Thursday, October 11, 2012

Web Searching Using Legacy Family Tree 7.5

My current 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 was RootsMagic 5.  My second example was Family Tree Maker 2012.

In this post, I'm going to do Web Searching using Legacy Family Tree 7.5 With Charles Auble (1849-1916) chosen on the "Family" View,  I chose the "Search" menu item and selected the link for "Search Internet for Current Person:"

I could also have chosen the "Internet" menu item and selected the link for "Search Internet for Current Person."

The "Search the Internet" window permits the user to select the search parameters to be used in the search - I really like this!  I left the first name, last name, birth year and death year fields filled.

There are 8 Internet database sites listed.  The default sites are:

*  Rootsweb
* (Historical Records)
* (Exact)
*  AltaVista

1)  I clicked on the link and a browser window opened:

There were 92,638 matches (name only, no birth or death years) on the  Ancestry page.  I could "Edit Search" and narrow the search.

2)  The Rootsweb search turned up no matches - so it doesn't search WorldConnect or message boards or mailing lists.

3)  The search was interesting, since I have not used the site:

There are some interesting matches there that match my Charles Auble.  This is a subscription site so I didn't pursue it further.

4)  There were 1,274 matches in Historical Records (search was inexact on names, and year range of 1849 to 1916):

I could narrow the search using the search fields on the left side of the screen.

5)  I got matches on (search on exact names).

6)  I got matches on (search only on exact names).

7)  I got no matches on  I haven't used that site before.

8)  Legacy Family Tree 7.5 offers a way to replace the websites listed, and tailor the search.  I clicked on the "Customize Searches ..." button in the lower right-hand corner of the "Search the Internet" window, and saw the "Internet Searches" window with the eight websites.  If I click on the "Select" button to the left of the unwanted website name, the "Select an Internet Search" window opens and I can replace the unwanted website with one from the list.  I did that, and replaced with Ancestry Message Boards, and with from the list provided.

I wanted to add Find-A-Grave to the "Internet Searches" list, so I clicked the "Select" button next to the unwanted, and then on the "Add" button on the "Select an Internet Search" window, and added Find-A-Grave to the list, and the URL to the "Create Custom Internet Search" window.  The Find-A-Grave name was added to the "Select an Internet Search" list and also to the "Internet Searches" list:

However, clicking on the Find-A-Grave radio button and clicking "Search" took me to the home page of Find-A-Grave.  In order to perform a search, I have to add the URL with generic search terms to the "Create Custom Internet Search" window.  Here is the "Create Custom Internet Search" screen with my edited generic search terms for the Find-A-Grave URL:

I created the searchable Find-A-Grave URL by searching for Charles Auble on the Find-A-Grave site.  I copied the URL in Find-A-Grave and pasted it into the field for the Internet Search String URL on the screen above.  The text says to replace the First name in the URL with "[GivenName] and the Last name in the URL with "[SurName]."  I did that, saved the edited search URL, closed all windows, and searched again from the "Internet Searches" window and saw:

It worked!!  Cool.  That takes a little technical know-how, but even a complete bumbling idiot like me can do it.  

I got brave, experimented some more, and added the Exact Name search to the search and received only 377 matches.  

In summary:

*  It is really easy to perform Internet searches from within Legacy Family Tree 7.5 - just click on "Search" or "Internet" and select "Search Internet for Current Person."  The search occurs using a browser window rather than a frame inside the Legacy Family Tree 7.5 software.

*  The Search criteria is variable - some sites are exact, some inexact, some sites use the birth and death years, and others don't/  It depends on the search string URL parameters.

*  Only eight websites can be searched with the radio buttons, but the user can select from a list of about 20 sites to replace unwanted sites.  

*  The user can add desired websites (e.g., Find-A-Grave) to the list by specifying the search string URL.  The user can edit the search string URL for any of the websites by minding the directions provided on the "Create Custom Internet Search" window.

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Could you post your exact Find a grave search string so we can see it? thanks Nancy