Friday, October 3, 2014

My "Suggested Records" Lists Are Back on, But That's Not "All There Is"

I wrote "What Happened to the 'Suggested Records' on" on 8 September 2014 after noting that they had disappeared, at least for many of my searches, from the record summary pages, and the "Related Content" link when viewing a record image.

I am pleased to report that these features have been returned as of yesterday.  I emailed soon after I noticed it, and they told me that the problem was fixed a week later.  But it wasn't, and I emailed again showing them the continuing lack of "Suggested Records."  They said they would look into it, and I received an email yesterday that said:

"...they thought they had fixed the problem a week ago but that it wasn’t working on his computer either still. He mentioned that because it was cached, it kept showing up wrong. If you experience that, just clear cache and cookies."

So maybe clearing my cache and cookies would have fixed this?  I didn't do did something to fix it.  Good, I'm a happy camper.

Here's the evidence that it's fixed:

The "Suggested Records" are on the right-hand side of the page for this 1900 U.S. Census entry.  There are 11 "Suggested Records," and they all pertain to Isaac Seaver (1823-1901), including:

*  1850 U.S. Census
*  1860 U.S. Census
*  1870 U.S. Census
*  1855 Massachusetts State Census
*  Find A Grave record
*  Massachusetts Death Records, 1841-1915
*  3 entries in Massachusetts Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988
*  2 U.S. City Directory entries

While all 11 of those records pertain to Isaac Seaver (1823-1901), they are not ALL of the records available on pertaining to Isaac Seaver.  There may be other records found in a search for Isaac Seaver, born 1823 in Massachusetts, searched with "not exact" parameters.  Some of the other records found in a search for Isaac Seaver (1823-1901) include:

*  1880 U.S. Census
*  1865 Massachusetts State Census
*  Massachusetts Marriages, 1633-1950 marriage entry
*  Massachusetts Town and Vital Records entries for his three marriages
*  Massachusetts Town and Vital Records entries for births of his four children
*  Massachusetts Town and Vital Records entries for militia lists
*  Civil War Draft Registration entry
*  Civil War Soldier Soldier Records and Profiles
*  Civil War Pension Index
*  Several other Civil war related indexes
*  Fitchburg Sentinel newspaper
*  Massachusetts City Directories entries
*  Leominster, Massachusetts City Directories, 1883-1895 entries
*  I probably missed some!

The point is that the "Suggested Records" are really helpful to find the obvious "low hanging fruit" for a person.  But users still have to do a search to find everything that has for a specific person.  The user needs to narrow the search by using "not exact" searches to capture spelling variations, and with ranges for birth years, and a state for birthplace, and perhaps spouse names.  

By adding the birth year and birth state, you drive the best results to the top of the "Records" tab list.  Here is a screen shot of my narrowed search for Isaac Seaver, born 1823 in Massachusetts.  The sliders at the top of the left-hand column show how I narrowed the search:

My settings for this search were:

*  First Name:  Exact, sounds like, and similar
*  Last name:  Exact, sounds like
*  Any year:  plus-minus 5 years
*  Birth place:  state and adjacent states
*  Historical records and Stories and publications, but not Family Trees or Photos and Stories

There were 171 matches for this search.  The first four, and a total of 32, records in the first page of 50 matches pertain to my Isaac Seaver (1823-1901).  The others are for other persons named Isaac Seaver that match the Any year and Any birth place.  It might not find a record that does not have the correct first letter of the surname, or an indexed  Birth year or Birth place entry.  

There is, I think, a better search technique on that finds almost all records for a person (assuming the name in the record is close to correct).  I will write about that in another post.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver


Nancy said...

Thank you for the update on "suggested records"
I had wondered what happened to this but did not think to email.
I know this will help all of us a lot.

Diane Hall said...

I use those suggested records quite a bit and I was missing them too. Glad they are back.