- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 5, 2004

Did you know that Indiana has been dubbed the “mother of vice presidents”? Five men from Indiana have been elected as vice president: Schuyler Colfax, Thomas A. Hendricks, Charles W. Fairbanks, Thomas Marshall and Dan Quayle.

And did you know that the first known train robbery in the United States was committed by the Reno brothers in 1866? They hopped the Ohio and Minnesota train as it pulled out of the Seymour, Ind., depot, taking off with $15,000.

This kind of information can be found at a Web site called Key to the City (www.usacitiesonline.com). It’s a site that makes for a good relocation tool, and I found it in a very interesting way as I was researching online for this column on relocation, although some of the information might appear more legendary than factual.

Over the years, I have found that sometimes the major search engines for online research (Yahoo, Excite, Google, etc.) are not always the be-all and end-all of search engines we would like them to be.

In addition, what you search for also determines how many sponsored sites you’ll receive. For instance, if I plug in “relocation” at Google, millions of sites will return starting with — what else — homefair.com and monstermoving.monster.com, two of the largest relocation Web sites on the Internet.

However, if I look up “relocation research” — now we’re getting into the obscure, rarely visited corners of the Web. This is where you find the really good stuff. And that’s where I learned that Indiana is the mother of vice presidents. The link to Key to the City wasn’t even returned to me on my search. It was on another Web page created by a highly inexperienced real estate group — the seventh-grade class at Emerson Middle School in Lakewood, Ohio.

Their creation, simply called the Relocation Research Project, can be found at www.lkwdpl.org/schools/emerson/relocate. It’s nothing fancy, but man, these students did some great research and have built a page of links to some obscure sections of the Internet that would help any relocation company, real estate firm or relocating family ease the pain of pulling up roots and moving, whether it’s across town or across the country.

They haven’t cluttered the page with any of the extraneous commercialism we find all too common at most relocation and real estate sites.

Obviously, as a group project, they simply took the relocation process and broke it down into the elements they figured they would want to know if they were a few years older and headed out of town. They went down the line of what should be considered when planning a move:

• General information. You want to find out about your target area — is it in Money magazine’s best places to live, do you need statistics on job growth and schools, or access to government agencies? They have several links here to find that kind of information.

• Realty information. Here’s the section of links on finding real estate companies and tips on selling your home and buying or renting a new one.

• City information. They have pulled information for comparing relocation services, salary comparisons, city comparisons and various other online tools to help with your move from point A to point B.

The link to the Occupational Outlook Handbook is a perfect example of why this page is a great spot on the Web to save in your Favorites section: www.bls.gov/search/ooh.asp?ct=OOH is where you can find the handbook, but for all the years I’ve been researching on the Internet, I’ve never come across this link.

As you peruse the seventh-graders’ page, you’ll find it’s not packed with voluminous amounts of information — just top-quality links to places on the Web I’ve never seen in any of my Google, Yahoo or Excite searches but that now are logged into my Favorites file.

If you’re relocating, log on to the Emerson Middle School Web site first — most of the research has been done for you.

Thanks, boys and girls.

M. Anthony Carr has covered real estate for more than 15 years. He can be reached via e-mail at manthonycarr@erols.com.

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