Wednesday, January 28, 2009 Improves Locality Search

After the big server problem in the week of 12 January, the State and Country Locality Search was useless. If you clicked on a state or country, you got the entire list of locality data. has now fixed this problem, and the State and Country Pages search is back to what it was before, with a new order, according to Anne Mitchell on the blog (read the comments too!). The new order is now Alphabetical, whereas before the service outage it was by Database Size.

Now if you click on the Search tab at the top of the home page, and then click on a State (I picked Georgia), you get a list of the database categories (Census, BMD, Immigration/Emigration, Military, etc.) for Georgia with the first five databases for each.

Here is the top of the Search page. Scroll down to see links for the States and Countries:

Here is the bottom of the Search page with links to the States and Countries:

This is the top part of the page of results for the state of Georgia:

And the bottom of the page for Georgia results:

For each database category, you can click on the "See All the Georgia ..." to see all of the databases in that category that might apply to the state of Georgia.

The results in each database category are in alphabetical order. But that's OK, since the lists are relatively short (if you have Results per Page = 50 turned on (I do).

Several commenters on Anne's blog post complained about the databases that appear on these lists that do not apply to the locality. For instance, Boston Births, Marriages and Deaths are numbers 4 through 7 on the Birth, Marriages and Death database list for Georgia. The first explicit Georgia database is at #9 - Georgia Bible Records.

This is a valid complaint, and Anne said "Redoing how the list is done is a project for another day." I hope so - and wonder when. The current alphabetical listing of state and country databases is much better than the previous versions. Deciding which databases should be put in which state or country may be a challenge, armchair genealogists notwithstanding. It seems to be very hard to satisfy everyone, no matter how hard people try.

My suggestion would be to put the locality specific databases at the top of the list - and then the others that are more general. If someone wants to search in, say, Georgia, then s/he expects to see Georgia databases at the top of the list.

The other noticeable change is that the Quick Links section, which disappeared on my screen two weeks ago, are back. Good.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

I think Ancestry needs to hire a good MLS candidate to get their databases and cataloging into shape.