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SEARCH Results - Reduce & Simplify

When a HIT LIST is presented ... or a SUGGESTED LIST, having SELECTION controls to the right would be fantastic! With these SELECTIONs marked, THEN provide us another control to REDUCE our research list to FOCUS on the marked SELECTIONs.

OR let us mark those that we want to EXCLUDE from THIS display and FUTURE displays (so we don't have to keep looking over items that we already know do not apply.)
Really, BOTH of these options would be nice ... even helpful.

So, FOCUS or EXCLUDE buttons at the right will be helpful, then with a button to initiate the REFINE or REDUCE which will trigger the EXCLUDE of items and also trigger the FOCUS to those items selected for further research. Then we can "focus" our efforts on the specified items. Thank you ALL for ALL that you do to facilitate this great work!

This methodology may also be effective in other areas of the system.

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this idea
  • Norman

    On the left hand side of the Results page there IS a feature to refine your search. You have the facility to "Search with a relationship", "Restrict records by:" and "Filter your results by:". As you will see, under these headings are boxes that, when checked, should narrow down your search to cut out most of your unwanted results. For example (providing records are available) you can search specifically on census, immigration or probate records - or simply narrow down the search by entering names of the individual's parents.

    There will always be a problem of getting a large amount of unwanted "hits" if you do not have too much knowledge of the relevant individual. However, scrolling down the left hand side of the Results page and checking specific boxes, together with checking the boxes against First and Last Names (if you are fairly confident of exact spellings) should be of great help with this problem.
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  • Welcome to the community support forum for FamilySearch. FamilySearch personnel read every discussion thread and may or may not respond as their time permits. We patrons, having various levels of knowledge and experience do our best to help each other with concerns, issues. and/or questions.

    As Paul pointed out, the system already uses various methods to limit search results. It helps to understand the features of, but because it is still in major development, no manual can be produced that won't be out of date before it is published.

    There is a site, The Family History Guide ( that can help with the basics, including your concern. The site owners try to keep up with the changes to without having to go through an "approval process" that is required for all publications issued by the FamilySearch site's owner, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    In the meantime, the following may help:

    Searching for People

    Be aware notes:
    a) the more information that is entered, the narrower the search results. Too many parameters and there may be no results.
    b) people change their names. Bob Hope, the American comedian was born Leslie Townes Hope in England. Both Wikipedia (many famous people) and the IMDB (people in the entertainment industry) provide basic biographical sketches.
    c) the wild card asterisk (*) works with names.
    d) results are listed by how close they match the entered search parameters.

    There are two areas where a patron can search for a deceased relative or person:

    1) The Massive FamilySearch FamilyTree, which is a single, collaborative tree, that covers deceased persons for the family of mankind. Currently, there are over one Billion records in the tree. Search is accomplished via Find search function. The Find Search is reached via the Family Tree . . . Find or Search . . . Family Tree

    which produces the following search screen:

    Names can been entered with or without a wild card. Suppose you are searching for a person with the last name of Smith, as in John Smith. Smith can be and is spelled a number of different ways: Smith, Smithe, Smyth, Smythe, or Sdhmidt, to name a few. To find all instances of Smith, you would enter S*, or just those staring with Sm, enter Sm* as the last name. To find Schmidt and any spelling variations, enter Schm*

    To help narrow the search, enter other information which you believe is attached to the record. Note that if the record you are looking for does not have that information, those records will not be displayed in the search results.

    2) The collection of historical records, which is found by Search . . . Records.

    a) This searches only the indexed records. A new feature, which will do a rough search of record images that have not been indexed, is in the works.
    b) Search Genealogies searches the read-only and largely unsourced old Ancestral File (AF) and Pedigree Resource File (PRF) trees submitted by patrons over the years, as well as uploaded .ged files submitted by patrons after the PRF submissions were discontinued. Again, most lack any meaningful sources.
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  • Once the search has produced results, you can narrow a search by adding various filters and parameters.

    In this example, I have used Bob Hope, who, from the IMDB and Wikipedia, we know to have been named Leslie Townes Hope. We also know that he was born in England from the same sources. The results of a basic search reveals over 57,000 results.

    There are three areas where search results can be narrowed, all act as filters to the results we have produced. This illustrates the first two:

    1) Add search parameters, such as
    a) birth, marriage, residence, death, or any event.
    b) relationships, such as spouse, parents, or other person.
    c) location (country and state or province), type of record, batch number and film number. These last two are very restrictive, since they only search indexed batches or an indexed film.

    2) Narrow by Collection name.

    When you narrow by the collection, only those record collections that produced the results will be shown. Only the top five of any collection type is shown. You can see all collections within a type by clicking on "Show All nn" where nn is the number of collections within that type that were used in the results. Check each collection that you want to filter by. I generally will select 1 collection at a time, especially with a common name like Bob Hope.

    3) Narrow by some other parameter.

    Here each parameter can be expanded to filter the results of the search.

    All three areas are additive, that is, by selecting one type of record that is not covered in a particular collection, the results can drop to zero (0). So be selective and try different ways to narrow the results.
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