Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Using WorldVitalRecords to find State resources

I recently subscribed to www.WorldVitalRecords.com when they had their special offer and have been exploring it with my family surnames and my elusive ancestors.

I decided to see what resources were available for specific states. Come along with me for the ride. After clicking the [View All Databases] link on the main screen, it shows this screen that lists specific countries and states:

I decided to try "California" so when I clicked on the link for California, this screen was shown:

Note that this is just the screen that shows the databases starting with the letter A. It's a rather impressive list. Look at those family names - Dundore, Brandt, Davenport, and many others. I clicked on the first item - the Dundore book, and it showed this screen:

OK, it gives the information about the book. So I put "California" in the Places box and clicked Search.

Hmmm, no matches even though the book was on the California list. I went back to the list of A databases, and went through all 5 of the Birth, Marriage and Death Records databases listed. Not a one of them had a match when I put "California" in the Place search box.

Let's check another state at random - how about Kansas? I went back and selected Kansas (on the first screen shown) and was rewarded by this list of databases with, apparently, a Kansas key word:

The first five matches are the same, and none of them have a match for "Kansas" in the Places search box.

These databases are listed by the first letter in the database in a series of categories - Birth, Marriage and Death Records, Newspaper Records (which did have matches for the states), Military Records, Immigration Records, Census Records, Family Histories, Family Trees, Court, Land and Probate Records and Reference Materials.

I was too frustrated at this point to check every one of the A listings to see what there was for California.

Needless to say, I'm disappointed that a seemingly simple search for records of a particular state provides so many false positives as to be pretty useless.

Why can't WorldVitalRecords provide search results in each category with the number of matches for the requested Search criteria?

After I did the above, I went back to the Home page for WorldVitalRecords, thinking that "there must be a better way." I put "California" in the Place search box, clicked on Search, and a list of over 6 million names in 62 databases is provided categorized by record type. That's pretty much what I wanted! I learned something...KISS.

But I still want to know why this latter list of matches doesn't appear when I ask for databases by clicking the link for California. It's only logical that it should. Am I just easily confused, or is this a problem?

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