Using Google Scholar

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By Gena Philibert Ortega

Google Scholar, http://scholar.google.com, is a specialty search engine powered by Google that you can use to find scholarly type articles and books on topics related to history and genealogy. While you are less likely to find an article or book about your particular ancestor, you may just find an article about the place, era, occupation, or religion of your ancestor which can then help you learn more about their life.

According to Google Scholar’s about page,”you can search across many disciplines and sources: peer-reviewed papers, thesis, books, abstracts and articles, from academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories, universities and other scholarly organizations. Google Scholar helps you identify the most relevant research across the world of scholarly research.”

Now in some cases, the articles might be available through services that are subscription based. That’s ok-just jot down the title of the article, author, publication title, volume, number and number of pages. Then go to your local library and explain that you need an inter-library loan on an article. Basically, they can then find the article and ask a library that has that journal to copy the appropriate pages for you.

From the Google Scholar homepage, you can type in your phrase or keyword that you are interested in searching. If you prefer you can click on the link, ‘Advanced Scholar Search’ and limit and define your search more precisely. Advanced Scholar Search allows you to choose the exact phrase to search and what words to leave out of a search. You can even specify articles written by a particular author, published in a certain journal or in a specific time period. If you want, you can even tell Google Scholar what academic fields that you want to see articles from. This can be good when using a term like “genealogy” which can have meaning in other fields like philosophy and biology.

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