Thursday, April 28, 2011

FamilySearch has Changed their Search Results Page

FamilySearch International ( has changed their Search Results page a bit.  I don't like the change very much.  Here's how they changed it:

1)  I tend to search using a selected database - not using the Historical Records Search field on the home page.  I prefer to use the Historical Record Collections page and narrow my search to a specific state.  I chose New Jersey, and then the New Jersey Birth and Christenings, 1660-1980 collection, and entered "Seaver" in the surname Search field:

2)  The matches came up, as shown below:

The NEW thing, on the left-hand sidebar of the screen above, is the "Filter Your Results" box that has options for "Birth Place," "Birth Year," "Residence Place," "Residence Year," "Gender," and "Category."  Previously, the filters were Regions, Year Ranges and Categories. 

3)  When I click on the "Birth Place" filter, a popup box shows me this:

The options for "Birth Place" are "Australia and New Zealand, (1)," "Canada, USA and Mexico (207)," and "Europe (13."

Wait - I don't need those filters - I'm already where I want to be - searching in New Jersey records.  And if I click on the filter, I then have to click again to close the popup box.

What happened to my Search fields for the specific database?  It is now hidden from my view so that the Filter options can be shown. 

4)  I can get my Search fields back - for the specific database, by clicking on the "New Search" down arrow at the top of the left-hand sidebar.  One more extra click.  Here's the screen after I click on the down arrow:

My Search fields are back, and I can narrow my search in this specific database until I find the information I want.

The Filters are completely useless when searching a specific database, while the Search fields are very useful.

At a minimum, I hope that FamilySearch brings back the Search fields when the Search results screen appears.  I don't care if the Filters are there or not, as long as the Search fields are available for me to use with a minimum of clicks.

I understand that many researchers don't search like I do, and that's okay.  But every click with a mouse button is precious to me, because I make so many of them and I need to keep my carpal tunnel nerves healthy.  I do appreciate the short-cuts that FamilySearch has added to see the indexed details of the results without having to click the person's name and having a separate page open up. 


Julie said...

A quick test run seems to indicate that the results are a little more focused than they had been. I don't know how to explain what I mean, but I didn't see as much garbage in the results for searches I just performed in the last week or so.

I agree with the disappointment in the advanced search fields no longer being there and now having to return to the previous page to do that type of search. I've said it before and I'll say it again...I miss FamSearch Beta!!! With this new deal, it takes me twice as long to conduct a search and that frustrates me. But it does look like they are continuing to make adjustments.

And don't worry, I conduct my searches the same way you do, so you are certainly not alone :)

The New Genealogist said...

I rely on the left-side list of specific databases to narrow and change my search! This is especially true when I have an ancestor going by her middle name and misspelling the last name in one record. I'll have to check this change out!

Greta Koehl said...

Ugh - the counterparts of Ancestry's "New Search" pop up everywhere. I am also a specific database searcher, and hope this version is short-lived.

Unknown said...

I am not very good at searching, but like the others here, I tent to prefer searching specific databases. Maybe FamilySearch can have a "specific database" and then have the search field results jump to that set of filters.
This way, searches would be tailored to either type of search.
Sue McCormick

Mel said...

I found the same thing while searching the updated California, County Marriages, 1850-1952. Like you, I go to a specific database to search, then I search by surname.

In this case, I know exactly where I want to search: San Francisco. But when I click on marriage place, I get one choice: Canada, USA, and Mexico. This is not helpful at all. If I'm searching Jones, I don't want to see the whole state, I only want to see San Francisco.

I am curious about the date filter, too. This database has a marriage year filter. My search Meincke pulled up 39 entries. The filter shows 1800 (13) and 1900 (11). Those have to be year ranges since 1800 is before this database starts. But then their are results missing.

It seems to me they are attempting to mimic the filters at They would be more helpful if they were more specific.

Jim's Girl said...

This change took me by surprise earlier tonight. It took forever to click through from the galaxy to county level to narrow down a search. Still, because I was searching a common name, I had pages and pages of results and no way to narrow them using family relationships.

I'm hoping it was a bad dream and this weekend I'll go back to FamilySearch and it will once again be my go-to site, particularly for Irish and Massachusetts records. Sigh.

Mavis said...

I discovered the change today. I don't like it, either. The change reminds me a lot of

Jim's Girl said...

I found that if I click on the advanced search before leaving the home page, I could make the most of both the old and new search methods. Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be a "home" button, so getting back to that advanced search button sometimes takes some doing!