Google News Alerts are the easiest to use. Simply type in your keywords such as names or places, and select if you would like the emailed search results to include only news, only web, or a combination of both, or mentions from Google Groups. Then choose how often you would like to receive the information in your email inbox, and provide your email address. That’s it. Nothing to enter, login or mess around with.
Yahoo News Alerts are much more complicated. You can choose from a variety of preset alerts, but from that list, there is little that may help you. The list includes breaking news, autos, health, horoscopes, travel, stock markets, and things not associated directly with genealogy, though you might find something through the feeds/blogs preset alerts.
You can set up a custom alert in the News preset alerts, though it mostly covers news stories rather than the whole web. You must register with Yahoo and sign in to create an alert. From the drop down menu of types of alerts, select News. The next window that appears will allow you to customize the news alerts by Keywords. Put in the keywords to narrow your search results, and add your news alert to your My Alerts. The alert will be sent to the email you supplied when you registered with Yahoo.
I use the customizable keyword news alerts to find relatives by entering in specific names and places, and even dates. Or I will use phrases to open up the potential results. Examples include:
- Hans Anderson
- Anderson Wisconsin
- West family Michigan
- civil war Wisconsin
- Norway immigration
- Norway Norwegian Wisconsin
- obituary Shawano Wisconsin 1924
Keep track of your keyword news alerts with the date you initiated them. You can leave them running indefinitely, but if a search word or phrase isn’t getting you any results after two or three months, consider changing it to something else, more specific or more vague. The same applies if you are getting too many results. It means you need to narrow the focus to something more specific.
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