01 Nov 2017

Scrumptious Tips for More Effective Google Searches to Discover Assets

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Like plates of food on a Thanksgiving table, the Web is so completely covered in information that it can be hard to find the sweet morsels you are looking for – such as missing or unreported assets. However, if you know how to look – like with advanced Google search techniques – you can often find what you need in a snap!

BMS clients Steve Bridgett (assistant to Delaware Trustee Jeoffrey Burtch) and Christopher Williams (assistant to Washington Trustee Kathryn Ellis) presented the topic, “Conducting Searches in Cyberspace,” at the 2017 NABT Annual Convention in New Orleans this past September. Mr. Bridgett and Mr. Williams have shared their findings for this article series.

Learn more about how better to refine your Google searches to find assets below by refining search results and searching beyond just webpages!

Narrowing Results

Everyone knows how to conduct a Google search. However, Google as a tool can be further refined than this. When you type a query in the search bar on its own, the search engine will pull all results for every word that you have typed. For example, if you typed “John Smith,” Google will pull results for anything labeled “John” or “Smith.”  

This is not necessarily a problem for a 1-word query, but with multiple words this can draw all sorts of random results. If you are searching for a debtor with a common name, you’ll have a much harder time finding the correct results this way.


One way you can narrow your Google search results is by using quotations around your query, which will pull only websites that contain those words in that order.


Quotations with Qualifiers

Another way to further refine your Google search results is to type a query using quotations with another qualifier, which will result in only websites that refer to that exact query as well as the qualifying word or words. For example, if you type “’John Smith’ boat” the search results will only pull websites that contain references to “John Smith” and “boat.”

Searching Other Media

Another way to discover hard-to-find assets is by searching through other media such as images or videos. In Google, you can do this by selecting the “Images” or “Videos” tab, then typing your query.



With these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to fine-tune your Google searches to discover more refined results.

About Steve Bridgett

Steve Bridgett is the Trustee Assistant for Chapter 7 Trustee Jeoffrey Burtch in Delaware, and has provided case administration assistance to panel trustees since 2006. Mr. Bridgett has been a member of the National Association of Bankruptcy Trustees since 2002, and Trustee’s Assistant Liaison to the NABT Board from 2014 – 2016. He is also active in a number of other local and national professional organizations, including the Delaware Paralegal Association, the American Alliance of Paralegals Inc., and the Legal Studies Advisory Board for Wilmington University.

About Christopher Williams

Christopher Williams is the Trustee Assistant and paralegal for Chapter 7 Trustee Kathryn Ellis in Washington state, having served in this role since 2002. Mr. Williams has been a member of the National Association of Bankruptcy Trustees since 2004, and was a co-presenter at the 2016 NABT Annual Convention for the session “Show Me the Way: Finding, Valuing, and Inventorying Assets and Tax Consequences.” Mr. Williams is a self-proclaimed “tech nerd” and attributes his expertise in asset cyber sleuthing to his inquisitive nature and inclination to technology.