Why have we changed the search form?
Over the past year, we have been working with a wide range of ancestry.com members, from some of our most experienced members to relative newcomers. We’ve had a lot of help (including over 10,000 responses to the preview we published in April: Preview of Changes to Ancestry.com Search).
Based on this feedback, we’ve been making some changes to the forms over the past months, and this week we’re beginning to roll out one of the most significant changes.
Really new to search?
We’ve created a tutorial on YouTube, How to Search for Historical Records on Ancestry.com to help those of you who are new genealogy searching.
Previously, we’ve asked you to enter the name of the person you’re looking for, together with the birth and death dates and locations.
One of the requests we’ve had is for location to be more flexible – perhaps you don’t know where your grandparents were born in 1905, but do know they lived in Kentucky in 1960.
So we’ve added a single box that asks for any “place your ancestor might have lived”, and which searches our records for any life events that match that location, including birth, residence, marriage, military service and death.
Most importantly, in our tests with volunteer members, we found that in a number of cases, this change enabled us to surface relevant records higher in our results than was possible before.
Of course, you can still specify birth and death places by clicking on “Add an event”. In fact, these links give you a much more flexible way to add in any of the details you know about the life events or relationships of the person you’re looking for. We’ve tried to make it a little bit easier to enter as much or as little as you know.
Estimated birth year
To search the right collections, we need to know roughly the period of time in which your person was alive. To help us find the most likely records for a person, enter the approximate birth year, or click on “Calculate it” to make an educated guess if you’re not sure.
Show advanced and clear form
The links for advanced search and clear form are now located at the bottom of the form next to the Search button.
Looking for Old Search?
Old search is still there. Go to the search homepage : http://search.ancestry.com/search. Under the navigation bar on the right, you’ll see a link, “Go to Old Search”. Click on this, and you’ll be back on the Old Search form.
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.
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