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I’m Hopeful

Please add a "Return to Search" option to Source Linker!

My suggestion: There should be three options available at the top of the Source Linker screen:
(1) RECORD, which now takes us to the image or indexed record that we were looking at,
(2) The person's NAME, which takes us back to the main person page for the individual we are searching for by going to the “search records” option of FamilySearch; and
(3) RETURN TO SEARCH [a NEW option], which will take us back to the most recent search screen which we opened by clicking on FamilySearch on the right of an individual’s screen. This lets us search for another record on the same person, BUT AT THE SAME TIME PRESERVES any changes we may have typed in when we first started searching.

[I have a 3-4 page document, with clips from the website, explaining why I feel this is necessary and would improve searching on FamilySearch -- but I am not able to cut and paste here without losing the clips. Please provide an email address to which I may send this document if you are interested in seeing the clips.]

Detailed explanation, withOUT clips from the website, follows.

Starting from an individual’s page, we now click on the FamilySearch option (or findmypast or Ancestry or My Heritage) that is located on the right of the page to open a search screen for that specific person.

Next screen:

If too many options appear [over 32,000 in this example], we can narrow our search by changing the search parameters under the heading “REFINE SEARCH”. In this example, we can insert the specific birthplace: Ickham, Kent, England, United Kingdom. Once we have entered our changes, we then click “UPDATE” at the bottom of the search criteria to get a new and hopefully more useful list of source records for the individual we are researching. This is the result that next appears:

Now we have only 4,500 possible sources!
Sometimes we may be looking for a particular type of record, such as a census. We can then click on Collections instead of Records, scroll down through possible census records which may contain individuals that meet our current search parameters, and select the years we are searching for:

Clicking on the blue tab that says “FILTER THE RESULTS” will produce a new list of sources – this time with only 72 results for us to check:

Once we have carefully crafted our search list this way, we can then look at the basic information for each record. We then open those which seem to match our ancestor’s data; simply clicking on a source in the list allows us to open a more detailed view, which sometimes will also include the actual image of the source record.

We can click on the image, if one is available, and review all of the indexed information from the source.

Once we conclude that we definitely have a source that applies to our family, we can then click on the tab labeled ATTACH TO FAMILY TREE.

At this point, two things happen: First, a new browser window is opened, which a tab at the top identifies as “Source Linker”. Then, we see on our screen a side-by-side comparison of what is in the historical record compared to what is currently in our family tree. This is a tool which allows us to compare and contrast each individual in the source record on the left with the record of each ancestor currently in our family tree, including the person from whose page we had just begun our search. By attaching individuals using this amazing tool, we are at the same time adding the source record to each individual’s page without having to do separate searches from each family member’s page. This is an especially useful tool when using census records, which can sometimes contain 10 or more names in one record.

Currently the top of this attachment screen (aka Source Linker) appears as follows:
Go to: Record | Sarah Ann Knight
Attach Historical Records to Family Tree

The issue which is addressed by my suggestion is what happens when we have finished attaching the current record.

Not that long ago, clicking the “Record” tab above the title in this clip would return us to the search page WHERE WE HAD ALREADY ADJUSTED OUR SEARCH PARAMETERS. The “[Name]” option would return us to the individual’s page. Now the “Record” tab just opens more data on the source, including an image where available, formerly accessed by clicking on “image” a little lower on the screen. (Sorry I don’t have a picture of this, but it’s not there any more!)

As you can see from the clip above which explains how there are several steps to go through in order to refine search parameters and then filter a search by Collection, at this point we know that there are several other census records that we will want to look at to see if they are for this same individual. NEITHER of the buttons which we can now choose will take us back to our refined, filtered search. So we have to go back and start over again, putting in the birthplace again, then filtering the records to select those other census records.
Besides the census example given above,I can't count the number of times recently that I have had to retype a woman's married name into the “refine search” option after only looking at one record to evaluate it -- even though the list that first appeared had several possible records that I wanted to look at.

After 2 or 3 lengthy calls with FamilySearch, I have not have great success in finding a work around to having to start the search all over again. One person suggested using the “back” button on the browser – which doesn’t exist on my touch screen laptop, as far as I can tell. Plus, I was told never to use the back button when dealing with entries made on a webpage, as this might delete or undo what you have just done. If someone can somehow figure out how to open a second browser window from the completed search screen, then they can keep that window open and then duplicate it again before selecting the next census – but I couldn’t figure out how to do this.

To restate my suggestion: There should be THREE options available at the top of the Source Linker screen: (1) RECORD, which now takes us to the image or indexed record that we were looking at, (2) The person's NAME, which takes us back to the main person page for the individual we are searching for by going to the “search records” option of FamilySearch; and (3) RETURN TO SEARCH, which will take us back to the most recent search screen which we opened by clicking on the FamilySearch option on the right of the person screen. This lets us search for another record on the same person, BUT AT THE SAME TIME PRESERVES any changes we may have typed in when we first started searching.
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  • Unless you may be using your touch-screen laptop in tablet mode (with no mouse), the best way to preserve your customized search results is to simply right-click any link from there, and select the first option which is "Open link in New Tab".

    Alternatively, you can do Ctrl-click which also opens the link in a new tab.
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  • Thanks for the hint -- I will try it next time I do a search from my desktop . . .

    I do prefer to use the touch screen on my laptop for linking sources, and I do not have a mouse attached. There may be others in the same situation, and I don't know how, other than getting a hint like yours or instructions from someone at FS when they call in for help, they would ever think to try an action like that to go back to their search screen . . .

    There are also users that have the FS app on their smart phones or tablets who may need the suggested return to search button, too . . . I'm still new to that technology and can use all the help I can get!
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