Ancestry.com

Ancestry Search: Improved Collection Filters

Posted by Anne Gillespie Mitchell on February 10, 2010 in Searching for Records

As we mentioned last month, we will be launching a series of filters in new search with the aim of giving the experienced searcher a lot more control over his searches and therefore making it much easier to understand search results.

Early on Thursday Feb 11, we will be launching our improved Collection Filters, which will give you not only the ability to prioritize different sets of records based on location, but also the ability to exclude everything but those records.

First, make sure you are in new search, and you are in advanced mode.

At the bottom of the main and category search forms, you will see the Collection Priority area:

So if you wanted to search for your great great grandfather John Smith in Canadian records, you could set the collection priority to Canadian:

And if you only want to see records from those collections, you would check the “Show only records from these collections” checkbox:

Then perform your search, and your genealogy records will only come from this group of collections.

Also, once you set your collection priority it stays “sticky”, so if you want to prioritize or limit to a different set of collections, you will need to reset this.

Happy Searching!

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, and is currently on the clock working towards certification from the Board for Certification of Genealogists. You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook and Finding Forgotten Stories.

35 comments

Comments
1 Andy HatchettFebruary 10, 2010 at 1:13 pm

Very Good!

Glad to see this finally roll out. It will greatly reduce screen clutter and save time in searching.

2 guestFebruary 10, 2010 at 1:19 pm

new search should never have been rolled out without these filters anyway. now you need to get ride of that awlful FUDGE factor you insist on feeding us!

and how long will the site be down this time i saw TWO seperate messages lastnight one while i was looking at the trees;- i could be wrong but i am sure it said wednesday and that it would affect the trees and then a second one while i was on record search which you mention and it said that it was site update for thursday

so is it one or two down times then

and i will cross my fingers that things are not screwed up again
but i dont hold out much hope

its about time all subscribers old and new and those on trial should be given ONE FULL MONTH fre for all the maintainace we have had to endure.

3 TomFebruary 10, 2010 at 4:10 pm

Thank you. I’ll try it.

4 TomFebruary 10, 2010 at 4:33 pm

I had to read it twice to make sure the new filters will EXCLUDE everything but what I want to search. Currently the PRIORITY doesn’t work. I get lots of England even when the person never was there.

5 Richard McNamaraFebruary 10, 2010 at 6:41 pm

It seems as though this will save me some extra time in narrowing my search.

6 Andy HatchettFebruary 10, 2010 at 9:07 pm

Well- you’ve really outdone yourselves!

Part of my research includes tracking various Royal Families in the UK.

The results of a search limited to the UK Collection and simply entering a given name of HRH is astounding..
Check this out.

http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?gl=ROOT_CATEGORY&rank=1&new=1&so=1&MSAV=1&msT=1&gss=ms_f-2&gsfn=HRH&catBucket=r&ne=3

7 BobNYFebruary 10, 2010 at 10:42 pm

Andy,

What is even more astounding is the accuracy with which this ranked search provides hits.

Check out the first name from the 1930 census
http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&db=1930usfedcen&rank=1&new=1&MSAV=1&msT=1&gss=angs-d&gsfn=HRH&catBucket=r&ne=3&pcat=35&fh=0&h=1105403921&recoff=2

I present Capital H.

8 Tim deWerffFebruary 11, 2010 at 9:55 am

Been with ancestry for years and this is the worst change yet! I entered my own name and got 2,385 hits in the US census alone. I wasn’t born til 1951. I get 1,204 hits in the US records collection despite only 3 people with my same name in the US. What made searching easy and quick is gone.

9 NancyFebruary 11, 2010 at 12:03 pm

I really like that the Collection Priority is “sticky.” I’d like to see the same for my choice(s) of the Restrict to: Historical Records, Family Trees, etc.

10 Diane MilesFebruary 11, 2010 at 12:58 pm

I am glad to know you are improbing filtering. 200,000 of so hits are not use at all. I now use The Genealogist for good filtering, but would be pleased to stick with Ancestery.

11 M HumistonFebruary 11, 2010 at 7:21 pm

How do I search on a state? I use to be able to go to, for example: Vermont and get a list of the records available for that state. Can’t seem to find where I did that.

12 MarjieFebruary 11, 2010 at 9:02 pm

I am pleased to note the expanding collections Ancestry.com can access, but why are my searches simply favoring USA records. Why can’t I eliminate all other countries and discover my relatives are not there before letting the request be exposed to your Australian collection for instance. Please let us limit the searches sensibly by asking for USA recorda alone. Disappointed, we can then ask for results from other countries. Currently you let any other record be listed even though I asked for USA favored. Please give me that favor!

13 Jerry BryanFebruary 11, 2010 at 10:03 pm

Marjie #12: you can limit your search just to USA records. You just need to check the box that says Show Only Records From These Collections. If you look at Anne’s screenshots from the beginning of this thread, you will find two big red arrows pointing out key features of the new filters. The second red arrow shows you where the desired option is.

14 Jerry BryanFebruary 11, 2010 at 10:10 pm

Tim #8: I searched for Tim deWerff with New Search, Exact mode, and I got one match. I changed it to searching for Tim* deWerff with New Search, Exact mode, and I got eleven matches. In both cases I requested to see only matches from the US collection. This seems like a reasonable number of matches to me. I made no attempt to match the search up with your birth date.

15 RONICAFebruary 12, 2010 at 10:41 pm

I HAVE BEEN HAVING A VERY DIFFICULT TIME USING THE NEW FORMAT!!!!AND I SEE THAT ANCESTRY.COM HAS TAKEN THE CHOICE OFF THE WEBSITE TO CONVERT BACK TO THE OLD WAY/IS THERE ANYWAY TO HAVE A CHOICE OF GETTING THE OLD FORMAT BACK WITH FILTERS?PLEASE!

16 kenFebruary 12, 2010 at 11:57 pm

This is the worst yet change it back or I’m done with this site

17 WowFebruary 13, 2010 at 12:57 am

You guys are seriously getting your panties in a wad because there are a few kinks in the new system?

There will always be bugs that will need to be worked out when an ungrade is launched.

Why not try suggesting rather than throwing ridicules and insults?

18 ClaireFebruary 13, 2010 at 11:13 am

I always hated the everywhere hit on names I submitted, especially when I was putting in actual information on the area researching. I didn’t mind so much the soundex on the names because of the name misspells. That was actually a help sometimes as the nickname was on a census. I’ll be glad to try the new search features and more so on the Canadian search as some of the ancestors migrated both ways. It was always disheartening to have hundreds of names come up that had nothing to do with the search parameters I submitted.

19 Margaret GaleFebruary 13, 2010 at 10:44 pm

I do not like the way the new search works when I search the VA Genealogical Magazine. Preferred when I got a list and then could review each one.

I like the idea of having the DAR records but when I check on a relative who is approved DAR person – Bailey, I get anyone with the name last name of Bailey even if they are descended from a DAR person with a last name of Anderson or Zigler.

20 Joseph L.Earley,SrFebruary 16, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Type your comment here.

21 Joseph L.Earley,SrFebruary 16, 2010 at 4:38 pm

I would like to find any Earleys that are in the U.S.A.and out.Any where there Earleys I want to hear from you.

Joseph.L.Earley,Sr.

22 Cherry DuveFebruary 16, 2010 at 6:34 pm

I tried the new format for the first time today. It doesn’t seem to work for me as well as the old one. I seem to have to type in all the information instead of it letting me select from members of my family tree and then adding all the information that I already have.
This will take a lot of time… that I don’t have.

23 Doreen BlairFebruary 16, 2010 at 8:48 pm

I’m having an extremely hard time using the new search feature. I’m finding less records now than I was before with the old format. It’s also taking me more time to attempt to find ANY records. You had a good thing going before, and now its seems to be worse than ever.

24 Roger G. ByerleyFebruary 17, 2010 at 3:41 am

Dear Michell: I hear a lot about filters; just wondering if a document
sent to a PDF file can be attach to
an upload of photo’s. I know only
pgh, etc., can only be uploaded how
do I upload a PDF file to a Tree
individual. Documents are important
and Windows uses PDF in some cases,
how do you upload and PDF file? Roger

25 Richard MorganFebruary 17, 2010 at 11:13 am

Genealogy.com, users will recall the horendous results for a simple search as these programmers must have been rehired. (RootsWeb.com provided good defined search results at the time.) Relational Data Base, Alpha 5, or just simply use Boolean equation operators with an option for far reaching searches, rather than accept any and all fields, and let the user determine if the maze is benefical.

26 SylviaFebruary 18, 2010 at 8:03 am

Too many hits – no opportunity to search on married female names and to insert locations they may have lived at time of death. This is true of Social Security Death Index.
Certainly needs to be “tweaked” to improve the winnowing down of vast amounts of hits.

Have been a member for many years – many of the “improvements” through the years have been worse than the original Ancestry.com search results
of five or ten years ago.

27 J. FulmerFebruary 18, 2010 at 6:48 pm

“Old search” is still the best !

28 SusanFebruary 20, 2010 at 12:10 am

Sorry — “new” search, filters or not just doesn’t cut it. I want OLD search back!

29 thomas_harlessFebruary 20, 2010 at 9:02 am

I have no idea what is going on now, I can get anything but Content-type: text/html MySQL seems to be down Too many connections, I sure would like to know what is now going on, I have been with Ancestry for atleast 15 years, this is very bad news for me & my students.

30 Jeannie HoffmanFebruary 20, 2010 at 10:21 am

I can’t believe all the problems I am having with the new changes. For example, when I try to attach a source to a person in my tree, countless times this results to the screen defaulting to the Ancestry Store! Then I have to begin anew with the same search.

Further I cannot seem to print some images, like death certificates. I never had a problem before and I have done all the suggested rememdies and went farther and reinstalled my printer to no avail. I am so frustrated!

31 Shirley TalleyFebruary 21, 2010 at 8:01 am

Is it me, am I missing something when researching a person…I go to a record…
This is not a record that I want to save..
At the upper right hand corner, you have the option to Save this information to your Family Tree, Save this information to your shoebox or save this information to your computer…
WHERE IS THE OPTION TO RETURN TO WHERE YOU WERE WHEN YOU WENT TO THIS INFORMATION? NO, I DO NOT WANT TO SAVE THIS TO MY TREE, NO, I DO NOT WANT TO SAVE THIS IN MY SHOEBOX, AND MOST CERTAINLY, I DO NOT WANT TO SAVE TO MY COMPUTER..
NOW IT WOULD MAKE SENSE TO ME TO HAVE THE OPTION TO RETURN TO SEARCH RESULTS….ITS THERE IN OTHER AREAS BUT WHEN WE ARE AT A CENSUS RECORD..AND DON’T FIND THE INFORMATION THAT APPLIES TO OUR FAMILY…WE SHOULD BE ABLE ‘AT THIS POINT’ TO RETURN TO SEARCH RESULT…
THANKS

32 RhondaFebruary 21, 2010 at 4:49 pm

I am totaly lost now. I am getting soundex when I check ezact. If I wanted soundex in the old one I had that option. I go looking in the census and you can’t even put where the parents were born, or it is just that I’m not looking in the right place to put it.
I didn’t have any problem with the old one and wish we could have it back. This new one is making me working harder. Please give us back the old one.

33 Joyce RoseFebruary 22, 2010 at 1:40 pm

I do not find this format easier to use. Is there a way to go back to the old format. I find it is taking me more time to search and my frustration level is rising at every search. I may not renew my subscription to Ancestry.

34 jessica nichole barnhill crumbleyFebruary 22, 2010 at 7:21 pm

Type your comment here.

35 S. RatiganFebruary 23, 2010 at 6:43 pm

The new newspaper search function is worse than useless! When I enter “Boston, Massachusetts” in the location field, I do not want “Reno, Nevada”!!!

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