Posted by on April 22, 2010 in Search, Site Features

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. Today, we’ll be looking at the new Place Filters available in new Advanced Search.

This option will be available on any text box in new search when you are in advanced mode. If you don’t choose a place from our type ahead, you will see the following options:

If you use “Exact matches only” you will default to “Restrict to this place exactly” and will the same as it has before.

The interesting options for place filters happens, when you choose a location from our place type ahead.

Filters options when you use the place type ahead

When you choose a place from the type ahead (the drop down that appears below the text box with options that match what you’ve started typing), this allows us to not only quickly identify that place in our record sets, but it also lets us make use of other useful information that we know about that place. This allows us to create place filters that will enhance your search.

So once you choose Sydney, New South Wales, Australia you will not only have the default settings and exact match available to you, you’ll be able to search Sydney and any other place in Australia. Or restrict your searches to records that at least have birth locations in New South Wales. Or New South Wales and the adjacent states.

So how do place filters work

You’ve chosen Sydney, New South Wales, Australia as a birth location. You will see the following filters under the birth location search box:

You know the person you are searching for was born in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, so you apply the filter “Restrict to this place exactly”.

This choice means the record must have exactly the same place, as the place you choose. If you have chosen Sydney, New South Wales, Australia for a birth place, but the record has a birth place of Darlinghurst, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia then the record will not be included in your result set. So if you aren’t finding what you are looking for, you might try selecting “Restrict to this state”.

Just because you know where something happened, doesn’t mean that is where it was recorded or how it was recorded in the record. The ability to adjust the scope of your search, will aid you in locating those hard to find records.

How each filter works

  • Default settings: If you choose default settings, there will be no filter applied. Records that match exactly what you chose get the most points; records that partially match the location you choose get some points, records that are adjacent to your chosen location get fewer points and if there is no match, no points. These points are then added to other points we gave this record based on the information you gave us and then they are used to rank that records against other records in your result set.
  • Restrict to this place exactly: If you choose this, then the record must have exactly the same place, as the place you choose. If you have chosen Sydney, New South Wales, Australia for a birth place, but the record has a birth place of Darlinghurst, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia then the record will not be included in your result set.
  • Restrict to this state: If you choose “Restrict to this state”, and you have chosen Sydney, New South Wales, Australia for a birth place, and the record has a birth place of “Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia” this will be considered a match, and the record can be included in the result set.
  • Restrict to this state/adjacent states: By choosing this option, we not only will match the state you’ve given us, but the states that are currently adjacent to it.
  • Restrict to this country This works like the county or state filter, except at the country level.

What if I choose a county in England? What filters will I see?

Filters are based upon the location you have chosen. If you choose a county in England, we will allow you to filter at the county, country or the UK level. Filters are adjusted to match the country you are in.

Not a sticky option, except for “Match all terms exactly”

Because each filter set is dependent on the location you have chosen, this option can not be sticky unless you choose “Match all terms exactly” which will set your filter to “Restrict to exact”

Happy Searching!