I’ve gone through and reread the comments that members have left on my initial search post, and I wanted to try and summarize what I am hearing, just to make sure that I understand what you are saying.
I believe that the biggest problem that has been discovered is that the detailed searching on some datasets is not available for the new search interface. For example, on a marriage record, you can’t specify a groom’s surname. This ability to use your knowledge of the data that is stored in any given dataset is hampering your ability to pull out records in a manner useful to you. I think this is a problem. I don’t have a solution for it today, but I believe a solution can be found.
I know some of you would simply like the new search interface thrown out and the old search interface become the only search interface. I don’t think that is the correct answer.
From looking at search results and search patterns, and from comments (and there were hundreds of them) from the webinar, that were largely in favor of the new search interface as well as surveys we have conducted, there is a lot of enthusiasm for the new search.
I suspect that the answer is in adding in a way to filter on fields specific to the database as well as some other tweaks/improvements to get the new search interface working properly.
Some of those improvements might include solutions to these problems that surfaced in your comments:
- Limit the number of results that you see at one time
- You want a way to be able to search census records and not see records before the birth date and after the death date.
- You would like an option to limit your searches to not include certain data sets, for example family trees.
- Some of you believe, that a document should only be excluded if the contents of that document explicitly contradict what you have entered. (This applies mainly to death dates on census records, mainly.)
- There are times when you want every thing ancestry can find on a person, and there are times when you want to be able to filter those result by specific data sets or general categories of data sets.
- Some of you would like the ability to turn off type ahead for names and locations.
Now, I’m sure that I’ve missed a few things, or not stated things in the clearest manner.
I need to have some conversations with engineers, designers and other product people and try and figure out solutions to some of these issues and if we can get solve them in a timely manner. Not all problems are easily solvable. And I don’t want to make promises I can’t keep. But I do want make sure I understand the problems before I try and figure out solutions.
About Anne Gillespie Mitchell
Anne Gillespie Mitchell is a Senior Product Manager at Ancestry.com. She is an active blogger on Ancestry.com and writes the Ancestry Anne column. She has been chasing her ancestors through Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina for many years. Anne holds a certificate from Boston University's Online Genealogical Research Program. You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook and Finding Forgotten Stories.