 1914 according to personal family information, I wanted to try to find if there was any information on him on the Internet. I got one result: Google Books, where he is listed as the father of William A. Sweeney, not my direct line, but there is information within this listing for mentioning him, his parents, and his mother’s parents.

To find this same information on, first log in. Next, go to Advanced Search. Type in the given name of dennis and then sweeney. In the place area, type in navesink new jersey. Do not capitalize anything, and do not put in any commas. You will see that the only search that comes up is the same that I found via Google.

Searching Google Books on may bring unexpected possibilities with the advantage of being able to be clear and distinct with the information you need. Trying to find your own Dennis Sweeney’s just got that much easier!

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