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This search engine is designed to allow you to do a focused search on genealogy, only returning results from sites that are relevant to genealogy. It use a slightly loose interpretation as to what sites qualify as 'genealogically relevant', so you might occasionally see results that are not genealogically relevant. This probably indicates that other sections of the same web site have relevant data, but the search engine indexed the entire site.
Use the same types of search strategies you would use on Google here, like searching for a person's full name by putting it in quotes, etc.
Without dedicating to this project full-time, or even dedicating multiple people to it full-time, this search engine will never find every site that it should. That is part of the reason the search engine will occasionally return non-relevant results, as my looser definition of genealogically relevant will help it to include more sites, but also occassionally pick up sites which are irrelevant. That is the compromise I've had to make. I still think it will return very useful results.
One other issue I'm not comfortable with is the prominent placement of ads in the search results. I unfortunately cannot stop the display of ads as they require ads for their free search tools. I'm not sure why Google shows ads in a more obtrusive way on these custom search engines than it does on their own search engine, but that's just the way it is.
There are also a few puzzling omissions from the search engine, and not by design. This search engine is designed using tools provided by Google, and they are surprisingly buggy. I've spent as much time working through bugs in the Google tools as I have putting together the actual search engine. One curious omission from the search engine results are hits from ellisisland.org. I don't know why the search engine is not returning results from ellisisland.org, but if you want to search ellisisland.org, use Steve Morse's excellent One Step search form. I'll continue to try to find out why these results do not show up.
This search engine has one additional enhancement that helps a small segment of genealogy researchers. This isn't because I only want to help one group, but because of limitations in the Google Tools. This enhancement will help researchers whose searches include towns from the former Austro-Hungarian region known as Galicia. For searches that include these towns, the search engine will also search for known town name synonyms. In order for this to work, you must use the town name at the top of the entry for the town in the JewishGen Communities Database. Use the name as written at the top of the locality page for the town, but without any accent marks or apostrophes, but including any dashes. i.e. Ust'ye-Zelenoye would be written Ustye-Zelenoye and Ciężkowice would be written Ciezkowice.
I welcome all feedback on this search engine, both positive and negative (but be nice!). Please post your feedback in the comments on this page.