Based on J. Rourke's above post re searx, I did some internet searching about, well, search engines. Came across this very interesting article:
Alternative Search Engines That Respect Your Privacy
Edit and added: Just read a second article on 12bytes.org:
Firefox Search Engine Cautions, Recommendations
"The scope of this tutorial is limited primarily to preserving your privacy when using the default Firefox (or derivative thereof) search engine plugins, as well as to present alternative ways to use the major search indexes, such as Google, Bing and Yahoo."
"The hundreds of millions of dollars that Mozilla rakes in annually is largely due to its partnership with search engine companies such as Google. These ethically challenged mega-corporations then track your web activities and sell the data they collect to advertisers and governments and who knows who else. I think these kinds of partnerships are clearly at odds with Mozilla’s statement, “Committed to you, your privacy and an open Web“.
So how does Mozilla get paid by the mega-giants like Google? Simple: Any time you use the default search engine plugins that are packaged with the browser ... parameters tell the search engine that you are using a Firefox/Mozilla product and that’s all it takes for Mozilla to rake in the dough. If you do not wish to participate in these affiliate schemes and/or value your privacy, read on."
Perhaps a little techy for the average user, but good, easy to understand basic points.
Author points out Searx's excellent qualities including the capability to be used in a decentralized mode. I won't go into how to so that, but if interested, you can read it for yourself.
My primary search engine will now be searx with Startpage and Duckduckgo as secondaries. I'm dropping swisscows because it's "christian" based with no real controls.
Incidentally, 12bytes.org has some very good information on making Firefox more secure.
See: Everything Firefox
Read and make your own judgments/decisions.