Ancestry.com

Ancestry’s Search Functionality

Posted by Kendall on November 26, 2007 in Ancestry.com Site, Searching for Records

Kendall HuletHi, my name is Kendall Hulet, and I’m the product manager responsible for Ancestry’ s search functionality. As this is my inaugural blog post, I want to introduce myself a bit. I’ve been with Ancestry for over 4 years, managing mainly search and content projects. Although I had prior experience with search technology, I was a rookie to genealogy when I arrived at Ancestry, but I’ve learned a lot and really gained a passion for family history since first joining the company.

I’ve also really enjoyed getting to know members of the genealogical community, whether through NGS, FGS, other conventions and workshops, or simply online through various blogs and email exchanges. One thing I’ve learned along the way is that tapping into the community for guidance and feedback will only make our products better and help us meet your needs more effectively. I’m always open to feedback and want to use your ideas to make the search system more effective.

I realize that we have a lot of things about our search functionality that we can improve (and trust me, we’re working on making it better every day) – that said, we’ve come a long way. Ancestry’s search system has quickly become one of the largest search engines on the Internet.

Our search technology sifts through billions of genealogical records to bring you matches. If we were to print the text from those records out on paper, it would fill over 500 million pages printed on both sides – a stack of paper that would reach over 20 miles high in the air – that’s over 84 Empire State Buildings stacked on top of each other! You wouldn’t believe how much electricity it takes just to keep that system of thousands of computers running.

Just in case you missed it, my colleague, Suzanne Russo Adams (AG), recently held a webinar entitled “Search Like the Pros” that I think is very helpful when it comes to understanding the ins and outs of searching Ancestry. Be sure to check it out: Search Like the Pros webinar

We’ve got some exciting things coming up on the search front that I’m itching to tell you more about, so stay tuned!

- Kendall

100 comments

Comments
1 FranNovember 26, 2007 at 3:10 pm

I would like the opportunity to be very very specific as to search location. Many in my family lived in very small towns in the late 1800 and early 1900. I know they were there, but due to spelling or transcription errors the people are difficult to find. It would be helpful to be able to search very specifically in that town or county. If one could search on one or a few letters, it would allow me to search and look at potential people while limiting the number that needs to be searched. The abliltiy to use * or ? in place of letters would helpful. Having to search through people from all over the US is very distracting when you know based on other family records that family members were living in a specific place. Search by a street or even a specific address could also be helpful. Early in the century many people lived in very small towns and having to wade through people living in NY and VA is stupid when you know they were not there, but living in Kansas.

2 kimNovember 26, 2007 at 5:21 pm

I agree with Fran–if it is possible it would save us alot of time and we might make better matches.

3 NetzbandNovember 26, 2007 at 7:15 pm

Please scratch that itch soon and satisfy our curiosity. We’re eager to hear about the new features!

4 quickdaNovember 26, 2007 at 10:14 pm

[...] here No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI [...]

5 Ron LankshearNovember 26, 2007 at 10:28 pm

What I would to see in Search is a more flexible wildcard approach.
I do appreciate that the results come up very quickly and that this may be due to restricting wildcard to after three valid letters. But sometimes it would be great to search outside the three latter rule.
Sometimes impossible to know how how a first letter Capital of a surname might have been read and a shame to miss a William because he is just plain W in a record.

My interest is also UK centric and it would be nice if there was an ability to search across census with year born etc. And cannot a census calculated year born from age be better calculated. In UK the census are mostly around March/April and so age 6 in 1861 would be shown as 1855 but is 75% more likely to be 1854.
Thank You Ron

6 RonNovember 27, 2007 at 8:52 am

Kendall …I cannot improve on what Fran put in her response to you …we are to resticted in our search today at Ancestry.com

7 JudyNovember 27, 2007 at 10:36 am

I wish there were a way to search for first names using something like soundex. I have spent many hours trying variations of first name spellings to eventually find the transcriber used something like Wallam instead of William.

8 JoanNovember 28, 2007 at 11:51 am

In response to Fran, I have a similar situation. I will go to the specific database, like the 1920 census, then enter in only the approximate year of birth, place of birth, as well as the state, county & township you know your family to be in. I have found many relatives this way. Most important, though, is when I do find them, I ALWAYS add a correction so I can find them again.

9 KarenDecember 2, 2007 at 9:55 am

What I would to see in Search is a more flexible wildcard approach.
I do appreciate that the results come up very quickly and that this may be due to restricting wildcard to after three valid letters. But sometimes it would be great to search outside the three latter rule.

I don’t understand why I can leave the first name blank and get a hit list but am told that 3 letters in the first name field generates too many hits. Using a wildcard in the first name field should generate fewer hits than a blank.

I would also like to see some way to do more advanced boolean searches. If I want to search 3 adjacent counties in the same state, I have to do 3 separate searches. The other counties do appear further down on the hit list but I never know where they will fall. I’d like to see an “advanced” search that would let me specify (county1, county2,county3).

10 DaleDecember 8, 2007 at 4:59 pm

I am searching for a rare surname, ENEVER. It is frequently misspelt. I have seen ENNEVER, EMEVER, EUNEVER, ENIVER, ENEVOR, etc.

When I do an exact search I only get a fraction of the responses I know are out there.

When I do a non-exact search I get over 10,000 results, 99% easily eliminated (thousands of EMBREEs come up). The problem is that it is sorted by default to location (STATE, COUNTY, Place).
There is no option to sort by SURNAME.

Please add the ability to sort by surname to the search facility.

thanks.

11 WaffDecember 9, 2007 at 3:38 pm

The search functionality is amazing yet maddening. Please allow us to sort on the results of a search. The user is always the best judge of which element (birth place, birth year, residence etc) is most relevant to the result.
But all in all I’d have to say I’ve found an incredible amount of info in a very short period of time!

12 WaffDecember 9, 2007 at 3:44 pm

I have another suggestion. In browsing census records for an urban area I’m having a hard time figuring out which enumeration district to choose. I know the street address. I can find it on a modern map, but I can’t decode the “metes and bounds” description of the enumeration district. Why not a simple clickable map that outlines the districts?

13 TerriDecember 10, 2007 at 10:03 am

First, I greatly appreciate what’s there now – it is amazing. But it is frustrating to have so many hits come back when I’m looking for something pretty specific. I agree with the comments on sorting. Being able to choose the column in the results list to sort by would GREATLY be appreciated!!

And thanks for the opportunity to provide feedback.

14 Laurie BakerDecember 10, 2007 at 10:57 pm

I’ve reported my frustration with search lots of times. My complaint is not that things are indexed incorrectly or transcribed incorrectly. That is maybe human error to be expected especially with old documents. But when I say that I’m looking for someone who died in 1852 and the first person on the list is born in 1945 and the rest of the search result looks like it is in random order, I call that a VERY poor search function.

Check out Heritage Quest which I think you own. They let you sort the results of a search like using Excel or a Word table.

On the search tonight of the early marriages in North Carolina, I said I was looking for marriage of Ruth Dempsey. I had to page through the search result from Ruth Adams to finally get to the D’s for Dempsey. At least they were in last name alpha order but I could only go ahead one page at a time until I got to the D’s. Seems the search return could have jumped to the D’s rather than starting with the A’s.

15 EulitzDecember 11, 2007 at 10:04 am

The best thing you could do for us is to give us a more flexible name search.
I would like to be able to search a surname excluding at least the first letter. I realize that the transcription of poorly written or faint censuses is difficult to index correctly. Examples, Hills-Mills, Vance-Uance. Also, the enumerator many times writes the surname as he hears it. Examples, Caylor-Kaylor, Erban-Urban, Phillips-Fillips.
And we all know how often that is incorrect…..
Thank you for reading my thoughts.

16 TamaraDecember 13, 2007 at 7:29 pm

I hate the way you have set ancestry up. it was easier the way you had it. now you just get all this junk that you have to wade through. It takes more time and get less results. i may not renew next year if it stays this way as i don’t have all the time in the world to scroll through useless stuff.

17 Jeanette JergerDecember 14, 2007 at 3:49 pm

Tried to contact once before. Don’t know if this is “right” direction
this time. My question relates to data found on OneWorldTree: How come you have detailed data regarding my gen. collection that I have not sumitted to Ancestry at any time??

18 DianeDecember 14, 2007 at 8:36 pm

Am echoing earlier comments but only so you know how many of us want the same basic search features:
1) Ability to restrict a search to a specific locale yet without the exact name. Example: I know the person was in Spokane in 1920 but don’t find with exact name match (name is typically spelled incorrectly).If I do a non-exact name search, I get all the US and it’s painful to narrow to Spokane.
2) Ability to sort results. Same example as above with ability to then sort to Spokane location.
3) Wildcards in name searches before the 4th character. Example: Find Joe T*nh*ser with * representing any characters.
4) Boolean. Example: Find person in Sonoma or Napa County or San Francisco CA in 1920 census.
Thanks.

19 BillDecember 19, 2007 at 10:59 am

A new Ancester Hint was add last night. I find it very hard to use and very slow. When multiple spouses are reported, they are all marked to be selected which required all but one to be changed. It took over a minute for the popup to paint each time I clicked on the button to deselect the spouse/child.

When the Hint is displayed, and I click on ‘Select’, it took several minutes to display the data. It is unusable.

20 MelodyDecember 22, 2007 at 3:52 pm

The biggest issue I’ve had as far as searching goes is when the name is spelled wrong. For example, I couldn’t find my great grandfather in the 1930 census even though I knew where he was living. His name is John Pridgen so I searched every variation of Pridgen I could think of. A search by just John was impossible…too many records! I finally found him by just searching for my grandmother’s first name. It was listed as Bridgen! Just one letter off really makes a difference.

Also, when I do a general search for people who lived and died in NC in a certain time period, I get records for people who lived everywhere, and in any year. Sometimes I’m forced to do an exact search because it’s the only way I can find something (if it’s spelled correctly). There are too many records when I do a general search. I like the idea of being able to sort through results.

Hope these are some of the issues you can help fix. Overall though, I have found a lot of useful information on the site. Can’t wait to hear more about the improvements to the search function!

21 Deloris WilliamsDecember 27, 2007 at 8:55 am

I have been using Ancestry.com for years, and have been a big fan about the number of new databases added. Most of my research involves North Carolina, and there are a phenomenal amount of databases for that state, and I really commend Ancestry for that. But recently I’ve noticed that I cannot access the North Carolina Death Collection directly, it can only be used in a Global Search. Searching directly in the NCDC gives you a “No Matches” for everything, yet I can find the info in a Global Search. I had previously had great success in using the database directly and am terribly disappointed with this, the other day I got over 6400 results in the NCDC by using the Global Search, totally unacceptable because one can’t be more specific in getting the Results that are needed. I’ve complained about this several times over the past several weeks and am getting nowhere, when is this going to be fixed?

[...] you all for your great feedback and comments on my last post. I want to address the topics you’ve raised one by one over the next few weeks. I have to [...]

23 SuzanneDecember 30, 2007 at 9:49 pm

I am wondering if there is a way to allow specific countries to be excluded from search.
I have complete subscription but previously had UK one and found searching for my ancestors frustrating to say the least. US results seemed to take precedence over local (Australian) and UK and records made compiled in US but pertaining to UK were locked out even though they were in fact a UK record.

Has that been fixed.
I use advanced search but find it still jumps back to US first and the rest of the world follows if place name not recognised by your search engine.

thanks for at least taking notice of the requests and putting back in a lot of the older program that makes it user friendly again.

24 007 womanJanuary 2, 2008 at 10:36 am

Hi, I was on a part of this site a few years ago…you could see the emails as they came in..and could get response from others..I later tried to rejoin this site…but because..of computer or server not being compatible..I was not able to…is this that site..has the format changed??? It seems to me that
the administrator then was…to leave…but then stayed…for the joy of all..was that you Ken.

25 DoreenJanuary 4, 2008 at 6:37 pm

I am having major problem trying to locate information on my dad , birth name Edward Crowther 1923, then i think his parents died John Crowther,1900 & Ethel Martin 1902
i dont think they were married how do i find adoption records or birth records, i think connecticut or brooklyn ny.

26 peter ashleyJanuary 10, 2008 at 12:56 am

FTM 16 automatically used maiden AND married name when doing a web search. This facility appears to have been lost in the 2008 version.
When using some web functions, the program automatically uses Internet Explorer despite the system having Firefox as the default browser. How can I change this?

27 gary jacobsJanuary 11, 2008 at 6:26 pm

i’m looking for a cousin i haven’t seen in 40 + years.his name at birth was lester slone. adopted to wolfe family n hindman or elmalena,ky cleo slone and andrew slone parents.he was borned 9-16-1954,at lackey ky.his sister linda said he was in florida,where unknown.has 2 brothers dwayne and gregory 2other sisters i’m aware of bonnie.please,if any one reads this and knows of anything call me @931-685-9926.thank you gary jacobs

28 Laurie MagoonJanuary 15, 2008 at 12:10 am

PLEASE CALL US. i AM NOT COMPUTOR SMART AND WE REALLY NEED TO TALK TO SOME ONE.
THANK YOU
lAURIE AND ORLO MAGOON
253-279-7137

29 Dinah DeckJanuary 15, 2008 at 7:31 am

I would like to see birth, death records seperate from the marriage records. I’m having a hard time trying to find my mom’s marriage records. In fact I can’t find any marriage records for any state. Am I doing something wrong? Also how do you contact and change I know that is incorrect. Ex: Ny grandmothers middle name starts w/ an “A”. It is listed in someones tree as an “I”. Dinah

30 Dinah DeckJanuary 15, 2008 at 7:43 am

I find the joining very expensive. I don’t mind but there sould be more options for payment. Also we should be able to purchase the service at any time with no time restrctions. I’m sometimes out of the country and don’t use the service for a month or so. I find this is a unnecessary expense. Hy husband has a fit. Also I would rather pay by money order and “what he doesn’t know” You get what I meen.

31 James LengacherJanuary 15, 2008 at 12:58 pm

Kendall, I really appreciate all that ancestry.com is doing and plans to do. I have been researching my family ancestors since 1992. In the beginning I have used many sources other than ancestry.com and still do. It is very time consuming to hunt thru the many other UK sources. Some cities in the UK have available a search of their birth, death and marriages since 1837 thru a more recent date. I realize your ancestry.co.uk is available for british searches however I would like to mention some of the other british government sites. Could you please check to see if ancestry.co.uk uses them?
They are:
http://www.newcastle.gov.uk
http://www.scotlandpeople.gov.uk
http://www.leeds.gov.uk
Other sites in the United States are:
http://www.familysearch.org
http://www.stlgs.org
http://www.sos.mo.gov
http://www.sos.state.il.us
Kendall, the more databases you have within ancestry.com the easier and faster I’ll be able to research.

Thank you for your time.
Jim

32 randall thomas pierceJanuary 15, 2008 at 5:48 pm

I would like to see confederate rosters consolidated.

33 Mike MitchellJanuary 17, 2008 at 3:53 am

I am very interested in my past familys military service back to the Revolutionary War. I would like to see an easier way to tell if someone served in any war.

34 Joyce C WicksJanuary 17, 2008 at 7:07 am

I do appreciate the great work you do and the great accomplishments that have been made. I was here at the beginning and it is amazing! I’m so glad I have access to Ancestry.com.

But, as with any large endeavor, there are problems and since I use it almost daily, I will have more than a couple of comments to contribute, now and in the future, especially about the search feature.

I agree with the others who requested some changes/additions to the search feature.

People are very difficult to find in a general search, even if they ARE listed. I usually don’t want all the Clinesmiths {or whatever name] in the world I search, just the ones in one particular county. In the general search with with the best hits appearing at the top, I still miss the ones that are there because of different ways of spelling names, mispelling of names and incorrect transcriptions of the names.

For example, I was recently searching on the name Clinesmith. When I did a general search, all the Clinesmiths that were in the database didn’t appear.

They were there, but they were spelled Kleinschmidt, Klinesmith, Klineschmidt, Chinsmith, Clinsmith and all sorts of ways.

So, I just put in the County and State name and got all the hits for that county from the census records. Then, I had to go page to page and I found them. That takes a long time and since of the time, the number of hits isn’t listed, so I don’t know if it’s going to take 10 min. or 10 hours to get through them.

Therefore, like others in this blog I would like to be able to restrict my search to specific counties or cities also AND (very importantly) to have all of the hits appear at once instead of limiting it to 50. It’s easier and faster to scroll down the whole list than to search page by page.

It would also be good for each county to be arranged in the same way. They seem to be arranged in different ways – Sometimes, the whole county is arranged alphbetically by name. (That makes it easier to search.) Other times it is arranged by township or city with the arrangement of the names making no sense. Other times it’s arranged by county or city with the names within that county or city in alphabetical order.

I think it should be arranged the SAME way in each data base.

Also, on the communication section of the help section I wrote about my account, received a message that my concern would be addressed in a day or so and I NEVER received a response and consequently was charged for a year instead of possibly changing it to monthly.

Thank you for publishing this blog and making a way for us to express our comments.

Joyce

Joyce C. Wicks

35 Joyce C WicksJanuary 17, 2008 at 7:19 am

I do appreciate the great work you do and the great accomplishments that have been made. I was here at the beginning and it is amazing! I’m so glad I have access to Ancestry.com.

But, as with any large endeavor, there are problems and since I use it almost daily, I will have more than a couple of comments to contribute, now and in the future, especially about the search feature.

I agree with the others who requested some changes/additions to the search feature.

People are very difficult to find in a general search, even if they ARE listed. I usually don’t want all the Clinesmiths {or whatever name] in the world I search, just the ones in one particular county. In the general search with with the best hits appearing at the top, I still miss the ones that are there because of different ways of spelling names, mispelling of names and incorrect transcriptions of the names.

For example, when searching on the name Clinesmith in a general search, all the Clinesmiths that were in the database didn’t appear.

I eventually found them, but they were spelled Kleinschmidt, Klinesmith, Klineschmidt, Chinsmith, Clinsmith and all sorts of ways.

So, I tried to search by just entering the County and State and got all the hits for that county from the census records. Then, I had to go page to page and I found them. Part of the time, the number of hits isn’t listed, so I don’t know if it’s going to take 10 min. or 10 hours to get through them. I like to always know ahead of time how many hits there are.

Like others in this blog I would like to be able to restrict my search to specific counties or cities also AND (very importantly) to have ALL of the hits appear at once instead of limiting it to 50. It’s easier and faster to scroll down the whole list than to search page by page.

It would also be good for each county to be arranged in the SAME way. Sometimes, the whole county is arranged alphbetically by name. (That makes it easier to search.) Other times it is arranged by township or city with the arrangement of the names making no sense. Other times it’s arranged by county or city with the names within that county or city in alphabetical order.

One time I tried entering only the county, state and place of birth and that made it easier to find people. But there are so many people in each county born in the same state. It might make it easier IF we could enter the COUNTRY of birth in this restricted search, but it didn’t work for me – My choices were only state, county and township.

Also, there’s a place in help to post messages to Ancestry. I wrote about my account, received a message that they would write back within a certain time and I NEVER received a response and consequently was charged for a year instead of possibly changing it to monthly.

Thank you for publishing this blog and making a way for us to express our comments. I really appreciate it and hope you respond.

Joyce

Joyce C. Wicks

36 Joyce C. WicksJanuary 17, 2008 at 7:22 am

Can you put a preview or edit feature on this?

Joyce

37 Ruth ArmstrongJanuary 17, 2008 at 3:56 pm

When will the 1891 Canadian Census Index be available?

38 Linda D DavisJanuary 17, 2008 at 4:51 pm

I appreciate being able to change a name when I know it is wrong in the Historical Records, but it is then changed to another wrong name, almost immediately. Who does that? When I do a second change, it happens again. Also, when will we be able to change other information, as in dates, names of towns, etc.?

39 Ken RobinsonJanuary 17, 2008 at 6:22 pm

It would be a tremendous help if the search function would show ONLY the results that exactly match. For instance, if I type in “John Smith”, I usually get responses like John TAYLOR and Sally SMITH. If the first and last names are not together in the order in which they were typed, then the “result” is a complete waste of time! Another thing is – most of my family came to the Pacific Northwest via the Oregon Trail. Knowing there is someone with same last name in Delaware when I am looking in Oregon is another complete waste of time.

40 Don CoxJanuary 17, 2008 at 10:16 pm

I don’t know if this has been stated before, or if I’m just not aware of how to perform the function. My issue is when I click on a “shakey leaf” to look at a possible match to data in my tree from the web search – there are some records that are in the “hits” that I don’t feel are related, but I don’t know a way to “check them off” that I’ve viewed them so that the “shakey leaf” goes away until something new out there is found. Do you have some help for that..or if it is an issue a future resolution? Thanks

41 Janet DaneJanuary 20, 2008 at 7:55 pm

The search function is wonderful! But I did find a missing census record. How can I submit that missing census record that I cannot find on Ancestry, but found using Heritagequest? Thanks, Janet

If I could get an email address, I could email the copy.

42 gary jacobsJanuary 21, 2008 at 5:36 pm

IF ANYONE KNOWS OF CLEO SLONE ‘S KIDS LESTER,LINDA,PAUL,GREGORY,TONYA BONNIE. ARE PLEASE CONTACT ME AT 931-685-9926.LESTER WAS IN FLA, LINDA NORTERN KY,PAUL IN S.E.KY.GREG.OH.,TONYA IN IN.BONNIE ??.

43 Melissa GrayJanuary 23, 2008 at 10:08 am

I will like to know who is my bological father because

44 Melissa GrayJanuary 23, 2008 at 10:11 am

I will like to know who is my bological father because I was told that my father name is Iverson Andrews and bological mother name who is now deceased name is Joyce Delores Gray. Another thing I want to also Know what is my main nationalilties where I decendant from either American Native Indian or African-American.

45 ELLEN HOGANJanuary 24, 2008 at 11:35 am

looking for name of haney,george born in Culpepper. VA. on October 25,1903

46 pamela roweJanuary 24, 2008 at 12:44 pm

The most helpful new search, at the very least, would make it possible to look a person up by state in a specific time frame. Getting more exact by county, town, city, or even street name would of course be the most benificial. Also if there was the ability to look up given names only, for a specific year & state, since so many of our ancestors had surname only changes.

47 GL JohnsonJanuary 24, 2008 at 2:59 pm

Are these comments actually read by the author or others than those posting? Just curious what the Blog is for….

Are our comments / suggestions better to go directly through Contact Us?

48 Rita PortelanceJanuary 24, 2008 at 6:09 pm

Hello, My adoptive name is Cathay Bate, although i would like very much, to find my bio parents, My mothers name is Mary Portelance, i was adopted in march 67 in Montreal, if anyone has any info whatsoever please don”t hesitate to E-mail me, as i have been searching since i was 18 yrs,i have Mohawk & Cree heritage, brown curly hair, hazle eyes, light brown complextion, i was born July 9, 1966, i was born at the Catherine Booth Hospital in N.D.G. montreal, i was told i may have family in Gatineau, please let me know if you hear of anything, thankyou

49 Kendall HuletJanuary 25, 2008 at 12:50 pm

to GL Johnson (#47): yes, I do read these comments and use them to help me learn how to better meet our customers needs regarding the search experience on Ancestry

50 Charles ComptonJanuary 26, 2008 at 11:44 am

Hi,
I just ran across this blog recently. I have been going to LDS Research Centers for several years and started subscribing to Ancestry.com just about a year ago.

After reading the Reader Comments I went to the Advance Search and found that it is almost usless. I put in names and places and so forth from what I had already found and put it in the Advance Search and could only get NO MATCHES FOUND. For something that is supposed to help I found it was worse than the normal search and was a wasting of time.

Tell me, how is this ADVANCE SEARCH helping anyone’s research?

51 Sheilagh HuntJanuary 27, 2008 at 7:10 am

Where are you getting marital surnames of my living siblings I have never submitted to ancestry.com or not invited anyone to join/read in my personal tree? I called the 1-888 ancestry # and was forwarded to 3 different tech pesons who could not /deferred answering this urgent question.
Three daya later no answer to a tgn. E-mail address I was givien as the only contact to answer this concern!

52 Bill KowalskyJanuary 27, 2008 at 4:40 pm

Searching or finding almost anything on Ancestry has become more difficult than ever. As you have increased and expanded the number of “available” databases it appears that you have also limited their usefulness. If I expand the list of databases available I get a hodge-podge of choices – neither in alphabetical or chronological order. Seemingly random. If I attempt to do a search for records in the 1875 Minn Terr Census, for instance, you return names with dates in 1895, 1900, etc. — clearly outside the search range.

I am afraid that this octopus may have grown too many extremities to control. I appreciate the addition of new data records and databases, but I think you need to get back to the basics by redeveloping your search engine. (s) Consider wild cards,- limit found items to criteria which have been made explicit in the search and do not include irrelevant results.

There is so much potential here, but it is being underdeveloped — perhaps you need to hire someone from Google to help you “get a good handle on a new search engine”. Although I know much of what I am looking for is online here somewhere; I hesitate to waste another $30 on meaningless, irrelevant data searches that end up being a wast of my time.

53 GL JohnsonJanuary 28, 2008 at 5:50 pm

To Kendall(#49),

Great, good to hear, and see, it!
:)

54 Earline Long-ZlotkowskiFebruary 5, 2008 at 8:08 am

I’ve been with Ancestry.com for years, and I love it. One complaint, however, is that when I do a search with specifid parameters (name, birth date and place, death date and place, etc.) I get results on people from many different states that have nothing to do with mine. Can this be improved?

55 Ora Lee GentleFebruary 7, 2008 at 12:09 pm

Type your comment here.

56 g dozierFebruary 7, 2008 at 7:05 pm

I love anc.com but there needs more data from the caribbean. Please direct me to Barbados,St Croix and .Panama.Thank You

57 TimmoshkaFebruary 11, 2008 at 6:27 am

It seems there are requests for both simpler and more complex searches. Perhaps, default and advanced are not enough. Personally, I would love to search at the SQL database level. Inexact data is unavoidable, but a flexible search utility would overcome most of that.
For example: find families with a George and Fred -or- show families with more than 5 kids. Think many would be willing to leave the forms and learn the syntax.

58 Althea PomeroyFebruary 15, 2008 at 6:59 am

My grandmother Margaret Althea Pomeroy lived on the Northside of Pittsburgh . She lived with Paul Pomeroy Senior . They had several children . Their names were, my dad Paul, Herbert, Betty, and a half brother of my dad’s Harold Tunstall .

59 Eric HaskinsFebruary 20, 2008 at 3:57 am

Looking on your family tree section,I would like to be able to contact,the person with the family tree name of “HughRobinson15″ if it is at all possible,as it seems that we have an interest in the same family name,I would greatly appreciate your kind assistance in this matter.Many thanks in anticipation.Eric

60 brendaFebruary 22, 2008 at 8:47 am

KOMINAK
if you are looking for
micheal osierda
please contact me -
he is my gg grandfather

61 brendaFebruary 22, 2008 at 8:48 am

KOMINAK
if you are looking for
micheal osierda
please contact me -
he is my gg grandfather

bprice8719@aol.com

62 KellyFebruary 22, 2008 at 9:16 am

I WANT TO FIND MY GRANDMA OBITIUARIES FROM NORTH CAROLINA IN NOVE OF 2003

63 CherylFebruary 23, 2008 at 11:37 am

I agree with Fran, too.
It is so aggravating to be searching for someone in the censuses that I know lived in a certain place and then have all these other states get in the way.
Why have ‘Refine Search’ as a choice if it isn’t really an option?
This has been a problem since I became a member of ancestry. That’s a long time for someone to have had a chance to ‘fix’ that problem.

64 meecheeda1February 23, 2008 at 10:25 pm

I concur with a lot of the comments posted here. It would really be nice if the “refine search” on the results window would search on the results that were from the original search.

Also, when you click on “Exact Match,” it would be great if it actually searched and gave an exact match of the information typed in the search. It doesn’t help much when there is a somewhat common first name and a somewhat common last name and the search brings up all of the individuals with that first name somewhere on the page and the last name somewhere else on the page, but the names are not necessarily adjacent. Even trying to type the full name in “‘s in the keyword section doesn’t help.

Also, in the family and local history section, I find that the searches aren’t consistent. Just recently, I was in a document in the section and bookmarked it, but something went wrong and the bookmark is lost. Now, no matter what I search on: the search I performed to find it originally, the name of the document, exact names found on pages of the document I happened to save, phrases that may be unique, etc., the result is always the same – NO MATCHES! I have now searched for two days in every fashion I can think of and cannot find the document again. I know it is there, because I have also accessed it in the past, but even searching on the name through the alphabet search doesn’t pull it up. It’s like the OCR has been turned off and the document doesn’t exist for the searches. This has also happened with another document in the past, but now it comes up in the searches.

Also, a wildcard search for a name that may be spelled with one different letter within the name: ie. Moff?tt for either Moffett, Moffitt, or Moffatt. If we know how the individual spelled the name and we want to ssearch that way first to see if the record can be found quickly without going through all of the records that will come up with the present search options.

65 meecheeda1February 23, 2008 at 10:33 pm

Oops! Forgot one suggestion, on the results page you give the ability to sort the search on “matches” or “alphabetical.” On a database I use at work, when the results come up, we can just click on the column heading and sort by whatever is listed in that column. If we click twice it will sort in the descending order of that column. It would be nice if we can sort on any of the information in the results, but if that will slow things down too much at least allow a reverse alphabetical sort. It would really help those of us looking for names at the end of the alphabet. Thanks for allowing a forum for us to let you know what will make it easier for us search for our all elusive ancestors.

66 Darrel SalisburyFebruary 24, 2008 at 4:58 am

Ancestry shows a directory listing for Asa Clinton Ravine. It says, “Name: Asa
Clinton Ravine; Residence: Rochester, NY, 1897. This leads to a page on which the first name is ROCKWELL. There is a person with the given name, Asa; several addresses on Clinton St. & an address on Ravine St. Going back to Rav…, there is only one name & it is not Ravine! This is unacceptable!

67 MARIA KOPCHUK SQUARESFebruary 24, 2008 at 2:24 pm

I’M NOT SORRY I ENROLLED IN ANCESTRY BUT I AM DISCOURGED WITH MY TURN OUTS, I CAN HARDLY FIND ANYTHING AND WHEN I COME TO ANCESTRY FOR HELP AND A QUESTION I NEVER GET AN ANSWER.

68 Barbara PoeFebruary 28, 2008 at 10:30 pm

After spending countless hundreds of hours building my tree, I am suddenly missing long lines of my ancestors that were previously on my tree. They are still listed in the list of people, but no longer on my tree. Why? I did not delete them. I put my trees back on private instead of public, in case a viewer deleted them. How can I get them back without going through all those hours of work again?
Thank You,
Barbara
pbarbara11@yahoo.com

69 donald keyMarch 11, 2008 at 9:47 am

reubin a. key 9nov1899 is buried in brookside cemetery in houston tx.he died31dec1964 info from headston you can call me at 832 579 2403 thanks don

70 noraMarch 14, 2008 at 3:13 pm

cannot find records on william robert wallace born 2 22 1958 died 11181993

71 sheri russoMarch 19, 2008 at 12:02 pm

I need to know about the history regarding having to register a birth in the US. Working on a book and I need to know about it or where to look.

What if some one was born before 1920, home birthed — never registered or put down during any cencus? No proper name either.

any help would be useful.

sheri

72 Stanthia OakleyMarch 21, 2008 at 5:54 am

I would like to be able to search census records by region, i.e. southeast, southwest. In 250someodd years my family has never moved north of the Mason-Dixon line!

73 john snyderApril 1, 2008 at 5:06 pm

How do I find city directories? I know my gg-grandfather lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1910 but I don’t know how to tell the Ancestry.com site that I want to view that directory.

74 Robert allen Leonard IIApril 3, 2008 at 2:56 pm

my name is robert and Iam looking for my graet grand mother Ina Bell Anderson married name Ina bell Bingham grand father her dad was born in new york 1808 but his dad came to new york from Irland in what year do’nt now O Ina dads name is willam foster Andreson help would be great my e-mail is wholeebob@comcast.net

75 CarolynApril 5, 2008 at 10:20 am

When I do a search, I don’t know why I have to get everyone in that data base. I searched civil war veterans, put in ancestor name, dob and dod and state of service. That seemed to not be important in the search. I got people from many different states. This happens to me a lot. Am I missing something, or is the search engine missing something?

76 SANDRA JENKINS GARDNERApril 7, 2008 at 8:19 am

I don’t believe they have acruate records when I have several occasion went to the courthouse to obtain records on family and property that they had the right information by what I was told by family members that were at that time alive but now decease. I went to the books and by law whites and blacks birth were separate in the 1960 so how is the information can be proven to be correct. when on my birth certificate they could’nt prove who’s my daddy as if they were saying my mother spelt with and could not possiable know who was the father. but by law they always went with the information on the paper that has an state seal for evidence. but Today any one that works in the records department has there creditails been check. I have ran into problems obtaining an state Identification from the last two years because of an clerk at the denbigh mivisiion of motors vechlie said that i was an terriost because by the mistake of our forfathers stupid lifestyle that does not mean we all are stupid in believe in fighting an war and later asked the question why are we fighting all we ask for is the truth about our history if you do not what the truth to be know then stop asking my childre and soon to be grandchildren that might enter into school to write an paper on there family tree because as far as I know family is those Certainly, Certainly, Certainly, Certainly, ICertainly, Certainly, Certainly, I SEE AND KNOW IS BLOOD KIN. AMERICA IS SO QUICK TO PUT US SOMEWHERE BUT NOW IT’S AFRICAN AMERICAN AS IF BEING BORN IN THE UNITED STATES IS FRIGHTENING ENOUGH WHY FOR THOSE WHO ARE NATIONAL BORN CITIZENS CAN BE CALLED BLACK AMERICAN AND LEAVE THE RACE CARD BURIED. POLITICS HAS GOTTEN US TO BE NAME CALLING AND THOSE GAMES ARE FOR KIDS. THANK YOU LEARNING HISTORY ABOUT OUR FAMILY SHOULD NOT BE PAINFUL BUT PROUND THAT YOU WERE APART OF THAT BLOODLINE THAT MAKES AN DIFFERENCE. MARTIN LUTHER KING WE ALL KNOW BUT DO YOU KNOW LEONARD SMITH ETHEL JENKINS AND ONE ARM SAM THOSE WERE PEOPLE WHO DID’NT HAVE MUCH OF AN EDUCATION BUT USE THEIR GIFT’S AND TALENTS TO ENCOURAGE ME NOT TO GIVE UP ON MY DREAMS NO MATTER WHAT COMES OUR WAY. HOPE THIS WILL HELP FIND OUT THE TRUTH ABOUT WHY OUR ANCESTRY DID WHAT THEY DID AND KNOW WE ALL CAME FROM AN ENRICHED BLOODLINE.

77 Chuck NostromeApril 7, 2008 at 2:29 pm

When I do a search for the Surname Loschiavo I get the message ” no matches ” I have found this surmname in most fields over the years. What ever you have changed does not work. It apears that your search engine no longer functions at all. Please help as I am becoming quite frustrated.

78 t j newmanApril 19, 2008 at 4:27 pm

trying tofind henry wofford. hall co.

79 Sarah StatlerApril 30, 2008 at 1:45 pm

I have found so many names and family trees on your site, which tie into mine, Burelison. Though my mom searched for over thirty years, then I took over with the help of computers and your site, we cannot find my gr, gr, gr grandparents, Charles Burelison and Sarah Hatfield. I know they had a son, William Madison Burelison, in about 1843 in Indiana. But for the life of me, I can find nothing before finding William Burelison with his wife, Sarah and their children. Perhaps Charles and Sarah were deceased by then, but where were they in 1840? They had a son about 1842? I know the spelling HAD to be different than the present day speeling of Burelison, but I have tried everything I can think of! Any thoughts or suggestions as to what to do next? Rumors have it Charles was born in NY…perhaps 1820-1825? And Sarah Hatfield, they say, born in Kentucky about the same time? No one seems to know for sure. HELP! Sarah, daughter to Donna Burelison Statler

80 David NolleMay 12, 2008 at 7:34 am

I’m confused. I’m working on family ancestor: Lydia Harold, and got the following automatic hint:

1910 United States Federal Census Record
Census & Voter Lists
Name: Mary L Erving
Spouse: Thomas R
Children: Charles E
Birth: abt 1863 in New Jersey
Residence: 1910 in Trenton Ward 13, Mercer, New Jersey

The family is no relation to the Ervings; and they’ve never been to Trenton. As of 1880, the family was in New York, and Lydia may have died before 1900.

In short this hint makes no sense. There is no reason to have received this hint. Something is wrong with your modeling.

81 JemMay 12, 2008 at 12:27 pm

I feel I must add my gripe to this list!

I have been a loyal subsciber to Ancestry for many years now (world deluxe), but I am becoming increasingly p*ssed off with the web site issues of late and the inability to display images; not to mention the lack of response to complaints or inquiries! It is seriously interrupting, and delaying my research and causing me to question my subscriptions value. At $300 it isn’t cheap!

Meanwhile, time and resources are wasted on developing a “new Search” (which I’ve tested, and frankly, so far is rubbish by comparison to the existing system) instead of focusing on delivering current quality service to their users!!

I tested the new search by using an ancestor which I have already thoroughly researched (thanks largely TO this website) so I KNOW which records are available. I ran searches with the current, and then the ‘so-called’ new. I’m sorry to have to say this; but it’s terrible! It found TWO records, one of which was from my own tree – the other from a relatives tree (who got the information from MY tree anyway – so in effect it found only ONE). The old (or current) search, however; found everything – as it should!

I am becoming increasingly frustrated with Ancestrys’ seeming desire to “dress up” the web site, yet fail it’s customers by forgetting what it’s supposed to actually DO – FIND information! It’s becoming painfully slow, if not inaccessible! This is an UNACCEPTABLE way to run a business!

Come on Ancestry – get your act together and put the horse back in front of the cart! You’re taking our money – now deliver the goods!

82 JemMay 12, 2008 at 1:17 pm

…and as for the advanced search – it’s a complete joke! I’m sorry if that seems rude – but it’s just plain FACT.

If I use the same ancestor as per my post above. I get either thousands of hits (none of which seem to be connected to her, though) or NONE at all, depending on whether I chose “exact” or not!

I performed this trial, just a few moments ago. As per my complaint in above post though – I was unable to view actual images due to problems with the site (AGAIN)!!

I rest my case!

83 Martin HubbardMay 16, 2008 at 7:11 pm

Please tell me, when I do an exact match search, there is never a result? Having to do an “all matches” search takes hours, when I know perfectly well that the information I put in is right. I have been using Ancestry for nearly three years now, and have never got an exact match. I even inputted details for an individual who I have certificates for, and your search engine can’t, or won’t, find them!

84 Martin HubbardMay 16, 2008 at 7:19 pm

Please give us a faciltiy to return to the person we have been researching, after poring over hundreds of useless entries, it is so frustrating to have to go back to “Home person”, and then through many generations to get back to the person we are working on.

Thank you in anticipation.

[...] eliminated thousands …… 1910 united states federal census record census &amp Voter Lists …http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2007/11/26/ancestrys-search-functionality/Ancestry.com – The AIS Census Indexes … some of the people living in the united states … [...]

86 violette (murray) robinsonJune 1, 2008 at 1:31 pm

Augustine was my great grandmother her daughter
Emalia LaChance married Arthur Storrs

87 Norma RoperJune 8, 2008 at 7:50 am

Recently about half of the documents I try to search come up “blank”…although the system says “done”…What has happened?? I think I’ve ruled out problems on my end….I sincerely believe your recent changes have created problems.

88 dhcowgirlJune 8, 2008 at 4:09 pm

The new search feature is HORRIBLE!! When I search from my software database on the new feature it only puts in the name. The old feature put in dates of birth and death, if I had them. Too many confusing pages and also poor searches that are not relevant. I tried people that I KNOW are there and sure enough they didn’t come up.
This is NOT an improvement in any way. We need to concentrate on documents/sources and not on the family trees that people upload. Sources, sources, sources people – that’s what makes it genealogy and NOT fiction

89 NancyJune 9, 2008 at 10:38 am

It is very frustrating to ask for exact matches only and then get dozens with no match at all. It is also frustrating to try to later try to go back to a name in a family tree and be told there is no match. Is there any answer?

90 June McCulloughJune 9, 2008 at 12:01 pm

As many others have stated so well, the search feature is terrible. I
learned about Ancestry by using a friend’s, and it was so easy to search. She has tried to find people
on mine and said it is the most user
unfriendly search she has ever seen.
One must go through thousands of names, can’t search for just a specific area like she can on her
system. My husband is most upset that I have Ancestry and keep coming
up with No matches. He ran a very
large data center (was also a programmer) for 42 years before he
retired, and he said, something must
be done to improve the content of the
search engine so you don’t come up
with thousands of names unrelated to
your specific search. Will you ever
get a handle on this?

91 Dale FrankJune 10, 2008 at 2:20 pm

It seems no longer possible to do a search for a married woman and expect results which include her married name. One step forward – two steps back, methinks!! Now in order to do a search for a woman who has been married, we need to do the independent search and use her maiden name. Using both surnames in the surname field does not work. Please give us the old search back until at least the major bugs have been worked out of this new version.

92 BELLE SEIDMANJune 12, 2008 at 11:16 pm

I’M SORRY, I DIDN’T READ THIS ARTICLE. I AM SO HOPPED UP ON TRYING TO FIND OUT ABOUT MY OWN FATHER AND MOTHER, I’M TOO EXCITED TO TAKE THE TIME TO READ NOW. MAYBE I WILL IN THE FUTURE. I WILL BE SO GREATEFUL FOR ANY HELP YOU CAN PROIVDE. THANK YOU.

93 CathyJune 19, 2008 at 7:39 am

Hi,
I’m Cathy and have been a member of ancestry for probably close to 6 years. While I am still trying the new search I seem to continue to go back to the old search.

Here is a problem that I don’t know who to tell about.
If you will go here or seek out

1850 United States Federal Census
about William H Moore
Name: William H Moore
Age: 84
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1766
Birth Place: North Carolina
Gender: Male
Home in 1850(City,County,State): District 23, Cooper, Missouri
Household Members:
Name Age
Ann Moore 78
Ann Moore 78
William H Moore 84
William H Moore 84

you can see above that it is a double entry. But that’s not my complaint. My complaint is that when you look at the census you will see that the numbers are 2′s not 7′s meaning their ages are 27 yrs old and 24 yrs old. I see no where to report this.
Here it is transcribed by me from that page:
1850 Mo Cooper Dist23 – image 130

1204/1204
Joseph Moore 27 M Farmer 500 MO (1) Married within the (last) year
Mary A Moore 24 F MO (1) Married within the (last) year

So the search capabilities would throw someone off if they are doing a date range and trying to find them.
Can you tell me where to report these things? Yes I’ve added a comment but that won’t help correct the typo in the transcription. And if you look closely you will see the census takers 7 is clearly a 7 while the 2 is rounded at the top.

I’m still relying on the old search capabiilties, but I wish that you would incorporate some of the features, as in choosing which to go fuzzy with. I have more faith in the old because I won’t have to weed through page after page of incorrect data to find my 1 true match that is a bit different, spelling, etc.
Thanks for reading!

94 Jeff StoksJune 19, 2008 at 6:11 pm

Hi,

An ancestry.com fan and member, but your “Stories & Publications” Search is whack!

Try typing in Mary Stokx. Many results… not one Mary Stokx on the scanned in pages.

Then I tried a variety of names… again, many results, not one actually on the scanned page.

What up?
Jeff

95 Racing SchoolsJune 24, 2008 at 7:52 am

Wow. It’s nice to always find your roots.

96 MikeJune 27, 2008 at 7:40 am

I recently started searching the database of French Canadian records. Now I find this to be extremely useful and I have had a lot of success with it. However it suffers from some liberal interpretation of the Quebec parish registers (Drouin) and census records by english speaking transcribers. The census is a double problem because the original census takers were often english speaking and apparently lazy at writing down french names. Please take this as a constructive criticism but it would help if the search engine was smarter or tuned the french, eg I found Jeanne intrpreted as Jennie.

97 JackieJune 28, 2008 at 1:01 pm

the number of records available thru your search feature is truly amazing, thats for sure ….but for that very reason it would be most helpful to be able to sort by column. Also I think it in searching border crossing records it would be very helpful to put in a month and/or day along with the year….I know the date I am looking for, but have to enter only a year so I get way too many records to search throughly. thanks for giving us the opportunity to offer our 2cents! :)

98 betttyAugust 1, 2008 at 6:39 am

any info on george w cornelious or marie marquardt.?thanks

99 Dinah DeckOctober 28, 2008 at 4:12 pm

One letter off does make a difference. My Grandfather was Otho Clyde Grate and in one town cences it was listed at Atho Clyde Grate. He was also nicknamed Thomas. Now what is up with that. Makes it very confusing. I would like to find birth or marrage records but nothing so far. I do know he was born in 1890. Dinah

100 GeraldineDecember 15, 2008 at 1:03 pm

I am trying to find out some information on my uncle, Mr Arfentress New, whom dies in 1972, Mother’s name was Birtha New and Father was, Matthew Allen New

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