A Search Wish For Ancestry.com

Some days I wish Ancestry.com would add more functionality to their search. I don’t need slicker trees and auto-generated historical timelines for my ancestor. I don’t need to be told that someone who was born in 1895 and died in the 1950s lived through the Great Depression. If I need a computer to tell me that, it’s time to brush up on my history before my research continues.

There’s some search capabilities that I would like to have. Minor little things that would make it easier to find people.

I’d like to be able to search passenger lists for two names at once on the same manifest–instead of one name at a time. This would make it easier to search for family members who immigrated together and whose last name is likely butchered on the manifest.

This would also make it easier to search for a Johann Schmidt who immigrated with a wife Gertrude and several children. There may be many Johann Schmidts, but not as many with a Gertrude appearing on the same manifest. If I could search for two people on the same manifest it would greatly facilitate the search process and allow me to narrow my results more effectively.

Are you listening Ancestry.com? 

 

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14 thoughts on “A Search Wish For Ancestry.com

  1. Oh my yes, yes, yes! That and make it possible to do a search in your tree for an entered name from your home page. Can I add having hints that might actually be relevant.

  2. My pet peeve is the ancestor who was born in 1670, and then found in the 1900 census not to mention the 1940 census.

  3. Carol Ballard says:

    I heartily agree. And while we’re at it, the “Lifestory” section in the profile is just plain silly. It can’t possibly glean enough to make a story out of a list of facts. Sometimes the results are sadly funny.

  4. Also, when I limit my search to Australian or English records of a particular type, please don’t supply me with the details about people with similar names living in the USA!

  5. Several years ago Ancestry did in fact work on a search modification that would permit searching for two or more distinct names simultaneously in the same search. What they came up with was promising, but they did not share details on why they did not implement it. You can imagine that such a protocol would add to server loading, especially if a lot of searchers used it at the same time. It was great for finding obscurely-indexed database items such as Census listings, such as when the enumerator reversed surname and firstname, or when surnames were mangled.

    It is no easy task to develop such software programs. This sort of capability would not be a quick add-on. I must say that I have not tried the “exact” mode for added relatives’ names that is available in some specific database searches, so can’t comment on how well that works.

    • It already apparently works with the census as I’ve just done it and am working on a blog post about it. It would seem that the parallel approach would be to treat each ship the way each household is treated in a census. Maybe.

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