Most genealogy education is focused on using specific databases or collections, and there is often an implied warning against random online searches. After all it can be overwhelming and confusing to type a name into a search engine and see the thousands of results that are returned, many of which can easily lead you down the wrong path. But broad online searches do have their place in genealogy research. Think of it this way: there is so much information out there that it would be impossible for you to find every single applicable bit directly. Searching is sometimes the only way to discover those hidden gems.