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Search Results Filters Released on the www.familysearch.org

Today we released a new version of the FamilySearch.org search system. This latest release implements a core set of learnings from RecordSearch Pilot and lets you explore your search results using filters.

To learn more about this feature please look at the following post:
https://www.familysearch.org/node/1144

We look forward to your feedback and thoughts.

Robert Kehrer
sr. product mgr, search technologies, FamilySearch.org
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  • just pulled an all nighter and propping my lids up with match sticks when I decided to do one last search it was well over 10 hours ago I did the last search so I was expecting a long end to my night when there it was a new search system a few clicks later and still awake I had what I needed. I've only played for 5 minutes and really my mind is ready for sleep but I am very pleased so far with what I see. I will do a longer search later and I will comment further then but so far so good WELL DONE FOR ONCE.

    p.s.
    don't forget that horrible sticky viewer needs sorting out too
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  • adamsfamily1,
    I'm glad you are pleased. We still have many refinements we anticipate making to the filtering feature, but all our user testing has indicated that the tool will greatly assist patrons in exploring their data sets.

    If as you use it you have ideas and suggestions please let us know.

    -Robert Kehrer
    sr. product mgr, search technologies, FamilySearch.org
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  • I’m excited!
    I love the fact that you have added the filters to the FamilySearch website. It really helps to be able to zoom in on a specific target or to widen it to include the entire set of databases on FamilySearch.

    Is it possible to make a general place filter and a general name filter somewhat like it was in Pilot, though? I liked the ability to limit my results to more than one target data...that is Illinois, Iowa AND California...or Loforte, Tolorte, AND Fotorte

    Also, it would be great if the date filters could just filter down to a specific date, if we wanted it.

    Collections could be limited by the locality or the time period or the type as well as the specific collection.

    Or is all of this inherent in the search engine's matrix?

    (I originally posted in the other forum about "bring back the Pilot filters"...sorry if this duplicates.)
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  • PS...why does putting a space in a surname like "Lo Forte" push the "Forte" & "Ford" results to the top of the list over "Lo Forte" and "LoForte"?
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  • I know it is hard to set the precedents for the search engines...but why does searching on "LoForte" in "Sacramento, California" take me to "Loforte" and then "Ford" rather than "Laforte"? Wouldn't "Laforte" in Sacramento, Calfornia be a closer match for a genealogist?
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  • I’m equivocal
    I've been thinking on this all day...and running varying searches. I'm quite the proponent of new technology, so the changes don't seem to me to be that extraordinary. However, they must have been because you've had so much negative feedback over it.

    I read though both blog entries about the new search engine and the new filters and I think I can seen at least one aspect that is making it difficult for people to find the records they expect.

    I hope I can explain this clearly.

    The posting on the new search engine dated 8 Apr 2011 explained all the new combinations of search fields that we could type in information to search and get results. I don't think most people ever tried most of these combinations and so they never knew that they were missing anything. This post also mentioned the ability to use wildcards in search strings. These changes hark back to the early days of searching for information. Many people who worked on genealogy "back then" never used computers for that purpose. They came in when WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) was the mode. They don't understand the PRINCIPLES behind the search engines.

    If I understand correctly, search engines that search for wildcards search along "exact matching" theories, letting the USER input (type in) the "exact [wildcard] match" he is looking for. On the other hand, search engines that search for sound-alikes run on a much looser matching framework, giving you more results. Search engines that run on these "looser" or "sound-alike" principles get their good results because of the number of different individual pieces of information that they take into account...

    Can I give you an example?
    FamilySearch now runs the "exact match" type of search engine with only one date/location and only one relationship. So I get thousands of matches that I have to manually turn on or off the filters to narrow down the information I am after.
    Ancestry.com runs the "sound-alike" search engine, but adds parameters for birth, death, marriage, parents, spouse, multiple siblings, multiple children, and multiple places of residence.

    In my previous comment, I mentioned my search on the surname "LoForte" When I search with the string "l?fort?" I get ALL the results that I knew were in the FamilySearch databases regarding this family (location: Sacramento, California)

    Searching Ancestry.com for "loforte" in Sacramento, California nets me the same results (they have duplicate indexes) and other results in databases that are not available on FamilySearch.

    I think that BOTH ways are good. But they are used for different purposes. The "exact match" is great for a low-profile surname, especially in a very limited area. The "sound-alike" search engine is great for those common surnames (do I hear Johnson & Smith?) where you are looking for a pattern in order to establish that it is the same family.

    Another thing, the "exact match" is great for traditional research methods. Where one searches for specific records one after another building upon what one already knows. The "sound-alike" search engine WITH the additional parameters is great for the whole-genealogy approach...where one searches for ANYTHING on this family and then looks for any documents that he hasn't already noticed. Kinda makes you think WYSIWYG really could DO your genealogy for you!

    Now I hope you'll forgive the long-winded discussion of the search engines, as I know it isn't directly the topic of this thread...but I think the big issue with the filters is that most people are expecting the WYSIWYG genealogy results similar to other sites. BUT from what I've seen, only ENGLISH speaking folks seem to be complaining (is there another site that non-English speakers are posting on?) I know from my own and friends research & from traveling around the world that English pronunciation of letters is very different from other languages. The "exact match" capabilities of FamilySearch will be a better INTERNATIONAL search engine because the USER can define the wildcards. But in order to give us the specific results that we want, these filters are the best ones, so far as I can tell, for limiting the results for the search engines FamilySearch has just implemented.

    All that said, I still use FamilySearch, Ancestry AND HeritageQuest to search for people that I have a hard time finding in the censuses! So maybe the best thing after all is to maintain both types of search engine possibilities?
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