This year one of the things we are focusing on is adding new ways for you to control what’s returned in your search results. Over the past few months, we have already launched improvements to wildcards, Collection Filters, and Record Type Filters
One of the features that has been most requested is the ability to better control what appears in your search results, by filtering out names and places that don’t match your query – giving you the same kind of control as exact, but allowing you to choose what variations are included in your results.
In this post, I will preview how name filters will work.
Where you will find them
The name filters will be available to you in new search when you are in the advanced mode. Where you currently see the “Exact” checkbox on the current form:
On any search form with a first and last name search box, you will see:
“Use default settings” will work like have no check next to “Exact only”
If you usually check “Exact only”,
you will instead see:
“Restrict to exact” works just the same as “Exact only”
Use default settings
Unless you usually use “Exact Matches Only” you will see Use default settings. What exactly happens when you use default settings?
First, we look through every first name we have recorded in our more than 29,000 data collections, and pull out any record where the first name is:
Then, we look through all the records, and we pull out any record where the last name is:
We add all these lists to a list of records that contain any record that has at least one match for the data that you’ve given to us. Then we evaluate all the records against all the information you entered, and then order those based on how well they matched.
There is nothing new here, this is how ranked search has always worked. And if you wanted more control over what name variations you wanted to see in your search results, you could choose exact.
With these new name filters, we are going to give you a few more options that will allow you to control what you see in your search results.
Now you can request exactly which records you want us to return in your results. If you only want to look at people who have the exact same name as the one you typed in and people with the same first initial, you can request that. If you only want to see last names that match exactly or soundex variations, you can choose that.
Here are your options.
First Name Filters
Last Name Filters
Sticky, sticky, sticky
When you choose a filter set for either the first name and the last name or both, they stay sticky meaning that when you come back to the form, they are still set in that same state. So once you find a set of filters you feel comfortable, you will not need to reset them each time.
When can I try them?
Remember these filters will be available sometime this Thursday. You will only see them in new search when you are in advanced mode.
Here you will find informational, and sometimes fun, posts from the folks behind the scenes here at Ancestry.com. We hope you’ll notice just how passionate we are about family history and about the products we’re building to help connect families over distance and time.Visit Ancestry.com