Tip: Site Colon Searches


site colon tip final - crop

Let’s have a quick chat about a great search tool – the “site colon” search.

Have you ever found yourself searching a website for something specific that you just can’t seem to find?  You know it’s there, but the website doesn’t have the best navigation tools?  I definitely have.

Let’s use an example.

Last week I mentioned that I had found some FindAGrave entries outside of the US.  They were fabulous and unexpected finds.  I wanted to quickly search some other cemeteries.  But searching for foreign cemeteries on FindAGrave isn’t very friendly.  This is what you see:

Screen Shot 2017-08-18 at 10.30.45 AM

On the main page you can choose “Search for a cemetery” on the right, top bullet list, second choice down.

Screen Shot 2017-08-18 at 10.31.02 AM

Then you see this search box.  I was searching for cemeteries in Scotland.  I didn’t know the names of the cemeteries, I just wanted to see how many cemeteries there were in specific parishes and counties.  So, I didn’t have a cemetery name to type into that little search box.  I chose Scotland on the “Country” drop down list.

Screen Shot 2017-08-18 at 10.31.17 AM

Then I find myself looking at a very long list that can’t be searched by smaller locale.

At this point I have a few options.  I could waste a whole bunch of time scrolling through that super long list hoping to see the parish names I want.  I could google search cemeteries in specific parishes and counties, come back and enter cemetery names one at a time into the search box.


I can use a site colon search.


In my case, I wanted to see all cemeteries for Carluke, Lanark, Scotland on FindAGrave.

I went to google and typed this: carluke, lanark, scotland


I’ve just told google to please search the FindAGrave website for Carluke, Lanark, Scotland.  My results look like this:

Screen Shot 2017-08-18 at 11.43.29 AM

Looking at the list quickly, I see that there are two cemeteries for Carluke included on the FindAGrave website.  The Old Carluke Cemetery and the Carluke Wilton Cemetery.  I clicked on the first google result and I am taken right to the search page for the Old Carluke Cemetery on FindAGrave:

Screen Shot 2017-08-18 at 11.45.06 AM

Just what I was looking for in about 15 seconds!

A site colon search can help you quickly find something you need on FindAGrave or any website that you are struggling to navigate.

The formula is simple: followed by search terms


Make sure there are no spaces until after the .com.


Give it a try!


And let me know if it helps you out.  😉


ps – FindAGrave is being overhauled and will have more navigation tools for finding foreign cemeteries.  But for now, a site colon search is a quick shortcut.  It works on most websites, not just FindAGrave.


Author: thegenealogygirl

I'm a girl who loves genealogy. Let me tell you about it.

26 thoughts on “Tip: Site Colon Searches

  1. Awesome! That is such a useful tip and I had no idea. Thank you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great tip! Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Just when I thought I knew everything 😉 Thank you! [nice of you to tell Google to please search…]

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a great tip! I never knew about this. Thanks! One question—you say no space after .com but your example does have a space. Can you explain what you mean? Would it be or superman?

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are welcome Amy! Weird that your comment needed approval… I think I wrote, “Make sure there are no spaces until AFTER the .com.” So your second example is correct. You can also use fancy operators if you are searching for something tricky. So for example, if I wanted to search a newspaper website for my Grandpa’s obituary, I would type something like this: “Ronald (S OR Skeen OR ?) Peterson” AND 1997 AND (Death OR funeral OR obituary OR burial). I hope this tip is helpful for you! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. OK, what did I do wrong here. I tried this a few different ways, each time realizing I did something wrong, But when I did it right the right thing didn’t come up. So I tried a different search and asked for Kalamazoo cemeteries. They came up separately as different sites, is that right?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow, that sounds great! Guess we’ll never be Googleless again since we must press forward in finding our ancestors! Thanks for that wonderful tip! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Whaaaat? I’ve never heard of this. Pretty sure you just changed my life!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Also, we may have discussed this before, but my mother -in- law’s family lived in Carluke too!

    Liked by 1 person

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