Monday, October 31, 2016

Comparing Search Results on Four Record Providers from FamilySearch Profile Page

One of the significant features on the FamilySearch Family Tree is the ability to search for records for a person on FamilySearch, Ancestry, Findmypast and MyHeritage.  I wanted to see just how good these searches were for one of my ancestors.  I chose a 19th century female, my 2nd great-grandmother, Rebecca (Spangler) Carringer (1832-1901), who married David Jackson Carringer (1828-1902) in 1851.

1)  Here is what I have in my RootsMagic database for Rebecca:


As you can see, I have these "Facts" for Rebecca:

*  1832 Birth
*  1950 U.S. Census
*  1851 Marriage
*  1860 U.S. Census
*  1870 U.S. Census
*  1880 U.S. Census
*  1885 Colorado State Census
*  1900 U.S. Census
*  1901 Death
*  1901 Burial

2)  Here is the FamilySearch Family Tree profile for Rebecca Spangler (which I have updated with the above information):


Further down the screen, over on the right side of the screen, are links to the four record providers to search for the person:


3)  I clicked on the FamilySearch link to search for records of Rebecca Spangler on FamilySearch.  Here is the top of the search screen:


The search parameters used by FamilySearch for this search were:

*  First name:  Rebecca (not exact)
*  Last name:  Spangler (not exact)
*  Birthplace:  Mercer, Pennsylvania (not exact)
*  Birth year:  1830 to 1834

There were 120 results on the list.

The Facts found for my Rebecca in this search were:

*  1850 U.S. Census

When I switched the Last Name to Carringer, there were 15 results on thel ist.  The additional Facts found were:

*  1860 U.S. Census
*  1880 U.S. Census
*  1900 U.S. Census

The FamilySearch search found 1 out of 10 Facts, and the modified search found 3 additional out of 10 Facts

4)  I clicked on the Ancestry link on the FamilySearch profile to search for records for my Rebecca:


The search parameters that FamilySearch sent to Ancestry included:

*  First name:  Rebecca (broad)
*  Last name:  Spangler (Exact, sounds like and similar)
*  Birth date:  1832 (broad)
*  Birth place:  Mercer, Penn. (broad)
*  Marriage date:  1851 (broad)
*  Marriage place:  Mercer, Penn. (broad)
*  Death date:  1901 (broad)
*  Death place:  San Diego, Calif. (broad)
*  Gender:  Female
*  Parents:  Daniel Spangler and Elizabeth King
*  Spouses:  David Jackson Carringer
*  Children:  Harvey Edgar, Henry Austin, Effie Eva.

There were 54,052 matches for this search on Ancestry.

The search results included these Facts for Rebecca:

*  1850 U.S. Census

I switched the Last Name to Carringer, and the search results (5,125 matches) included:

*  1901 Burial (Find a Grave)
*  1860 U.S. Census ("Casinger" last name)
*  1870 U.S. Census ("Current" last name)
*  1880 U.S. Census
*  1885 Colorado State Census
*  1900 U.S. Census

When I changed the Last Name to "Spangler Carringer" the search found all of the above in one search.

I noted that there were no Family Trees or newspapers included in the search.

As searched by Family Search, the Ancestry search found 1 Fact.  The modified search found 6 additional of the 10 Facts on the list.

5)  I clicked on the Findmypast link on the FamilySearch profile to search for records of my Rebecca:


The search parameters for Findmypast provided by FamilySearch included:

*  First name:  Rebecca (with variants)
*  Last name:  Spangler (exact)
*  Birth date:  1832 plus/minus 2 years
*  Birth place:  Mercer, Penn.

There were 11 matches for this search on Findmypast.

The search results included these Facts for Rebecca:

*  1850 U.S. Census

I switched the Last Name to Carringer, and the search results (1 matches) included:

*  1880 U.S. Census

If I checked the Last name Name Variant box, I got the 1900 U.S. Census.

When I changed the Last Name to "Spangler Carringer" the search found no matches.

As searched by FamilySearch, Findmypast found 1 of the 10 Facts.  When I modified the search, the Findmypast search found 2 additional of the 10 Facts.

6)  I clicked on the MyHeritage link on the FamilySearch profile to search for records of my Rebecca:



The search parameters for MyHeritage provided by FamilySearch included:

*  First name:  Rebecca (match similar names)
*  Last name:  Spangler (match similar names)
*  Birth date:  1832 (match flexibly)
*  Birth place:  Mercer, Penn. (match optionally)
*  Death date:  1901 (match flexibly)

There were 469,731 matches for this search on MyHeritage. [Note:  I checked only the first 100 of them!]

The search results included these Facts for Rebecca:

*  1850 U.S. Census
*  1901 Birth (in FamilySearch Family Tree, MyHeritage trees, Geni World Tree, and WikiTree)
*  1851 Marriage  (in FamilySearch Family Tree, MyHeritage trees, Geni World Tree, and WikiTree)
*  1901 Death:   (in FamilySearch Family Tree, MyHeritage trees, Geni World Tree, and WikiTree)
*  1901 Burial  (in FamilySearch Family Tree, MyHeritage trees, Geni World Tree, and WikiTree)

I switched the Last Name to Carringer, and the search results (1,244,786 matches) included Note: I checked only the first 100 of them!]:

*  1860 U.S. Census
*  1880 U.S. Census
*  1900 U.S. Census

When I changed the Last Name to "Spangler Carringer" the MyHeritage search found the 1850, 1860, 1880 and 1900 census matches.

As searched by FamilySearch, MyHeritage found 5 of the 10 Facts.  When I modified the search, the MyHeritage search found 3 additional of the 10 Facts.

7)  I made a table for the results:

Provider
Facts Found in
Initial Search
Facts Found in
Modified Search
Total Facts
Found
FamilySearch
1
3
4
Ancestry
1
6
7
Findmypast
1
2
3
MyHeritage
5
3
8


8)  My conclusions from this study include:

*  The search parameters transferred by FamilySearch to the four record providers are not consistent. 

*   The search for a female does not include a married name.  The user has to change the last name to find results for married names.

*  The FamilySearch search results did not include family tree matches, or birth, marriage, death and burial facts.  It did not include the 1870 U.S. Census ("Current" surname) or the 1885 Colorado State Census (not in their record collections).

*  The Ancestry search results did not include family trees, but found all of the census records (probably because the 1860 and 1870 surnames were added to the index). 

*  The Findmypast search results did not include family trees, and did not find all of the census records (because the search was made with an exact last name). 

*  The MyHeritage search results were the only one to include family trees, and it found all but the 1870 census (because the surname was "Current").  

*  The FamilySearch search capability of the four major record providers could be much better, and should be.

9)  If FamilySearch wants to make this Search capability better, they should:

*  Permit searches of family trees on the record provider sites.

*  Include the married surnames in the search results (even if it means searching with more than one surname).

*  Be consistent with the exact/name variant searches.

10)  The sources I have for the birth, marriage and death Facts for Rebecca (Spangler) Carringer are from family records, Bible records and newspaper records.  That is why the family trees are important to the search.  Only family members who create family trees will have that information for many persons of any century.  

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The URL for this post is:  http://www.geneamusings.com/2016/10/comparing-search-results-on-four-record.html


Copyright (c) 2016, Randall J. Seaver


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5 comments:

Marcia Philbrick said...

Is there a secret to getting the accounts connected to my FamilySearch account?

I saw this tip when I watched a Family Search how-to video and tried it. I just get blank screens instead of my Ancestry or My Heritage account. I just tried it again and got the same thing.

When I checked my settings, there is a 'connected accounts' tab, but I don't see how I can add these accounts.

Randy Seaver said...

Marcia, I don't know.

You certainly have to be logged into FamilySearch. You probably have to be logged into Ancestry, Findmypast and MyHeritage before searching to make them work.

I don't recall connecting anything else to my guest FamilySearch account.

I don't have Ancestry, MyHeritage or Findmypast on my Connected Accounts.

Cheers -- Randy

Diane Gould Hall said...

Thanks for doing this comparison Randy. I don't use the family tree on family search, although I use the site daily to locate records. I also don't use My Heritage. The only online tree that I have is on Ancestry and then of course my Legacy database on my own computer. I have wanted to keep things as uncomplicated as possible which allows me to focus better. What your post revealed was that I'm probably ok in continuing in my current configuration. There were only slight differences in the various sites. Could those differences be important in locating facts, yes? However, for now, I'll continue on.

Unknown said...

Thank you for the comparison. I haven't done anything so rigorous. I am trying to keep my tree accurate across all of those sites. It is very much a work in progress. I search FamilySearch first. I agree that I appreciate it being free. I also like the easy ability to comment on sources and my reasoning.

In my experience I do a better job searching with Family Search, but you are right. I have to modify the search. I appreciate the flexibility to modify the search. I have never been as good at searching Ancestry. I think their search has gotten better, and I have gotten better at using it, but I am still better using FamilySearch. I do love Ancestry hints. There was something "unfair" in your comparison. I think it is interesting that FamilySearch sends more to Ancestry than it automatically puts into its own search!!Again thanks for the comparison. Maybe I will get better at Ancestry's search method if I just use what Familysearch does provide.

One more point. When people bring ancestry sources directly across to FamilySearch we are giving sources that some people can't use. I like to leave sources from FamilySearch when I can so that anyone can see them

Sharon Bowers said...

familysearch.org/partneraccess allows you to connect to the partner apps.