Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Looking for an unusual surname?

READER'S FEEDBACK: Setting Google Alerts

I have set up
Google Alerts for my less common (and my more elusive) surnames. I've set up the alerts as 'BATTICE GENEALOGY' to cut down on the less relevant notices.

For my Swedish family names which include non-English letters, I've added two alerts, one in Swedish, and one as anglicised, for instance, 'LOFHOLM GENEALOGY'. This seems to work, but I suspect I'd get far more results by setting up two accounts, one in Swedish and one in English. I've noticed when doing Google searches that requesting only Swedish language results using the advanced search in Google brings up many more Swedish LÖFHOLMs right away.

I might also try surname alerts adding the words 'FAMILY HISTORY' or the often misspelled 'GENEOLOGY' or even specific place names or first names.

You can set up to 1000 alerts (10 at a time, I think) and now it's very easy to add or delete them if you have a Google account.

("Google Alerts" don't seem to be case sensitive. I'm only using capital letters here hoping to make my meaning clearer.)

Thanks for describing a practical use of
Google Alerts with your surname studies. Ol' Myrt didn't know one could set up 1,000 alerts. I was only aware of the limit of ten. I do not have the alerts sent to my Gmail account, but to my account.

It would be important to have the name be uncommon or else modify the alert to include “family” or “genealogy” as you mention. If Ol’ Myrt set up a Google Alert using her maiden name “PLAYER” she would certainly have to specify “family” or “genealogy” or else Google would send her alerts about football team players and violin players.


  • DearMYRTLE - What is a GOOGLE Alert?
  • Google Alerts FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
    What are Google Alerts?
    What are the different types of alerts I can sign up for?
    How do I sign up?
    How frequently will I receive alerts?
    What kinds of topics make for interesting Google Alerts?
    I'm not getting the alerts that I expected. How do I get more relevant results?
    I have lots of Google Alerts. How do I manage them all?
    Why am I not able to sign in on the Google Alerts homepage?
    How do I delete my alerts?
    I've set up lots of Google Alerts, but suddenly I'm getting a message that says I have too many unverified alerts.
    What is the maximum number of alerts I can create?
    Can I subscribe to alerts in multiple languages?
    I'd like to receive Google Alerts in plain text rather than HTML. Can I do that?
    Can I change my email address and still get Google Alerts?
    Is this just a way to get my email address so you can sell it to spammers?
    I'm receiving Google News or Web Clips alerts on my desktop, how can I make them stop?

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
Your friend in genealogy.

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

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