Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Web Searching in RootsMagic 5

My next blog series for software is on Web Searching.  I generally don't do this from within the software - I much prefer searching from the search fields on the web site (e.g., Ancestry, FamilySearch, etc.) because I can control the search criteria easier and the screen for the search results is larger.

However, I know that many researchers use the Web Search feature in their genealogy software program, so I was curious to see which websites are available, and how the search is done, in the software programs.

My first example is in RootsMagic 5.  From the Family View (I chose Charles Auble (1849-1916, my great-grandfather), the user can access the Web Search by clicking on the "View" menu item and selecting "Web search:"

I could have selected the WebSearch View also.

The WebSearch View opens, and over on the right is a dropdown menu for the websites that can be searched by RootsMagic 5.

In addition to those sites (and for the subscription sites, you need a subscription), the user can choose to add additional sites to search by clicking on the "Manage Search Providers."  for instance, I might want to add the AmericanAncestors.org site to my list, or some other site with searchable records.

1)  I selected "Ancestry" and had to click the "Search Ancestry" button in order to search.  The Search terms were the first name, last name, birth year and death year (from my database).  As you can see in the screen above, I had 272 matches.  However, none of them showed up in the category list for some reason.

I clicked on the "Edit Search" button and added a birth year of 1854 plus/minus 5 years as shown below:

After clicking "Search," I received 62 matches, and now the Categories were listed:

From here, I could click on each category, pick a record, see the record image, and save or print that image or record as I wished.  Note that I cannot "attach" the record or image to a person or event in my database directly - I have to save it to a file on my computer, and then attach it to the person or event.  An Event is not created - I will have to do that myself.  I could copy and paste the source citation if one is provided for the record, but it will not be "automatically" attached to a person or event.

2)  Ancestry Message Boards.  I searched the message boards for Charles Auble, and received 35 matches:

I could click on any one of the matches and see the message.  I could also edit the search criteria as I desired.

3)  FamilySearch.  I selected FamilySearch from the dropdown list on the right and did the search with the default search terms (first name, last name, not exact matches, year range).  I received 1,273 matches in whatever order:

That is immediately not very useful (it might be useful if the default was exact names and a birth year entry).  I edited the search fields to make the names exact, then added a Birth year = 1854 plus/minus 5 years.  When I searched again, I received 4 matches, 3 of which are my guy:

The remaining database or search engines that are on the RootsMagic 5 list include:

*  Bing
*  Google
*  Yahoo!
*  Find-A-Grave
*  Fold3
*  GenealogyBank
*  Rootsweb
*  World Vital Records

I won't bore you with all of the details.

In every case, the researcher should expect to narrow the search by entering search terms for birth or death on the Search form.  It works just like being on the database web site - you can use wild cards, exact or not exact, add birth years, birthplace, family members, etc.  

Using both birth and death years in the search terms may not provide many results - the exception being databases that have indexed both.  For example, the California Death Index would find results, but the California Birth Index would not.  An Ancestry Member Tree would be found, but a  census record would not be found because it usually occurs before the death date.

I will do this same exercise on Family Tree Maker 2012 and Legacy Family Tree 7.5 in the coming days.

The URL for this post is:  http://www.geneamusings.com/2012/10/web-searching-in-rootsmagic-5.html

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

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